With the transition in the weather seasons also comes the change from one sport to another. With a fresh campaign starting next week, the Bullard Panther varsity basketball team will begin the season with a new tradition within the program, one that will benefit the team throughout the season.
Monta Jeffley, in his second season at the helm for the Panther varsity basketball program, recently announced the team will host the inaugural Bullard Panther Basketball Soap and Towel Scrimmage, slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Bullard High School’s Panther Gymnasium.
“I’m very excited to start the basketball season,” said Jeffley. “Our coaches and players dedicated a lot of time and energy during the spring and summer in preparation for this season. Now, it’s time to show off all we have worked for.”
According to Jeffley, the idea for the event benefitting the team came about as a way to increase community involvement with the team, as well as a way to help the boys clean up after a hard practice or game.
“I thought the Soap and Towel Scrimmage would be a cool way to get the community involved with our program,” said Jeffley. “I came up with the idea because after games, our players are drenched in sweat. I have heard several parents complain about how nasty and stinky the boys are after a practice or a game, so I thought it would be cool to have an event like this. When I was in high school, we did something similar to this, and it was great seeing to community support us. I feel that this will be a great event to rally the community around our program know our boys will appreciate it.”
Jeffley said the impact made on the program through a simple donation of bars of soap, body wash, washrags, and towels will be felt throughout, citing the example of a donation of items the team received last season.
“Our program is growing and not every kid remembers to bring a towel or buy body wash for the week,” said Jeffley. “Having these extra items on hand is huge. Last year, we received three large gift bags of towels and a large box of soap and body wash; surprisingly, the kids used it all. Donating something as small as some soap and a towel might seem silly to some, but it’s very handy, especially for an athletic program.”
On the court last season, the Panther varsity basketball team finished with an overall record of 6-23, 0-10 in district play, in Jeffley’s first season. Despite the final record, Jeffley believes the team’s defensive emphasis during the off-season will help the team make a strong push this season.
“This off-season, we put a higher emphasis on our defensive goals,” said Jeffley. “Our coaching staff saw that we had scorers and the ability to score, but we lacked the ability to play good defense and prevent our opponents from outscoring us. Last year, we set an expectation, and we fell short of some of our team goals. The expectation is the same this season; however, the preparation we’ve had leading up to the season has been much better. We were all very disappointed with our outcome last season, and our seniors this year took a vow to commit to doing whatever it took to be better. We spend countless hours on the hardwood and faced many difficult obstacles along that way. We know what we are capable of, now all we have to do is execute.”
The Panther varsity basketball team has already begun its prowl into the 2017-2018 schedule, as the team participated in its first scrimmage event Saturday, Nov. 4, sharpening their claws against the competition, the Tyler Lee Raiders and the Hallsville Bobcats.
The team’s first contest of the new campaign will be on the road against the Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill Red Devils Tuesday, Nov. 14, followed by their season home-opener against the Frankston Indians Friday Nov. 17.
The Panther varsity team will then take to the road to participate in games at Alba Golden (Tuesday, Nov. 21), Troup (Tuesday, Nov. 28), and Emory Rains (Tuesday, Dec. 5), as well as three tournament events in the TABO Classic in Whitehouse (Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25), the Edgewood Tournament (Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and Dec. 2), and the Brownsboro Tournament (Thursday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 9).
Afterwards, the team returns home for two contests, Tuesday, Dec. 12 against Henderson and Friday, Dec. 15 versus Timpson. The Panthers will travel to face Rusk before observing Christmas Break Tuesday, Dec. 19, and also compete in the Huntington Holiday Tournament during the break, with the tournament scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, Dec. 28-30.
To begin 2018, the Panthers will take part in their final two pre-district contests, hosting Lindale Tuesday, Jan 2, and then loading the bus and traveling to battle Mabank Friday, Jan. 5.
The Panther varsity basketball team will pounce their way into Region 2 District 15-4A play beginning with a road trip to face off against Spring Hill Friday, Jan. 12. Following the Spring Hill contest, the team will battle their way through the first half of district play at home against Kilgore (Tuesday, Jan. 16), at Gladewater (Friday, Jan. 19), home versus Gilmer (Tuesday, Jan. 23), and at Chapel Hill (Friday, Jan. 26).
In the second half of district play, the Panthers’ schedule will include contests at home versus Spring Hill (Tuesday, Jan. 30), at Kilgore (Friday, Feb. 2), at home against Gladewater (Tuesday, Feb. 6, Senior Night), at Gilmer (Friday, Feb. 9), and home versus Chapel Hill (Tuesday, Feb. 13).
The Panther varsity basketball team is coached by head coach Jeffley and assistant coaches Kendell Redd and Jake Goode.
A complete 2017-2018 season schedule for the Bullard Panther varsity basketball team can be found online under the “athletics” tab at www.bullardisd.net.