The Melissa basketball program has been one of the strongest in the area for a long time. It is expected to be in the playoffs and make deep runs every year.

Part of that is the tough pre-district schedule that Coach Clint Sadler puts his team through to prepare for district and the playoffs — Melissa often plays in tournaments in McKinney, Sherman and this year Allen — and the other is the talent on the team.

But this year, the team has had to deal with a few key injuries that have left them without some of the experience they were expecting and resulted in the team starting 1-5.

With the break this week because of the weather, Coach Sadler gave the Tribune his thoughts on the season. The team will play in the Fairfield tournament over the Dec. 14 weekend.

Tribune: Biggest Surprise so far this season?

Sadler: "Our biggest surprise has been a lack of experience. We were expecting to have all but one returning from last year, but we have lost several other players from last year’s team due to injuries and personal reasons."

Biggest challenge so far this season?

"Our biggest challenge has been a brutal schedule. We use the preseason to improve our team moving in to district and post season play. We always schedule aggressively, but this year we thought we would have a deep and experienced team to combat that difficult schedule.

Instead, we are playing this schedule with young and inexperienced players. It will pay off for these young guys who are working hard and improving every game, and it will certainly help us become the best team we can become."

Goals for the season?

"Our goal is always to work as hard as we can to become the best team we can possibly come by the end of the season. We do not set goals for wins and losses or championships. We strive every day to improve and play the best we possibly can."