The reason Byron Nelson boys basketball Scott Curran likes to take his team out of town for a tournament is that he wants to use the experience for this group to bond.
It won’t make or break the season. However, it can help him define where this season is going. So consider this team’s 3-1 effort at the Georgetown tournament last weekend a major success.
The Bobcats (6-2) played a tight championship contest with San Antonio Churchill, which featured Vanderbilt signee in 6-8 forward Clevon Brown, and wound up losing, 55-51. Brown scored 15 points, but Ryan Wheeler scored a game-high 18.
“I feel good about this team. I think we’re playing really well,” Curran said. “They have bought into what we’re trying to ask of them. I don’t know if they’ve turned the corner yet, but we’re playing unselfish basketball. That’s a good start.
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“This wasn’t a measuring stick for the season. But they’re believing in our system and playing well together.”
Of course, Nelson is looking to keep a streak going where it has made the playoffs in each of its first five varsity seasons. Curran noted how his bench continues to develop. Junior forward Ryan Wainscott and junior guard Cameron Gassaway have provided minutes and filled the stat sheet beyond just scoring.
It also appears that the point guard situation will continue with Bryce Drake and Alphonso Hawkins splitting time. Curran doesn’t mind if either or both are on the floor at the same time.
“If one of them struggles, we know the other can pick it up,” Curran said. “We have faced some great competition this season. But the flexibility they’ve shown is really important to how we can run our offense.”
Nelson played Southlake Carroll on Tuesday before moving to the Cedar Hill tournament Thursday. The Bobcats open with area power Rockwall Heath, which features guard Camron Talley and forward Jeremiah Sandidge.
The Texans (8-4) enjoy most of the week off before playing Grand Prairie in the DFW Showcase at 3 p.m. Saturday at Wilkerson-Greines.
But if head coach Mike Hatch was hoping to see if this team could find a way to deal with adversity, it had more than its share this past weekend. The Texans have played in three overtime games. They were also in the Weatherford tournament four of their five games were decided in the last 10 seconds.
In the 72-71 victory over Burleson Centennial, the Patriots missed the last shot. Conroe had a tip in with four seconds to play to pull out a 55-53 victory. Midlothian won in triple overtime, 78-74. But the Texans beat Weatherford, 57-55, on Tevian Ezell’s three.
“We’ll see what we’ve learned from all of these games,” Hatch said. “There’s not a better way to deal with it. But now the guys can see how they have to respond in those types of games. They understand what we were talking about during the offseason.”
Hatch said this week of practice will be important after playing 12 games in three weeks.
“This is the biggest week we’re going to have,” he said. “When you have an off week, you either get better or stay the same. If you stay the same, then you’re going to get passed up by other teams and then we have to make up a lot of ground.”