Newcomers Look to Keep Scots in Contention for Playoffs Again

HP has just two returnees, but an influx of height and skill brings optimism for season

The uniforms will be the same, but just about everything else will look different for Highland Park during the upcoming boys basketball season.

The players inside those jerseys are almost all new, with just two returnees from a team that won 24 games last season before falling to Plano in the second round of the Class 6A Region I playoffs.

“We’ve been working hard on our chemistry,” said senior forward Jordan Stribling. “We’ve got a lot of new guys.”

Stribling and Jacob Ariyo are the only players back with varsity experience. That leaves plenty of questions for the Scots entering their second season in District 7-6A after a runner-up finish behind powerhouse Lake Highlands a year ago.

HP has significantly more size after being a perimeter-oriented team a year ago. At 6-foot-6, Stribling played a significant role last season and will be even more of a focal point.

There are five players standing at least 6-5 on the roster, and the increase in traditional “big men” could prompt an adjustment in offensive style for the Scots. Post play, interior defense, and rebounding should be strengths as Stribling will be joined down low by sophomores Will Saunders and Henry Beckett, as well as 6-7 senior Riley Dering.

“This is a completely new team,” head coach David Piehler said. “It might be a work in progress to figure out what we’re good at, but I like our pieces.”

The Scots will be younger and less experienced than in past years. Stribling is likely to be the only senior in the starting lineup, and there are three sophomores on the varsity roster, all of whom could see significant playing time.

Caden Cantrell, a transfer guard from Plano Prestonwood, is expected to play a key role alongside newcomers who shined at the junior-varsity level last season for HP.

“The potential to be more versatile is there, depending on who’s in the game,” said Piehler, who was encouraged by his team’s results in a recent fall exhibition league.

HP’s challenging nondistrict schedule includes games against Plano East and McKinney, as well as the Championship Basketball Tournament — formerly known as the Whataburger Tournament — over the holidays. The 16-game district slate gets underway on Dec. 8.

“We have a lot of talent. It’s just capitalizing on that talent,” Ariyo said. “We’ve improved a lot every day.”

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.