The Cooldown: Week 22

Playoff season is officially here. The boys playoffs kick off this week while girls playoffs, though they only started a week ago, are nearly half over. By the time this blog has been posted, some girls teams will have played their third round game and some boys squads will have wrapped up bi-district. Some, but not all.

Let’s recap girls bi-district and area round action and boys wrapping up district play, in addition to players-of-the-week and a look at the final boys statewide rankings.

Clements caps off an undefeated regular season

The Clements Rangers did something not many teams have ever done: Finish a Texas high school basketball regular season undefeated. The Rangers went 30-0. Somehow, they weren’t the only team to do it; Plano East finished the year at 33-0, ranked No. 1 in the state. Clements finished ranked No. 5, behind Stony Point (one loss), North Crowley (three losses) and San Antonio Brennan (four losses).

The Rangers capped off the perfect regular season in what can only be billed as a defensive slugfest. Clements took down Elkins 35-31; that’s less than a point-per-minute for Elkins and not much better for Clements.

Joshua Clark was the only player in double figures; he had 10 points for Clements while Keshav Vijaykumar, a freshman, chipped in nine points. Divine Ugochukwu had a solid all-around game with seven points, five rebounds and five assists. Charley Reado led the way for Elkins with nine points.

Clements will face stiff competition in a potential path to state. The Rangers are the highest-ranked team in the Houston area, but Seven Lakes, Shadow Creek, Atascocita and Beaumont United are hot on the Rangers heels, ranked 6-7-8-9, respectively. That journey begins against Katy on Tuesday night.

Fort Bend Austin girls take down a good Memorial squad

Sometimes, we’re reminded of the chasm between good and great.

Memorial had a great season. The Lady Mustangs went 24-13 and had a record of 13-1 to win the district championship. Memorial finishes the season at 25-14 with that title and a playoff win. But it was no dice against a great Austin squad.

Austin advanced to round three with a 60-41 win. Crystal Schultz was the star of the night as the only player in double figures for the Lady Bulldogs. Schultz totaled 24 points to go with four rebounds, while junior Aminah Dixon had eight points, eight rebounds and three assists – including a dime to Schultz that turned into an and-one.

Nicki Polocheck tallied 18 points and six rebounds in her final game as a Mustang. Draden Moss, just a sophomore and former POTW, had 16 points. Memorial got just seven points from the rest of the team against that stout Austin defense.

Despite a great season from Memorial, who was no doubt a tough round two opponent, it isn’t getting any easier for Austin. They take on Seven Lakes tonight in what should be a titanic showdown. Austin plays great defense, but Seven Lakes has one of the highest-scoring offenses in the state and can rely on multiple players to get those points.

At 32-2, Austin should be the favorite in this game – especially because the Lady Bulldogs just gave up 18 points and 16 points to the two highest-scoring Mustangs, but still played good enough defense to hold Memorial to just 41 points. But if Seven Lakes can get hot and find multiple ways to score, the Lady Spartans have a good chance. I’m really looking forward to that game, maybe the best in the state in round three.

Hightower rolls into round three

The Hightower girls didn’t quite go undefeated in the regular season like the Clements boys did, but three losses isn’t too shabby and the Lady Canes are rolling into round three.

After surviving in overtime in the opening round against Cinco Ranch, Hightower beat Cy Creek handily in the area round, 53-34. It was a well-balanced attack for the Lady Canes, who got 15 points from Chandler Caver and 14 from Madison Bob.

Next up for Hightower is a date with Stratford on Tuesday, with an appearance in the regional tournament on the line. The two didn’t play in the regular season, though Cy Creek is a common opponent. Hightower just beat Cy Creek by 19 points, while Cy Creek defeated Stratford back on Jan. 19, also by 19 points. Cy Creek lost the first district matchup against Stratford 48-42.

That would tell you Hightower might be a big favorite in this one. The winner gets a date with the winner of No. 8 Pearland and No. 21 C.E. King in the semifinals of the regional tournament.

Players of the Week

My boys player-of-the-week helped lead his team to a district championship in quite a while. According to Maxpreps, Klein Oak hasn’t won a district championship in at least 15 years. But, with a share of the district championship on the line, Bryson Holmes scored 15 points to lead the Panthers to a 65-45 win against Tomball, who was fighting for a playoff spot. Holmes is my boys player-of-the-week!

As an update, Klein Oak is moving on to round two after a 57-53 win against Cy Springs in round one on Monday night.

My girls player-of-the-week led her team to one of the largest margins of victory in the area round last week. Klein Collins sprinted past Spring, 68-29, in large part due to Christin Callens, who had 25 points in the win. Callens has been a force for Klein Collins for years, leading the Lady Tigers in scoring. When 15-6A is done playing basketball, she has a good chance to repeat as district MVP. And she’s helped her team to a third round playoff appearance, though Klein Collins fell 75-51 against 6A No. 9 Cy Springs on Monday night.

So, there’s no better time to acknowledge the outstanding career Callens just wrapped up at Klein Collins than now. Congratulations and good luck playing at the next level, Christin!

Statewide Rankings

Let’s take a look at the last boys statewide rankings of the year, and provide another look at the girls rankings, now two weeks old dating back to the end of the regular season, just for posterity.

There’s a little shakeup at the top of the 6A standings. Clements (No. 5) claims the top spot in the area, followed by (6) Seven Lakes, (7) Shadow Creek, (8) Atascocita, (19) Bellaire, (20) College Park and (22) Cy Falls. South Houston falls out of the final rankings after a nail-biting loss to Pasadena Memorial.

Class 5A features just one Houston area team in the state rankings: No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall, though nearby Port Arthur Memorial clocks in at No. 25. Class 4A boasts No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Iowa Colony, No. 11 Stafford and Mickey Leland falls out of the rankings as the only change in 4A from last week. Hitchcock remains the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A.

As mentioned, the girls stay the same, as rankings end at the end of the regular season: (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.

Related Articles