The Cooldown: Week 21

We have officially hit the end of the regular season. Girls playoff hoops tip off this week and the boys wrap up regular season play in the middle of the week. The end of the 2023-24 season is in sight – but first, let’s recap last weeks’ action and give out player-of-the-week awards.

Tomball Memorial boys pick up a huge district win

If I know one thing, it’s that district 15-6A is going to be a banger. Football, basketball, doesn’t really matter.

Heading into the final district game of the year, there’s a three-way tie for first place – Klein Oak, Tomball Memorial and Klein Cain – all at 10-3. Then, there’s a three-way tie for the final playoff spot – Tomball, Klein and Klein Forest each at 6-7, according to Maxpreps.

The reason we have a logjam up top is because Tomball Memorial picked up a gutsy 72-65 overtime win against Klein Cain last week. The Wildcats got big games from Luke Reder and Myles Dealy, who had 30 points and 21 points respectively. There’s 51 of your 72 points right there.

For Cain, the trio of John Clark, Koye Rondeno and Nick Delgado were terrific. Clark finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Rondeno had 15 points and three steals, and Delgado tallied 13 points and six boards. Even though the Hurricanes lost, they will still have a shot at a split district title.

Klein Cain takes on Klein for the season finale while Tomball Memorial gets Klein Forest. Those games should be insanely fun because Cain and Tomball Memorial are fighting for a district title, while their counterparts, Klein and Klein Forest, are battling for the final playoff spot.

An upset win by either could clinch that last playoff spot. And we’re in this situation in first place because Reder’s 30-spot tied Tomball Memorial with Klein Cain and Klein Oak atop the district standings. That means none of the three can afford to take a night off.

And for even more chaos? Klein Oak plays Tomball. That means the three teams fighting for a district championship will take on the three teams fighting for the final playoff spot. That’s enthralling.

Westfield boys cap off a district title

While 15-6A is a chaotic mess of the best kind, it’s neighbors in 14-6A have just about tied a neat bow on everything.

Westfield is 12-1 in district with a loss to Davis, who is 11-2. If we’re being technical, Davis could still tie for the district championship if Westfield loses its final district game. The problem for Davis is Westfield’s final opponent is Aldine, who is 0-13 in district. So, technical or not, Westfield has wrapped up the 14-6A championship for all intents and purposes.

Nimitz is 10-3, Dekaney is 7-6 and Spring is 6-7 to round out the playoff picture. Davis split with Nimitz and can wrap up a second place finish with a win against 2-11 MacArthur. Dekaney beat Spring the first time around and two play again in the season finale. It’s a win-and-you’re-in for Dekaney and I believe the two would play again Friday night to determine the final playoff spot (both 7-7 and split the season series) if Spring wins. But the top three are all but set.

Now that that’s out of the way – how about Westfield coming out on top in a tough district! The Mustangs capped it off in style against Nimitz last week with a 50-39 win. A game that was once tied at 32 quickly got away from Nimitz as Westfield pulled away for the win. Jeremiah Cooper led the way for Westfield with 17 points and 13 rebounds and sharpshooter Gregg Boudreaux chipped in 13.

Just to recap above – the playoff order should be Westfield, Davis, Nimitz, and whoever survives this weeks’ slate between Dekaney and Spring. Dekaney essentially has two games to win one while Spring will need two wins against Dekaney to make the playoffs, with the second game being a play-in.

Hightower girls steal a share of a district title

Hightower entered last Tuesday’s contest against Austin at 14-1. Austin was 15-0. Hightower’s lone district loss was to Austin. The Lady Bulldogs had clinched at least a share of the 20-6A title, but had a chance to win it outright. Instead, the Lady Hurricanes put on a stifling defensive performance to capture a shared 20-6A district championship with a 40-32 win.

The most encouraging part about the win is that Hightower was led by Ogechi Okeke with 15 points and 26 rebounds – and she’s only a freshman. Chandler Caver, a junior, tallied the next-most points with seven. It sounds to me like Hightower will be more than reloaded for next year.

At the time of writing, Monday night, the Lady Hurricanes have already taken their first step toward a trip to San Antonio with a 53-49 win against Cinco Ranch in overtime.

Players of the Week

My boys player-of-the-week plays for another team that wrapped up a district championship last week. Shadow Creek is one of the best teams in the state at 29-2. The Sharks play in a competitive district, despite their dominance, and that showed last week in a 66-55 against Dawson.

For scoring 37 points in that win, which helped clinch the district championship, is Michael Collins!

On the opposite end of the playoff spectrum, my girls player-of-the-week helped her team to a different kind of euphoric feeling. Cy Falls needed a play-in game to secure the final playoff spot in 17-6A.

In a 54-46 win against Cy Ranch, the Lady Eagles were led by Dazlyn McClenon, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks to help give Cy Falls its first playoff berth in five years. Dazlyn McClenon is my girls player-of-the-week!

Statewide Rankings

Here is the final edition of the statewide rankings for the regular season for the girls, and the next-to-last for the boys.

Here’s how the Houston area stacks up in the 6A statewide rankings: (4) Atascocita, (6) Clements, (7) Seven Lakes, (8) Shadow Creek, (19) Bellaire, (20) College Park (22) Cy Falls and (25) South Houston.

Class 5A features just one Houston area team in the state rankings: No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall. Class 4A boasts No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Iowa Colony, No. 11 Stafford and No. 24 Mickey Leland. Hitchcock is the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A.

For the girls, there are eight 6A teams ranked: (3) Summer Creek, (8) Pearland, (9) Cy Springs, (11) Fort Bend Hightower, (13) Fort Bend Austin, (20) Seven Lakes, (21) C.E. King and (24) Langham Creek.

Class 5A has four state ranked teams: No. 5 Richmond Randle, No. 14 Willowridge, No. 21 Fulshear and No. 22 Manvel. No. 16 Navasota and No. 21 Madisonville are the only ranked area teams in 4A, while Hitchcock (No. 5) is the only ranked team in 3A.

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