Boys basketball looks to upend Tigers in first playoff round

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Boys basketball looks to upend Tigers in first playoff round

Junior Jack Supan blocking out Wylie East players from grabbing the rebound.

Junior Jack Supan blocking out Wylie East players from grabbing the rebound.

Courtesy of Eric Miller

Junior Jack Supan blocking out Wylie East players from grabbing the rebound.

Courtesy of Eric Miller

Courtesy of Eric Miller

Junior Jack Supan blocking out Wylie East players from grabbing the rebound.

Grant Doig, Staff Reporter

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The boys basketball team (14-12, 7-7 in district) will travel to Rains High School in Emory tonight to face off against the district 16-5A champs, Mount Pleasant Tigers (26-5, 14-0) at 7 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs.

“My expectation is that we will play well,” head coach Kyle Herrema said. “We’ve had outstanding practices with great attention to detail and energy.”

The Tigers will be one of the toughest teams the Leopards have faced this year, ranked 24th in the state by the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll. The team is led by 6-5 senior post James Moore who leads the team in most statistical categories. However, after a strong couple weeks of practice, the Leopards like their chances.

“Mount Pleasant is definitely a tough team; they’ve got size and athleticism that we’ll have to deal with,” senior Braden Ledebur said. “I think the key to winning the game is excellent preparation as well as staying true to our brand of basketball. We want to control the pace and force them to make mistakes. If we do that we should be playing again on Friday.”

In preparation for the game against Mount Pleasant, the team had to finish up their district slate with games against Highland Park and West Mesquite.

The team fell to Highland Park 65-60 on Feb. 10, but learned some important lessons from the game.

“It was a hard fought game and a tough one to lose,” senior Jackson Carswell said. “We needed to find our matchups earlier, and make sure we knew where the shooters were in transition. But it just didn’t happen that night.”

Traveling to West Mesquite for a tuneup game with no playoff implications, the team fell 58-43 last Tuesday.

West Mesquite plays very similar to Mount Pleasant, they are a very fast-paced team and always looks to push the ball,” senior Anthony Vogel said. “It was very helpful that we were able to play West Mesquite last game so we could get a feel for what the game against Mount Pleasant will be like.”

Herrema said the team has taken a unique approach in practice to prepare for the playoff atmosphere.

“We know that it’s going to be loud so we’ve been pumping in music for practice in preparation for the noise,” Herrema said. “We’ve also added hand signals to help with our communication.”

A spirit bus will depart for Rains High School today at 4:45 p.m. in hopes of getting students to come to the game. Any students are welcome to ride and attend the playoff game.

“The Jungle has done a great job all year showing out and creating super fun environments to play in,” Ledebur said. “In the biggest game of the year we could really use the support.”

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