Winning streaks are made to be broken and T.C. Williams' basketball coach, Mike Hynson, readily admits the school's 28-game streak could end very quickly.
In fact, Hynson refused to even look past Edison (5-16 last year) in tonight's opener at Williams. Twenty three other games highlight tonight's high school basketball schedule.
Hynson, in his fifth year at the Alexandria school, has every reason to be nervous. Graduation has taken his best ball-handler, shooter, defensive player, rebounder, team leader and top substitute.
Last winter's Titan team had sppeed, skill, unity and class. They never were threatened during the 24-game regular season. After fending off Lee (64-61) and the slowdown tactics of W.T. Woodson (21-18) in the Northern Regional playoffs. Williams whipped Henrico (68-64) before blasting Fleming (95-63) to win the Virginia State AAA title.
Now Hynson is afraid his talented but untested crew may be living in the past.
"I'm afraid they may think because they're T.C., it's going to be easy," said Hynson, "but nothing was willed to them.We got to sweat. I don't expect them to come close to duplicating the feats of last year's team."
Williams will be taller than in the past, with 6-foot-4 Arnie Russell and 6-3 Chris Evans manning the forwards, 6-2 lawrence Miller and 6-1 Mike Daniels on the wings and 5-8 Dan Copeland at the point. Hynson also has several 6-5 players on the bench.
"We've had a couple of good scrimmages but we've got a long way to go," said Hynson. "Right now, we're too offensive minded.No patience. Maybe, I'm reminiscing a little, too. Maybe, I've got to have more patience with them."
And patience is what the Titans, who start all underclassmen, will need.
"I'm still looking for team leader," said Hynson.
The four district races will be much tighter this winter. Williams will have to stop Robinson and West Springfield to earn a second straight district title.
"We have the quickness and good rebounding," said Hynson. "How long the streak will last.I don't know. But, you can count on us to be tough by midseason."
Hynson pointed out that last year's team was a rambunctious, helter-skelter outfit two years ago. The Titans hit a dry spell during the 1975-76 season and lost three consecutive games before getting their act together and making it to the second round of the regional playoffs, finishing 17-8.
"That team was exactly like this one is now," said Hynson, " and you see what happened with them last year. So, I'm optimistic."
The names and the faces may bave changed but not the Titans' run-and-press-you-in-to-the-ground philosophy.
"We definitely plan to run and run," said Hynson. "My problem right now is I can't quite read the kids. They're very nonchalant. I don't know how they will take a loss."
It is also entirely possible hynson may be worrying prematurely.
In other key openers. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore visits St. John's, Robinson hosts Marshall, ST. Anthony's plays at Dunbar, Carroll entertains Theodore Roosevelt and Wakefield journeys to Yorktown.