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Waddell column: Decatur’s unselfishness is what makes team special

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
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Drew Coffman has seen his fair share of talented teams come through his program since taking over as the Eagles’ coach seven years ago.

In 2013, 2015 and 2016, Decatur advanced to the third round of the playoffs, but was eliminated each time. Despite immense skill on each of those teams, qualifying for the regional tournament was a feat that had eluded the Eagles since 2003.

Tuesday night at Coffman’s alma mater, Midwestern State University, Decatur finally got over the hump in a 79-42 thrashing of Burkburnett.

“Somebody asked me the other day if this is the best team Decatur has had since I’ve been here — and I don’t know,” Coffman said. “But I do know we have more players who are deserving to play than on any team we’ve had before.”

Coffman is right.

Depth, a relentless work ethic and an unselfish brand of basketball has gotten Decatur to Lubbock for the first time in 16 years. Those traits have also helped the Eagles break the school record for most wins in a season.

Reece Waddell

At 35-3, Decatur has more than doubled its win total from last year (17).

“[Depth] has been very important,” said Decatur senior Wilson Hicks. “I think that’s one thing that makes us so tough. We have four or five guys that can go get us 10 to 15 points on any given night. It makes us tough to guard.”

Against Burkburnett in the 4A Region I quarterfinal, it was Hicks’ turn to take center stage.

With a trip to the regional tournament on the line, Hicks racked up a game-high 25 points, shot 75 percent from the field and was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. In the bi-district round last week, it was Ethan Southard who stole the show, tallying a game-high 18 points.

“It can be a different guy any night,” Coffman said. “Tonight, it just happened to be Wilson’s night.”

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Since finishing 17-17 last year and being eliminated in the first round, this Decatur team has been on a mission to silence its critics. The Eagles’ average margin of victory this season is a staggering 19.8 points.

After going 0-4 in the Whataburger Tournament last year, the Eagles knocked off three top 10 teams in Class 4A en route to the 2018 Whataburger Tournament title.

Decatur then went unscathed through District 8-4A and won the league championship, knocking off rival Argyle twice in the process. In Decatur’s win over Argyle to clinch the 8-4A title, it was Gage Rieger who hit the 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Time and time again, it has been someone different wearing blue and white that has risen to the occasion.

Because when it’s all said and done, this Decatur team only cares about one thing.

“That’s the fun part about coaching these guys,” Coffman said. “No one cares about playing time or points. They just care what the scoreboard says at the end of the night.”

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