Varsity boys basketball prepares for holiday tournament

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, boys varsity basketball welcomes the upcoming celebrations with intense practices and preparation for the Wildcat Holiday Classic, which takes place through Dec. 27-28. For more than ten years, Plano has hosted this annual tournament for eight participating teams from all over, including teams from Texas, Oklahoma and this year, one travelling all the way from Australia.

The team preps for the Holiday Classic just as they would for any other game or tournament. Because of the reputation they have held for hosting this tournament for so long, however, striving to achieve the overall win carries a somewhat heavier importance, according to junior Jason Bardgett.

“We feel like we need to win even more because it’s on our home court – our turf,” Bardgett said.

Plano has not had consistent wins to solidify a strong title. Last year’s Holiday Classic proved to be quite rough, ultimately earning them fourth place. A previous tournament this year left them at a one-point loss against Arlington Martin, awarding them third place overall.

“We all definitely could have done better,” Bardgett said. “Our Holiday Classics serve as learning experiences, and this one will hopefully prepare us for close games, like that tournament, which we’ll undeniably have in the future.”

Almost immediately following the holiday tournament comes the beginning of district games. Assistant coach Blake Herpeche said the team sees the Holiday Classic as a time to refine and polish any flaws apparent in their game-playing, especially at home.

“The more game situations we can get at home, the better,” Herpeche said. “ Having it here is more beneficial because we’re going to have to play against really good teams in this gym soon, such as Plano East and Plano West and this will get us prepped for that.”

The team feels that the pressure lies not with having the tournament on Plano’s court, but on making a better name for themselves as they continue on with this season and the seasons to come. With a solid 7-2 record this season, senior Austin Evans said he expects the team to keep the momentum going.

“We expect to take it all this year, especially with the record we have,” Evans said. “This tournament will definitely help us adjust for future games and the win will add to our energy for the rest of the season.”

Although the Wildcat Holiday Classic is during the busy holiday season, Herpeche said he hopes to see lots of school spirit and support in the stands.

“Lately, we’ve been trying to incorporate students more into basketball,” Herpeche said. “We have them as commentators and singing the national anthem, but we’d really love to see more of them in the stands – especially in such a highly anticipated tournament.”