By Clay Whittington
Belton Journal

The Tigers traveled last weekend to compete in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Showcase at Duncanville, where they delivered a flawless showing.

Winning, however, was not the only benefit.

Belton entered the offseason with a ravaged roster, returning only two players from last season’s team that captured a share of the District 12-6A championship, and while it was nice to experience success, the players returned with something equally important, according to junior Trap Johnson.

“Being able to play in these games allows us to really experience each others’ talents and how we can play better together,” the forward said. “This is the first time we’ve played together as a team, so this was really important.

“Then, we got to stay in a hotel together and stuff like that, and that is huge for team bonding, so it was just perfect for what we needed.”

The Tigers opened their stay by defeating Houston Milby 64-37, and they followed with a pair of victories to conclude their trip the following day. Belton beat Mesquite Poteet 58-48 and Argyle Liberty Christian 53-49.

More than 200 teams took part in the showcase, which was spread out across three venues, drawing hundreds of collegiate coaches searching for new crops of talent.

While the TABC Showcase provides a platform for athletes to display their skills in hopes of continuing their career at the next level, the Tigers understand the ultimate goal is to improve.

So far, they have been successful.

In addition to its performance at Duncanville, Belton recently completed play at its weekly summer league at Waco Midway with an undefeated record.

Although there is admittedly still a lot of work left to be done before the Tigers can hope to replicate the winning ways of last year’s team, Johnson believes the players are mentally prepared for the challenge.

“The main thing right now is everybody is playing hard,” he said, “and we are all playing together. So, even though we lost a lot from last year, we are able to fill in the spots and fight through our games.

“Guys are stepping up, and they are definitely seeing this as an opportunity. They are accepting that this is our team now.”