With each passing outing in their first year together, Robert Lee High boys’ basketball coach Manuel Gamboa sees the change and growth in his team.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but I really feel like we’re heading in the right direction,” Gamboa told Texas Scorecard. “So far, we’ve played some bigger schools, and a tough schedule and for the most I think we’ve done pretty well.”

At 5-4 and now heading into district play, the Steers are hoping for more consistency and cohesion from their young nucleus.

“We’re a small team that likes to pressure the ball and get up and down the floor,” Gamboa said. “But even with that, I’d like to see us have a little bit more discipline. I think it’s coming; the guys have been well coached in the past so that makes it easier for us to do what we want to now.”

Robert Lee is led by a trio of small guards, two of whom Gamboa knows better than any coach knows any other player in the area.

“I brought my two sons with me and we’re really enjoying the chance to play and compete together,” he said.

Julian Gamboa is a 5-foot-9 freshman who averages around 7 points a game and his father describes as a hustler who won’t back down.

“He doesn’t play like a freshman,” Gamboa said. “He has a high basketball IQ and really understands what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Manny Gamboa, a senior, averages around 8 points and has been a varsity level player since his freshman year in high school.

Gamboa said they all make it work by having one simple rule.

“What happens on the basketball court stays there and we don’t bring it home with us,” he said.

Finally, the Steers are paced by 5-foot-10 senior sharpshooter Jayton Warren, who averages 17 points and fits right into the scheme of what Gamboa wants to do.

“He’s probably the one kid other teams game-plan for,” he said. “He knows what he’s doing out there.”

With each game, Gamboa said his players better understand what’s needed from them and that bodes well for the future.

“We’re optimistic because we feel our kids have bought in and that’s always the biggest thing along with setting standards,” he said. “We’re all on the same page with that.”