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    GRANT MCGALLIARD | HOOD COUNTY NEWS LOVE THE PRESSURE: Granbury’s Micah Tucker said he feels comfortable with the ball in his hands at crunch time. The senior guard has earned a starting role and is one of the leaders on the team.
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    GRANT MCGALLIARD | HOOD COUNTY NEWS TAKE POINT: Cade Dudley has been Granbury’s starting point guard for two years running, and he says he’s matured mentally since he joined the Pirate varsity as a freshman. Dudley is Granbury’s leading scorer and c

Granbury guards share built-in chemistry

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Brotherly bond

Basketball teams have to work hard at forging a connection between members of a starting backcourt.

If the guards aren’t jelling together, the offense doesn’t flow, the defense is misaligned and the team chemistry is all out of whack.

Luckily for Granbury, the Pirates have the luxury of having built-in chemistry in their backcourt – the chemistry that only brothers can have.

Senior guards Cade Dudley and Micah Tucker grew up playing nearly every sport together. Dudley’s dad was their baseball coach, met Tucker’s mom through the team and the two eventually married. That allowed Dudley and Tucker – who were already “best friends” – to share a house and a driveway on which to play basketball.

“We’ve been brothers ever since coach pitch,” Dudley said. “We played baseball, football and basketball, thousands of games together.”

The two initially focused on baseball, but after so many games, began to grow tired of the sport.

“I played baseball my whole life, every single day, for like 10 years,” Tucker said. “So I kind of just got burned out on that.”

They turned to basketball instead, and despite spending nearly every free moment practicing, they haven’t gotten burned out yet.

“I don’t know how we haven’t gotten burned out on basketball,” Tucker said. “If we’re not here at the gym, we’re in my driveway playing basketball, or we’re playing a video game that involves basketball.”

ALWAYS COMPETING

Dudley and Tucker have always gone head-to-head at every opportunity off the court. Their builds are similar – Tucker has a slight height advantage – and both are dead-eye shooters, which makes every sport interesting.

“It gets very competitive,” Dudley said. “Even in football, you can’t necessarily play one-on-one, but we’d still get out there with a football and just run and try to tackle each other. We took every sport as much as we could one-on-one.”

That competitiveness shines through even in practice.

“Cage Crain (a Pirate teammate) has a goal and a shooting gun at his house, and we’re there every day,” Tucker said. “We shoot threes, we get on the Vertimax (a training aid), and then we’re doing dribbling drills. We’re working on all of it.”

And once that’s done, the two will go at each other one-on-one. Somehow, neither can get an advantage on the other.

“We’ll play one-on-one toward the end of it, and we always split,” Tucker said.

The only activity at which both insist to be better than the other is NBA 2K, the basketball video game.

“Me, easily,” Tucker said when asked who wins more games.

“That’s not true,” Dudley shot back. “I want to get that straight. I beat him by at least 15 every time.”

TAKING THE REINS

On the court, that competitiveness helps in close-game situations. Dudley and Tucker are primary options in Granbury’s offense, and in late game situations, odds are one of them will have the ball.

“I always kind of like having the pressure on me,” Tucker said. “I always want to be the guy shooting the free throw or the last shot.”

Dudley said he’s had to work at being more confident in clutch scenarios. He was a varsity member as a freshman and saw action at shooting guard, but didn’t solidify the starting point guard spot until his junior year.

“I would be afraid of pressure and bigger guys, and it made me want to get the ball out of my hands quicker,” Dudley said. “Now, turning into a starting point guard, I know me having the ball in my hands is a good thing for our team, and I know how to take care of it.”

With such a young team - Granbury has just four seniors on its roster – the two have had to take on bigger leadership roles. Dudley said he enjoys that challenge, as it allows him to “play freely.”

“It allows me to play freely, allow me to feel out the game and play well. We have a lot of younger guys this year, and if I’m the one who leads them and lets them follow my lead, it’s a good thing for all of us, because it allows them to play freely as well.”

Tucker said he already saw the importance of senior leadership in the team’s first game against Joshua.

“All these guys in their first year on varsity – they’ve been playing JV, they don’t know what it’s like,” he said. “It was moving so fast for them.”

CONSTANT CONNECTION

But for Dudley and Tucker, having one another in the backcourt allows the game to slow down slightly. They know each others tendencies and can help each other out if trouble arises.

“We both know what we’re wanting to do,” Tucker said. “It really helps with that.”

“Since we’ve been playing for so long, we know where each other is going to be at that point,” Dudley said. “If we don’t have someone else to go to, we can always use each other to bail us out.”

The two also have complimentary styles, especially on a team like this year’s Gran-bury squad in which outside shooting is paramount. While both can rain in three-pointers with impunity, Tucker says he relishes pass ing just as much as shooting

“I’m really into passing,” Tucker said. “I love getting other guys involved and making the right play and the right pass, and they get the and-1 or they get to hit the three.”

And most of the time, it’s Dudley that’s knocking down those shots. The team has a green light to shoot when open, which Dudley says makes for a fun time on the court.

“It’s fun, we play free, we run, we gun,” Dudley said. “And that’s all the guys from the very end of the bench to the very beginning of the bench, all of them love that style of play, so we’re all on the same foot.”

Dudley has received an offer from a school in Georgia to play basketball in college, and is talking to some other programs. Tucker said he has plans to “probably” go to Texas Tech and major in kinesiology with the goal of becoming a physical trainer or coach, but has not ruled out pursuing basketball if a school expresses interest.

In the meantime, the two will continue to man the Granbury backcourt – and the driveway outside their house, and Cage Crain’s shooting gun, and NBA 2K and every other conceivable place where they can compete with and against each other.

After all, that’s what broth ers do.

grant@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

 

 

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