Wildcats Look To Rebound After Another Season Suddenly Halts

Wildcats Look To Rebound After Another Season Suddenly Halts

Wildcats Look To Rebound After Another Season Suddenly Halts

by Steve Gamel

 

Guyer boys basketball coach Grant Long tried his best to maintain composure as he exited the locker room last month at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth. On the one hand, he was incredibly proud of his players – but he was also consumed with sadness. For the second year in a row, the Wildcats did all they could to make it to the pinnacle of high school basketball – the UIL state tournament in San Antonio – only to fall short by one game. Another magical season cut short.

“I’m super proud of the guys, but also heartbroken over the result,” Long said after their 66-62 overtime loss to Duncanville in the Class 6A Region I final on March 2. The marquee matchup was billed as a showdown of epic proportions between the top two teams in the state. “They fought so hard. I’m very proud.” The game lived up to the hype as both juggernauts traded blows for four-plus quarters. Guyer led for most of the game but never could build more than an eight-point lead in the first half. The Panthers cobbled together a late surge to take a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

By that point, it was clear the game was far from over. Guyer rallied to force overtime and nearly pushed double overtime before missing two free throws in the final 2.9 seconds of overtime.It was Duncanville’s second win over Guyer this year, though clearly by the slimmest of margins. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Long said. While the sadness over the rough end to this season will linger for a while, Long has worked hard over the years to make sure his program bounces back every year. Including this year, the Wildcats are an eye-popping 125-16 since 2016.

One of the biggest reasons for that success has been a healthy combination of Division I level talent and plenty of depth behind them. But that will all be challenged this offseason as Long tries to replace arguably the strongest senior class in school history. Both De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) and Jalen Wilson (Michigan) will graduate, leaving guys like big man JaKobe Coles and all-around knockdown shooter Tyler McGhie to shoulder the load.

Long didn’t seem concerned by the upcoming changing of the guard.“I’m proud of our program, the culture, and the family atmosphere we have built,” Long said. “I hate that we weren’t able to take the next step that we’ve been talking about. We’re just going to continue to work to try and do everything we can [next year].”


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