When The Colony’s boys basketball team took to the court for their opener against Lake Highlands (a 57-53 victory for the Cougars) they did so with a vastly different look from a year ago.
The Cougars return just two varsity players and only one with significant playing experience (senior Seth LeDay).
But on Tuesday it was Kameron McNealy who paced the Cougars in scoring with 18 points in the win, while The Colony also received 15 points from Nolan Carter and eight from Todd Roberson.
“It was a good start for us, but it’s early and we still have a lot of work to do,” said Cleve Ryan, The Colony head coach. “We just have a lot of guys that we have to get game experience for because we have a lot of new faces.”
Fortunately for the Cougars, the squad will benefit from the familiarity of playing junior varsity together last season.
“They have a nice chemistry, but playing on varsity is a whole different level of competition,” Ryan said. “They’re working hard and are talented players, but right now for us, it’s about molding them into a team.”
The Colony’s backcourt features multiple options who can handle ball and facilitate the offense, including McNealy, Roberson and Brennan Jones. Ethan Smith, meanwhile, fits into the backcourt at the shooting guard position.
“They’re the type of players that can shoot and attack,” Ryan said. “And they can all be out there together. We’ll have to get a little scoring from everyone. We don’t have just one guy that is going to fill it up for us.”
Rounding out the guards are RJ Pair, Tristan Alexander and Bryan Urrego.
The Cougars depth in the backcourt will have an added importance as the squad appears to be lacking for size.
Carter is the lone center on the squad, while forwards include LeDay, De’seon Williams and Quinton Butler.
“We don’t have a lot of height,” Ryan noted. “We’re small on the court, so we are going to have to have everyone chip in rebounding and defensively. We have a lot of work to do there, but I think that in time this could be a defensive-oriented team that is tough to score on.”
Versatility will be key for the Cougars offensively as well.
“We need everyone to do their part and contribute,” Ryan added. “You’re always looking for different guys to step up and you never really finish how you start. We don’t know exactly who we will be in a couple of weeks or months.”
But for now, the Cougars are focusing on finding cohesion in anticipation a District 9-4A opener Dec. 17 against Frisco Heritage.
“I really just want to see everyone buying into the team concept and relying on each other,” Ryan said. “That will be huge for us.”
The Colony continues with games this week at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Creekview and at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Newman Smith. The Cougars will also host their annual tournament, which gets underway Dec. 5.
“We have to get ready quick for a district that is going to be very competitive from the top to the bottom,” Ryan added. “It’s going to be another challenging year and we just want to get better each day and take it one step at a time. We’re not ever worried about district at this point.”