SHS Boys Basketball to Run
Going into his second season as Sherman Bearcats Basketball coach, Ryan Purtell knows it will be easier than the first. He is confident in his scheme and his players have a year’s experience in it; and now it’s time to run.
“We will have a multiple offense; we will adjust to see who can score,” said Purtell. “We want the best opportunity to score at all times. We will build most of our points off turnovers and transition.”
Purtell admitted it’s a popular way to play basketball because there is a lot of offense and a lot of points generally and it’s ‘highly entertaining.’
“But we are doing it because it will give us the best chance to win,” he explained.
Purtell is depending on seven returning lettermen and five others to get the Bearcats back to the playoffs.
“We have 12 kids who can play; so one of our strengths is depth,” he said. “We are going to play a style that utilizes depth.”
Purtell welcomed seniors Derrion Storey, Qualin Hayden, Jared Bowman, Dane Osterman, Ryan Ried, Brock Herd and Ben Mustafa; juniors Alex Polk, Armon Jones and T.J. Ball; J.T. Luper, Tray Bowen and Lars Fagernaes (Norwegian exchange student); sophomores Walter Davis, Tre Mask and Brandon Colon; and freshman Harold Johnson this year.
Some are still with the Sherman football team and will be until that season ends, but Purtell has already begun the competition on the team and will be ready for the Allen Eagles at home on Nov. 8.
“We will have some fierce internal competition, but that’s a good thing,” said Purtell.
“By district, we will have 10 players who we will stay with; and everybody will play.”
Defensively, Sherman will play front court ‘run and jump’ man press from the beginning.
“We will press you from the time you get off the bus until the final buzzer sounds,” smiled Purtell. “It takes a lot of athletes to do this, but we are going to have them and we are going to do it.”
He plays to rotate defensive players in minute to minute if the situation calls for it.
Purtell acknowledged a weakness for the Bearcats is their lack of varsity experience. Even at the top of the rotation, there is only one player with significant experience.
“We are really untested in varsity experience,” he added.
The Bearcats will open with the Allen Eagles after a couple of scrimmage games this week. They will have eight games and two tournaments before district play begins on Dec. 20. Sherman will host the Sherman Holiday Invitational Dec. 27-29 as well.
Beginning with Mt. Pleasant, the Bearcats will have 12 district games that go through Feb. 14.
Purtell, who spent his first 10 years coaching at San Antonio Southwestern High School, said that one intriguing item is the addition of Fagernaes from Norway, the foreign exchange student.
“He’s been adjusting to playing American basketball,” explained Purtell. “We’re excited about him and what he can do.”
As he continues to mold the team, Purtell has his eye on the district championship as a team goal. With a fifth place finish in 2010, the Bearcats have to improve on its 12-18 record and ‘stay eligible and healthy,’ according to Purtell.
“I expect good things,” he said. “We want to win playoff games!”
He added that playoff wins are rare in high school sports, but that the 2011 Bearcats can get there and validate all their hard work.
A New Era
DHS Basketball Welcomes New Coach
The Denison High School Basketball Team will have a new coach, but will have much the same look as in previous years. Coach Joe Barnett, an assistant for the past seven years, will be roaming the sidelines for 2011-12. He assisted Jody Bass, who retired after last season and Scott Curran, who left to start the program at Byron Nelson High School in Justin.
“I am excited to get the chance,” said Barnett just before practices began in late October. “I know I can do it; but it’s all hitting me now that it’s actually here.”
What Barnett has inherited is four returning starters and some varsity experience. And he will get some help from football players who also play basketball when that season is over.
“We should be okay,” said Barnett. “We’ve got four returnees and eight more coming from football. Our three best players have been working out together; always playing together will make you better.”
The Yellow Jackets took to the court last Saturday for a dual scrimmage with Texoma Christian Academy and Whitewright in Denison. Another scrimmage is scheduled for the following Saturday, Nov. 12, also at home, with Melissa and Paris. The Jackets begin playing games on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at home against Frisco Heritage.
“Our strengths are our athleticism and our ability to score,” explained Barnett. “We will be a decent scoring team.”
Barnett added that his Yellow Jacket will play a half court trap defense, which will make opposing players adjust early in bringing down the ball.
Denison will also face Princeton, Byron Nelson, Timbercreek and Wylie in November before playing in the Durant Tournament in early December. The Jackets will also play in the Sherman Holiday Tournament during Christmas break.
According to Barnett, the team’s experience will come from junior Daniel Batey, senior Cole Greenameyer, junior Clifton Hines and senior Jordan Watson.
Other team members include junior Kyeem Turner, junior Josh Henry, sophomore Jaleel Dade, sophomore Will Parker, sophomore Khalil Brown, junior Keondrick Golston, senior Jon Michael Bassett, sophomore Quamie Bush, junior Yan Sosnovskiy and senior Richard McKinney.
Denison actually begins District 13-4A play before the Christmas holidays when it plays host to Sulphur Springs Dec. 20. Then, from the first of January until mid February, the Jackets will go through the district twice in a ‘home and away’ schedule.
Denison’s senior night is Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 against Mount Pleasant.
“Our district looks really strong,” said Barnett. “Our goal is to make the playoffs and we want to finish in the top three.”
Barnett noted that besides himself, there are two other District 13-4A basketball teams sporting new coaches this season: Sulphur Springs and Texas High.
“So, it should be interesting,” he added.
Barnett, who played at Denison in the 1990s, began his career at his alma mater 10 years ago when he was hired as Eighth Grade basketball coach at B. McDaniel Middle School.
“A month after graduation from college, Coach Bob Brown (former DHS athletic director) called me and asked if I knew anything about coaching football,” explained Barnett. “I said, ‘No, I haven’t even tried on a helmet!’ And he said, “Good! We want you for basketball. Do you want to come back here to coach?’ I said, ‘Yes!’”
When Bass announced his retirement at the end of last season, current Athletic Director Cody White called Barnett into his office.
“He said, ‘It is all yours if you want it.’” recalled Barnett. “Coach White always follows through. He is true to his word. I appreciate that.”
Barnett graduated from DHS in 1994 and earned an education degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University before returning to Denison.