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Panthers picking up the pace, roll into TAPPS district play

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This week, the district season kicks off for many area high school boys basketball programs, including Abilene Christian. And the Panthers seem to have found its swagger at just the right time.

Head coach Kevin Brooks leads a group of talented players ranked 7th in the state for small private schools, according to this week’s TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) poll.

“Just the talent level and the talent that we have,” said senior Jacob Murray. “We have shooters, we have rebounders -- just everything. And aggressive defense so we have it all."

Last season, after losing stars such as Kashus Lyons and Nick Murray, the Panthers had to battle a learning curve but managed to finish 3-2 in district for the 2016-2017 season. Things only have gone up since that point. But it’s been a learning process, scheduling a tougher non-conference schedule this season.

“They’ve grown a lot together and are close on and off the court,” said head coach Kevin Brooks on Thursday. “Hopefully that’s translating to wins. I can see when I’m watching us play or watching film, that they’re being able to make that extra pass and even guys on the bench, cheering for their teammates. As a coach, you can kind of see it all come together. I just feel like the way we’re playing right now, it’s coming together at the right time.

And now, that experience is paying off with ACHS riding a four-game win streak into league play against Ascension, where they feel they can make some noise – and exceed expectations.

“Confidence is huge. If you’re not confident you don’t give yourself chances to win, so to go on that win streak -- it’s a big deal for us,” Murray explained.

"I still don't think that we've played our best game yet,” said Brooks. “I think that is still to come, but if we continue to play like we've been playing the last three or four games, I think we can make a run at it."

ACHS hosts Ascension on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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