High Hopes: Wildcats aim to continue decades-long postseason streak

Whitehouse's Pat Mahomes (5) and the Wildcats have high expectations heading into the 2012-13 basketball season, though many of the players, like Mahomes, won't join the squad until after football season. (Sarah A. Miller | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

This week, the Whitehouse basketball team begins the season with a playoff streak that dates back decades. The Wildcats haven't missed the postseason in 20 something seasons, which places them among the top programs in East Texas.

One of the key components to the success has been stability on the coaching staff.

"It definitely has been a very successful program," Wildcats coach Ryan Tomlin said. "Before coach (Wally) Dawkins, there was coach (C.L.) Nix and they did well. I'm only the third basketball coach here in 50 to 60 years."

With much of the roster still playing football, Whitehouse begins the season at home Monday against Bullard and then plays host to Chapel Hill next Saturday. The Wildcats will be one of the favorites to advance to the postseason from District 16-4A.

Once the football season is finished, Whitehouse will have a roster that features juniors Jake Parker, Patrick Mahomes, Jaylon Dews, Ryan Cheatham, Coleman Patterson, Jacob Lundmark and Brady Hill; seniors Dylan Cantrell, Chris Kunzman and Chris Neel; and sophomores Spencer Shaw, Justin Dunning and Ty Stickley.

The group will be trying to advance the program past the second round of the playoffs.

"The kids have always wanted to play and have always been successful," Tomlin said. "Our biggest problem though has been come playoff time it's getting past that area round, when you are dealing with mainly Metroplex schools. We are hoping to change that."

One of the team's strengths is basketball knowledge, Tomlin said.

"We don't have a big 6-7, 6-8 kid but we are going to have a bunch of 6-3 athletic kids with basketball skill that are going to give a lot of people problems," Tomlin said. "They are very knowledgeable about the game and a very smart and very team oriented."

The Wildcats' non-district schedule includes the Lindale Hoop Heaven, Burkburnett and Wagstaff Holiday Classic tournaments.

"I'm so fired up because I know when these guys walk into our locker room whenever football ends they will compete," Tomlin said. "They can't stand to lose. They know each other and they know how to play the game. It's just going to be getting them back into basketball shape and relearning some of the fundamentals.

"I'm very excited to see what this team can do. We have a lot of talent and have a lot of kids that are smart. Most of these kids make straight As and get along well. I have very high hopes and expectations."

Recommended for you