The Mansfield boys basketball team picked up a victory against Grand Prairie on Friday night that coach Jason Speakes said was big for his team at this point in the season.
Mansfield played DeSoto on Tuesday night after the press deadline and will square off with South Grand Prairie at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at South Grand Prairie High School.
“We played South really tough at our place the last time,” Speakes said. “They have two really good players in Cameron McGriff and Harrison Henderson, both who have great size and good players. Their size and athleticism gives us some problems, but we've played them close. It was a tied game with just a few minutes to go before they pulled away, and I expect it to be another close game.”
Mansfield defeated Grand Prairie 47-45 on Friday night in what Speakes described as an exciting game for his young team.
“We had come off probably the most difficult loss of the season after we lost at home to Duncanville by a convincing margin,” Speakes said. “We had to kind of regroup and get the team back on track, and we did that. The team responded. We had a couple of good practices and the team looked good.
“We had built up a 10-point lead in the second half against Grand Prairie. Unfortunately, that evaporated, and they came back to tie the game up late. We ended up hitting a buzzer beater by Landon Strawn, so that was pretty exciting for us.”
Mansfield improved to 2-6 in district play with the victory over Grand Prairie, and Speakes said the objective at this point is to continue to gain experience and improve.
“We've got a very young team,” Speakes said. “Of the 12 players on our roster, only two are seniors, so hopefully the rest of the team comes back. I knew going in that this would be a season we had to take some lumps and learn, and we've done that. So the rest of the way, we are looking at trying to build some confidence against some of the top teams in our league.
“We'll have that opportunity, because we will be playing against the top four teams in our district the next four games. We want to gain some confidence and then look at building on that heading into next season.”
Speakes said that his team has done a couple of things really well this season that make him optimistic about next year.
“Our defense has been pretty solid,” Speakes said. “We've kept teams from scoring and going off on us offensively pretty well. We've done a good job of keeping the pace of the game in our favor and giving our kids a chance to win. Every game has been fairly close, down to the last few minutes.
“We just have not been able to find a way to get over the hump there late. But for the most part, we've kept the score and pace of the game in our favor, and if we can do that going into next year, we'll be in good shape.”
More of this story is online at mansfieldnewsmirror.com.