By BRAD KEITH
(JANUARY 27, 2017) — Dublin is hosting its most meaningful district basketball game Friday night since winning its last league title in 2012.
Five years later, these Lions are tied atop 6-3A with Coleman, who comes knocking at the door of Neff Gym at about 7:45 p.m. following a girls contest at 6:15. Both the Lions and Bluecats are 4-0 in district, and both feature strong guard play, despite their vast contrast in styles.
“Coleman is more slow and methodical than us for sure, but I know they do have the ability to play fast. They can get up and down if they need to, but I don’t know that it’s what they would prefer to do,” said second-year Dublin head coach Will Parker, who has turned the Lions into a baseline-to-baseline aggressive pressing team that plays fast from the start and never lets up.
Parker says Coleman’s guards present a new kind of challenge to the Lions, but his guards do that to just about everyone on the schedule.
“They have stout guards who move the ball really well, and they’re different than any guards we’ve seen this year,” he said. “But I think our guards and the way we play is different than what they have seen, too.”
On that note, Parker quickly agreed style imposition would be key.
“We’ve talked and talked about that, we have to get in the full court and play fast and be who we are,” he said. “The guys on our bench have come in and played well lately, and that gives us the ability to never let off the press. When we keep the press on all the time, it wears on people.”
Coleman has been primarily in a 2-3 zone this year, but Parker said he is prepared to see some man defense, too. And when the Bluecats have the ball, the Lions know they have to find and slow Bryson Hammonds.
“He’s a great all-around athlete. He was great (as a quarterback) in football and he’s their stud in basketball, we definitely have to contain him,” said Parker. “They have other good players, too, but he’s the one that stands out the most.”
Dublin avoided Coleman in tournament play in Breckenridge because Cisco sent Coleman to the consolation bracket before avenging a prior loss to the Lions in the finals. Parker is glad to get his first meeting with the Bluecoats at home.
“The community and everyone has just been great supporting us, there’s just such a positive vibe to it,” Parker said. “We always have a big crowd, and the pep band adds so much to it, it’s fun every time we play at home. I think this game will have a great playoff atmosphere, and that’s what you want.”
Here’s the schedule of tonight’s high school basketball games:
Venus at Stephenville girls, 6:15 p.m.
Coleman at Dublin girls, 6:15 p.m.
Hico girls at Ranger, 6:15 p.m.
De Leon girls at Meridian, 6:15 p.m.
Lingleville girls at Gorman, 6:15 p.m.
Venus at Stephenville boys, 7:45 p.m.
Coleman at Dublin boys, 7:45 p.m.
Nico boys at Ranger, 7:45 p.m.
De Leon boys at Meridian, 7:45 p.m.
Lingleville boys at Gorman, 7:45 p.m.