Boys basketball: Pillow likes his teams' chances
Even though there's a vast contrast between the starting lineup and reserves, Clear Brook coach Jason Pillow thinks his Wolverines will vie for the District 24-5A championship.
"I like my team and will stack it up against anyone in the district when we're playing well," he said following a 6-2 season start. "I believe we're one of the teams to beat for at least one of the four playoff berths, and maybe more, but it's definitely not going to be a cakewalk.
"You have a experienced team in Brazoswood which will make a run, and Clear Creek is through with its rebuilding and has a number of experienced players back, and Clear Springs beat (Class 4A state-ranked) Bryan and La Marque (at the Clear Creek ISD Krueger/Carlisle Classic) last week, so you really have to consider them the early leader."
Clear Brook also goes up against Clear Lake, Dickinson and Alvin in 24-5A, and Pillow and his staff constantly remind the players that anything is possible, especially when it comes to district outings.
"We had a 5-0 start and then lost two in a row, and it kind of shocked the kids," Pillow said. "The up side of it was they realized it's not going to be as easy as they thought, and that they need to always be mentally prepared and play tough in every game and every quarter."
The losses came against 4A powers La Marque and Bryan, but Pillow isn't accepting any excuses.
"We simply were not mentally ray to play in those games," he said, "and hopefully, it was a lesson well learned before getting into district."
Clear Brook uses a set starting lineup of varsity veterans that includes seniors Jarek Player (6-2 post), Spencer Bowman (6-5 guard) and Alex Pettigrew (6-4 guard), and juniors Fred Richardson (6-5 guard) and Chris Campbell (6-3 guard).
"Our first five definitely carries the load," Pillow said. "Our starters are etched in stone because after that, everyone else is new."
Richardson, Bowman, Pettigrew and Player are in their third varsity seasons, and Campbell is in his second.
Senior Drew Byrd lettered last season, but didn't see many minutes, and total newcomers are seniors Korey Davis, Drew Manning and Darrell Dotson, junior Trey Mancha, and sophomores Chase Mullen and Will Scott.
"The starters have 18 years of experience and the reserves have virtually zero, and it's truly an interesting mix," Pillow said. "We're looking to see some of the newcomers step up and start contributing more and more as the season goes on because we'll need that in district."
The Wolverines compete at the Baytown Lee College Tournament Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 9-11, and are then open until the district opener with Alvin at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20 at Clear Brook.
"It's going to be a wild race," Pillow said. "I see 9-5 or 10-4 possibly being good enough to win the 24-5A title because everyone is going to be beating up each other."
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