Before each season, David Montano publishes his team’s schedule, complete with the dates for the regional and state championships.
It’s not just a formality for the first-year Stafford High head boys basketball coach.
“Our goal is to win a regional championship and a state championship,” Montano said. “We have the ability to reach the regional tournament, but it all depends on how well the team learns what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Montano, who served as Stafford’s junior varsity coach last season, has the blueprint for success (128-59 record and two state appearances from 2012-17 at La Marque) and the tradition (Stafford has reached state six times, including the 1992 state championship) to get it done.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball Magazine picked the Spartans to finish third in 25-4A behind defending champion Needville, and Wharton.
“That seems pretty accurate right now, but our success depends if our kids buy in and we get better as the weeks go on,” Montano said. “We can certainly be in that mix for a district championship and a good playoff run.”
Stafford graduated eight seniors last year from a team that came within an overtime buzzer beater of the regional quarterfinals.
Senior guard/forward Auturo Jackson Jr. is the only returning Spartan who played significant varsity minutes last season. Senior post Alexander Jones and senior guard Justin Bonaris were also on the varsity roster last season.
Montano is looking forward to seeing posts Khalil Scrubbs (senior) and Dabari Hawkins (junior), and senior guard Eric McDermott on varsity this season. Scrubbs and McDermott played organized basketball for the first time last season and helped lead the Stafford JV to a co-district championship. Hawkins started on the Stafford varsity football team.
Spartan fans can expect some changes this season. The team will play more man-to-man defense and the post-game will play a larger role.
“We have to be able to handle pressure and limit turnovers,” Montano said.
Joe Sanchez, Montano’s assistant coach and JV coach from La Marque, has joined the Stafford coaching staff.
Stafford will play a challenging non-district schedule before its Dec. 21 25-4A opener at Fulshear. The Spartans were to open the season on Saturday at 5A Lamar Consolidated and visit 5A Foster on Tuesday. They’ll compete in a trio of tournaments – Pearland, Hidalgo and Buda – where the majority of opponents will be 5A and 6A schools.
“We are trying to play a tough schedule to see where we are,” Montano said. “We want to be able fix any shortcomings before district comes around.”