Print and Go Back ESPN.com: High School [Print without images]

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Junior lineup has West Mesquite in playoffs

By Randy Jennings

The future looks bright for West Mesquite boys basketball.

The present isn’t too shabby, either.

All five starters, as well as the first player off the Wranglers’ bench, are juniors.

West Mesquite (25-7) faces District 16-4A runner-up Elgin (26-5) in a bi-district playoff 7 p.m. Tuesday at Waco High.

The Wranglers go into postseason as the No. 3 seed from District 15-4A after losing the regular season finale at Ennis to fall into a tie for second place with the Lions. West Mesquite lost the coin flip for seeding.

“Our kids kind of turned the corner last year,’’ said West Mesquite coach Todd Brewer. The Wranglers narrowly missed grabbing a playoff berth in 2011.

West Mesquite, like all 15-4A teams, had to deal with a marathon district season. The Wranglers’  league opener was way back on Dec. 6.

“That’s what you get in a nine-team district,’’ Brewer said. “We play a long district season and things got a little lax at the end. But our guys' IQs are pretty high and they are good at executing the little things.’’

Braylon Rayson, a 5-foot-10 guard, is the Wranglers’ leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. He’s been a starter since his freshman season.

“I’ve seen him grow up,’’ said Brewer.

Inside, West Mesquite can count on 6-foot-8 Anthony Walker, who averages 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.

“He’s a jumper,’’ Brewer said of Walker, a two-year starter.

The Wranglers will run when given the opportunity, and they hang their hat on clinging man-to-man defense.

Brewer said early scouting reports of Elgin seem to indicate that the two teams are very similar.

Elgin, with a sub-.500 record, failed to make the playoffs last season.