WHITESBORO — Back in the same position as last season, the Bearcats feel like they have learned from their mistakes.

WHITESBORO — Back in the same position as last season, the Bearcats feel like they have learned from their mistakes.


"When you get into the playoffs against state-ranked teams, it’s the little things," Whitesboro head coach Toby Sluder said. "I think we’re a little deeper. I think we’re a little more mature. We may not show that on the court all the time with some of the shots we take."


Going up against the team that eliminated from the playoffs, the Bearcats have pointed at this Class 2A Region II area round match-up against Peaster at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Denton Ryan.


"They’ve been there before. That’s going to help," Sluder said. "We’ve been talking about that loss from last year for the last three months."


The regular season has been almost a carbon copy for Whitesboro, which has won 22 straight games since consecutive losses to Navasota and Jacksonville at the Fairfield Tournament. The other loss was in overtime against Princeton to open the season.


The Bearcats had another undefeated run through District 11-2A and the only change to the schedule since this time a year ago was the addition of the fourth playoff team, meaning Whitesboro had to play a first-round game instead of having the bye. And that isn’t a bad thing.


"I like staying on schedule. I prefer this a lot better," Sluder said.


When the Bearcats opened the playoffs after a week off last season, Peaster had the momentum off an opening win and the Greyhounds were able to come up with a 49-46 victory.


And while Whitesboro lost some key players to graduation, there are several holdovers leading the charge again.


Ryan Schuessler and Hayden Nikirk provide a shooting threat from the backcourt while Stephenn Hamon, Collin Kilcrease and Wiley Walsh patrol the paint with success on both ends.


"We don’t run quite as many set plays. Whoever has the hot hand has the hot hand," Sluder said. "We went from a two-post offense to a one-post offense. It’s opened things up for the guards more."


The emergence of Hamon has proved to be invaluable. The senior is regularly producing double-doubles, including 28 points and 18 rebounds against Tom Bean earlier this month, and made the most of the opportunity with more minutes available to him this season.


"That’s the nature of the beast in basketball. You can only have five guys out there at one time," Sluder said. "He worked really hard over the summer. He’s gotten a lot better."


Whitesboro opened the playoffs with a 63-41 victory against Pilot Point. Schuessler had 15 points, Nikirk added 14 points, Hamon totaled nine points and Kilcrease chipped in eight points.


"Pilot Point gave us a pretty good run," Sluder said. "They started in man, went to zone and stayed there the rest of the game. We made our shots. Got it done."


Peaster opened the playoffs with a 40-28 victory over Godley. Ty Ballard, who had 22 points against Whitesboro last season, scored 18 points to lead the Greyhounds. Peaster, which was third in District 9-2A, pulled away in the second half after Godley’s attempt to slow the tempo saw the Greyhounds holding just a 15-13 half-time advantage.