The end of the season has arrived and neither the Sherman nor Denison boys basketball teams are close to playoff position. Both had chances after the first meeting to play their way into the conversation but eventually slipped away from the pack.

The end of the season has arrived and neither the Sherman nor Denison boys basketball teams are close to playoff position. Both had chances after the first meeting to play their way into the conversation but eventually slipped away from the pack.


Now the opportunity to finish with a victory will come at their rivals’ expense as Denison (5-18, 2-11) travels to Sherman (11-13, 3-10) for the District 13-4A finale tonight at 8 p.m.


"To end the season with a rivalry game, it gives it a little more edge," Denison head coach Chet Byerly said. "We’ve been playing better the second half of district. We’d like to get out there and compete and see what happens."


Sherman went on a monster second-half surge a year ago to not only force a play-in game for fourth place but eventually get to the playoffs and come away with a postseason win. This time the Bearcats weren’t able to make up the ground needed to get there again.


"When the light switch goes on they can score; we just have trouble getting stops," Sherman head coach Greg Nix said. "The four seniors we have, we want to end on a high note. The juniors we want to get some momentum."


Each lineup contains a dynamic scorer who has been at the forefront of the respective offensive effort. More often than not J’Lynn Thompson has been Sherman’s top point man while McShane Wyatt has served that role for Denison.


And earning that moniker leads to a high focus in the opposing game plans.


"We look at J’Lynn the way they look at McShane," Byerly said. "We want to hold him down to a decent number."


If that comes to fruition, it means the supporting casts must produce enough to make up the difference.


The Jackets have had something of a rotating second scorer throughout the season, such as Will Parker, Raylen Johnson or Jaleel Dade, matching Wyatt with just a single double-digit scorer.


"Offensively we want to have a game where we have everybody contributing, so we don’t have to count on one guy," Byerly said.


The Bearcats have gotten individual efforts from Ty Williams and Treyson Jones but wants senior guard Tre’ Mask to fit the sidekick role.


"We really need Tre’ to get up there, 15, 16, 17 points to take some pressure off J’Lynn," Nix said.


When the teams met last month, Sherman came away with a 76-58 victory. The Bearcats trailed by a point at the end of the third quarter before outscoring the Jackets, 21-4 in the fourth.


"We had stretches like that where that happened. We weren’t able to finish," Byerly said. "We’ve grown up mentally and hopefully we’ve gotten over the hump on those things."


Thompson had 21 points and Williams added 18 points for Sherman while Wyatt finished with 19 points but did not score in the second half.


Denison feels it has been playing better in that time, including a last-second loss to fourth-place Wylie East on Friday.


"Besides McKinney North, we’ve really competed with everybody," Byerly said. "It’s just eliminating the stretches where we don’t make good basketball decisions."


So while the playoffs aren’t on the line, perhaps the next best thing will be.


"Everybody wants to have bragging rights, regardless of the sport," Nix said.