PANTHER OF THE WEEK: McCurdy stepping up as senior leader

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By Lance Catchings

Senior two-year letterman Parker McCurdy is making a splash on the basketball court this season. His team got off to a hot start and recently went 2-2 at the Whataburger Tournament in Fort Worth against some of the top programs in the state.

“The 2-2 record doesn’t sound great, but I feel like we played well,” McCurdy said. “All the teams up there are talented and well-coached. We are playing with a few new guys because we just got in our football guys. We’re adding in some size and a different team chemistry, but I believe we got better. We played Decatur, Center, Burkburnett and Ponder in that tournament, and they are all talented teams.”

McCurdy said throughout the tournament, his team improved from the first game until the last.

“Decatur was our first game of the tournament and probably our worst game,” he said. “We did not play well, but the following three games, our chemistry got much better. After that we won two and lost one, but even the game that we lost, we fought hard together. To me that just means as we gel more and go forward, we will continue to play well together.”

From his shooting guard position, McCurdy has range from all over the floor. He prides himself on playing sound defense, but is no doubt an offensive threat, particularly from three-point range. In the 79-41 win over Center, McCurdy dropped in 20 points.

“Offensively in the tournament, at times, I felt I played well,” McCurdy said. “Against Center, I was able to score points, but defense was the more important aspect of my game. Having energy on the floor transfers over to my teammates and helps the entire team. I think defensively this tournament, I played better than offensively.”

As a senior, McCurdy is now expected to step up as more of a leader than he has been in the past.

“Coach Boren always calls me the quiet guy on the team, but he wants me to be more of a leader,” McCurdy said. “Last year I was just a junior, so I played under our senior leadership. This year, I feel I have done a much better job of stepping up and speaking up to be a leader for our team to help the younger guys. We have a few sophomores on our team, and we must help them out. Being more vocal is one thing I wanted to work on and something I feel I am getting better at.”

McCurdy said although his team lacked size while missing a few players, they made it up for it with their speed. Just recently, the missing football players have joined the roster and the team is excited for what is to come.

“This year has been a bit of a different season for us,” he said. “We are playing a lot of small ball this year. Our tallest guy on the floor is 6’3” without the football guys. We changed things up and we play fast, and I don’t think teams are ready for that. I think we come out with high intensity on defense and we play in our opponents face, which can be tough to beat. We have been playing with our football players on the team for a long time, so I don’t think it will take them long to get up to speed. The biggest thing for them will be getting in shape, because they are in football shape right now, not basketball shape. They are smart, good players, so they will be fine.”

The Panthers open district play Jan. 11 against Salado, and McCurdy knows the intensity will turn up a notch.

“District play is coming up, and we play the same teams every year with a lot of the same players,” he said. “Those teams see our record and it puts a target on our back. They really want to beat us, and we must play them all twice. Teams like Burnet and Lampasas will be tough, because I am sure they will be scouting us hard, and they are going to play hard when we face them.”
McCurdy and his teammates hope to close out their season at the 4A State Basketball Tournament in San Antonio.

“I think our team has a collective goal of making it to State,” McCurdy said. “I think we are predicted to make it out of our region, and I think we can do it. I believe we have a good team this year, and I would like to end my season in San Antonio playing basketball at the State Tournament. I knew this would be my last year, and you don’t want to look back and regret anything. You just want to play hard and play every game like it’s your last. I just want to go out and play with all I’ve got.”

The Runnin’ Panthers will host Wimberley Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Liberty Hill High School gymnasium. Jan. 8, they will travel to Austin to take on Hyde Park.

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