The Washington Warriors return their starting five for the 2020-2021 basketball season.
In addition the starting five, they benefited from two recent move-ins to add to their embarrassment of riches.
Returning starters are Luke Hendrix, Hector Quinonez, Kobe Scott, Cash Andrews and Hayden Hicks.
“Those guys are a year older with more experience,” said Washington head coach TJ Scholz. “Cash has really good basketball I.Q. and can shoot the ball. He’s as good of a point guard as a sophomore as you’ll find.”
Scholz also praised the growth of Hicks.
“He’s starting to attack the rack,” he said.
They will be joined by Kenny Love, a transfer from Yukon, and Jameson Holland, who was a starter at Marlow last season.
“Kenny Love is a 6’2” guard who shoots well, handles the ball and can post up. He’s used to playing a fast, physical game. He’s a good kid and fits in well,” Scholz said.
The Warriors will also benefit from a healthy Graham Schovanec, who is a senior.
“He’s finally healthy this year after having some back problems,” Scholz said.
Lane Steele and Evan Andrews had good summers, according to the coach.
“Lane realizes how athletic he is and Andrews came on strong,” Scholz said.
Depth will be a strength for the Warriors this season and they’ll use their bench to try to speed up the game.
“I feel like we have eight kids who could be starters and at least five more who can play,” Scholz said. “The quality depth will help us get up and down the court quicker.”
The team progressed during the summer and Scholz said some nice gains were made.
“Having the team at full strength this summer was good and they pushed each other,” he said. “They knew they had to do exactly what they were asked to do because there was always someone behind them who would go do it.”
They’ll need all hands on deck this weekend at the Latta Panther Classic Tournament because they’ll be without several helpers who are still in the Class 2A football playoffs.
“We’re excited because we think we have a State tournament-caliber team,” Scholz said. “The guys are bought in and I think it could be a special year.”
The Warriors will mostly play in a man-to-man defense with an emphasis on creating turnovers for easy points at the other end of the floor.
They will push the ball on offense to speed up the pace of the game.
“We’re trying to play a bit faster than we have,” Scholz said. “We have good athletes and we want to utilize our athleticism.”
Scholz said the team has been working on team chemistry as well as they can during a pandemic.
“We don’t want to get 30 guys crowded into a room together so we’ve had to be creative on what we’ve done,” he said. “Last year we didn’t do a good job as coaches of creating chemistry and we thought we underachieved – even though we were young. We’ve been through the fire and hopefully we can close games out better this year.”
Washington plays Kiowa today (Thursday) at 11:20 a.m. They will play at the same time on Friday win or lose so the team can watch the football team when they host Beggs at 7 p.m.
The lone senior the Warriors lost from last season’s team was Colton Ross.