With Head Coach Ryan Steadman heading into his 11th season as Mineola’s head boys basketball coach it’s safe to say he knows the climate of East Texas high school basketball.
While his team finished third in the district last season with a first round playoff exit, Steadman expects his team to fare even better this year.
“I expect our ream to play tough, rugged and physical basketball. We will rebound and be a very defensive-minded club,” Steadman said.
In the past few year’s Steadman admits his teams have struggled somewhat offensively, especially with outside shooting but he believes if the team can master the defensive end it will allow them to stay in games more consistently until their offense picks up.
“Last season after the football team’s state championship run we got a few guys on to the team later than usual so that kind of threw off our chemistry and our offensive execution, but this year only three of our players will be coming from football so it should be a little less of an adjustment,” Steadman said last week.
The team will try to use its size and inside game to take advantage of faster teams while playing good half court defensive to try and limit opponents from having opportunities for fast-break points.
Last season the Yellowjackets lost three district games by five points or less. The team finished 9-4 in district, just two losses behind the eventual district-champion Edgewood Bulldogs.
“We lost some really close games last year and could have easily been district champs but I think we may have been lacking a little in the leadership category. This year I don’t think that will be the case. All of our players have been working hard and our leaders have really stepped up in the preseason getting everyone geared up for the season,” Steadman said.
This season forwards Shaw Franklin and Cameron Sorenson will be relied up a lot to also help fill leadership roles with the team when both players are done with football. The team will also feature a new point guard, freshman Jonah Fisher will have the majority of the ball handling duties.
“This season we’re going to work a lot on situational basketball, knowing time and score and also focusing on taking care of the ball. Too many times last year we committed turnovers at crucial moments,” Steadman said.
In Steadman’s eyes a successful season is a district championship. Stead also said he expects both Kemp and Edgewood to be their biggest challengers for the district crown.
The team opens the season at home Tuesday Nov. 28, hosting the Brownsboro Bears the varsity game is slated to start at 8 p.m.