BELTON — LaKendric Hyson and Aubrie King are teammates at Mary Hardin-Baylor for the first time this season, but it’s not their debut sharing a court.
For three years together at Mumford High School, they helped the Mustangs win 115 games while losing only three. It was a stretch that included three trips to the state championship game, one title and one event that led the University Interscholastic League to change the way it classifies charter schools.
With 118 games together before they began teaming up for the Crusaders, they know each other’s skills well.
“We were different kinds of players in high school,” Hyson said. “He was a shooter, and I was more of a driver and slasher.”
Added King: “Not much has changed. He shoots a few more threes now than he did in high school. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. We never occupy the same space, though. We don’t really get in each other’s way.”
Not much of anything got in their way at Mumford. During the 2011-12 season — when King was a sophomore, and Hyson a freshman — the Mustangs finished with a 37-1 record after falling to Clarksville in the championship game. The following year was a 39-1 mark that was capped by a loss to Dallas Triple A Academy in the final, before they finally broke through with a win over Muenster to claim the 2013-14 Class A Division I title and put the finishing touches on a 39-1 record.
Of all of those contests, the one that received the most publicity was the 80-54 loss to Triple A, a charter school that had assembled a roster of college-ready talent from all across south Dallas to dominate at the 1A level. In the wake of the outcome, the UIL altered its bylaws so that charter schools now compete in the classification of the smallest school in their school district.
“We were undefeated and weren’t ranked No. 1 at any point in the season, so we knew we might be facing some issues when we got to the championship game,” King said. “I felt bad for our seniors who didn’t have another chance. Thankfully, the UIL moved Triple A out of that classification.
“People were booing them when they got their medals, and they gave us a huge standing ovation. It was pretty awesome. I’ve thought that maybe we should buy rings for us that say ‘People’s champion’ on them.”
After spending his initial two college years at St. Edwards, King — a 6-foot-4 wing — was the first member of the Mumford duo to arrive at UMHB. He dropped in 86 3-pointers while averaging 13.5 points per game last season before draining a team-high 38 3s and averaging 8.5 points so far as a senior.
The 6-3 Hyson spent the last two years at Blinn Junior College before joining King with the Crusaders. The junior guard averages 15.4 points per game and has a team-leading 25 steals.
“I was at Blinn and I contacted my old high school coach to help me go somewhere else. This was the first place he talked about,” Hyson said. “I knew Aubrie was here, so I talked to him and he said this was a great place.
“I didn’t really have to change anything when I came here. I still play the same way.”
Teammates again, King and Hyson each average more than 20 minutes per game for the Crusaders (12-5, 5-4 American Southwest Conference), who open a five-game homestand when they host rival Concordia Texas (12-4, 6-2) at 4 p.m. today.
The way UMHB coach Ken DeWeese sees it, there’s no downside to having the two former Mumford stars on his roster. That’s not always the case when it comes to high school teammates.
“It depends on their personality. It can be extremely beneficial depending on their attitude toward their other teammates,” DeWeese said. “It can also be debilitating team-wise if they think they can go back to playing like they did in high school, especially if their team had a lot of success in high school.
“But these two guys have confidence in each other and confidence in their teammates as well. They just want to play and win. They’re happy when each other does well, but they’re happier when we do well as a team.”
Perhaps that’s because winning is what King and Hyson are accustomed to. All they knew at Mumford was success on the basketball court. In fact, basketball was all the pair experienced. Period.
The only boys sports at Mumford are basketball, tennis and baseball — and the latter didn’t start up until King’s freshman year.
“At the time, I didn’t think it was strange that we only had basketball. But if you step back and realize where we are in Texas and the landscape of sports, it’s pretty odd that a school doesn’t play football,” King said. “Most people don’t realize, though, how crazed and fanatical the fans and faculty in Mumford are about basketball. Those people love their basketball.”
And so do King and Hyson.