The Cooldown: Week 20

We’re down to two weeks and the final three or four games of the regular season. We have some tight playoff races going on and every win still matters for playoff seeding. With perhaps no dominant team in the Houston area (or even the state!) the state title race feels more open than ever.

We’ll speculate on all that once brackets come out. For now, here are last weeks’ best games and performances.

Dawson hangs on against Jesuit

With the playoff picture all but locked up, Dawson’s game against Strake Jesuit was huge for district seeding.

It was a tight game the whole way, with Dawson coming out on top 51-47. The Eagles were led by Jaden Miller with 16 points, Larry Lyons with 12 and Charles Anderson with nine on 4-of-4 from the field.

Jesuit poses as a threat to make some noise in the playoffs regardless of district finish thanks to star guard Jace Posey, son of NBA champion James Posey. The younger Posey scored 21 in the loss with Trevor Lombard tallying 12 points. Jesuit is currently 8-3 in district play while Dawson is 10-1. The other playoff teams are Shadow Creek (9-2) and Alief Taylor (8-3), so there is still plenty to be decided in this district.

Katy Jordan gets revenge, tops Tompkins

Katy ISD, comprising district 19-6A, is a little more intriguing in the race for playoff spots. While Seven Lakes has locked up the district title at 14-0, Jordan (10-4), Katy Taylor (9-4), Cinco Ranch (9-4) and Tompkins (8-5) are all still firmly in the mix in the 2-5 slots.

One of those teams will be left out in the cold, and right now it’s Tompkins. Last weeks’ 81-72 loss to Jordan, a team the Falcons beat the first time around, didn’t help. Now second in the district, Jordan employs a balanced attack. Five Warriors finished in double figures and Jude Oluokun was on the cusp with nine points, seven boards and four blocks.

A trio of sophomores led the way; Jaden Holt topped the team with 17 points and six assists, while Elijah Black racked up a line of 14/6/6. Rayan Fadika added 11 points while senior Misaias Herrera poured in 16 points as well.

With such a young team and so many scoring options, Jordan could be primed to make some playoff noise akin to Tompkins’ 2018 state title runner-up campaign as a young school. Katy ISD seems to breed success in new schools.

Madison survives Waltrip to keep a close district lead

Madison owns a perfect district record, but with 13-1 Sterling nipping at the Marlins non-exisistent heels, every district game is important.

Three players power Madison: Jayden Gambrell, Mason Allen and Joe Whylie. Those three scored 19, 19 and 10 points respectively to account for 48 points. The Marlins needed all of that, as they snuck by Waltrip, 53-51.

Madison closes the season at home against Sterling, a team Madison previously beat 94-90 back on January 14. I’m not sure how district tiebreakers go here, but if it’s point differential, Madison needs to win, or lose by four or less. Either way, it has been an incredible season for the Marlins thus far, and Fort Bend Marshall might be the only team to stand in their way in 5A-Region III.

Players of the Week

St. Thomas is tops among the TAPPS private school ranks in Houston, but that nearly changed last week.

The Eagles held on to beat Concordia Lutheran 69-67 before another thrilling win against St. Francis Episcopal 72-68 in overtime. My boys player-of-the-week, J’Mar Franklin, led the Eagles in scoring in both games, with 18 points against Concordia Lutheran and 14 points against St. Francis Episcopal. For leading the charge in keeping St. Thomas on top, Franklin is my POTW!

Speaking of staying on top, Memorial girls’ hoops started the year 12-9. Then, the Lady Mustangs went on a tear, locking up a district title with a record of 12-1. My girls’ player-of-the-week powered Memorial through district play by hitting several milestones.

Riley McCloskey is my girls’ POTW! She recently hit 3-pointer No. 250 for her career and also tallied career assist No. 500 and career steal No. 300 in January. With a deep playoff run, McCloskey could easily finish her career above the 1,500-point threshold.

Statewide Rankings

Starting off with boys class 6A teams, Seven Lakes takes the top spot in the area ranked No. 3 in the state. The Spartans are followed by Hightower (10), Dawson (13), Cy Creek (16) and Cy Falls (21). Hightower fell out of the rankings and there are no new entries.

Class 5A is led by Fort Bend Marshall at No. 3, in the state, holding serve from last week. The Buffs are followed by Barbers Hill (18). Goose Creek Memorial fell out of the rankings. Close neighbor Port Arthur Memorial is No. 17 in the rankings.

Class 4A features Washington at No. 4 and Furr at No. 5. Those two are followed by Stafford (8) and Iowa Colony (11). The lone school ranked in 3A is Hitchcock at No. 2.

In the girls rankings, Pearland remains the top team in Houston in the 6A rankings at No. 4 in the state. The Lady Oilers are followed by Katy (8), Fort Bend Hightower (7), Summer Creek (9), Fort Bend Austin (13), Katy (14), Westfield (15), Deer Park (17), Klein Collins (18), Grand Oaks (21) and Cy Springs (22). Neighbor Beaumont West Brook is No. 16.

In 5A, Fulshear paces the girls state rankings for the Houston area at No. 10 in the state. The Lady Chargers are followed by Barbers Hill (13) and Manvel (15). In 4A, Navasota (17) and Bay City (21) are the only ranked teams from Houston. Class 3A is strong, featuring Columbus (8), Hitchcock (18) and Boling (19).

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