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Mustangs finish successful summer basketball league

Marble Falls forward O’Ryan Ficklin drives to the basket during the Mustangs’ 45-37 win against Johnson City during the last night of the Lago Vista Boys Summer League on June 25. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

MARBLE FALLS — Members of the Marble Falls High School boys basketball team wrapped up one of the finest summers of court work in recent history.The Mustangs posted a 16-2 record while playing in the Lago Vista Boys Summer League for six weeks that ended June 25 and a three-week league against Llano and Johnson City in May.

Head coach Paul Gammage said he was pleased to see seven athletes commit to playing the last two months.

“Kids are so hungry to be good,” he said. “We’re getting there. All they’ve been doing the last month is play.”

The team included Cade Jarvis, Kameron Wright, O’Ryan Ficklin, Keegan Deering, Andre Hooper, Andrew Vasquez and Adam Angel.

Jarvis didn’t play basketball last season but has made huge strides during the summer, Gammage said.

Jarvis has spent time playing for an Amateur Athletic Union team, which shows his dedication to the sport. Hooper is the three-point specialist, while post Vasquez “does a lot of the dirty work,” the coach said.

Angel has continued to develop after joining the program at the last minute, Gammage said.

“Kam is our fastest point guard,” the coach said. “O’Ryan is a slasher. He’s our best overall guy and best guy attacking the rim.”

What Gammage wanted to see during the summer was improvement on communication, a desire to compete and a commitment to playing. In those three areas, the Mustangs scored slam dunks.

To illustrate how badly the Mustangs wanted to play, Gammage said they each paid a $38 entry fee to Lago Vista. The goal was to keep the expense low and make it easy for families to travel, he said.

“There’s really not a whole lot of reason why they couldn’t do it,” he said. “Basketball is an elite sport. We need our guys to be on the court.”

Marble Falls last qualified for the playoffs in the 2010-11 season where they finished third in district play and won a bi-district championship.

Since then the Mustangs have a 3-37 district record, including an 0-14 mark last season. Those numbers motivated the players to do more this summer.

“Their pride last year (was hurt) being on the wrong end of those lopsided games,” Gammage said.

One of the challenges for the coaching staff was for the athletes to believe they are capable of winning more games in district play, the coach said. The biggest difference though, he added, was not the stature of the players on those teams; rather it was the amount of court time those athletes log throughout a calendar year.

“They play all year long,” he said. “They find extra ways to get to the gym.”

Basketball coaches around the country believe summer is time to get better. Gammage also believes that and now so do his players.

“It’s a group that’s dedicated and very close knit,” he said. “There’s no calvary coming. This is on us. These seven are who we are going to go with.”

Wright said the last several weeks have done wonders for him and his teammates.

“It’s really nice,” he said. “Everybody has something they can bring to the table. It’s a whole team playing basketball.”

The junior varsity also entered a team in the Lago Vista Boys Summer League division with 12 Mustangs on the roster.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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