Details key to Mineola success

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Talk to Mineola Yellowjacket Head Coach Ryan Steadman about basketball and 20 minutes becomes 40 minutes very quickly.  A session with Steadman describing today’s game is evidence of just how multi-faceted scholastic basketball has become. It also holds one of the key ingredients to the Yellowjackets’ success thus far: the collective basketball IQ of the team. 

Although Steadman quickly lists an array of shortcomings which his team needs to address, he recounts how his squad is learning to pay great attention to the fundamentals of the game. That attention develops trust between coach and players, he explained, and within the five guys on the floor. 

“With the exception of the Van game,” he summarized, “that level of trust has brought us significant success in the young season.”  As the Yellowjackets approach their Jan. 3 district opener at Rains, they have high expectations. ”No doubt, our goal is a district championship,” Steadman stated. 

Entering district competition as the 2019-20 District 12-3A favorites will present a unique challenge for a team which is still struggling to determine its identity. Steadman explained, “We haven’t quite figured out yet who we are – a perimeter team, a transition team.” 

He explained how that will all come to be known. What is important now, he continued, was “making the right pass, taking the right shot and doing it at the right time.”

The Mineola basketball formula is remarkably simple: fight through adversity and find a way to win. The concepts practiced by the team (intensity, effort and discipline) manifest themselves in aggressive man-to-man defense, a hounding press and an unselfish offense. 

As the Yellowjackets approach district play, the wide array of talented foes faced in the pre-district will be replaced by teams they know well. Preparations will become more defensively-oriented, Steadman related, as the Jackets know that defense will carry them through. 

Five seniors (Kelby Bruner, Wylie Franks, Kaleb Griffin, Colt Marlow and De’Vante Stephens) lead the team and are joined by juniors Jonah Fischer, Aidan Steward and Andrew Stinchfield. Freshmen T.J. Moreland and Dawson Pendergrass round out the roster and have already provided significant impact to the squad. 

When asked what a fan could expect when they come to watch Yellowjacket basketball, Steadman answered with no hesitation, “You will get high energy, fundamentally-sound basketball, and after the game you should be able to say that those boys really got after it.”

Based on an excellent start to the season, and with a mantra of “Find a Way,” the Yellowjackets are primed for a great run in the new year.

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