Bulldogs open 2011-12 hoop season tonight against Canyon

Tomorrow night, the Borger Bulldogs will open up the 2011-12 basketball season hosting the Canyon Eagles starting at 6:00 p.m. in Tex Hanna Gym.For the first time in over a decade, the Bulldogs are adjusting to a new head coach in Chet Byerly, who was hired to lead the program back in April.In his short time leading the Bulldog program, Byerly said the work ethic and attitude of the players in the program have been impressive, saying, “The kids have shown a great work ethic and desire to continue to get better. Throughout the summer and the weekends this fall, we had a great turnout during open gym and I think that will pay off as we go into the season.”Entering this season, Byerly has a solid nucleus back from last year, including seniors Tyrell Haynes and Grant Boren, along with juniors Jamon Hearon and Seth Rawlinson. Senior Aaron Smith also saw time on the varsity squad last year and will help lead the group of new varsity players which will include Daniel Salinas, Cameron Maxwell, Dylan Carrillo, Jacob Rendon, and Colton Newton.As of Tuesday, Byerly said there were still a couple of players battling for varsity roster spots. Going into Friday’s game with Canyon, the coach said he will probably suit up 12-15 for the opener, but Byerly plans to trim the varsity roster down to 10-12 players as the season moves along.Byerly will admit his team is not going to be athletic enough to go out and do a lot of running and gunning on the offensive end. But the coach said the team should be able to put themselves in position to be good offensively if they are smart in handling the ball and taking open shots given to them. Byerly said, “As our decision making and ball handling get better, we should be able to push the ball some and put ourselves in position to have good open shots.”Defense has been a team strength for the Bulldogs over the past several years and Byerly expects that to continue, saying, “One of our goals is to be the best defensive team in the district. Right now we don’t have a lot of pure shooters, so we are going to have to rely on our defense to make stops and even carry us at times.”