In a handful of varsity seasons, Saginaw Chisholm Trail is steadily climbing the ladder of success when it comes to boys basketball.
Last year’s District 5-5A champions currently trail 6-5A front-runner Justin Northwest by a game as teams begin the second half of district play on Tuesday.
Chisholm Trail opened in the 2012-13 school year, and won just two basketball games that season. The wins grew to 12, then 15, then 23 last season.
“For a school that’s five years old, that’s pretty amazing,” said Rick Sherley, executive director of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. “They’re doing a good job there. That’s impressive to me. They could certainly be a team to make regionals.”
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Chisholm Trail (18-4, 6-1 6-5A) has dominated its wins in district play by an average of 25.2 points per game. Ranked No. 17 in the latest TABC poll, the Rangers are led by 6-foot-6 shooting guard Ryan Flores.
Last year’s team advanced to the area round of the playoffs. In this season’s only district loss, the Rangers led most of the game and into the fourth quarter of a 65-52 setback against Justin Northwest on Jan. 6.
For a school that’s five years old, that’s pretty amazing. They’re doing a good job there. That’s impressive to me. They could certainly be a team to make regionals.
Rick Sherley, executive director of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, on Chisholm Trail’s success
“I like to think some of the difference in those games has been how we play defense,” coach David Markley said. “We’re really proud of the style of defense we play and we just want to be a team that’s tough to score on.”
It’s a traditional man-to-man defense and full-court pressure that does most of the damage early in games.
In Friday’s 66-27 win over Azle, the Rangers held the Hornets scoreless for an eight-minute stretch from the first to second quarters.
“My assistant (Joe Barnett) convinced me to shift us into a zone at times and it’s worked for us this season,” Markley said. “That’s not something we’ve typically done much of in the past.”
That strategy has left plenty of opportunity for Flores and company to get easy transition baskets as well as fire away from the perimeter. Flores leads the team with 16.8 points a game, and he also contributes 5.0 rebounds a contest.
I like to think some of the difference in those games has been how we play defense. We’re really proud of the style of defense we play and we just want to be a team that’s tough to score on.
Chisholm Trail coach David Markley
Senior point guard Dustin Mathis does most of the cerebral work in directing Chisholm Trail’s production, averaging 5.1 assists per game.
“Obviously our mindset has been to get the ball to our scorers, but Dustin is selfless and is a key reason to our success,” Markley said.
Senior forward Bryson Power is a dominant presence in the Rangers’ inside game, averaging 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Senior forward Cameron Huntsman (8.5 ppg, 7.6 reb) and junior guard Peyton Sallee (7.7 ppg) round out the team’s top contributors.
2 Victories for Chisholm Trail in 2012-13, its first season. The wins have grown to 12, 15, 23 last season and 18 so far this season.
Scheduling tougher games in nondistrict play was also part of the ingredients for the team’s current runs.
Losses to Allen, Keller and Rockwall Heath are sandwiched around impressive wins over Wylie, Everman and Lamesa.
“After last year’s success, we wanted to challenge in nondistrict and although we had some losses, they were to bigger Class 6A schools, “Markley said. “We got some confidence from that and it’s helped us grow.”
No. 17, TABC poll