The Wylie East basketball team just missed out on the playoffs last season but is ready to step up to the 6A level.
Under first-year head coach Brent Kelley, Wylie East finished sixth in the district standings last season, but saw major strides taken from the season before. This year, moving up classification but with a nice core of players returning, the team feels confident it can take the next step.
“It’s been a pretty good offseason for us,” Kelley said. “We had some success in our summer league, showcases and shootouts that we went to, and most importantly, had good participation throughout the summer and fall. We’ve focused on that since the season was over and were excited for the new year.”
Part of what Wylie East wanted to address in the offseason were some of the difficulties it had in close games during the 2021-22 season. The team went 14-17 but feels like it could have been in a playoff position with better execution in tight games.
“We’ve got kids that can really play and found that out quickly,” Kelley said. “We went 14-17 last year and we wanted to focus on how to get over the hump. We lost 10 games last year by six points or less and we got to find a way to win those close ballgames.”
Despite some of the frustrating finishes, coach Kelley and his staff are eager to hit the ground running, bringing back a strong roster with several returning faces into the fold.
“It would’ve been a great year if we were able to finish some of those out,” Kelley said. “It’s just about being disciplined and doing what you’re supposed to do on both ends of the court throughout the game. Everybody remembers the shot at the end of the game that cost us the game, but there are plays early in the first that are just as important.”
Leading the way for the Raiders, who are off to a 3-0 start with wins over Irving MacArthur, Greenville and Frisco Lone Star last Friday, are Anthony Overstreet, Adam Herod and Parker Overstreet. Herod led the team in scoring last season, but it was a team with several different key players having opportunities to score the ball.
“We had a lot of guys that averaged between six and ten points a night,” Kelley said. “That can be good or bad sometimes because we have several guys who can go and get a bucket, but maybe not a go-to guy for scoring. This year, we got six guys back on the varsity team and we probably won’t be that balanced, but we’re preaching that everyone is going to have an important role on the team.”