Entering his second season as head basketball coach at Stephenville High School, Bill Brooks has high expectations for his team this season as they prepare for their home opener Tuesday evening.
After an up and down 2015-16 season which concluded with a loss in the bi-district round to Burkburnett, Brooks is hopeful that some head coaching experience will be beneficial this season.
“I’ve always continued to learn the game and I’ve used some of my mistakes to change the way I’ve approached coaching this season,” he said. “I want to continue to improve on that moving forward.”
Without a steady amount of starters returning as well, Brooks and the Yellow Jackets have set a simple goal for this season - continue to improve and do so every day.
“We want to improve every day and every single game,” said Brooks. “We’re doing some new things on the offensive side of the ball. We want to get better with every game and every single practice.”
Of those returning starters, perhaps two of the most important right now are Coby Vandenberg and Clay Krause. The two have been practicing since day one and have a jump on the football players who will join the team this week.
“The guys I have with me now are so important because they’re more integrated with system and hold things over until the rest of the football guys can catch up,” said Brooks. “Coby is really a guy who works hard and did so in the off-season. He was our leading scorer and second leading rebounder last season. I expect him and Clay to be a big part of our team. They’ve done well for us so far.”
One factor that Stephenville faced plenty last season and expect to again this year is not being the tallest or most athletic team on the court.
With only a few players above six feet tall, things can get tough, but Brooks’ game-plan against teams that are taller and more athletic will focus around rebounding.
“I always emphasize to the team that team’s who win the rebound war will typically always win the game,” he said. “Practicing rebounding is something we do a lot. We want to win that rebounding war and if we do then it improves our chances to win.”
After making the post-season, but being bounced in the first round in his first season as head coach, Brooks doesn’t have any crazy game plan for an upset in the playoffs, instead his approach will be in improving district seeding.
“The plan is to finish better in district play. We finished fourth last year and we got a tough draw, the plan is finish better than fourth this season,” he said. “I feel like we’re competitive enough that we can do that, but also compete for a district title.”
The Yellow Jackets will take on Gatesville Tuesday night with tip off scheduled for 8 p.m.