Scots Have Questions as Season Opens

Highland Park will host South Oak Cliff tonight in the season opener.
Highland Park will host South Oak Cliff tonight in the season opener.

Whether they want it or not, this season will represent a fresh start for Highland Park boys basketball players and coaches. The Scots will make the jump to Class 6A with a roster that’s been almost completely revamped because of graduation since last year.

It’s not uncommon for HP to have some turnover at the varsity level, but the Scots will need to replace all five starters from a squad that finished 27-5 last year but was upset by Frisco Liberty in the opening round of the playoffs.

Those starters accounted for 57 of the 64 points per game HP averaged last year. None of the varsity returnees averaged more than seven minutes a game, and the two most experienced members of that group are Campbell Brooks and Mitchell Kaufman, who won’t hit the court until HP is done with the football playoffs.

As a result, head coach David Piehler will start the season with more questions than answers when the Scots host South Oak Cliff tonight.

“Until football is over, it’s probably the least experienced team I’ve had in terms of returners,” Piehler said. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill.”

Among the other varsity returnees are Stefon Jauregui, Ryan Michael, and Ryan Baker. The new faces should include guard Austin Harrison and center Ben Reichert.

Piehler said the expectations will remain high as several players make their varsity debuts after finding success at the JV level last season. He’s confident based on the way players have stepped up in the past under similar circumstances.

“There might be a learning curve, but that’s what nondistrict is about,” Piehler said. “We want to be tested.”

HP will play a difficult nondistrict schedule to prepare for a gauntlet in District 10-6A that will include Richardson Berkner and Mesquite, each of which won district titles last season.

“It’s a challenge, but we’re not going to back down or use that as an excuse,” he said.

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