On Dec. 20 Granbury (9-12, 4-3) had just been dealt a 30-point loss 79-49 by Southwest. But instead of being frustrated and looking at the negatives, head coach David Brazile saw something that he thought might just be the turning point in his team’s season.
The team had struggled since the beginning on the year having lost its leading scorer and district newcomer of the year from 2012-13 for the entire season.
“It isn’t like you have a few months to adjust to that and plan for what happened,” said Brazile who led his team to the playoffs last year for the first time since 1999. “We lost a ton of close games early and at times we had played awful. Then I thought that Southwest one might be the one. I thought there were some things we could do defensively that would work, because what we were doing sure wasn’t working.”
The team sat at 1-3 after a four point loss to Aledo on Jan. 7, but has since rebounded to win their past three games to climb into a three way tie for third place, just one game back of the second place Bearcats.
“Even though Aledo was a tough loss, I told the kids after the game that I felt good about where we were heading and our chances of turning things around,” Brazile said. “Heights was a huge win and then against Wyatt we held them to just six points the entire second half.”
A key to the Pirates defense has been the presence inside of its 6-foot-7 junior post Mitchell May. It has allowed the team to change up some things on their defensive scheme to allow the others to extend the defense.
“It’s not always about him blocking shots, but him altering shots,” Brazile said. “Mitchell has really good timing and it allows the others to take a few more chances as they know he is back there and a big help. He’s really been the drive on the defensive end.”
Having allowed 60 to 70 points a game early in the season the defense has improved and is team has allowed just 36.3 pointer per game in its past four.
“The guys are starting to understand that if you can get stops and play good defense you have a chance to win every game,” Brazile said. “We don’t have a lot of size besides Mitchell so we have to make sure we block out and limit teams to one shot.”
Offensively the team counts on senior Jacob Taylor and junior Clay Brawner who both average about 12 points a game. Brawner also leads the team in assists.
“We count on those two as we like to play inside out, but we need to get to the foul line more,” Brazile said. “Clay is just one of those guys who gets to the gym at 6:30 in the morning and shoots until class starts from the first day of school. He is one of those kids you only get once every 10 to 15 years.”