2021-22 SUDAN HORNETS VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM – The Sudan Hornets are coached by Steven Gray, who is into his second year at the helm of the Sudan boy’s basketball program. He is assisted by Aaron Ledbetter, who is in his third year at Sudan and Judd Cathey, who is in his first year at Sudan. (Back L-R): Coach Gray, Michael Limon, Kaleb Robinson, Jordie Bellar, Anthony Rodriguez and Abram Rodriguez. (Front L-R): Tony Limon, Sal Juarez, Trent Wilson and Tony Vargas. (Submitted Photo)
The Sudan Hornets’ varsity basketball enters their second year under Head Coach Steven Gray, as they look to make a push for a play-off bid this year.
Coach Gray is in his 19th year of coaching with stops at Christoval, Seagraves, Tahoka, Merkel, Eldorado, Plains, and Meadow.
The Hornets are currently 4-11 overall on the season, as they get into the thick of district play.
Coach Gray is assisted this year by Aaron Ledbetter, who is in his third year as the varsity assistant Coach, second year with Coach Gray; and Judd Cathey, who is in his first year at Sudan.
“Coach Ledbetter is a valuable assistant coach. The players respond well to him and enjoy being around him,” Coach Gray said. “He does a good job valuing the relationship part of coaching. Coach Cathey has jumped right in, in his first year and hit the ground running. He leads our junior high programs and does a good job relating to those guys and getting them ready for the high school level.”
The Hornets return five seniors, one junior and five sophomores on this year’s squad.
The seniors include Anthony Rodriguez, Michael Limon, Tony Limon, Jordie Bellar and Abram Rodriguez.
“Anthony Rodriguez is a two-year starter for us,” Coach Gray said. “He plays a lot of roles for us. He is a streaky scorer and can fill several spots on the floor for us with his versatility of height and handling the ball. Abram Rodriguez is also a two year starter, who helps us in the post and is one of our better rebounders. He plays hard and the other players look to his calming presence on the court. He is a dependable player and easy to trust on the court.”
He added, “Michael is another two-year starter for us and is our best player and leader. At this point in the season, he is averaging close to 17 points a game. He does a lot of things for us; he carries us on offense and can get several steals a game on defense. Tony Limon returns from last year and is a smart player and a great teammate. And the last of the senior group is Jordie Bellar, who did not get to play last year due to a knee injury. He is playing an important role for us this year and we have benefited from his size on the court. He can get in a rhythm on the block and help us score down low and he also helps on the defensive boards.
The lone junior is Josh Cervera, who Coach Gray says is a great athlete.
“He uses his athleticism to help us rebound and handle the ball. He is a good defender and can match up with several different players on the floor.”
The Sophomores include, Kaleb Robinson, Tony Vargas, Ryan Huddleston, Trent Wilson and Sal Juarez.
“Trent played on varsity as a freshman. He starts for us at times and handles the ball for us,” Coach Gray said. “He plays tough defense and likes to mix it up. Trent is a tough player and coaches like to have guys like him on their team. Sal Juarez also started as a freshman. He is a high energy player that plays with great energy and we feed off of him. He helps us handle the ball and plays hard on the defensive end.”
He added, “Kaleb came up from the JV and had done a great job. He is athletic and sparks us off of the bench with rebounds and defense. He can help us score with some offense and rebounds at times. Tony Vargas has also come up from the JV last year and is an energy boost when he comes off of the bench. He plays with a lot of energy and tries to make things happen when on the court. Ryan is a player that splits time between JV and varsity. He is a good shooter and I’m looking forward to him helping us in the years to come.”
Coach Gray talked about how the team has improved from last year to now, saying, “I feel like we have improved from last year. Just listening to my voice and getting familiar with how things are going to go.”
He added, “We started the season pretty strong and then have had a little drop due to a tough schedule and opponents. Hopefully we will continue to progress and learn how to play through the tough stretches.”
The coach explained that some of their strengths this season are that they are hard workers, they have good chemistry and they like to play the game with each other.”
He also stated that they need to work on scoring more consistently and not turning the ball over.
“We also need to work on rebounding the basketball on both ends of the floor,” he said.
Coach Gray talked about the season to this point, saying, “This team is enjoyable to coach and they are great players to be around.
The Coach gave his outlook on the district, saying, “District will be tough. All the teams are well coached and play hard. It will be a challenge every Tuesday and Friday.”
He added, “Seagraves and Plains are probably playing the best right now and are the teams to beat.
Sundown and Morton are also in the mix and either one of them could win district as well.”
The Hornets remaining schedule is as follows:
Tuesday Jan. 18th at Sundown; Friday Jan. 21st home against Morton; Tuesday Jan. 25th home against Seagraves; Friday Jan 28th at Plains; Friday Feb. 4th home against Sundown; Tuesday Feb. 8th at Morton; Friday Feb. 11th at Seagraves and they close out the season on Tuesday Feb. 15th with a home game against Plains.
All contests are scheduled for 7:30 tip-offs except for the last two games.
For The Journal