Cedar Hill Boys Basketball Team Is Off To An Amazing Start
Not since 2015 have Cedar Hill Longhorns basketball fans enjoyed this kind of start to a season.
Through the weekend of Dec. 11, the Longhorns were 6-1. The last time the program did this they finished 25-7 in the 2015-16 season.
What’s more, this season’s Longhorns squad is accomplishing this with no returning starters and having been quarantined three times thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as second-year coach and former Longhorn himself Corey Chism said, that is no reason to not win.
“It really hasn’t been any secret type of formula that we have utilized thus far this season. If anything we have had to deal with some very adverse and unique circumstances so far this school year,” Chism said. “We have just simply taken on the mentality of ‘No excuses.’
However, the players are playing with all heart and desire, which has been the key for us at this particular time of the season.
“They have applied the required standards and expectations that we have set for them as a program, and those habits are what has gotten this team off to the start that they are having.”
Chism, a 2001 Cedar Hill graduate, inherited a team last season that was coming off a five-win season in 2018-19. In his first campaign they fashioned a 13-20 mark.
Now, Chism has the program poised to return to the kind of greatness Longhorns fans knew in past years. And though it may seems long ago to their faithful, it was only 2016-17 that Cedar Hill was 29-5.
The Longhorns are winning behind a steady offense and a stingy defense. In their first six wins they surrendered no more than 57 points in a game. Plus, they held three opponents to 36 or fewer points. One foe managed just 24 points.
“The Longhorn Way”
Something Chism preaches consistently is the “Longhorn Way.” Simply put, it’s doing everything possible to be good athletes and even better human beings, with success in one being connected to the other.
“It’s basically just the methods and values that the legendary Cedar Hill boys basketball Coach David Milson built this program on. From the legacy that he left on this program, it definitely works,” Chism said. “We as a coaching staff preach and demand these principles on an everyday basis from the student-athletes under our tutelage.
“The players are fully aware of what following those practices will bring to them. That is the endless possibilities of being successful both on and most importantly off of the court.”
Also, the Longhorns are having this kind of success in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged society and forced numerous changes on the sports world.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic that is currently plaguing our society has really made preparation for this particular season a little different and extremely difficult for our program. We missed out on some quality and much-needed reps since March due to certain restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus,” Chism said. “Our daily workouts have been shut down three times due to COVID-19 related circumstances. As a staff we have had to take some very unorthodox approaches as to how we prepared for this season.”
Making The Best Out Of A Bad Situation
Chism said nothing is normal and has not been for some time by any stretch of the imagination. As a result, he and his staff are focusing on educating players on the importance of making the best of bad situations. Because, they don’t get much worse than a pandemic that’s gripping the nation and world.
“When your program goes into a mandatory ‘quarantine,’ we as a program can do absolutely nothing in regards to team preparation. Words cannot describe how being quarantined affects so many factors in your program and the players’ development,” he said. “I must admit it can be frustrating, to say the least, because there are basically programs who have literally played more games than we have had in-season practices.”
That said, Chism’s program has emerged as one to be reckoned with this season. However, the Longhorns still aren’t receiving the respect statewide some might think they should be getting. Despite their start, they were not ranked through the weekend of Dec. 11.
But that’s okay with Chism. Let others underestimate the Longhorns.
Cedar Hill Is Currently Unranked
“I don’t give too much attention to state rankings. I was informed that we aren’t currently state ranked, and that’s fine with me,” he said. “Maybe at this time certain individuals or entities feel like we have not done enough? Due to the circumstances that we have had to endure, my main focus is that we are progressing and not regressing.”
The greatest test for the Longhorns lies ahead when they begin league play. They share District 11-6A with perennial power Duncanville, the state’s top-ranked team, along with No. 4 Waxahachie and No. 22 Mansfield.
“Hands down, District 11-6A is the most competitive District in the great state of Texas. The 2020-2021 district season will be extremely competitive,” Chism said. “This particular district is filled with some very talented student-athletes, programs with a lot of tradition, and has some great coaches within it.
“With that being said, we fully expect to be right in the playoff mix, and it is a goal of ours to be one of the top teams in the district. It is and will always be an expectation of this program to make the state playoffs.
“We have had to recently take the approach of treating our preseason games as literally another form of practice. I have been asked on multiple occasions how have the members of our team been able to play at such a high level due to so many missed daily repetitions (games and practices)? My response is our student-athletes are simply just playing with all heart and desire, and that is a testament to the overall character of this team.”