HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

Cedar Park basketball players embrace new roles

The Timberwolves have made the playoffs eight years in a row and currently sit in second place in District 19-5A

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Every basketball team has their own personality. For Cedar Park, a new cast of characters has been leading the charge. 

The Timberwolves are once again in a playoff position, sitting in second place in District 19-5A. They have made the playoffs eight years in a row, and this group is cherishing every game they have. 

“This team is a tight-knit unit,” head coach Blake Brown said. “They relish every victory which is nice to see. We tell them all the time, don’t take for granted the number of games that we play because it goes by really quickly. These guys take that to heart.”

Eric Weeks was a first-team All-District selection and Tanner Radke was named to the second team. Three seniors — Luke Ferony, Cameron Hunt and Ryan Spyker — were on the honorable mention list. 

Weeks has seen his role change. He’s scoring fewer points, but his rebounding and size in the paint has been relied on more but the team and its adjusted system this season. 

“We don’t really have a first or second option, our offense is built to get the open shot,” the senior said. “I’m not really attacking the basket as much. It's a more open system and we’re just playing basketball. 

Brown said every returning player has seen their role change this year. 

Radke was already a solid player, but he’s improved his shooting over the summer. Senior Connor Brack acts as the glue for the offense, even if it’s not always about scoring. Dom Ortiz has improved defense and is getting time because he’s in the right place at the right time.

Last season’s first-round loss to Brenham served as a reminder that things can be over in a hurry despite roles. 

“Last year, we put up a great effort and if one or two things fell our way, we would’ve been victorious and moved on,” Brown said. “Knowing every year that you’ve got a competitive team is motivation enough to push you to your limits.”

Karson Cater was an honorable mention selection last year as a shooter playing on the wing. This year, he’s tasked with bringing the ball up the floor and being more of a floor general, a role he’s more than willing to play. 

He said he is underrated by most people because of his height, but he’s proud of how he’s relished the opportunity. 

“I’ve stepped into a point guard role and have been bringing the ball up,” Cater said. “I’ve been more confident with the ball and have been able to attack more. I like being the guy to lead the offense and be a floor general.”

Cedar Park opens up the second round of district play when it travels to face East View on Friday at 7 p.m. The Timberwolves then have a rematch against undefeated district leader Rouse on Tuesday. The Raiders won 75-59 in the first round.

Cater remembers the loss against the Cubs and he’s determined to not to have that feeling again. 

“We want to make playoffs because last year we got knocked out in the first round, which was heartbreaking,” Cater said. “The way we lost on a buzzer beater, we knew we had it. Using that as motivation will help us.”

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