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03/02/20

The Cooldown: Week 27

One week ago, the greater Houston area had 44 teams alive in the 6A playoffs. In the span of four days, that number was whittled to 10. The statewide bracket has been cut from 128 to 32 as we enter round three. We’ll look at the remaining field for Region II and III in 6A and Region III in 5A, and talk a little Cy-Creek girls’ hoops as well.

Class 6A Region II Outlook

The biggest story in Region II came on Friday night as Allen, ranked fifth in the state, was upset by Waco Midway 54-50. That’s one less obstacle for the winner of Tuesday night’s showdown between Klein and No. 19 Westfield.

Of course, the winner of that game would still have to beat No. 3 Ellison should they beta Mesquite Horn. The benefit of Allen losing comes in that Klein or Westfield would face No. 13 Vandegrift rather than the No. 5 Eagles. It may not seem like a huge difference between the two, but it’s more important than it seems.

Vandegrift has one of the best players in the class of 2020 in Greg Brown. But outside of Brown, the Vipers are thin. They were nearly upset in round one by Langham Creek, who trialed by as little as one point in the fourth quarter. The Lobos ultimately lost 52-44, but showed anyone can hang with Vandegrift. If it comes down to it, I think a complete team without a star such as Westfield fares well against a team like Vandegrift, who will still have to beat the state’s third-ranked team to get the right to potentially play the Vipers.

The biggest surprise from the region was Klein Forest’s 74-73 round one loss in double-overtime to Aldine Davis. I wrote in last week’s playoff preview that I thought they were a potential surprise a team, a dark-horse. Of course the ending of the game was a little controversial, with a Klein Forest three-point make that would have tied the game ruled as a two-point shot. Part of the reason I liked Klein Forest was the amount of close games the Eagles had played and won this season.

Class 6A Region III Outlook

There weren’t many surprises in Region III in the first two rounds; it went mostly chalk. One team I do want to talk about is Dickinson.

As the second-ranked team in the state, and with the top-ranked team residing in DFW, Dickinson has had a target on it’s back all season. That is especially true in the playoffs, but they proved on Friday night they have what it takes to make a state run.

Just like football, the Gators have an absolutely brutal run to the state championships. In the 2018 football playoffs, Dickinson’s road included teams six teams that finished the regular season with a combined two losses, and those losses came because two of those six teams played each other. The 2019 hoops squad’s road reminds me a lot of that.

After a 26-point opening round win against Hastings, Dickinson is likely done playing teams ranked outside the top 15 in the state. The road ahead includes a Tuesday night showdown against No. 10 Atascocita before projected matchups against No. 14 Morton Ranch and No. 7 Summer Creek before the state tournament.

With a road like that, there is absolutely no guarantee that the Gators make it to state. I still think they do. Beating No. 12 North Shore by double-digits is enough to convince me. Of course upsets are far more prevalent in hoops than in football (just look at Allen) but I feel pretty confidant in this pick.

Another team that impressed me in Region III is Tompkins. It’s worth mentioning that despite two playoff wins, the Falcons still have a losing record for the season, but they have found a way to fight into round three with a 51-50 overtime win against Westbury on Friday. The Falcons are hot, and they’ll get a good Bellaire team on Tuesday.

Nonetheless, all the teams I mentioned above have been special this season and each brings something unique to the table. Atascocita’s fast-paced offense is surprisingly good at playing under control and not turning the ball over. Morton Ranch has one the premier scorers the state has ever seen and a glue guy who is a triple-double threat every night. The only thing I know for sure is we’re in for some great basketball this week. Region I and III each have five ranked teams left playing, tied for most in the state. All eyes will be on DFW and Houston this week.

Class 5A Region III Outlook

Class 5A has a little less immediate drama in its future. While 6A Region III is loaded with good games on Tuesday night, 5A Region III doesn’t have a single ranked-versus-ranked matchup. However, it has four ranked teams, with Shadow Creek and Hightower on separate sides of the bracket.

If all ranked teams win out, we’ll get matchups between No. 19 Manor and No. 3 Shadow Creek as well as No. 11 Hutto versus No. 2 Hightower on Friday. Of course, the unranked teams are among the best in the state. I saw a little hype on Twitter surrounding the Hightower versus Crosby matchup in particular, especially for the game within the game: Hightower’s Bryce Griggs and Crosby’s P.J. Haggarty are two of the best young players in the area.

No matter how interesting this week’s games are, it’s hard not to look ahead to a potentially rematch between Hightower and Shadow Creek. The two split their district games, each team winning at home. A rematch to decide who represents Region III at state is as perfect of a rubber match as you’ll see. While we look forward to it, let’s hope they don’t. Getting caught looking forward is the precise recipe for Crosby or Madison to pull off a Tuesday night upset.

Cy-Creek Girls Make History

Every now and then, we’ll see a football team cap off a perfect season with a state championship. That’s a pretty impressive feat, and we always have three or four of those each year. But to do that, teams need to only win 16 games. To do that in basketball a team needs to win upwards of 35 games, more than double that of football.

So, uh, Cy-Creek’s girls are 40-0. Forty wins and zero losses! What!

They’ll get 22-12 McKinney in the state semifinals before getting the winner of Duncanville (38-3) and Converse Judson (33-8), should they beat McKinney. A perfect 42-0 is absolutely on the table.

I don’t know how many basketball teams, boys or girls, have ever finished a season undefeated. I’ve certainly never heard of it. A state championship for Cy-Creek would not be a regular state championship, it would absolutely be historic.