The Cooldown: Week 17

After a few weeks off following the grind of football season, The Cooldown is back for the next nine weeks to cap off basketball season, the end of our coverage season at Inside High School Sports.

Doing some research this past week, it’s apparent that I’ve missed a lot while covering the end of football season. For example, Fort Bend Clements ranks No. 9 in the state and is undefeated at 22-0. The only other undefeated team in Class 6A is No. 1 Plano East at 24-0. Atascocita, despite having six losses, ranks ahead of Clements at No. 4 in the state, based on strength of schedule no doubt.

Houston owns eight of the top 25 in 6A and Fort Bend Marshall is among the best teams in the state once again in 5A. With so much to discuss, let’s dive in to the best from last week.

Cy Ranch boys pick up a pair of big time wins

According to Maxpreps, three teams sit at the top of the 16-6A standings. Cy Ranch is unbeaten in district play, and the Mustangs took on the other two teams in the top three in the district last week. Those games would decide the pecking order for the first half of district play. Cy Ranch took full advantage, winning both.

First came a 52-44 overtime win at Langham Creek. Jacob Williford led the way with 16 points, while the triumvirate of Chris Tippins, Josh Goodwin and Isaac Saavedra chipped in eight points apiece. Then, in a huge 49-45 win against state-ranked Cy Falls, the Mustangs got 18 from Tippins and 10 from Goodwin.

But perhaps the most important numbers there are that of the opponents. Langham Creek managed just 44 points in 37 minutes of play – 32 minutes of regulation and a five minute overtime. Cy Falls could do just a point better, tallying 45. The Mustangs were able to do enough offensively to win each of those close games.

That’s another thing that should serve the Mustangs well through the rest of district play and in the playoffs. They know how to win close games. That could come in handy later as Langham Creek and Cy Falls will get another shot at the Mustangs on Feb. 2 and Feb. 6. The results of those two games could decide who wins the district.

Seven Lakes girls roll against Katy Taylor

Seven Lakes has been one of the top girls hoops programs in the Greater Houston Area for the last few years, but the team started just 8-8 in its first 16 games. Since a Dec. 5 loss to Tompkins, then the Lady Spartans’ third-straight, Seven Lakes has ripped off 12-straight wins, the latest of which came in a 75-51 rout of Katy Taylor.

Part of the reason for Seven Lakes’ dominance over the years is Justice Carlton. Now, her younger sister Madison is a sophomore and two dominant Carlton’s is better than one. Justice led the Lady Spartans with 25 points, nearly half of Taylor’s total, while Madison was second on the team with 17 points.

Add in 16 from senior guard Shreya Jategaonkar and it seemed as if Katy Taylor never had a chance. By the way, Taylor (24-4; 8-2) has better records than Seven Lakes (20-8; 7-2). With Carlton, Carlton and Jategaonkar, there’s no limit to what Seven Lakes can do when its star trio plays its best.

College Park splits a pair of district games

With a record of 24-4 (8-1), College Park is not just one of the best teams in Houston, but one of the best in the state.

The Cavs did suffer their first district loss, 70-61 against Grand Oaks, last week, but they still showed off what makes them such a dangerous team in that game. Aiden Buckmon poured in 28 points in the loss, shooting a solid 8-of-15 from the field. What makes them dangerous is having not just a clear go-to guy, but someone who can pour in points with the best of them.

Sometimes having a bucket-getting star player is enough to take a team far, and the Cavs are pretty talented outside of Buckmon as well. Case in point: Buckmon shot 53% from the field in that game; the Cavs as a team shot 51% from the field. There isn’t really a drop off. What hurt College Park against Grand Oaks was free throws. Buckmon made all seven of his free throws, but the rest of the team shot 4-10 at the stripe.

It was a different story in College Park’s 75-46 win against Cleveland. Ian Inman led the way with 27 points, Buckmon tallied 16 as did Martez James. Buckmon missed his only free throw attempt, while the rest of the squad shot 8-10 from the line. Buckmon shot 54% from the field in that game while the team shot 58% overall. Even though Cleveland is far from the best team College Park will face this season, those are great numbers.

With all the offensive firepower, College Park is no doubt one of the most fun teams to watch in the state.

Players of the Week

My first boys’ player-of-the-week of the year is a guy who recently reached two program milestones and helped lead his team to two victories last week.

Last week, Jordan Buckner topped 1,000 career points at South Houston. He also set the school record for assists in a season (141) and career assists (357). Oh yeah, he topped the single season record with eight district games left, and broke the career assists record despite only being a junior.

South Houston first beat Dobie, 47-39, behind 15 points and three assists from Buckner. Then, the Trojans took down Deer Park, 52-44, with Buckner totaling 17 points and three assists. That earns him my boys’ player-of-the-week!

My first girls player-of-the-week goes to Pearland’s Eliece Perry!

At 25-4, Pearland is one of the best teams in the state. Perry helped the Lady Oilers to a 34-29 rivalry win against Dawson in which she chipped in seven points and 10 important rebounds. Then, in a 61-47 win against Alief Elsik, Perry went off for 23 points and 10 rebounds, earning player-of-the-week honors!

Statewide Rankings

Here’s how the Houston area stacks up in the 6A statewide rankings: (4) Atascocita, (9) Clements, (10) Seven Lakes, (14) Shadow Creek, (16) Cy Ranch, (17) Cy Falls, (23) Bellaire and (25) College Park.

Class 5A features just two area teams in the state rankings: No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall and No. 14 Barbers Hill. Class 4A boasts No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Stafford and No. 8 Iowa Colony. Hitchcock is the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A.

For the girls, there are also eight 6A teams ranked: (3) Fort Bend Austin, (6) Summer Creek, (7) Cy Springs, (12) Pearland, (14) Langham Creek, (15) Fort Bend Hightower, (21) C.E. King and (24) Katy Tompkins.

Class 5A has three state ranked teams: No. 6 Fulshear, No. 21 Manvel and No. 22 Richmond Randle. No. 21 Navasota is the only ranked area team in 4A, while Hitchcock (No. 7) and Columbus (No. 25) are ranked in class 3A.

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