Basketball practice is belatedly getting underway at Logan High School this season. All last week the Longhorn teams were distracted by events in the wake of Dathan Garcia’s untimely death and many of the Lady Longhorn players were on the volleyball team playing in Albuquerque.
Head Coach Billy Burns said last week was rough on his players. Their teammate Dathan Garcia died in a tragic accident recently. “We are never going to forget,” said Burns. “It is something we will carry with us throughout the season. I’m sure something will be said about Dathan at every game this season.” Despite the heartbreak, Burns did manage to put his team through one practice last week. “It was as good a practice as we could get considering everything that has happened, but I really couldn’t tell a whole lot from just one practice.”
Burns has some returning seniors on the squad. “J.D. Estrada is a quick guard and plays pretty good defense. Wes James is another quick guard and he handles the ball well,” said Burns, “and John Maestas is a solid all-around player expected to step up and get some playing time.”
Burns has been an assistant at Logan in the past and is aware of the teams the Longhorns will be facing this season. “I know House is going to be pretty good,” said Burns. “They have perhaps the best player in the district, Nathan Foust. San Jon and Grady will be strong.”
The Longhorns have been getting regular practice time in this week.
The Lady Longhorns have also had to deal with the loss of their classmate. Some of them are also still involved with volleyball. Gary Miller heads into his first year as coach of the Lady Longhorns, but he has been coaching at the high school level for more than 20 years. His team faces Des Moines Nov. 23, but has not even practiced yet. “Some of our players are on the volleyball team playing in the state tournament so we won’t begin practice until next Monday,” said Miller. “We will be working on fundamentals and shooting drills.”
Miller said his team will be young. “Most of our seniors don’t have previous basketball experience,” said Miller, “and one of our projected starters has a lingering injury. I know we have some talented volleyball players and hopefully their talent can transfer over to basketball.” Miller said he will have to wait until the games begin to determine his ultimate strategy for the lady Longhorns.
“It’s going to depend on what I see when they are reacting to the other team.” Miller said he will try to employ a Dean Smith style of play which involves a “controlled” up-tempo pace.