Losing a talented senior class who got them to the area tournament for the first time in several seasons, the Duncan Demons boys basketball team will have a different look come the season opener.
Coming into his sixth season as head coach, David McGuire will enter the campaign with several returners who saw minutes during his fifth season but will have to replace several key contributors.
“We lost a lot of good players, but we have some players here that have been waiting for their opportunity and now their opportunity has arrived,” McGuire said. “We are going to be a much different team than last year and that we have had Sam and Kevin who had been three year starters and gave veteran leadership. Now, we have a lot of guys that have a lot of varsity experience but at the same time we are overall a better shooting team and we move the ball really well which is probably our strength. This team is focused on doing things right because I think in turn that is what they have to do to be successful.”
With several weeks of practice and scrimmages in the books and one more this morning facing Bishop McGuiness, the Demons will open the season on the road against Ardmore before coming home to host a tournament.
With a new roster, McGuire scheduled five scrimmages, a little more than usual, and he said that he has liked what he has seen and is hoping this team will use that experience in the regular season.
“We have scrimmaged way more than we have in the past and one of the reasons I have done that is because we needed to get on the court and experience live action,” McGuire said. “These guys haven’t faced an opponent like what they are going to face in the coming weeks. I felt like we needed to go out and experience that and I have been very pleased so far. There has been some hiccups and we come back in and correct those mistakes. Overall, the biggest thing for a coach is effort and that is one thing that this team doesn’t lack.”
The players that McGuire mentioned will be a big part of the 2019-2020 team with a strong inside presence thanks to Preston Weaks who has developed and worked hard to use during the season.
The Demons will also use Blayden Foster who is returning to the team and saw some minutes a season ago and will be used in the lineup several times as an inside threat as well.
McGuire also mentioned they may use an outside shooting to their advantage which will be led by Ben & Nick Johnson who are twin brothers and juniors for the Demons this upcoming season.
He credited their ball handling skills and their speed as assets for the Demons and McGuire said they are very talented and going from role players into the starting lineup for Duncan High School.
Josh Martinez will also be one of the seniors for the Demons this upcoming year and will be the defensive player that Duncan is accustomed to seeing each and every year.
Martinez will continue the trend of setting the tone defensively according to McGuire and will go into a role player in the starting lineup.
Austin Pennypacker is another player that McGuire will rely on and along with players he and Coach Jamar Lockhart will be joined by Coach Brandon Kephart who will be in his first year as an assistant for the Demons.
McGuire said that Coach Kephart brings knowledge of being a head coach and has jumped in to help give the Demons some basketball experience that Duncan players have not seen.
With the first game taking place at 8 p.m. Dec. 3rd at Ardmore High School, McGuire said the expectations for the team are always high and expects nothing less than the best from his team.
“Our expectations are always high and we have a goal just like every Class 5A team is that we want to make the State Tournament,” McGuire said. “Every night it don’t matter if we play a 4A team, 5A team or a 6A team every night we have to bring our A game or else you will find yourself on the losing end. We don’t know exactly how we are going to respond in game situations because this group has not played a lot of games together but at the same time I think it is going to be exciting.”