Grapevine Faith coach Matt Sayman envisions a day when the boys basketball team surpasses 500 3-pointers in a season.
Since his team spends most of its time firing from beyond the arc, those chances are certainly closer to reality than fantasy.
“I remember reading an article from a prominent college coach that said there’s no rule saying you have to play like everyone else,” Sayman said.
The Lions have been firing away at a rapid pace since the 2013-14 season. With five regular-season games and the TAPPS playoffs left in 2016-17, Grapevine Faith is on its way to shooting over 1,000 attempts from long range for the season.
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With 285 successful 3-point field goals in 917 attempts, the Lions lead the state in 3-pointers.
UIL Class 5A Laredo Nixon (264-911) is second, according to the CBS/MaxPreps website the UIL encourages coaches to use.
“There may have been times in the past couple of seasons where it may have been best for us to slow down and play more traditionally,” Sayman said. “But from our seventh-graders all the way up, they really enjoy playing this way and personally I think it’s boring to do anything different.”
This season, Faith is 14-2 in games where it has made double-digit 3-pointers. Season highs are 18-of-49 in a 94-76 win against McKinney Christian in November.
Senior guards Bo Williams and Mike Modisett lead the team with 90 and 57 3-pointers, respectively. Freshman guard Fielder Summy has contributed 54, and three other players have made at least 20.
Many of Williams’ and Modisett’s shots are off the backcourt dribble or after taking a quick one-timer from the wing.
“We feel like firing away early, we get the best quick opportunity at high-percentage shots,” Sayman said.
Faith’s tallest player is 6-foot-3, so Sayman also uses the long-range jumpers out of necessity. The Lions have attempted only 60 more field goals from 2-point range than long range this season.
“Obviously out of 35-40 games, there’s a few where it’s not your night,” Sayman said. “But sometimes we’re guarded tightly because of what we do and as coaches, we’ve got to keep believing if we start slowly.”
Still, the team boasts an average of 9.2 3-pointers a game, but that average dips to 5.0 in TAPPS District 1-5A where the Lions have a 1-2 record.
Sayman admitted the shoot-first mentality is far from traditional. Still, the offensive barrage forces teams into defensive schemes that have led to Faith also leading the state in made free throws, with 400 in 630 attempts.
Playoff success is to be determined. The Lions advanced to the second round last season and are 1-2 in the playoffs since 2013-14.
“We get some chances at the offensive boards, but I always feel like we should get more,” Sayman said. “We’re not shooting a high percentage this season like we have in the past, so we’re more of a volume-oriented team.
“I’ve told them we want to rebound 33 percent or more of our misses and we send all five players to the rim. We’re not the biggest team, but this helps to even things out some.”
Grapevine Faith’s 3-point success over the past four seasons: