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Grady teams expect to run this season

 

November 30, 2017



GRADY — When you’re one of the smaller schools in the state’s smallest classification, you’re likely to find some roster deficiencies.

And so it is with Grady. The girls have little in the way of height, and the boys have little experience beyond the starting lineup. Both teams, however, are already 1-0 and confident they’ll find their way once again into the state basketball tournament when March rolls around.

“Our strength, I would say, is our chemistry,” first-year coach Jonathan Langan said the day after his team’s 62-57 overtime win over Roy. “I like the way our guys work with each other and are willing to help each other out. I think depth could hurt us. We’ve got five solid guys, and some guys who are still developing their skills. I want to put them in a position where they’ll be successful.”

On the girls’ side, Tammy Northcutt has a different problem. All the drills and minutes in the world won’t change the fact they lack height. That, Northcutt said, is probably the bigger worry than the inexperience that comes with six freshmen on the roster.

“We’re strictly a guard team,” Northcutt said. “We don’t have a true post. We’ve got to spread the scoring out. That’s going to be our weakness when it comes to playing some of those bigger teams.”

The team is otherwise three seniors, two juniors and no sophomores. Northcutt said she liked the contributions she got from younger players in the team’s 49-39 win over Roy, but said it wasn’t a huge surprise to see them adjust to varsity play quickly.

“They play well together, they trust each other,” Northcutt said. “About four of those freshmen helped us in practice last season. They’ve been together for three years, really. They have a tremendous work ethic.”

Both Grady teams resume their season today at the JP Stone Invitational in Dora. The boys face Tatum at 10 a.m., while the girls see Jal at 11:30 a.m.

Senior Lucas Whitehead led the charge in overtime for the Bronchos, and Langan figures he and fellow senior Ivan Valdez will have to lead throughout the year.

“I’ve got guys from seniors on down to eighth-graders,” Langan said. “We all do our part, but those older guys bring energy every day. When they’re down, it affects us. We feed on those guys a lot. Lucas, he’s the voice on offense and defense. He’s the guy who can score a bucket when we need him to. he’s the guy who picks you up and makes you better. Whatever Lucas doesn’t bring, Ivan brings. He brings a lot of camaraderie. He’s an intense person, always energetic.”

Northcutt figures a good showing in District 4-1A — which includes state champ Elida and state runnerup Melrose — should be enough to get a state tournament berth. But the height

The boys don’t have to run out of necessity as much as the girls, but Langan never wants to turn a chance at a quick bucket down — especially since he has five guys he trusts to run a fast break.

“Any guy gets the rebound,” Langan said, “we want to go. But there’s a time to know when to push it.”

 

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