Members of the 2014-15 Goliad Tiger varsity basketball team are, front row from left, Ryan Edwards, John Warrick, Blake Perez and Fredrick Green; middle row, Uyless Bland, Tangle Johnson, Kiki Hill, Desmond Perry, Irwin Franklin and Alfred Ortiz; and, back row, Mac Wimberly, Jalen Johnson, Duncan Mackay and Zachary Nelson.
GOLIAD – The Goliad Tigers varsity basketball team will be at full force sooner than expected.
With the Tigers’ upset loss in the football area playoffs Friday night to Edna, Goliad coach David Kelley welcomed his entire squad for Monday practices with hopes of making another deep run into the postseason.
Kelley returns two starters and seven lettermen from last year’s 31-6 team that reached the regional semifinals. The Tigers will also include three transfers – Kiki Hill, Jalen Johnson and John Warrick. The 6-foot-3 Hill was a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state selection last season at Aransas Pass.
“Our main key to success will be integrating the guys coming from football,” Kelley said. “They will need to learn or relearn our system quickly. And we will have to establish some team chemistry before district starts. We will have the talent to compete with anyone, but we will have to develop that talent into a cohesive unit.”
Point guard Tangle Johnson was sidelined in the playoffs after sustaining an injury during district play.
“I think that if Tangle Johnson stays healthy, then he could have an outstanding year,” Kelley said. “I do believe that everyone coming back has the potential to really stand out. Of course, adding an all-state player like Kiki Hill will have a huge impact for us. Also, Irwin Franklin has matured into a top- notch athlete.”
Other top returnees are Alfred Ortiz, Desmond Perry and Uyless Bland. Mac Wimberly and Duncan Mackay also saw varsity action last season.
Kelley said last year’s sub-varsity standouts Blake Perez, Zach Nelson, Ryan Edwards, Fred Green, Neilon Reitz, Dylan Williams and Daniel Perez will vie for varsity roster spots.
“We have a lot of good kids to choose from,” Kelley said. “There will be some quality players that will have to play some JV.”
The Tigers will face new league opponents in the seven-team District 27-3A, which includes Luling, Bloomington, Nixon-Smiley, Poth, Stockdale and Karnes City.
“I’m not really sure who the district favorite is,” Kelley said. “Poth always is tough. Karnes City has everyone back from a good team last year. Luling was a young, talented team last year also. In addition, Nixon-Smiley has a good nucleus returning.”
The Tigers open the season Monday at Victoria St. Joseph and host Moulton in its home opener Tuesday.