New hoops season has Pirates expecting more

On the heels of the Granbury Pirates’ first bidistrict basketball appearance since 2000, head coach David Breazeale is wanting more.

And why not?

With three starters returning, along with three key reserves, the Pirates appear poised to make another run at the postseason – and perhaps advancing once they get there.

“This is the most starters I’ve had back since I’ve been here,” said Breazeale. “We’ve got a lot of pretty good players. We’re going to be able to go deep and blitz teams.

“If we can get them all to accept their roles and understand we can’t start 13 of them, we can be pretty good. That was a big part of our success last year.”

Returning starters for the Pirates (17-15, 8-6 in 7-4A last season) are 5-10 junior guard Clay Brawner, 5-9 senior guard Jacob Taylor and 6-3 junior wing Nick Doughty.

Doughty was the District 7-4A Co-Newcomer of the Year last season, while Brawner was a first-team all-district pick, and Taylor was a second-team selection.

Also back are 5-11 senior guard Kevin Hennard, 6-4 senior post J.D. Hohnstreiter, and 5-10 junior wing Will Brawner (brother of Clay), who has recovered from a knee injury, Breazeale said. Hennard was honorable mention all-district.

Doughty and Hennard are still in football and will join the basketball squad once that season is finished.

Breazeale may also turn to junior post Mitchell May and 5-10 junior wing Aaron Villa this season.

“Mitchell’s up to 6-7 now, and Aaron may be in the same place as Zach (his older brother) was as a junior,” said Breazeale.

Zach Villa was considered a sparkplug for the Pirates a couple of years ago when they almost broke the long playoff drought.

“We had two practices last week where it was like, wow, we’re kind of scary good today,” said Breazeale. “And we’ve got intelligent kids. Our basketball IQ should be good.”

Breazeale said he and his team have their sights set on a higher finish in district this season, thus drawing a more favorable bidistrict matchup. Last season, finishing fourth, they drew 8-4A champion and powerhouse Waco University in bidistrict, falling 74-46.

“We want to get in and do something while we’re in,” he said.

Breazeale said getting through tough District 7-4A should prepare them for bidistrict should they get there. Last season, Trimble Tech was state-ranked much of the season and Arlington Heights, the third-place team, reached the state tournament.

“I think the district is going to be even tougher top to bottom this season,” said Breazeale. “Western Hills (eighth last season) has their top six all back, South Hills (seventh) has their leading scorer back, the chemistry’s better on Southwest, and Aledo’s got a couple of new kids out.

“And then you look at Heights, Trimble Tech and Wyatt, they lost some, but they are still tough.

“Whoever finishes eighth may look at the results and have beaten the district champion,” said Breazeale.

“Your record in close games defines your season, and in this district there are going to be a lot of single-digit games.”

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