Cisco basketball off and running with perfect record
CISCO, Texas - The Cisco boys' basketball team is on perhaps its best run in school history, but the season could've started an entirely different way had it not been for two setbacks that have forced a major overhaul.
The Loboes had thought they would go into the year with size, but neither of their tall post players are on the floor. One of the young men moved before school began, and the other, 6-foot-6 Jeramy Dodson, tore his ACL during football season.
Those obstacles have forged the way for an offensive switch from a slow-down, half-court game to a fast-paced style. And it's working.
Cisco has won its first 11 games of the season heading into the District 7-3A opener against Breckenridge on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
"I love it. I think I'm much better in that style than the half-court," junior point guard Cooper Witt said. "We're not really known as a basketball school, but we're playing good basketball right now and it's a lot of fun."
The Loboes are averaging 75 points per game, while allowing only 45. Head coach Kevin Hearne said he planned to increase the tempo this season, but with Cisco's tallest player standing around 6-foot-1 they needed to make a bigger leap into the run-and-gun play.
"When Jeramy [Dodson] went down I was depressed for about a week or two because he played so well in summer and spring," said Hearne. "We're probably more dynamic shooting the ball from any position.
"We tried to keep the game in the 40s for the last 12 years, but now it's the total opposite. I'm wanting the game in the 70s and 80s. I'm wanting as many touches, and I'm wanting no offense. I want fast breaks every time because that's who we are as a team."
This past summer Hearne and assistant coach Patrick Pope traveled to learn more about the press at a clinic held by Stanley Bonewitz, the current head coach at Concordia University in Austin, and a former star at Texas Tech and San Antonio East Central High School.
At ECHS, Bonewitz's teams, led by his father Stan, were known for their frenetic pace, averaging 108.8 points per game in their 1994-95 state championship season with no players taller than 6-foot-3.
The Loboes, with a similar line-up of smaller, devoted basketball players, won both the Dublin and Breckenridge tournaments, including wins against Brownwood, Dublin and Krum.
Hearne's oldest son, Jaxon, was one of the top players in both tournament.
"We always hustle. We get every loose ball. We grab every rebound," said Jaxon Hearne, a senior. "That's something really special."
"We've got a lot of guys that love basketball and have been in the gym in the off-season shooting," said Witt. "We can shoot this year, which is different than a lot of years."
Kevin Hearne has been associated with Cisco basketball since he played for the Loboes in the mid-1990s. He said he has never seen a Cisco team start this hot.
"It's a great feeling," said Jaxon Hearne on starting the year 11-0. "It means a lot, but we've got to do good in district. We have to win against Breckenridge to really mean anything to us."