So far this season, the Frenship boys basketball program has exceeded expectations when confronted with adversity.
At the beginning of the year, it was the loss of his top two scorers that was squarely on the mind of head coach Jason Dear. But the Tigers have proven to be even better and deeper than the team that made a run to the regional tournament last season.
Now comes perhaps the biggest test of all — not necessarily from Canyon, Frenship's scheduled regional quarterfinal opponent. The big test may be maintaining mental focus in the face of the winter storm that hit the South Plains and Panhandle overnight Sunday and into Monday.
Monday night the teams postponed the game, slated for today at the Hutcherson Center in Plainview. A determination on a venue for Wednesday will be made today. But because Frenship cancelled school on Monday, the Tigers were unable to practice, and Dear was leery of competing in a playoff game without proper preparation.
He said if Frenship is able to go to school Tuesday and the Tigers can practice, there is a possibility of playing the game onWednesday.
Regardless of when the game is played, however, the fact that Frenship is back in this position is somewhat surprising considering last year’s top two scoring options either graduated or moved away, leaving Dear with a group of mostly role players last year.
“Not many people thought we would be where we are right now,” Dear said. “That goes to the heart of this team and the kids that we have. They never gave up and have done a great job all year long, and have played great defense.”
The Tigers (26-9) may actually be better because they’re deeper.
Whereas last year it was Tyler Rogers and Michael Grant doing all the scoring, this year Dear can go to any one of his five starters and some off the bench and easily get double-figure scoring.
Seniors Bradley Mitchell, Lucas Schuster and Isaiah Tillman have done most of the damage this year, all three averaging at least 11 points per game. But Dear said lately that juniors Marcos Schuster has stepped up with some big games, and the bench has increased its production as well.
“They’re a different team and just have more weapons than we did last year,” Dear said. “(Opponents) can’t focus on one person, and if we get a sense that one guy is not shooting the ball well ... then another one steps up. If that person doesn’t step up, then another one steps up. We’ve been a really balanced act all year.”
Focus has also been there for the Tigers in the postseason, especially in light of losing their regular season finale to Lubbock High just a few days after clinching the District 4-4A crown with a win over rival Plainview.
Dear said the players held a meeting after that game to get refocused, and it has worked thus far.
“It was one of those games that, after the game the coaches all got together and talked about it an we all said the same thing,” Dear said. “This could be the best thing to happen to us or the worst thing to happen to us, and we were a little scared going into (the playoffs). But after beating Randall and going into the area round we knew the kids would be ready to go.”
Which should last this round as well, whenever that may be.
Several other teams are also watching the weather to see how it affects their playoff games.
As of Monday afternoon, all games were on as scheduled except for the Lubbock Christian girls basketball team’s regional playoff against McKinney Christian.
LCHS boys coach Brad Crow said the boys game is still slated for 7:30 p.m. today in Aledo, but that coaches were working on rescheduling the girls game.
The Class 1A boys regional quarterfinal between Morton and Smyer, scheduled for 8 p.m. today at the Rip Griffin Center, is on as scheduled. Seminole, Ropes, Whitharral and Petersburg are also on as scheduled.
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