Northeast Tarrant

Mustangs look to go further, Panthers hope to return to playoffs

Grapevine post Andrew Lastinger is a key returning starter for the Mustangs.
Grapevine post Andrew Lastinger is a key returning starter for the Mustangs. Special to the Star-Telegram

The Grapevine boys basketball team is coming off of a strong 2015-2016 campaign, and coach Jeremy Mills said he believes the Mustangs are capable of another good showing.

Grapevine has a lot of returning talent from a team that finished 9-3 in district competition and was district runner-up.

“We return seven varsity players and four starters from last year’s playoff team, and our greatest strength this upcoming season is our team chemistry and understanding our roles,” Mills said.

The Mustangs lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs to Wichita Falls Rider last season.

Grapevine will return four all-district 6-5A players from last season, including first-team post Andrew Lastinger (8 PPG, 7 RPG and 3 BPG), second-team guard Boone Montgomery (10 PPG), second-team guard Ethan Tabor (7 PPG) and second-team forward Dalton Novotny (4 PPG, 5 RPG).

The Mustangs will have good size on this year’s team with Lastinger (6-7) and Novotny (6-5) in particular.

Mills said the goals for this season are to “win championships,” including tournaments, district, and ultimately the state, and said to have a strong season in 2016-2017, his players will have to be mentally prepared.

“We have a very experienced team with 11 seniors and two juniors, and I fully expect us to be mentally tougher and tough to beat,” Mills said. “If we do this, we will be successful.”

For the Colleyville Heritage boys basketball team, 2015-2016 was a bit of a down season, but coach Stephen Hamrick said he is optimistic heading into this year’s campaign.

“We had a great spring and summer and also a great fall in preparing for the up and coming season,” Hamrick said. “Our guys have worked extremely hard and are just trying to get better each and every day.”

The Panthers finished 6-20 on the season and were 3-9 in district play in 2015-2016, but youth was a serious issue.

“We were a very young team last year,” Hamrick said. “So we are expecting the experience of the grind of last season will pay off. Nantz Nelson and Niko Bossinakis are returning guards and Logan Kari is a returning interior player, and they were all leading producers at their positions last year.”

To have a successful season, Hamrick said his team will need to defend, rebound and “value the basketball,” and said he wants his players to remember something throughout the year.

“The basketball season is a long journey, and we just want to embrace the pace and get one percent better every single day,” Hamrick said. “Our focus is on us and being the best we can be.”