Following a 10-24 campaign, the Conroe Tigers don’t return much experience for the 2019-20 season. That leaves a lot on the shoulders of senior guard David Sanchez and a cast of players that fifth-year coach Daryl Mason is enthusiastic about.
Sanchez was a key source of offense last season and has been on varsity for a year and a half. He has shown plenty of leadership, Mason said.
“He moved up towards the end of his sophomore year,” Mason said in a recent phone interview. “He was really good for us last year. He had a couple 20-point games in district. Just missed out on making the all-district team. I think that will be the fire he needs this year.”
Just two Tigers return with varsity experience.
“We’ve got some guys,” Mason said. “Tre McGee and David Sanchez are the only ones that played varsity for us last year. Some of these young guys, we are excited about them stepping in and giving us a boost.”
Issac Wilkerson, a senior who played junior varsity last year, will compliment Sanchez on the floor.
“Both of those guys can hit shots,” Mason said.
Mason stated that he was excited about the potential in sophomore K.J. Micheaux and will have a post presence in sophomore Kamari Weatherspoon. He is also looking forward to seeing junior Zayden Kimple on the floor.
Alex Ball, Ian Gregg, Jedarion Hamilton and Noah Velazquez are all seniors on the roster.
Mason said the program as a whole had a notable season in 2018-19. All the levels combined for the most wins he’s seen since coming to the school four years ago.
“It was a tough as far as our varsity team,” Mason said. “But our freshmen finished second, and our JV finished midway through the pack.”
Mason said he was pleased overall with the progress the kids have shown.
“I’ve been really impressed with how we block out and how we pay attention to doing some of the smaller things,” he said. “Taking care of the ball, blocking out, being unselfish — those are some things that will really contribute to our success.”
The Tigers are back in District 15-6A for the second year of the alignment. They were 2-14 last year as the league boasted one of the best teams in the state.
“It’s an opportunity for us to be successful,” Mason said. “Klein Forest will always be Klein Forest. They have some guys that return from the team that lost in the state finals.”
Conroe will also face The Woodlands, Oak Ridge, College Park, Klein Collins, Klein Cain, Klein and Klein Oak.
“The Woodlands will be tough,” Mason added. “Klein Collins — kind of like Klein Forest — year in and year out, they are going to have good players. It’s going to be stiff competition, but we’re looking forward to it.”
The Tigers have missed the playoffs the last two years after qualifying in 2016 and 2017. The 2017 team advanced to the area round, an accomplishment the program hadn’t seen since 2005.
The first game is at home on Saturday against Spring. Conroe will compete in the McDonald’s Texas Invitational next week, The Woodlands’ Rebounders Club Classic Nov. 25-26, and the annual Conroe Christmas Classic Dec. 27-28.