Last week’s bad weather and the resulting school closings have left Sherman’s boys huffing and puffing into district play.

Last week’s bad weather and the resulting school closings have left Sherman’s boys huffing and puffing into district play.

Unable to practice for a full week because of lingering icy roads, the Bearcats (3-3) are behind on their conditioning, and head coach Greg Nix worries that they’ll fall even farther out of shape with the holiday break coming up.

"It’s bad enough when you have to take off for Christmas," Nix said. "It’s amazing how much conditioning you lose just after five days. We canceled seven games in seven days, and it was the 10th day when we hit the floor again."

The ice storm cost the Bearcats the Sanger tournament, a non-district game against Gainesville, and the first day of this weekend’s Princeton tournament in total.

"At this point last year we’d played 13 games," Nix said. "It may be the middle of the first round of district before we get back in shape. It’s start, stop, start, stop. It’s going to be a challenge."

The Bearcats open the District 13-4A schedule tonight on the road at Wylie East at 7:30 p.m. They’ll follow that up with one more pre-holiday road game at Royse City on Friday night.

"We’ll work on Wylie East and try to get our legs back under us," Nix said. "We’ll go longer on Wednesday and Thursday. But after Friday, we have to shut it down again (for Christmas). Then the (Sherman Holiday) tournament hits."

The University Interscholastic League mandates that all activities must cease for a specified five-day period. Normally this includes the day after Christmas, but in years where the 26th through 28th falls on a Thursday through Saturday — a perfect window for tournaments — the UIL permits games to resume on the 26th.

In terms of physical fitness, what the Bearcats are up against was made apparent in the three games of this weekend’s tournament in Princeton that they were able to squeeze in.

In each of their first two contests, the Bearcats led in the third period before running out of gas, losing 62-43 to Dallas Roosevelt on Friday and 55-47 to Argyle on Saturday.

"We were up 23-21 with three minutes left in the third and we hit a wall (against Roosevelt)," Nix said. "Nothing would go in. Argyle’s a good team, they were 8-1 at the time, and we were up 10 in the third quarter (before) Ty Williams fouled out."

The Bearcats came back later on Saturday and salvaged a 12-point win against Dallas Thunder, a home school team.

But moving forward, they don’t have much time to get ready for the grind of district play.

"This district is tough," Nix said. "We saw it in football, and it carries over. You’ve better come to play, or you’re going to get beat."

Once again, Nix sees McKinney North and Lovejoy as the two teams contending for the 13-4A championship. Below those two, however, it gets interesting, he said.

"McKinney North returns everybody except one player, and Lovejoy is real long, with basketball kids," he said. "Greenville may be the biggest team in the district. They’re unbelievably long. Wylie East was real young last year, but they’re scary to me. They’re athletic, and those young kids have a year of experience."

Like Sherman, Nix said, Royse City has a virtually new lineup, with 10 or 11 players; and Nix added that Denison’s McShane Wyatt is a scorer that resembles Bearcat junior J’Lynn Thompson.