It’s been a difficult start the season for the Wylie Pirates basketball team, but reinforcements are on the way as they prepare for a long district season.
The Pirates finished second in District 9-6A last season with a 12-2 district record but hope to be able to compete for a championship this season. Early on, the Pirates lost their opening two games to Highland Park and Mesquite Horn in a close game but are missing several key pieces to the varsity roster.
“It’s been a bit of a different offseason for us,” Pearce said. “We had several varsity guys go out for the football team this year, so we’ve got a lot of young players who don’t have a ton of experience stepping into the lineup. Once we get our full team together, we’ll see what we got, but I like the guys we have.”
Chris Lewis, Sean Carter, Terry Harton and Gio Aflague all are on the football team that went to the area round of the state playoffs, leaving the Pirates shorthanded to open the season. Coach Pearce thinks it’ll be a positive in the end, giving younger players valuable varsity experience.
“We’re going to be rolling with the guys we have,” Pearce said. “We’ve got a few guys coming back who can really shoot and three additional seniors on the roster who are going to lead the way, plus a few sophomores and juniors who will give us a good little mix this season.”
In the early losses, coach Pearce said the team was able to take away some things from each game to help it move forward. That allowed the Pirates to defeat Prosper in their opening game of the Mavs Fall Classic last Thursday 70-34, with several young players stepping into key roles.
“I think we got a lot of guys who can play,” Pearce said. “We’re not tall, but we’ve got a lot of good athletes who can really defend and play big for us. We’re probably going to rely on Donaven [Davis] a little more early in the season but we have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the bucket.”
Davis and Jackson Hinckley are two returning starters to the Pirates backcourt. Davis was an all-area player last season as the starting point guard, while Hinckley returns as one of the top shooters in district. Pearce said he’s been hot from beyond the arc throughout the offseason.
“We have high expectations for him,” Pearce said. “From the time he’s started school this year until now he’s hit 10,000 shots. In practice, scrimmages and games he’s been very good from beyond the arc. I think he’s also gotten better around the rim and can get to the hoop with some shot fakes.”
The Pirates did graduate several seniors from last season’s varsity team, including all-district center Jordan Hudgins. A key component to the team for multiple seasons, Hudgins was an inside scoring presence for Wylie that will be missed. He was also a great passer from the post, which is something Wylie is adjusting in its offensive scheme this season.