Nov. 30, 2010 at 5:30 a.m.
Yorktown basketball fans have learned what can happen when they aren't watching the court.
Blink and they might miss something.
Last season, the Wildcats used strong guard play and shooting to run right by their opponents and reach the Class 1A, Division I regional semifinals.
Yorktown coach Ruben Serrano said this season won't be much different.
"We're going to try to spread people out and use our quickness to our advantage because we aren't very big," Serrano said/
The Wildcats went 25-4 last season, and have two experienced guards in seniors Erin Barefield and Tevin Slade back this year.
"I think they've played in some big games throughout their high school careers, which is going to play into our hands," Serrano said.
Serrano said Slade is the Wildcats' best outside shooter and in his second season in the team's system.
Slade said Yorktown is ahead of where it was at this point last season. But adjusting to his new role as a senior leader is a challenge.
"It's way different," Slade said.
Serrano talked to Barefield during the preseason about being a leader. The senior guard's desire to make a play during the crucial moments of a game should gain the respect of the underclassmen.
"He likes taking the ball, going to the hoop and taking the shots when they matter most," Serrano said. "He wants to have that on his shoulders so he's a key player and a leader in that respect."
Yorktown will have guard against an opponent they didn't have to worry about a year ago - complacency - after its deep playoff run.
"We've got to continue to build and get better and go beyond the point where we were last year and try to make it to the state tournament instead of the regional tournament," Serrano said.
The team talked about its No. 18 preseason ranking from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, and how to handle it.
Barefield said they don't plan to let the rankings, or the expectations become an obstacle.
"We were in the top 16 last year, I don't know how we got 18," Barefield said. "We're going to try to bring that number down a little bit."
In order to improve their poll ranking and live up to their own expectations, the Wildcats know it can't be all Slade and Barefield.
A strong supporting cast has to step up like it did last season.
"We had a good team, but our bench helped us out last year and now we need a bench to help us out this year," Slade said.
A prime candidate to help the running game is junior guard Rodyck Williams.
Serrano estimated Williams' height at 5-foot-2. Although he gets lost in a crowd, the returning district defensive player of the year will be looked upon to start the fast break with a defensive play and get in the lane as well.
"He's a great defensive guy," Serrano said. "He can also take the ball to the hoop."