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Hope Bobcat basketball coaches assess teams after early season road wins

The new flooring in the locker rooms of the Jones Field House at Hope High School as of November 30.

After wins against the Razorbacks of Arkansas High, Hope Bobcat coaches Sam Bradford of the boys team and Kelly Muldrew of the girls team offered early-season assessments of their teams’ progress.

On Tuesday night, the senior boys Bobcat team won its first game of the season 66-62 against Arkansas High, and the senior girls won against Arkansas High 41-7.

Of the blowout win, Muldrew said after the team’s less than successful pre-season contest in Atlanta, Texas, “It was good to get the work in against Arkansas High.”

Muldrew said her team was ready Tuesday night because of what was done last week. “We practiced the entire Thanksgiving break. And after the Atlanta game. I did some reworking and restructuring, and kind of fine-tuned a few things. They hustled up and down the floor. They played defense. Our press worked really well. And they were aggressive on offense. So we looked pretty good to me.”

Bradford said of his team’s Tuesday night’s win, “An ugly win is always better than a pretty loss. And we we’re still not in basketball shape. A majority of our kids came from [playing] football. And they’re struggling, but I was really pleased with the effort.”

After being behind at the end of the first three quarters, the Bobcats used a 16-3 run to catch the Razorbacks. Bradford said of the torrid fourth quarter, “We found our way back, and we shot the ball better than I really expected to.”

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Bradford said that as of now he is pleased that his team’s scoring is quite balanced. “Everything was done pretty much collectively. We had a number of people that that scored for us, I think we had four people that were in double figures.”

He also saw his younger players show signs of development. “We have a couple of sophomores that we really expected to grow up fast, and they got better as the game went on.”

But he acknowledged the team will always be at a size disadvantage and that, at this early point, “we’ve got a lot of work to do defensively.  I think we’ll be better in time.”

The Hope teams have started the season with a month of games on the road since Jones Field House is still being renovated. Bradford said the first games will be played there in January because in December locker rooms and other facilities under the west bleachers will still not be available for use as utility lines and washers and dryers for team laundry are installed. Next year, the gym will shut down in August for the next round of work.

The next games for the teams will be in New Boston, Texas for early season tournaments starting December 8 and running until December 10.  Then tournaments in Genoa, Texas for the senior girls team take place December 27-30 and for the senior boys in Paris, Texas in the same few days.

A view of the new lockers in Hope High’s Jones Field House. The gym has been undergoing renovations over the past year. The Bobcat basketball teams hope to be playing games there starting in January.

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