Let's not talk about last year.
Just tuck that away for now, because the kids at Corsicana High remember a late season slump and missing the playoffs by just one game better than anyone.
And if that makes this team hungry and more determined to get there this season, then that's just find with the players and coaches of the Corsicana boys basketball team, who begin their District 16-4A season Friday at home.
“I'm excited,'' said senior Mike Lewis, who was an All-District first-team player and All-Golden Circle player a year ago. “We're better because we have put in the extra work, and we have players who are more focused and want to work hard and want to win.''
The Tigers will get a chance to prove their point right away. They open against defending District 16-4A champ Whitehouse, which is favored to win the district again with last year's district player of the year Pat Mahomes leading the way.
Mahomes, a quarterback who threw for more than 3,000 yards and has committed to Texas Tech, was named the AP's Football Player of the Year in Texas. He is also a star in basketball as well as baseball.
Corsicana couldn't face a bigger test in its district opener.
“If we beat them it will build our confidence,'' said Lewis, who leads the team in scoring, averaging 14 points a game. He also is averaging 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
The Tigers aren't picked to finish in the top four teams in the district. Whitehouse and Jacksonville are the favorites, and Corsicana is picked fifth.
“The history of Corsicana basketball may be hurting us,'' said Coach Don Newton, who feels this year's team can change that negative image. “They picked those teams in October. Everybody has changed a lot.''
Newton knows his team is much better than a year ago, but he feels the entire district is on an upswing.
“The district is way up from last year,'' he said. “Everybody has improved dramatically. The overall records are really solid. We're 12-7 and everybody has a better record than us except Tyler.''
Newton knows the top of the district is loaded.
“Marshall was ranked 23rd in the state and was (21-1) and then last week Whitehouse and Jacksonville both beat Marshall,'' he said,.
Newton believes his kids can and will reach the playoffs.
“I like our team,'' he said. “I like our fight. The record isn't as good as we thought it would be but I do think we're improving and in a good spot. We have a strong desire to succeed, and we don't have any quit in us.''
The Tigers have had some close games but those bumps in the road might help in the long run. Everything changes on Friday when district begins because now everything counts — a 10-game run that will decide who makes it to the postseason.
“We've had some tough losses,'' said junior Danair Martin, who is averaging eight points and eight rebounds a game. “But those losses will help us. We don't want that feeling again, and we're focused on making the playoffs even more after last year. We lost some tough games and missed the playoffs by one game.''
It's a new year and a new district season.
“We're a different team than we were last year (going into district),'' Martin said. “We have all improved. We rebound better, we shoot better and we are in better shape. We are playing Whitehouse and it would mean a lot to beat the No. 1 team in the first game.''
Ralph Watts, a guard who averages nine points an game and leads the Tigers in assists (4.5 assists per game), feels the same.
“We're always the underdogs, but eventually people will see,'' said Watts of making the playoffs. He's confident Corsicana can stay with Whitehouse in the opener .
“They put on their shoes on just like we do. We don't quit. We play our hearts out and we play for each other. It should be a great game, and if we beat them it will make a huge statement.''
Let's not talk about last year.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week