In their first competitive event of the summer, Mexico assistant varsity boys basketball coach Darren Pappas took a handful of varsity players and several freshmen and sophomores to the Central Methodist University Shootout on Saturday in Fayette.


MS: Who did you play (Saturday)?

DP: We faced Battle out of Columbia, Hallsville and Father Tolton, which is out of Columbia, as well.


MS: How'd it go against Battle?

DP: Not too bad. We competed the in the first half. We then cut into their lead in the second half before losing by 11. The boys played extremely hard on both ends of the floor. We're still working on the system we have in place. Overall, not too bad. I felt like we gave our best effort.


MS: So how'd it go in you second game (against Hallsville)?

DP: In the second game we didn't compete as well as we did in the first game. (Hallsville) had a couple of hot shooters and we didn't do a vey good job closing out on them defensively, but it's a learning process. We're hopefully going to get bette as we get more time on the court.


MS: The third game was against (Father) Tolton, correct?

DP: Yes. We lost by six. We had it down to four with under two minutes left, but we missed a couple key free throws don the stretch. Overall we competed extremely well. Defensively, I think this was our best game of the day. We competed on the glass against their inside guys, who are pretty big, so I'm happy with that.


MS: Was this varsity only?

DP: Yes, but out of our varsity guys, we had five or six. We brought some underclassmen with us, as well.


MS: Who specifically did you have with you today?

DP: Jai Lawson, Matt Huffman, Vern Williams, Tavion Williams, Cole Whalen, Jaison White, Michael White, Keyon Mahaney, Ian Williams, Ray Fieger, Manny Hernandez and Dante Billups.


MS: What's next for the Bulldogs?

DP: We're going back to CMU on Wednesday. It will be a different team. Primarily we'll be taking just the varsity guys, so the guys that missed (Saturday) will hopefully be with us.


MS: Because these athletes haven't had an official head coach for a couple of weeks now, how are they responding?

DP: They seem to be doing well. They're getting after it, which is what we want this time of year. Learning a new system is always a challenge. It's going to take time. For the most part, I appreciate all the effort they've been giving on the court. We're starting to make some strides. It's a process, so we'll continue that process and keep trying to get better.