The local boys’ basketball season ended the 2011-2012 season much like it had the one before, with Grapeland falling to Clarksville and Cayuga getting shocked by Tenaha.
But, 2011-2012 also saw plenty of good, including the seasons as a whole both the Sandies and Wildcats put together.
Westwood made the playoffs for the first time in almost two decades, while Slocum made a run to the regional quarterfinals. Oakwood and Frankston were also both playoff teams.
All of those teams will try once again to make the postseason, while Palestine, Elkhart and Neches will try and join them.
Below is a preview of the area’s boys’ basketball teams heading into the 2012-2013 season, with last year’s record in parentheses when available.
PALESTINE WILDCATS (6-22)
Palestine was a young team a year ago, and it showed both in the team’s final record and in the Wildcats inconsistent play on the court.
That should change this season, with more experience in the backcourt and a more athletic presence down-low with the emergence of sophomore Dakedrick McMorris and transfer Ben Luckett to help leading returner Shumauri Scott (10 points, 6 rebounds per game last season).
The backcourt duties will be headed by sophomore Gee Clark, who played plenty of point guard during his freshman year as well. He’ll get help from wing players Tony Butler, Izien Isemede, Vay Davis and Sheldon Watson.
Also, don’t discount the experience Clark can gain by leading the Wildcat football team this season.
SEASON OPENER: 5 p.m. Nov. 27 vs. Kerens
WESTWOOD PANTHERS (26-8)
The Westwood boys’ basketball team snapped its long playoff drought last year, before losing a heartbreaker in the bi-district round to Waco Connally.
Pieces are in place for Westwood to again be playoff-bound, though they’ll have to find 19 points per game to replace the loss of leading scorer Courtney Anderson.
But, WHS coach Scott Nettles’ team returns with three three-year letterman in point guard L.J. Hutchison (led team in assists, steals), wing-man Chris Thompson (2nd team all-district) and post Dra Ross (1st team all-district).
The Panthers also return sixth-man J.J. Turner, but will have six to seven players with little to no varsity experience that will have to learn on the fly.
They’ve also been put in a tough district, and will have to compete with non-football schools Central Heights and Woden, along with perennial power Crockett.
SEASON OPENER: 5 p.m. Nov. 19 vs. Centerville