Boys basketball: 'Cats aim for third title
Having won back-to-back district championships in the infancy of the program, Cy Woods coach Chris Draudt knows something about the high level of hoops that goes on in 17-5A.
"It's just an outstanding district with great coaches and players," he said, "and there really are eight or maybe even nine teams that have a shot at the playoffs, and we're hoping to be one of four that get out."
Cy Woods, which is in its fourth varsity season after opening the school in 2006, got out and kept going the past two years.
The Wildcats were 33-4 overall and 13-1 in district in their first season with seniors in 2008-09, and beat Georgetown, Westfield and Tomball, and fell to eventual state champion DeSoto in the playoffs.
They defended the district title with a 10-3 mark last season and finished 22-8 after defeating Austin McNeil and losing to Oak Ridge in the postseason.
But after saying so long to 21 seniors over the past two seasons (11 in 2009 and 10 last year), Cy Woods is starting over in most areas, and it's not totally unexpected.
"That's the good and bad as far as opening a new school," Draudt said. "With no seniors in our first (varsity) season, we knew we would have several seniors right after that, but it also meant there weren't a lot of younger players getting varsity experience, but they are now.
"It's like on-the-job training, and even though we're playing a little better, there's still some ups and downs."
The Wildcats headed into this first week of district play with a 2-12 record that included recent close losses to Huntsville 59-54, Pasadena Memorial 51-47 and Jersey Village 72-68 at the 46th annual Conroe Christmas Classic.
"We're getting close enough to shoot ourselves in the foot, and record wise, we're certainly not what we'd like to be, but when you lose all 13 players from the previous season, you know you're going to have growing pains," Draudt said. "Everyone is new to this level, and they're still adjusting."
Junior Cody Thomas and senior Trey Davis are forwards and two of the team's tallest players at right around 6-3.
The only other senior, 5-10 guard Rashaud Davis, is another regular in the rotating lineup of juniors Matt Stouder (5-10 guard), Christian Hynes (6-4 guard) and Deonte Davis (5-10 guard), sophomores Alfred Pullom (6-2 forward), Noah Fake (5-11 guard), Derrick Johnson (6-2 forward) and Alex Gabriele (6-2 post), and freshman Josh Samuels (5-10 guard).
Pullom, Hynes and Davis had late starts following the football playoffs, and have joined in on the team effort of trying to bring consistency into the district race, according to Draudt.
"Everyone will tell you Cy Lakes is the favorite, and you still have to make that call because they've done nothing to disprove it," Draudt said. "Langham Creek has also been extremely impressive, and Cy Springs has been even more consistent than predicted behind some outstanding guard play.
"Cy Falls, Cy-Fair, Cy Creek and Cy Ridge have also looked very good, so you can see that every night is a challenge in district, but everything is starting over this week with the beginning of district, and that's what we've been telling the players, and that anything is possible."
Cy Woods continues 17-5A play in 7 p.m. games on Friday, Jan. 7, at Cy Creek and on Tuesday, Jan. 11 with Cy Springs at home.