The Cooldown: Week 22

We’re just 17 days from the end of the regular season and the playoff picture is starting to come into focus. Kingwood Park and Goose Creek Memorial kept its respective strong seasons going with close wins last week, Cy Creek picked up a few big wins and check out our players-of-the-week.

Kingwood Park survives scare from New Caney

Kingwood Park has spent much of the season ranked in the 5A state-wide top 25 behind a sparkling 22-4 record that includes no district losses. However, New Caney nearly put a “one” in that district loss column.

Hollis Stephens put in two clutch baskets in the final minute and Panthers held on 44-41 despite some missed free throws down the stretch. Games like this are good for teams with the aspirations of Kingwood Park; New Caney challenged the Panthers in a way they haven’t been challenged much and will gain the experience of being able to finish out a close game.

Joshua Bartley led the way for Kingwood Park, scoring one-fourth of the Panthers’ total points with 11 to go with three steals. Nolan Sexton and Brayden Jones chipped in eight each to account for most of the Panthers’ scoring. Braden Sheldon led New Caney with 11 points.

Kingwood Park will look to cap off a perfect district slate by finishing the season with Montgomery, Dayton, Porter, Cleveland and Caney Creek. The Panthers beat four of those five by double digits the first time around with the exception coming in a 36-27 defensive slugfest win against Cleveland two weeks ago. The Panthers travel to Cleveland on February 11.

GCM holds off rally from Manvel for key district win

Goose Creek Memorial has been one of the most consistently good programs in the Houston area over the last few seasons. This year is no different, but the Patriots did get a good challenge from Manvel last week.

Of course, Manvel found it tough to stop dominant senior post Sam Bradford. The 6-foot-5 forward currently holds two college offers and that list could easily grow before the season is over, especially if he keeps putting performances similar to his 21-point, 10-rebound effort against Manvel. Dariyus Woodson added 13 points and eight boards in the 58-51 win.

Goose Creek Memorial now sits at 19-7 with a district record of 10-2. One of the district losses has already been avenged as the Patriots beat Friendswood back on January 21 after losing to the Mustangs in December. The other loss came to second place Texas City, who is currently 8-4 in district play. If the Patriots can take down the Stingarees at home a week from Tuesday, they will have the district title all but locked up.

Village School girls take down St. Pius X

The Village School – competing in TAPPS – made sure to schedule plenty of UIL tests. The Lady Vikings are 19-9 on the season but only four of those losses have come to TAPPS schools. They lost to Houston Christian twice, DFW’s Bishop Lynch and the lone district loss to St. Agnes Academy.

The Lady Vikings continued their steamroll through district play with a big win against Kelly Catholic on Tuesday and a 58-40 win against St. Pius X on Friday. Tobi Ademuwagun led the way for The Village School with 21 points on 9-of-12 from the field and she rounded out a double-double with 15 rebounds. Sydney Ward added a nice line of eight points, 10 boards, four assists and five steals.

St. Pius X might have lost by double digits, but the Lady Panthers have a major bright spot to look forward to now and in the future. Sophomore Zachara Perkins has been fantastic this season and totaled 25 points and eight boards in the loss.

The Village School has five district games left this year and will have a chance to win the district on the final night of the season in a home tilt with St. Agnes Academy; the Lady Vikings only district loss to date.

Players of the Week

Each of my players-of-the-week stuffed the stat sheet in important wins for their respective squads. First up is a standout player just discussed in the last section.

My girls’ player-of-the-week is Tobi Ademuwagun! As mentioned, she tallied 21 points on an efficient 75 percent from the field and added 15 boards to power The Village School to a big win against a good St. Pius X squad.

My boys’ player-of-the-week is Cy Creek’s Corey Hadnot! He totaled 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals against Cy Ridge to keep the Cougars rolling. With five games left, Cy Creek is holding on to first place in 17-6A, but needs to win against Stratford – who the Cougars lost to previously – to stay in first. A loss to Stratford on Saturday would give both teams two district losses and Stratford would own the tiebreaker. Regardless, it has been a great season for Cy Creek and Hadnot has been a big part of that.

State Rankings

Here are the state-wide rankings, updated for January 24.

Spring Westfield continues to be the class of class 6A, ranking third in the state to lead the Houston area. The Mustangs are followed by Elkins (No. 5), Dickinson (6), Atascocita (8), Cy Ranch (12), Cy Falls (13), Clear Brook (14), Shadow Creek (17), Pearland Dawson (18) and Seven Lakes (19). That’s 10 Houston area teams out of 25 state-ranked teams.

In class 5A, district foe and just-out-of-area Beaumont United remains first in the state. Crosby, who lost to United 76-57 previously, the the highest-ranked Houston area squad at No. 6. The Cougars are followed by Katy Paetow (8), Marshall (11), Hightower (12) and Kingwood Park (22). Familiar foe Lufkin ranks No. 21 in the state.

For class 4A, Houston Washington still leads the pack and has moved up to No. 3 in the state. They are followed by Stafford (8), La Marque (12) and Brazosport (13). The lone ranked Houston area squad in class 3A is New Waverly at No. 16.

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