The Cooldown: Week 26
Rounds one and two of the boys’ playoffs are in the books and the girls’ are headed to the state tournament. Exciting playoff basketball is awesome but we’re getting real close to the end. There are just 12 regional quarterfinal boys’ playoff games featuring Houston area teams. Only three Houston area teams are alive below class 5A.
For the girls’ it’s Summer Creek carrying the mantle for the entire area at the state tournament. College Station won Region III in class 5A, so Houston is only represented in 6A. The Lady Bulldogs are a state-best 38-2 looking to win a state title, but more on that below.
Mayde Creek upsets Stratford to advance
Stratford put together one of the best seasons of basketball in school history, finishing the regular season with a record of 26-5. The Spartans demolished Westbury in round one but that didn’t scare Mayde Creek too much.
Mayde Creek is one of the youngest teams in these playoffs. Of the seven Rams who attempted a shot against Stratford, only three are seniors and two are freshmen. Junior guard Angel Sonnier led the way with 20 points, freshman Jamal Chretien II added 19 on 5-of-6 shooting. Christian Jones is the other outstanding freshman on this Mayde Creek roster and he chipped in eight points.
Stratford entered as the favorite and returned home with its season over. Mayde Creek advances to play an upstart Clements squad that has never made an appearance in the regional quarterfinals before. Both teams are hot right now and nobody expected either to reach this point. One will play the winner of Atascocita and Dawson in the regional semifinal this weekend. Mayde Creek versus Clements is one of the games I’m most looking forward to this week.
Cy Falls survives thriller with College Park
One of the wild things about state rankings is being able to compare where teams are ranked when they play each other in the playoffs. Cy Falls entered its round two matchup as the No. 10 team in the state against No. 22 College Park. Perhaps it isn’t fair that two teams of this caliber have to face each other in round two, but it does make for entertaining hoops early in the playoffs.
This game was a story of streakiness. Each team had a low-scoring third quarter, highlighted by a nearly five-minute scoreless streak to end it. Then, the two teams combined for 11 points in the final minute of the game, a defensive slugfest turning into a track meet at the buzzer.
Jessiah McWright did what he had to do at the free throw line to give Cy Falls the win. McWright went 5-for-6 at the line in the final minute to help put the game out of reach. Xavier Scott led the way with 13 points, including a three-pointer that broke a tie with just more than a minute left. Cy Falls would not trail again after Scott’s three. Joseph Tugler had another dominant game down low with eight points and 12 boards.
For College Park, Darel Reece led the way with 12 points, the only Cav to score in double figures. Ty Buckmon – a guard on the basketball team and longtime College Park quarterback – finishes his time at CP with nine points and five boards.
This hard-fought game between two state ranked teams was always going to yield the same round three result: another hard-fought game between two state ranked teams. Cy Falls takes on No. 3 Westfield, the top team in Houston for much of the season, at the Berry Center at 7:30 on Tuesday night.
Summer Creek girls head to State Tournament
Summer Creek has been peerless in Region III and the Lady Bulldogs are headed to San Antonio for the right to play for a state championship as a result.
Dulles; best season in school history wasn’t close to enough to beat Summer Creek. Pearland lost by 17 in the regional final. The only school to come close to challenging the Lady Bulldogs was Shadow Creek in round three; the Lady Sharks lost 55-45.
Against Pearland, Kaitlyn Duhon led all scorers with 20 points while super sophomores Torran Deterville and Janiya Murphy chipped in 10-apiece. Together, those three alone nearly outscored Pearland. Offense is one of the strengths of this team, which is why Summer Creek is more well-equipped to win this state championship than ones they’ve played for in the past. As the old saying goes, defense travels. If the offense shows up too, it will be hard to stop the Lady Bulldogs… and they’ve got plenty of scorers.
Now, Summer Creek enters the state tournament with the best record in the state. The Lady Bulldogs are 38-2 this year; DeSoto and San Antonio Clark each have just two losses, but are 35-2 and 33-2 respectively. Summer Creek will take on 34-4 South Grand Prairie in the state semifinal at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Alamodome. If Summer Creek advances to the state title game, familiar foe DeSoto could be waiting. The Lady Bulldogs lost to DeSoto in the state semifinals in 2019.
Players of the Week
For leading her team to a state tournament appearance with 20 points… Kaitlyn Duhon is my girls player-of-the-week! Summer Creek deserves massive credit as the only team left playing in Houston and I’m excited to see which Lady Bulldog steps up at the state tournament to claim my final player-of-the-week.
My boys player-of-the-week is split between two players on the same team. One led his team in scoring while the other hit a game-winning three. Shelton Henderson totaled 16 points to lead Bellaire to a win against Seven Lakes while Jacolb Cole drove into the lane and sucked the defense in to give Noah Neumann a look at a wide-open three. Neumann sunk it to give the Cardinals the 53-50 win.
For that, Neumann and Henderson are my players-of-the-week, and a shoutout for Cole for getting Neumann open for the look that won the game. Bellaire takes on Cy Creek next.