Bears want to repeat basketball feats
Last updated 11/28/2023 at 2:26pm
Last year was a history making season for boys basketball at Little Cypress Mauriceville. Matching that excellent record is the goal this year for the Bears basketball team.
The 2022-23 season was arguably the best ever for the Bears with 27 victories, a strong second place finish in district, and two wins in the state UIL playoffs. A loss to an excellent Center team in the third round of the post season was all that prevented LCM from reaching the regional tournament for the first time in school history.
Bear Coach Brad Jeffcoat reflected on last season. "Really good group of kids. I'm really proud of the effort and accomplishments they achieved. We are definitely proud of them and that season, but we are moving on to 2023-24 and the season that's just started," Jeffcoat responded.
Graduation took a bite out of the Bears coming back this year in basketball, but there are still a few quality players returning. Jeffcoat hopes to mix those returners with a good group of new players to the varsity.
Topping the list of returning starters for Little Cypress Mauriceville is Alantheon Winn who is a senior. Winn would have been a four-year starter this year except he broke his wrist during his freshman year and missed quite a bit of time.
Jeffcoat elaborated, "As a sophomore and a junior Alantheon was kind of on the fence of being an all-region player. He's a really good basketball player, super athletic, super talented, has got a chance to have a really great year, and this is a guy who's going to be a college basketball player."
The other returning starter for LCM is senior Jayden Benton at the post. He basically started every game for the Bears last season.
"Had you told me that Jayden would start every game last year at this time I would have said you were crazy, but he works hard, he's physical, he does all the dirty work, and he's the guy that makes your team better," Jeffcoat praised.
A third Bear who saw a lot of playing time on the varsity in the previous season is Jonah Fuller a junior. Fuller started at guard on occasions and played significant minutes in every game.
Jonah was described by Jeffcoat as an excellent defensive player who the coach is excited to get back. Fuller has the ability to score with the ball. He was recovering a little bit at the start of the basketball season from an injury incurred during the football season.
The best player on the junior varsity last season for Little Cypress Mauriceville was Bryson Price who has moved up to the varsity for this year. Price has been in the LCM system for several years and has grown a little bit. He is very athletic and dedicated. Jeffcoat added, "Bryson has really improved as a basketball player so we're excited to see how he does this year."
Dane Hawk is also moving up from the junior varsity. "Dane's a really good shooter and a really good kid. I think he's got a pretty high ceiling," Jeffcoat appraised.
A sophomore who should see significant playing time is Braylon Lewis. He may be the biggest newcomer to the Bear varsity playing some point guard. Lewis has completed playing football earlier this month and stepped right into a game with Port Neches-Groves with no real practice and played well.
Jeffcoat evaluated, "Braylon is a really athletic sophomore. He's a good ball handler and a really good defender. At times he can shoot the ball well. Braylon started every game for the football team this year on varsity, and I think he's got a chance to be the next in line as one of the Bears' better guys, so we're excited to see where he can take us but I think he can be pretty good."
The recent success in basketball for Little Cypress Mauriceville is making it more difficult for Coach Jeffcoat to find non-district opponents for his Bears to play. "Our schedule is a monster opening with The Woodlands where we learned some lessons to put it mildly. It was a good experience for us and our kids to go on the road and play a quality 6A opponent," Jeffcoat replied.
The first home game for the Bears played on November 14 was a good 54-48 win over the Port Neches-Groves Indians as the defense played really well according to the coach, and the offense was still a work in progress. Alantheon Winn tallied 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jayden Benton and Dane Hawk both scored 9 points for LCM.
That same week the Bears traveled to Huffman losing 61-34 to the Falcons. Winn was again the high scorer for LCM with 18 points while Braylon Lewis contributed 12 points in the loss.
The recent success of basketball at Little Cypress Mauriceville means the schedule will be difficult all the way to the start of district for the Bears. Jeffcoat surmised, "The bottom line is the road doesn't get any easier we've got nothing but land mines on this schedule until we get to district. The plan is we learn some lessons and we find out about ourselves a little bit making us battle tested by the time we get to district and the games count."
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears will be seeking to duplicate or possibly exceed last year's success of finishing second in their very competitive district. "The expectation is always the same we're going to get in the playoffs, are goal is to win a playoff game, and see what happens from there. As I said before, the schedule is rough. By the time we get to district our record may not be great, but I do think when it matters this team will be a really good basketball team. For now we're going to try to get better every day at practice, we're going to try to perform a little bit better every game, and hopefully by January and February when things really matter we're clicking on all cylinders and playing really good basketball," Jeffcoat concluded.