The Cooldown: Week 20

The UIL announced its biennial district realignments last week and the Houston area will experience a level of change it hasn’t seen since the 2020 realignment.

Of course, that isn’t a hard task. Class 5A and 6A typically see the most change and realignment 2022 didn’t bring much of it. Not one team changed districts in 6A two years ago, though several schools did move up to 6A from 5A – including Hightower and then-defending-state-champion Katy Paetow. Other than that, not much to write home about.

Class 6A Realignment Changes

Not this year. District 13 and 14 are the same, but then things start to change. Magnolia and Magnolia West shift from 5A up to 15-6A, already one of the most competitive districts in the area. The district goes from eight teams to nine, losing Waller and adding the Magnolia schools to Klein ISD and Tomball ISD. The old 15-6A was a blast, and the new 15-6A will be even better.

Though it adds Waller, 16-6A stays at eight teams as Cy Falls moves to 17-6A to face fellow Cypress schools Cy-Fair, Cy Creek and Cy Ridge, in addition Memorial, Northbrook, Stratford and Jersey Village. That’s a big win for a typically competitive Cy Falls program now in a district that is perceived to be a little less winnable, but a little bit easier overall.

District 18 and 19 are unchanged; comprised of Houston ISD schools in 18-6A and Katy ISD in 19-6A once again. District 20 is comprised of half of the old 23-6A, with the three Alief ISD schools and Strake Jesuit, and adds Fulshear and Foster, up from 5A. George Ranch is the lone hold over from the old 20-6A.

The old 21-6A dominated the area in football and basketball between North Shore and Atascocita. Though that will still probably be reality, that will take place in 23-6A instead. The new 21-6A is the old 20-6A minus George Ranch: It includes all FBISD schools: Austin, Bush, Clements, Dulles, Elkins, Hightower, Ridge Point and Travis. That’s a fun district.

New 22-6A is a mix of old districts 22 and 23 and a newcomer. Alvin, Shadow Creek, Pearland and Dawson are in from 23-6A; Dobie, Pasadena Memorial, Sam Rayburn and South Houston are the holdovers, and Manvel (!!) is up from 5A.

Now things get real interesting, and horrific for 24-6A. The new 23-6A hosts North Shore and Humble ISD, including Atascocita, in addition to C.E. King. Those 21-6A transplants join Channelview and Goose Creek Memorial, up from 5A, to make up the new 23-6A. Meanwhile, 24-6A is a copy-and-paste from 2022, plus the addition of Deer Park.

That makes Deer Park a winner, moving out of a district now occupied by North Shore and once former district-mate Atascocita. It makes the rest of 24-6A… I don’t want to say losers, but I’m sure they’re not thrilled about their first round playoff matchups, let’s just say. Oh, and I’m sure Channelview and GCM aren’t thrilled either.

Class 5A Realignment Changes

Those are the changes in 6A. The most thing that stood out to me most was the amount of talent moving up from 5A-I. Now, you can almost count on your hands how many teams Houston has in 5A-I. District 9 boasts Angleton, Baytown Sterling, Galveston Ball and Barbers Hill. District 10 is Galena Park and seven Houston ISD schools. District 11 is all Houston with Crosby, Kempner, Friendswood, Spring Woods (dropped down from 6A), Kingwood Park, La Porte, New Caney Porter and Pasadena.

This is already a lot of words comparing 2022-23 realignment to 2024-25 so I’ll keep 5A-II brief. District 8 should be fun with Huntsville, Montgomery, Lake Creek and Port Neches-Groves. This district is in Region II, which will matchup with East Texas for round one of the playoffs, and goes through DFW rather than Houston. Lake Creek-PNG should be fun next year. District 9 is loaded with talent. Powerhouse Fort Bend Marshall is joined by Iowa Colony, Randle and Texas City.


My biggest takeaway is the sheer amount of talent moving up from 5A-I to 6A. Two years ago, it was Hightower. Now, Foster, Fulshear, Magnolia, Magnolia West and Manvel will compete in 6A. Five schools moving up from an already pretty sparse 5A-I leaves the classification with not many area teams left.

Another takeaway comes from the fallout of adding five new schools to 6A while only one (I think, I could be wrong) dropped down. There are just as many districts, with Houston area schools comprising every team in districts 13-24, no more, no less – just like the last several years. That means there are four 9-team districts, six 8-team districts and just two 7-team districts. For reference, DFW has just two 9-team districts and has more 7-team districts.

As a related takeaway, this is why the UIL couldn’t just run it back with a few additions like it did in 2022, when every 6A team remained in its same alignment from 2020-22 with the only changes being teams moving up or down from 5A-I.

In 6A, 15-6A got more fun, 19-6A remains very fun (thanks, Katy ISD!), 21-6A will be highly competitive, even though it will be very different (although the teams don’t experience much change as it’s mostly just the old 20-6A), 22-6A got better, 23-6A is mostly just old 21-6A which is awesome, and even 24-6A got more exciting.

The reshuffling of some of these districts – like district 21 and 23 just being similar versions of their old selves, just moved from its old homes – should create some really fun new playoff matchups. How about Dickinson – C.E. King in round one? Or Ridge Point – Dawson or Manvel? Sign me.

My last takeaway comes from 5A. Though 5A-I was ravaged, 5A-II should be fun as ever. Marshall and Randle are in the same district; that was a fun playoff game last year and each returns a ton of talent – both are great at hoops, too. Throw in Iowa Colony, which had a super season in 4A-I, and 9-5A-II figures to be one of the best districts un the entire area regardless of classification. Now, Houston will have 5A-II teams playing in Region II, the left side of the playoff bracket, as well. Though Port Neches-Groves will be the favorite to win the Houston portion of the region, that is a welcomed change.

With so much talent and so many good teams in the area, 2024-26 was always going to be a lot of fun. But now that we know how these districts are realigned, we get to know exactly what to look forward to. I can’t wait for everything these new districts will bring.

Players of the Week

Realignment is great and all, but there’s still some great hoops being played as we inch closer to the playoffs. Girls are down to just one district game left while the boys have three district games left to decide the playoff picture.

Memorial girls basketball clinched at least a share of a district championship with two wins last week. With one game left, Memorial is 12-1 and Cy Creek is 11-2. That means Memorial clinches the outright title with a win against 7-6 Cy-Fair, whom Memorial beat 56-29 the first time around, or a Cy Creek loss. Memorial split the season series with Cy Creek.

To get that done, Memorial needed to beat Jersey Village and it did so in a good game, 57-48. My girls player-of-the-week was instrumental in picking up that win, which, in large part, helped clinch the district championship – the third in a row for Memorial.

Memorial trailed by three at the half, but Draden Moss scored 15 of her 18 points in the second half to help propel Memorial to the come-from-behind win. She also added 13 rebounds and four assists in the win. Draden Moss is my girls player-of-the-week!

For the boys player-of-the-week, it is first necessary to explain the painful reality for one 24-6A team. Clear Lake has been great all year, but has a few painful losses on the ledger. The clear cut top three in the district involves the Falcons, Dickinson and Clear Springs. Clear Lake dropped close games against both of those teams in back-to-back games.

Now, the 24-6A championship is left to Dickinson and Clear Springs to fight for. Clear Lake was essentially knocked out of the conversation by Dickinson’s Qasim Boyd had Clear Lake beat Dickinson last week, it would be a different story. Instead, Dickinson won the game 82-79. How did that happen? Boyd had 40 (!!) points to go with seven rebounds.

Now, with three games left, Clear Springs and Dickinson are tied for first at 9-1 and Clear Lake is 7-3. Qasim Boyd is my boys player-of-the-week!

Statewide Rankings

Here’s how the Houston area stacks up in the 6A statewide rankings: (4) Atascocita, (6) Clements, (7) Seven Lakes, (8) Shadow Creek, (21) Bellaire, (22) College Park and (23) Cy Falls.

Class 5A features just two area teams in the state rankings: No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall and No. 18 Barbers Hill. Class 4A boasts No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Iowa Colony and No. 11 Stafford. Hitchcock is the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A.

For the girls, there are eight 6A teams ranked: (3) Fort Bend Austin, (6) Summer Creek, (9) Cy Springs, (10) Pearland, (13) Fort Bend Hightower, (20) Langham Creek, (21) C.E. King and (24) Seven Lakes.

Class 5A has four state ranked teams: No. 5 Richmond Randle, No. 14 Willowridge, No. 20 Fulshear and No. 21 Manvel. 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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