BROWNSBORO — With three starters returning and strong senior leadership, Brownsboro basketball coach Tobin Reid felt the Bears had a good shot at another successful season.
It proved true as the Bears are back-to-back district champions.
After receiving a bye as District 15-3A champions, Brownsboro (23-9) opens the postseason Friday against Liberty-Eylau, a 67-61 winner over Crandall in bi-district. The area playoff game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Pine Tree High School in Longview.
“As a coach you set high goals for your team,” Reid said of his preseason thoughts. “Yes, I thought we had a chance. We had a lot of returning players, plus three starters.”
The Bears had to tackle a myriad of obstacles on their road to success.
Reid said the squad has had a special season by “overcoming so many early season injuries and still being able to be successful early in the season. Plus, the area that sticks out the most to me is how much each team member cares about each other and strives to do their best for the team.”
Reid pointed to his seniors and captains for fueling the Bears’ run to the district title.
Team captains are Blake Ralson, Patrick McCarthy and Davonte Givens. The trio, plus seniors Taylor Beall and Brody Chambers, has formulated a winner.
“All five are outstanding young men,” Reid said.
Ralson, a 6-0 senior guard, leads the Bears in three categories — 18.6 points per game, 6.6 assists and 56 3-pointers.
Givens, a 6-0 senior guard, is next at 15.8 points per game, followed by 6-4 senior forward McCarthy (7.2 ppg), 6-3 sophomore guard Will Bailey (5.8 ppg), 5-10 senior guard Beall (6.1 ppg) and 6-4 junior forward Jared Bragdon (4.9 ppg).
McCarthy is tops in rebounding at 7.9 per game and also in steals at 4.5. Bragdon (5.5) and Givens (5.0) hit the boards as well. Ralson contributes 4.2 steals and Beall has connected on 52 3-pointers. Bailey averages 3.2 assists.
Reid mixes up the starting lineup.
“We really have six starters,” said Reid, a former longtime assistant under Larry Jones at Robert E. Lee High School. “It changes from game to game for us.”
The potential starters include Ralson, Beall, Givens, McCarthy, Bragdon and Bailey.
Others seeing plenty of minutes are 6-0 freshman guard Tamrick Pace, 6-1 junior forward Quentin McKenzie, 6-0 guard Chambers and 6-1 sophomore forward Chris Givens. Rounding out the team are 5-6 sophomore guard Romero Brown and 5-10 sophomore guard Clay McCoy.
Along with the senior leadership and influx of underclassmen, Reid noted the contribution of his coaching staff — assistant coaches Kent Bradley, Adam Thompson, Brent Smith, Phillip Smith, Wayne Randolph and John Mason.
“I have an outstanding basketball staff of coaches that have been most helpful during the season,” Reid said.
And Reid added the fans are big boosters home and away.
“Brownsboro/Chandler have been outstanding supporters of the men’s basketball program,” Reid said. “The administration, faculty, staff, booster club, team parents and student body have been great. We could not be in this position without their support.”
BEAR TRACKS: The winner of the Brownsboro vs. Liberty-Eylau game will advance to the regional quarterfinals next week. The opponent will be the winner of the Paris vs. Kilgore contest. Paris and Kilgore play at 6 p.m. Friday in Wills Point.