The Cooldown: Week 25

The final edition of The Cooldown for the 2022-23 season is upon us. Though our IHSS coverage season is over, there are plenty of great athletes and teams still playing spring sports. Let’s recap the boys basketball state championships and call it a year, shall we?

Hitchcock State Recap

After falling in the state semifinals a year ago, Hitchcock came back with a vengeance in 2023. The Bulldogs breezed past Hooks by 33 points, winning 69-36. Lloyd Jones had 17 points on an efficient 8-16 from the field in 23 minutes. Elijah Sherwood tallied a game-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Damien McDaniel topped off the scoring charge with 12 points.

McDaniel, the MVP of the state tournament, finished with 17 points, eight steals, six rebounds and five assists in the state title game, playing all 32 minutes. Lloyd Jones posted a double with 14 points and 21 (!!) rebounds. Elijah Sherwood had 17 points to cap off a state-title worthy performance from Hitchcock’s dominant trio.

The Bulldogs took down Childress 68-45 in the 3A state championship game. For the state tournament, that’s a 56-point margin of victory. Hitchcock was unquestionably the most dominant team in the state, and it’s capped off with the trophy heading home. Hitchcock was also the only team south of Dallas to win a boys basketball state title.

Washington State Recap

Washington was the survivor of a loaded Region III and advanced to state to play Boerne. Despite having five players in double digits, Boerne couldn’t get it done. Washington pulled out a 75-69 win led by monster efforts from Christ McDermott and Odis Carter Jr.

McDermott racked up 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Odis Carter had a game-high 24 points on 8-15 from the field and 6-10 on 3-pointers. Andre Walker II had 11 points and six assists to add to the scoring attack for Washington.

Similar to the way Hitchcock dominated the 3A state tournament, Oak Cliff Faith Family did the same in 4A. They beat Canyon Randall 67-47 in the first game before besting Washington 70-56 in the state title game. McDermott, Walker II and Kenneth Lewis were the leading scorers for Washington with 18, 11 and 14 points, respectively.

It fell just short of a state title, but this Washington group and the community surrounding it can still be – and is – immensely proud of the Eagles making it to the UIL state tournament for the first time in school history.

Year-End Review

It was an interesting year for the Houston area. North Shore was the only team to make it to the state championships in football. Pearland, Fulshear and Columbus qualified for the state tournament in girls basketball, but none advanced to the state title game. Hitchcock and Washington were both able to play for a state title; only Hitchcock was crowned as state champions.

I guess that means Hitchcock boys hoops is the team of the year – the only team from the Houston area to win a state championship out of football, boys and girls basketball.

Fortunately, success doesn’t have to be measured in state championships. Too many teams to name across all three sports won district for the first time in a while, or made the playoffs, or advanced further than they had been in a while. For example, Pearland girls hoops made state for the first time in over 40 years. Fulshear girls made it for the first time ever, as did the Washington boys. Brazoswood football qualified for the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Regardless of anything, 2023 was a fun year. Even if it didn’t end with a lot of gold.

Players of the Week

For my final players-of-the-week, I’m going with one from each school. First for Hitchcock, I’m going with Lloyd Jones III! It was a tough decision, but his 17 points and 12 rebounds to go with 14 and 21 in the state title game was awesome. Elijah Sherwood deserves some love here too for his 22 and 10 in the semifinals and 17 points in the state game.

For Washington, my player-of-the-week is Chris McDermott. He was awesome all season and his 22 points and 16 boards propelled Washington to its first-ever UIL state title game and its first as a school since the 1940s. Congratulations to both players, and both schools, on a fantastic season!

Thanks for reading this weekly blog this season and check back in mid-August when the 2023-24 season gets underway.