Young Pirates dig deep

February 20, 2013

So much for logic.

When the University Interscholastic League realigned Granbury with six Fort Worth schools and Aledo last February, some eyebrows were raised.

Fort Worth schools specialize in basketball – fast-paced basketball.

Aledo, while playing a more deliberate style, was a playoff team a year ago and features arguably the best player in the district with Taylor Johnson.

And there was Granbury, a team with hardly enough varsity experience to fill the eye of a needle.

But also with more determination and fortitude than any other team in the league, apparently.

Despite their lack of experience, the Pirates did what no other Granbury team did since before this current crop of players was in kindergarten.

They advanced to bidistrict. Last night, Granbury (17-14) was facing Waco University in Waxahachie.

“(Brandon) Fichter moving in helped. He was on the varsity at Grand Prairie, and he’s been a good leader for us,” said Granbury coach David Breazeale. “Collin McCann has also been a vocal leader.”

Both are seniors, two of six on the roster. Fichter played a major role in the 62-58 win over O.D. Wyatt that clinched the postseason berth.

Wyatt finished second in district and led the league for most of the season.

The Pirates, while inexperienced, have a lot of players – talented players. Breazeale used the depth to help the team get experience while on the job.

“Our depth helped us a lot,” Breazeale said. “You’ve got to have depth to win at the 4A and 5A level.

“I played a lot of young kids, but the young kids I played were talented.”

Breazeale also credited the players for playing in a lot of select league games – staying together for cohesiveness.

“They played about 110 games since the end of last year,” he said. “It’s not the same, I know, but it gives them a lot of experience going against the quickness.”

That depth, led by Ficther’s clutch play, led to one of the biggest wins in school history against Wyatt, a team that had beaten Granbury 21 points in Fort Worth.

“They just played out of their minds,” said Breazeale of his squad. “That was as hard as any team’s played since I’ve been at Godley.”

Among his coaching success, Breazeale led Godley to four regional berths in seven seasons and took Graford to the 2000 Class A State Tournament.

At Mineral Wells, his last stop before Granbury, Breazeale led an overachieving Rams team to the postseason. And now he has the Pirates playing to a level the program hasn’t achieved since they advanced three rounds in the postseason to conclude the 1999-2000 season under Brett White.

Whatever the outcome against Wyatt, the Pirates were guaranteed at least one more game. They would have played Aledo in a tiebreaker to determine fourth place in district.

Breazeale didn’t want to get in that way, and neither did his team.

“We didn’t back in,” he said.

Instead, the Pirates displayed intestinal fortitude. Mired in a three-game losing streak, one that included blowing a late 10-point lead at Aledo, they found themselves tied at the half against lowly South Hills in the next-to-last regular season game.

Granbury came out and scored the first seven points of the third quarter and went on to win by 17.

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