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01/27/20

The Cooldown Week 22

Cover Photo via @CoachPaye_BFND on Twitter.

A lot happened in basketball last week. The first round of district games wrapped up and we’ve got a few games we’re looking forward to in the second half. The McDonalds All-American teams were announced, and no Houstonians were included despite the game being played in Houston. We also lost a basketball legend.

1. Klein Forest picks up key wins in 15-6A race

Seven of the eight games played in district 15-6A last week were decided by eight points or less. Any game can go in any given direction on any given night, and Klein Forest has been tested more this season than that of the last two years.

They first beat Oak Ridge 68-62 on Tuesday, following that win up with a 73-68 win against College Park on Friday. Daylan Hamilton had another impressive night, scoring 40 against College Park.

Last week’s wins put Klein Forest at 7-3 in district play. With several close wins so far, closing out games will continue to be important for the Eagles if they want to win another district championship. The good news is they’ve done a great job of doing just that so far.

2. Cy-Fair making push for district title

Memorial handed Cy-Fair it’s second district loss of the season 77-66 on Tuesday before the Bobcats righted the ship with a 65-54 win against a good Cy-Creek squad on Friday.

After going 1-1 last week, Cy-Fair is 8-2 in district, good for second place. Picking up a win against Memorial in the second half of district will be important to the Bobcats chances of winning 17-6A.

Nik Ellis finished with 20 points in the win for Cy-Fair against Cy-Creek on Friday and has been the guiding light for the Bobcats on offense this season. Look for him to have a big second half of district play if Cy-Fair is to win district.

3. Houston mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant

This is the kind of thing nobody ever wants to have to write, but it is tragically so necessary.

Kobe Bryant was named to the All-NBA First Team 11 times. He was named to an All-Defense Team nine times. He was league MVP in 2007-08, a five time NBA Champion and two-time Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. Somehow, we’re not quite yet to the 10-year anniversary of his last championship. We’re less than four years removed from his playing career.

Today’s hoopers grew up watching him. The generation of kids from 17 to 28 just missed the Michael Jordan era. They grew up watching a player with a Jordan-esque unmatchable work ethic. With that, so many players and teams around the Houston area mourned his loss on Sunday.

Some people are so big it feels like they’ll never go away. Kobe was one of those people. He was so important to basketball that it will be impossible to forget him. We’ve all seen someone wad up a piece of paper and shoot it into a trash can. The word that accompanies that shot goes to show just how ingrained and important Kobe is to basketball culture and the influence he had, especially on the younger generation. For a generation that never got to watch Michael, Kobe was unquestionably the next best thing.

The part that hits closest to home is that Bryant was traveling with his daughter to one of her basketball tournaments. So many of us, myself included, know what that’s like. Some of my best memories from my childhood and early high school years are the trips I made to those tournaments with my dad. Breaking down film with him and talking about what I did good and could’ve done better was part of that. Kobe had that same relationship with his daughter Gianna, who died in the crash as well, at the age of 13.

Kobe Bryant inspired so many of the great players we’ve been blessed to watch in the Houston area over the last several years. He inspired so many of the ones playing today. For some, he was the reason they picked up the orange ball in the first place. Rest in peace to one of the best to ever play our great game.