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Boys basketball: Flower Mound out to solid start, nine seniors easing transition
For the third consecutive season, Flower Mound's basketball team will have a different face manning the bench.
This year, Jason Fossett will be head coach for the Jaguars, taking over for former Lewisville head coach Henry Thomas, who accepted the position in an interim role just weeks before the season started in 2011-12.
"Right now, we're at the point where we just want to get the kids to buy into the system," Fossett said. "When they believe, then we have a chance to be successful. So far, so good."
Fossett's philosophy starts with two basic principles: play hard and limit turnovers. Scoring at the rim is also a point of emphasis.
The Jaguars have raced out to a 7-2 record, including wins Nov. 20 over Southlake Carroll (69-46) and Tuesday against Justin Northwest (58-38).
While Flower Mound returns just two starters, they have seven players back with varsity experience and 10-of-13 on the roster are seniors.
"We have a good mix," Fossett said. "And we have a lot of size. We aren't the quickest team, but we play smart and our guards have been doing a good job of taking care of the ball so far. I think if we play teams that like to get up and down, we can do that, but we can also slow the game down and grind it out."
Fossett noted that Flower Mound's experience has helped ramp up the transition to the new system.
"We're still working but it has helped, without a doubt," he said.
Flower Mound's experience starts in the backcourt, where senior guard Ryan Reibly and sophomore Jake Fieckert are back.
"Ryan is averaging around nine or 10 points per game so far," Fossett said. "He takes care of the ball and is probably our strongest player physically, though he isn't the biggest. And he has been a great leader.
"Jacob started some for us last year and is another strong player with a great work ethic. He plays good defense but can shoot it, too. He can do a little bit of everything and is also averaging around 10 points per game."
Rounding out the Flower Mound guards are seniors Brandon Langley, Sam Montgomery, Buck Starling, Brody McLemore and Caleb Brake, junior Colby Cox and sophomore Connor Green.
"We're very unselfish," Fossett said. "Langley has actually been leading us in scoring at about 13 per game even though we've had four or five different scorers in each game. He can really shoot it but he is still improving on defense. He's making huge strides. Connor will backup some at point, and Sam has really been shooting the ball well. He made seven threes in a game earlier this year.
"All of those guys can handle the ball, too, and we're going to put our best five players out there, even if that means we have four guards and one post or four guards and a forward."
Down low, Flower Mound will feature seniors Justin Gammill, Anthony Knuf, Gearen Littlefield and Tyler O'Bar.
"Justin is versatile and really moves well," Fossett said. "He's a very skilled player. Anthony can really control the middle and we're getting a lot of rebounding and defense from him. Littlefield is playing well, too. All those guys are kind of interchangeable."
While the Jags have started impressively, Fossett knows there is still plenty of room to grow.
"We still need to be more physical and can't play as soft as we've been," he said. "And we need to do a better job rebounding and defensively."
With the changes on the roster and with coaching at Marcus (who has won district the past four years), the race for the 5-5A crown may well have opened up.
"Hebron is no doubt the favorite this year," Fossett said. "After that, I think it's wide open. Coppell will be up there, and I'm good buddies with coach [Clay] Cody at Marcus and know he has a good team. There just isn't much separation from the top to bottom.
"Our goal is to get better each week and find a way to make the playoffs. We have a resilient group that has been through a lot the past two or three years and finding stability will be a big step in forward."