Back on the hardwood s tarting today, boys basketball begins its quest to the UIL Basketball State Championships on March 12 to 14 in San Antonio.
A couple of new coaches will be christened into Southern Brazoria County teams as Sweeny’s Robert Cash takes over the Bulldog program. But this is Cash’s second stint after leading Columbia for five seasons.
Also in the mix is Danbury’s Ben Thompson, who takes over the Panther program.
Here’s a look at each of the teams for the season:
COACH : Trent Olivier (third year)
LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: District 23-6A 0-14, 11-23 overall
GRADUATED: Tyler Andrews, Jayvien Thomas, Michael Hopsack, Ethan Davis and Kaleb Burrell
RETURNING LETTERMEN: Roy Brown, senior, G; Coby Soliz, junior, G; Ty Sims, junior, G; Jack Vreeland, senior, G; Jake Simpson, junior, F; Jakhobi Atwater, senior, F; and Noah Cain, senior, F
RETURNING STARTERS: Simpson
OVERVIEW : Olivier continues to rebuild a program that looks like it is headed in the right direction. Simpson (10 points, 6 rebounds) returns as the high scorer last season. Sims is a solid defender and a good outside shooter; Brown and Soliz are solid guards with Atwater and Cain bringing the leadership skills to the team. Bringing some savvy to the team will be Alex Reyes, David Comacho, Kaleb Manning, Carlos Cantu, Vontroy Malone (6-5), Ken’yon Atwater (6-2) and Dominic Arredondo. District 23-6A will continue to be one of the toughest in the Houston area.
QUOTABLE : “We look to have a bounce-back year and have our second winning season in three years,” Olivier said. “In 2017/18 we were 19-16, and we look to get back to winning ways and push for a playoff spot. We are very excited about our defensive effort and outside shooting. This is just a great group of young men that truly care for each other and that is a huge asset to have. If we can upgrade on some of our flaws from last season we look to bounce back, and have a great season. We had a solid freshman class last season that won the district championship in a very tough 23-6A. We are excited to have another very good freshman class this year and help continue building the future of Brazoswood basketball.”
COACH : Thomas Josey (second year)
LAST YEAR’S RECORDS : District 10-5A 9-7, 18-16 overall
GRADUATED: Nathan Rodriguez, Jason Williams, Miguel Arrelano, Thaddues Chaney, Ronnie Chaney, Joshual Ellis and Andre Gill
RETURNING LETTERMEN: Garrett Patton, senior, G
RETURNING STARTERS : None
OVERVIEW : An overhaul of the program in Josey’s second season as he graduated 13 from last year’s team. Patton (4 points, 2 rebounds) returns as the only varsity experienced player and will be depended on to lead a young team. Preseason will play a vital role in the overall maturity of the team before embarking on a tough District 24-5A with the likes of Alvin Shadow Creek, Fort Bend Hightower, Fort Bend Marshall, Fort Bend Willowridge, Manvel, Foster, Terry and Lamar Consolidated.
QUOTABLE: “We will be a young, small but scrappy team who look to keep the playoff tradition going,” Josey said. “I’m excited to witness their development in this tough district. If these young Wildcats show that they can handle the varsity level early on, we will be a team to reckon with.”
COACH: Travis Pittman (second year)
LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: District 24-4A 6-2, 13-14 overall
GRADUATED: Rito Carrizales, Sincere Mitchell, Christian Guevara, Jamarcus James, Kris Pulido and Josh Gomez
RETURNING LETTERMEN: Hayden McDaniel, senior, G; Elliott Cundieff, senior, G; Rayleen Bell, senior, G; Kevin Davis, senior, G; and Darael Preston, senior, P
RETURNING STARTERS: McDaniel, Cundieff, Bell
OVERVIEW: There is a good core of returners for the Exporters in Pittman’s second season at the helm. Leading the way is Bell (18 points, 4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 4.8 steals) who played both sides of the court. Others who could factor into the upcoming season are McDaniel (14 points, 2 rebounds), Cundieff (5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 3.2 deflections) and Mitchell (9.7 points). Preston will be a presence on the inside. Davis and Cundieff are also the defensive anchors who could set the tone for how the team plays.
QUOTABLE: “We have really committed to the defensive side of the ball and look forward to any challenge thrown our way,” Pittman said. “We are approaching every challenge as an opportunity to rise up. We have some really young and explosive guys that will have to step up and fulfill their role on the team.”
COACH: Henry Valladares (third year)
Last Year’s records: District 24-4A 3-5, 10-18 overall
GRADUATED: Alan Reyna, Ted Langner, Kevin Cordero, Adrian Rubio, Lane Johnson and Ty Simon
RETURNING LETTERMEN: Cameron Ward, senior, W; Sultan Abdullah, senior, W; Will Carlson, senior, W; Shamar Johnson, senior, W; Zade Stroman, junior, W; Jamaurion Woodard, junior, G; and Trent Ward, junior, G
RETURNING STARTERS: Ward, Abdullah, Carlson, Stroman and Woodard
OVERVIEW: Ward (23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 deflections) will once again be the go-to Roughneck, but will have some help with Stroman (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks), Abdullah (8 1/2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) and Carlson (3 points, 3 rebounds). The Roughnecks also have three transfers in Heston Roberts, senior, post, Jalen Austin, senior, guard and Jamison Rebector, senior, wing. With this core of players, the ’Necks should be in the mix for a playoff spot this season.
QUOTABLE: “We are very excited about the upcoming season, especially with the team we have,” Valladares said. “With football potentially making a deep playoff run, we plan on rolling that success into the basketball season. We feel we have 10 guys that will compete, fight and scrap for whatever the team needs. Our main focus is not wins or losses, but how well we execute our offensive and defensive goals. We are adding two new coaches to our staff, Anthony Smith and Daymond Lewis. We are very excited (about) what they bring to the program and can’t wait to see their impact on and off the court.”
COACH: Robert Cash (first year)
LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: District 24-4A 0-8, 11-19 overall
GRADUATED: Cameron Adams, Cerrington Massey, Kaeden Frankum, Tevin Parson, Courtlyn Davidson
RETURNING LETTERMEN: Keithlan Bess, senior, G; Calon Amey, junior, G; Bryson Soistman, senior, P; Trey Fields, senior, G; and Zamein Martin, sophomore, G
RETURNING STARTERS: Fields
OVERVIEW: It has been a tough time for Sweeny basketball in the past seven seasons, but the return of Cash to the area might change things for the Bulldogs. Fields has a high powered motor on the court and is pretty explosive. With Sweeny in the football playoffs, it will just depend on when he can return to the basketball court. Soistman (10 points, 6 1/2) is a 6-foot-5 post who will help the inside game. District 24-4A will once again be a dogfight for the top four positions with Brazosport, Columbia, La Marque and Bay City.
NOTABLE: Cash returns to the area after coaching five seasons at Columbia departing in 2017.
COACH: Ben Thompson (first year)
LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: District 24-3A 2-10, 4-14 overall
GRADUATED: Jayden Evans, Branson Vrazel, Caleb Morales, Larry Strebeck