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Sports

Deer win season opener, focus challenges ahead

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Sports

basketballsIN SPORTS
The Deer boys basketball team opened its 2017-18 campaign Tuesday with a 66-62 win over Clear Creek. On Thursday, the Deer open the McDonald’s Texas Invitational in uncharted territory. Head Coach Darren Chandler discussed the tournament and the team’s challenges for the season.

The Deer opened its season on the road Tuesday with a 66-62 win at Clear Creek. Tristan Ikpe had a double-double, leading the Deer with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Brad Milliorn had 16 points on the strength of four three pointers for the Deer while Tristan Wright had 14 points and 9 boards.

Next up, the Deer will play two pool games as part of the Division I bracket in the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament. The Deer open against Fort Bend Elkins at 9 a.m. at the North Campus, followed by a 1:30 game at Watkins Gym against Duncanville. Both game are on Friday.

Deer Park Head Coach Darren Chandler said this year’s McDonald’s Texas Invitational is extra challenging.

“We are playing in McDonalds Texas Invitational Division I for the first time in school history. We have continued to improve as a program and it is nice that has been recognized by the fact we were selected as a Division I team this year,” he said.

Chandler said the team’s first seven games will be difficult matchups for the team. After the five games in the McDonald’s tournament, the Deer play Clear Lake which sports two NCAA Division I signees.

The Deer also have the Corpus Christi Pride of Texas tournament and the Lee College Tournament before the District 22-6A schedule rolls around.

Deer Park won a dramatic play-in game at the end of last year’s regular season to get into the playoffs.

“District 22-6A will be as good as ever,” Chandler said. “We return four starters from last year’s 21-win team.”

Ikpe, who is a three-year varsity letterman leads the way for the Deer. He is a two-time First Team All District player and was 22-6A’s defensive player of the year last season.

He’s joined by seniors Zach Walker and Cade Parham. Walker was second team all-district last season while Parham started 15 games for the Deer. Wright, a junior, rounds out the returning starters. He started every district game for the Deer last year. This year, Chandler is looking to take advantage of Wright’s versatility.

“(He’s) a great low post scoring threat for us and he will also be one of our better three-point shooters,” he said.

This year’s varsity roster includes senior Noah Vaughn and juniors Milliorn, Garret Pineault, Jacob Garcia and sophomore Terry Anderson.

This year’s team faces tough challenges in a district where the top five teams each won at least 18 games overall last season.

“(Defending District Champions) South Houston has two first team all-district guys returning. West Brook returns everyone and adds Elijah Parquet via transfer.”

Parquet is signing with the University of Colorado.

Dobie, which finished second, adds two 6-foot, 6-inch players who transferred into the school while Sam Rayburn’s 6-foot-7-inch freshman Keon Edwards is garnering attention from Purdue, LSU and Baylor.