Coach Paul Landis and the Winslow Bulldogs began play in the 2001-2002 basketball season on Tuesday in Winslow when they entertained the Payson Longhorns. The team had participated in a controlled scrimmage at Sinagua High School in Flagstaff on Friday.
Coach Landis reported earlier that he expects the Bulldogs to be much improved over last season’s team that finished 13-14 and in third place in the Enchantment Region. The Bulldogs will feature six returning lettermen including three starters. Seniors Seth Davis, Brian Curtis and Manuelito Shirley all started for Landis last season and performed admirably. Reed Hancock, Evander Lee and Shane Garnett also were members of the 2000-2001 Bulldogs varsity and contributed significantly.
Newcomers up from the junior varsity or freshman teams include Avery Bahe, Dornell King, Ronald Hoover, Lyle Attakai, Brian Pate, John Pate, Carl Begay, Steven Hancock and Charles Gover. All are expected to contribute.
Landis said that he has seen much improvement in the team since last season. The Bulldogs had a successful summer session in which they competed with and often defeated teams from 4A and 5A programs. He said that the combination of solid returning veterans and improving newcomers should provide plenty of excitement, if they continue the dedicated work ethic they have shown so far.
“How far we go this year depends on how badly the kids want it, “ Landis said, “ We have talented seniors and we have a good bench also. We proved last year what we are capable of and, if our players want it bad enough, we will be very competitive.”
The Payson game and the contest with the Snowflake Lobos at Snowflake on Dec. 27 are both non-conference games, as will be all of the games played in the Ames Ford Shootout Tournament, which will be played in Winslow on Nov. 29, and 30 and Dec. 1. The first Enchantment Region game will be played at Winslow on Dec. 4 with the Greyhills Academy Knights as the opponents.
The Enchantment Region will include the Hopi Bruins as new members this season and will not include the Pinon Eagles. At least two teams will have new coaches at their helms. Former WHS Coach Rich Bratt will guide the Ganado Hornets. Another former Winslow coach, Charles Gover, has left the Tuba City Warriors and will be coaching the 4A Coconino Panthers.