The Cooldown: Week 23

We’re now two rounds deep – three rounds, by the time this is published – into the boys state playoffs while the girls are headed to state. Check out last weeks’ recap and the weekend preview in The Cooldown.

Fulshear girls make first trip to state

What a year it’s been at Fulshear. First, the football team had one of its best seasons in school history behind one of the most fun offenses to watch in the entire state. The ladies hoops team has easily one-upped that with a trip to state behind two dominant forces in Ese Ogbevire and Kimora Lopez.

In Fulshear’s 45-43 win against Hendrickson to advance to state, Ogbevire posted a double-double with 23 points and 10 boards on 5-10 on 3-pointers. Lopez chipped in 14 points, eight boards and five assists as those two accounted for most of the production.

No team in the state tournament has more wins than Fulshear’s 33. The Lady Chargers will take on Lubbock Cooper (30-6). A win in that game means Fulshear would play for a state title against either San Antonio Wagner (28-4) or Frisco Liberty (27-10). Wagner is the only team with less losses than Fulshear, who has a record of 33-5.

Pearland girls take down Summer Creek; head to state

Summer Creek has been a mainstay in the state tournament conversation the last few seasons, with appearances in 2019 and last season, 2022. But the Lady Bulldogs were no match for Pearland, who has been dominant all season long.

The Lady Oilers advanced to San Antonio with an emphatic 39-26 win. Summer Creek failed to scored more than eight points in any quarter, scoring seven, six, five and eight points in each frame. RyLee Grays led Pearland with 16 points and 15 rebounds while Janae Tucker chipped in 12 points.

Like Fulshear, Pearland is among the best records at the state tournament. Only Coppell (38-3) can top the Lady Oilers 35-3 record. San Antonio Clark also enters with three losses; a record of 32-3. Pearland will take on DeSoto in the state semifinals; the Lady Eagles are 27-5.

Playoff bracket update

With last weeks’ games old news, and the girls not playing on Tuesday this week, let’s do a little playoff reset for the boys. Obviously, most of the remaining girls action is outlined above.

In 6A, there are four teams left to battle it out in each region after Tuesday night’s games. We could be headed for a titanic showdown in the regional finals in 6A Region III. State No. 2 Beaumont United will face high-powered Katy Jordan while state No. 3 Seven Lakes faces off against Clear Falls. Two of the top three teams in the state could be battling for a trip to San Antonio. United is 30-1 while Seven Lakes is 31-4.

If United advances out of Region III, then it will be up to either Cy Falls or Klein Oak to win Region II and represent Houston at the 6A state championships. Region II is probably the weakest region in the bracket. Unranked Klein Oak will take on No. 18 Mansfield Legacy while No. 25 Cy Falls battles No. 16 DeSoto. But the propensity for playoff upsets in high school basketball is higher than nearly any other sport, so anything can happen.

State No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall is the lone hope in class 5A for the Houston area. If the Buffs can beat unranked Bryan Rudder, it will face the winner of No. 3 Killeen Ellison and No. 16 Port Arthur Memorial in the Regional Final. Either way, it will be a tall order to win the region, but especially if it has to face No. 2 Ellison. It’s a similar dilemma to the one facing Seven Lakes or Clear Falls if it’s United waiting in the Regional Final.

Class 4A might be Houston’s best chance at getting a team to San Antonio. Washington and Furr have been in the top five all season, but so has Silsbee. In the first Regional Semifinal, No. 5 Furr will take on No. 3 Silsbee, followed by No. 4 Washington battling against No. 18 Center.

And if all that wasn’t enough, class 3A No. 2 Hitchcock gets No. 3 Lorena in the Regional Semifinals. At least if Hitchcock wins, it advances to play the winner of unranked New Waverly and unranked Palmer.

Lightly put… Region III is loaded with talent, regardless of classification.

Regardless, congratulations to Katy Jordan, Seven Lakes, Clear Falls, Cy Falls, Klein Oak, Fort Bend Marshall, Furr, Washington and Hitchcock – the final nine Houston area boys teams left alive!

Players of the Week

The stats are outlined above, but my girls player-of-the-week, for leading her team to its first-ever state tournament appearance, is Fulshear’s Ese Ogbevire! Her 23 points and 10 rebounds led Fulshear to a narrow 45-43 win in the Regional Final.

My boys player-of-the-week goes to Cy Falls’ Joseph Tugler! He posted 21 points in the Eagles’ 58-38 win against College Park to advance. He's also our MVP bobblehead recipient for this week!