The Cooldown: Week 18

The first round of district play is officially wrapped up, and the contenders for district championships and playoff spots is starting to come into focus.

Let’s recap last weeks’ best games and name players-of-the-week.

Montgomery boys stun Lake Creek

Lake Creek looked like it was going to cruise to at least a share of the district title. All it needed to do to wrap up a perfect 7-0 first half of district play was a win against rival Montgomery, who entered the game with a record of 9-17. Well, we play the games for a reason, right?

The Bears were able to pull off a stunning 66-63 upset to hand Lake Creek it’s first district loss. The only teams that came close to beating Lake Creek in the first half of district play were Magnolia West (lost 87-81 in overtime) and A&M Consolidated (lost 68-65). Magnolia West is firmly out of district race with a 3-19 record.

A&M Consolidated, however, is tied for first in the district with Lake Creek. Now, A&M Consolidated simply has to win the rematch at Lake Creek to capture the district title if it doesn’t slip up elsewhere. The Tigers haven’t lost a district game to a team not named Lake Creek so far. If Lake Creek wins the rematch and wins its other district games, it will win the district title. Pretty simple, but the Lions could’ve afforded to lose to A&M Consolidated and still split the district championship. That opportunity, unless Consol slips up, is gone. And I’m sure Montgomery is relishing that and the rivalry win.

The Bears pulled off the upset behind a game-high 25 points from Noah Stull. Josh Clements added 11 while Reggie Williams chipped in 10 points. With Lake Creek and Consol at 6-1 and College Station at 5-2, that likely leaves Brenham and Rudder (3-4 district records) and Montgomery and Magnolia (2-5 district records) to fight for the final spot. Montgomery will need to win probably two-of-three games against Brenham, Rudder and Magnolia to make the playoffs. Certainly doable, and another upset of Lake Creek would help.

Aeden Lewis finished with 24 points for Lake Creek and Jett Sutton chipped in 16. The rest of the Lions had 23 points combined. This district is one to keep an eye on in terms of exciting finishes. Lake Creek, Consol and College Station each have solid squads, and the four teams competing for the final playoff spot offers intrigue as well. In that sense, there will be games with huge playoff implications in this district just about every night moving forward.

Bellaire boys remain on top in 18-6A with gritty win against Lamar

With one round of district play in the books, Bellaire is at 6-0 in district play while Lamar sits at 5-1. That’s thanks to a gritty, low-scoring 46-39 Bellaire win against Lamar last week.

That’s an important win because it gives Bellaire the leg up on the district title. At the midway point, the Cardinals lead this seven-team district, a game up on Lamar after the win and two wins up on Westside. As the team with easily the best overall record in the district at 21-6, Bellaire is undoubtedly the favorite to win the district. Maybe that wouldn’t have been the case had it lost that defensive struggle against Lamar last week.

Shelton Henderson led the way with 19 points for the Cardinals in the win. Anthony Andrews and Kohl Dutton also finished in double digits, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Dutton came up particularly big in the win. Bellaire trailed by a point entering the fourth quarter before Dutton scored half his points in the final frame to help seal a Bellaire victory.

Unless Bellaire slips up somewhere before the regular season finale, Lamar can only hope to tie as district champs – and the Texans also need to win their remaining games. If each runs the table leading up to the final regular season game on February 9, that game will be the de-facto district championship game. Considering each ran the table in games not against each other in the first half of district play, that feels like a good possibility. February 9 should be all kinds of fun in 18-6A.

Oak Ridge girls win slugfest against Conroe

Oak Ridge remained atop 13-6A with a narrow win at Conroe last week.

Taylor Jones scored 14 points to life the Lady War Eagles over Conroe, 33-27. It was a needed win for Oak Ridge and a rather crushing defeat for Conroe, who slipped to 8-4 in district play. Conroe is clinging to a one game lead over The Woodlands for the final playoff spot in the district, and a win against the district leaders could have propelled the Lady Tigers to a higher ranking in the district standings.

For Oak Ridge (17-10, 10-1), the win kept it atop the district standings for the time being, but Grand Oaks is close behind at 10-2.Oak Ridge’s lone district loss this season is to Grand Oaks, 48-41 back on December 15, and those two face off again tonight. In large part due to Jones’ 14 points, Oak Ridge enters that monumental district showdown as the leaders and not in second place.

Players of the Week

My boys player-of-the-week led his team in scoring in two big district wins last week. Cy-Fair stands alone at 7-0 in district 16-6A after beating two teams last week who are currently tied for second at 5-2 apiece in Stratford and Jersey Village. Kendarius Johnson led the Bobcats in scoring in each of those games, scoring 20 points against Stratford (tied with Arlind Konjuhi) and 17 against Jersey Village. Johnson is my boys player-of-the-week!

My girls player-of-the-week also helped her team to two crucial wins last week. Aldine Nimitz is in the thick of the district title race at 8-1, with an overall record of 19-6. The Lady Coogs picked up a big 58-55 win against Westfield to start off last week, and finished it with a 77-37 win against Eisenhower. In those games, junior Aniah Richard led Nimitz with 21 points, six assists, five rebounds and eight (!!) steals against Westfield. She had 14 points on 70% shooting, five assists and four rebounds against Eisenhower. Richard is my girls player-of-the-week!

State Rankings

Here’s how the Houston area stacks up in the 6A statewide rankings: (4) Atascocita, (8) Clements, (9) Seven Lakes, (13) Shadow Creek, (16) Cy Falls, (22) Bellaire and (24) 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 and (21) C.E. King.

Class 5A has three state ranked teams: No. 6 Fulshear, No. 22 Manvel and No. 23 Richmond Randle. No. 18 Navasota is the only ranked area team in 4A, while Hitchcock (No. 5) is the only ranked team in 3A.

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