It hasn't taken long for young head coach Drew Coffman to turn around the Hico High School boys basketball program.

Two years to be exact.

With his top seven players returning, Coffman's third year in Hico - which officially begins at home against Millsap Nov. 16 - is looking like it could be another step forward.

"We're pretty much the same team we were last year," Coffman said. "We have the same top seven players."

Coffman said there will be a few new faces moving up from last year's district champion JV team, but most of his roster was set before preseason practices ever began.

Michael Warren headlines the returning starters. The six-foot, seven-inch senior post was district's offensive player of the year last season, averaging 18 points per game.

"He's our go-to guy, no doubt," Coffman said. "He's really worked hard the past couple years. He's in the gym all the time, and he's added something new to his game each year. He's gotten to where he can step out to about 15 feet and still score. He's definitely the guy everyone's going to be focused on trying to stop."

But Warren has plenty of help.

Drew Polk's football season was brought to a premature end due to concussions, but that has allowed him to spend extra time preparing for his return as the Tigers' starting point guard.

"He was first team all-district last year, and he's been working hard getting ready," Coffman said. "Drew has improved quite a bit."

Chad Karels moved in from Grapevine during the Christmas break last season and made an immediate impact once he got on the court.

"He gave us a little boost midway through district, but he didn't play as well as he could have because he was still learning the system and didn't even know some of our guys' names yet," Coffman said with a chuckle. "He's going to be much better this year."

Philip Garza didn't start for the Tigers, but the outside shooter still made headlines a year ago when he was named the district's sixth-man of the year.

"When you have a good big guy like we're fortunate to have, outside shooters are going to get a lot of looks," Coffman said. "When (Philip's) hot, he's as good as there is out there."

Dylan Turner is busy trying to help the Tigers earn a state playoff berth in football, and when he returns to the hardwood he'll give the Tigers a tenacious defender.

"Dylan is a defensive stopper," Coffman said. "He's one of those guys who can be a difference maker without doing a lot on the offensive end."

Coffman says keeping the Tigers motivated hasn't been a problem since they've tasted success.

"I think it's easier after you win," Coffman said. "The good things that come with winning drive you to keep doing it. We had a little success last year, and now we want to grow from that."