Northeast Tarrant

Mustangs hoops off to hot start under first-year coach

The Grapevine boys basketball was 5-2 through its first seven games of the season, and with first-year coach John Mills at the helm, the team is feeling confident about its chances in 2015-2016.

Mills said that he has been impressed with the effort he has seen from his team so far and said he anticipates an exciting season for the Mustangs.

“Everything is going pretty good,” Mills said. “We are off to a pretty good start. We beat Frisco Lone Star to open season, and we did pretty well at the Northwest tournament, finishing 3-2. So we were pretty happy about that.”

Grapevine played a mix of 5A and 6A teams at the Northwest tournament and then defeated Southlake Carroll in overtime last week.

Mills said he has a couple of strong returning players this season, including Andrew Lastinger, Gabe Ford and Travis McCormick.

“We’ve had a lot of guys step up and sort of carry us into the season,” Mills said.

The Grapevine coach said the objectives for the season are to continue to make progress throughout the year and be in a position for a playoff spot when the time comes.

“I would like to see them get better each and every day,” Mills said. “It’s my first year here at Grapevine, and we’re trying to adjust to a different style of play, so my goal is for them right now is to be competitive and get better each and every day. Hopefully, going into district, we will be ready to make a run and go to the playoffs and do as well as we can.”

Grapevine played Mansfield Timberview on Tuesday after the press deadline and will compete in the College Station Tournament starting Thursday.

“It is a six-game tournament, which is a lot of games,” Mills said. “We’ll play two games each day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I think the main objective right now is to get kids playing time and finding out who fits where and who can do what in what situations.

“We want to try to get that rotation down as we progress through the non-district part of the schedule. We want to know who can do what when we reach the district schedule.”

To have a successful season, Mills said it will take a couple of things.

“I think the main thing is to get better each and every day,” Mills said. “We also have to have the ability to play fast, but still under control and making good shots and rebounding the basketball. Those are the things I’m looking to improve upon at this point. We have great team chemistry, and we’re great fundamentally. We just have to get better at the little things.”