Eric Taylor and Mark Hennard had high hopes for their sons’ basketball team this season.
Their sons were the only two seniors in the starting lineup for the Granbury Pirates. They were the nucleus of what was supposed to be a second consecutive run to the playoffs.
A second straight postseason that would come on the heels of each being a big part of last season’s squad that broke a playoff drought of 13 years.
Instead, the duo watched their sons play their final game as a Pirate Thursday in Fort Worth against O.D. Wyatt. No playoffs. No winning record.
That’s what happens when you come close but fall short more times than Susan Lucci at the Daytime Emmys (for younger folks, substitute Snoop Dogg and the Grammys).
The Pirates lost six District 7-4A games by a total of 17 points. That’s more frustrating than Cowboys fans … well, okay, there’s not much more frustration in life than being a Cowboys fan.
But this comes darn close.
“It is frustrating. They always seemed to have a lead but couldn’t hold on,” said Taylor, whose son Jacob hit nearly 200 3-point baskets in his Granbury High career. “Do we just have that many good teams in our district?”
The answer is yes. District 7-4A is without a doubt one of the most competitive in the state.
Sure, Trimble Tech won the title going away, but with two games to play there were five other teams in the battle for the remaining three playoff berths.
Including the Pirates, who were officially eliminated in the 13th game when South Hills scored the winning basket with two seconds to play.
“It’s been real exciting. The letdown has been the losses by five and fewer points,” said Hennard, whose son was one of the more exciting to watch in the district with his play in the lane.
“I’ve had as good a time as ever watching the games this season, but from a fan’s standpoint it’s tough to have those close losses.”
The Pirates lost 41-37 at Aledo after leading by six points with three minutes to play. They lost 55-52 against a winless (in district) Western Hills team after leading 49-41 with five minutes remaining.
Southwest beat Granbury 54-53 on a shot with a single second remaining. They missed a 3-point opportunity with time expiring against Tech in a 58-56 loss.
Arlington Heights pulled away late for a 56-51 win. And then came the final blow with the heartbreaking loss to South Hills.
No one, however, appears to be blaming any of the disappointment on coach David Breazeale. And they shouldn’t.
Breazeale is one heck of a coach. Even with such challenges as having one of the best players in the district move away and another key player suspended for three games in the middle of district, he kept the Pirates in the thick of the race to near the end.
“I think David’s doing a wonderful job,” said Hennard. “He doesn’t have a lot star-wise, but he got every player on that team to bust their butt all season.
“What happened this season was not because of a lack of hustle.”
There’s not much solace when a team falls short of its goals. But the Hennards and Taylors, along with the parents of fellow senior J.D. Hohnstreiter, do have the satisfaction of knowing their children were among the few players to have enjoyed playing postseason basketball for the Pirates in recent years.
And Hunter West, the only other senior on the varsity this season, was part of a team that provided some very thrilling moments for those watching this season.
“I’d much rather lose by two than 20. At least you’re competing,” said Taylor.
“I wish it could have ended differently, but at least just about every one of our games was exciting.”
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