Basketball Preview

Butler ready for challenge


First-year Bay City Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Larry Butler is looking for big things out his Blackcats this coming season. 

With a strong cast of returning players and some young players coming up, Butler is ready for the challenge ahead in Bay City. Butler served as an assistant to Steve Buckelew at Pearland High School before accepting the position at Bay City. 

“I was looking for a head coaching job and Coach (Pat) Matthews offered me the opportunity to come down here and take over a program and build it and make it better,” Butler said. “I accepted the challenge and I am looking forward to it. The kids are good and I enjoy being around these guys. It’s been fun and exciting.”

In the early going, Butler had a chance to see what some of his younger players could do as he waited for players to come from the football program. 

“The kids wanted to play and I wanted to give them a chance to play and it allowed me to see what some of these younger guys could do in a varsity game,” Butler said. “It helped me determine if these guys can handle a varsity game. Some of the younger kids have really impressed me and they are working hard and can function out there. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the younger ones.”

Last year, Bay City finished the season 18-15 and beat Needville in the first round of the playoffs before bowing out to Fredericksburg in the second round. 

Butler said that when Bay City fans attend a Butler-coached team, they could look forward to seeing a defensive-minded effort on the court.

“I am very much a defensive-mind guy,” Butler said. “I preach a lot of defense and spend a lot of time with the defense. We play what is called the Bill Self man-to-man style of defense. We also try to control the boards. I will pick and choose my spots when we will press the ball. Every time we get a rebound, we will push the ball up the court and try to be aggressive and attack the basket.

“And then we will at times bring it out and run the offense,” Butler said. “We will make the other team play defense until we get the easy bucket. If you make the playoffs, team that go deep can push it when they need to, can slow it down and run the offense and control the game. Teams that go deep in the playoffs are normally good defensive teams.”

Butler said he has been a big defensive proponent all his coaching life and while at Pearland, it was only solidified under Buckelew. 

“The kids when they buy into it and understand what we are doing, it can be very good,” Butler said. “It allows us to give ourselves a chance. I want to give our kids a chance to win a game.”

Butler will rely on Ke’Vaughn Gaskin, RJ Mitchell and Marquis Edwards this year. These three players all played on the varsity squad last year.

Butler said it looks like LaMarque is the top team in District 24-4A with 15 players returning to the team this year. 

Brazosport graduated almost all of its varsity squad but will look to retool with a strong junior varsity squad coming up. Columbia and Sweeney are well coached and should be in the mix for a playoff berth as well.

“Our district is very even,” Butler said. “LaMarque is the favorite and the rest of us are going to be scratching and clawing to stay alive.”

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