The Cooldown: Week 29

Cover Photo courtesy of alamodome.com

One year ago I wrote the 29th and final edition of The Cooldown for the 2019-20 season. It was written amid as uncertain of a future as we’ve faced as a society in a long time; one that included no boys’ basketball state champions. It was an incomplete end to an amazing season that saw multiple Houston area teams make the state tournament.

One year later we’re blessed to live in a state playing high school sports in a world that is slowly returning to normal. Unfortunately, the Houston area did not produce any state champions, but I feel blessed we got to crown any champions at all. It’s certainly something I’ll never take for granted again. The final edition of The Cooldown for the 2020-21 season recaps the three Houston area public schools that made the state tournament and recaps the 2020-21 IHSS coverage year as a whole.

State Tournament Recap: Cy Creek Girls

Cy Creek entered its semifinal matchup with Converse Judson at 31-0, and for the second straight season, it left the semifinal game with a win to enter the state title game undefeated.

A 55-34 win against Judson had the Lady Cougars as the perceived title game favorites after winning 32-straight games, all by double digits and none of them particularly close. But for a second straight season, Cy Creek was upset in the state title game; this time by DeSoto, 53-37.

Kyndall Hunter poured in nearly half of the Lady Cougars with 17 points in her final game. Cy Creek loses Hunter and Rori Harmon who will continue their playing careers together at the University of Texas. Each are ranked in the top 20 girls’ basketball recruits in the nation. The Lady Cougars have a lot of talent to replace from a team that racked up a 73-2 record in the past two seasons.

State Tournament Recap: Atascocita Boys

Atascocita took on Austin Westlake in the state semifinals in San Antonio, though not at the Alamodome. Normally the entire state tournament would be held at the Alamodome, but we are still living in a COVID world after all.

Once again, it was Westlake proving to be the thorn in the side of a Houston area team seeking a state championship. The Chaparrals retained a comfortable lead all night to cruise to a 57-44 win and their first-ever state championship game appearance. Kansas commit KJ Adams had 21 points as Westlake led the game from start to finish.

The Eagles were essentially the champions of Houston for the large schools as the only 5A or 6A team from the area to reach the state semifinals. Atascocita had state championship aspirations but it is nothing short of impressive to be the best in Houston. Congratulations to Atascocita on a great season.

State Tournament Recap: Huffman-Hargrave Boys

Despite the lack of other Houston area teams headed to San Antonio, Huffman advanced to the final round for the first time in school history.

The Falcons led Boerne for most of their semifinal showdown until Boerne opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Then, Jacob Harvey happened. The Huffman senior went on a personal 7-0 run to give Huffman the lead back for good to advance the Falcons to their first ever state championship game.

Harvey’s heroics wouldn’t carry over to the state game. Argyle jumped out to a 19-5 first quarter lead and never looked back, winning 49-30 to give the Eagles the 4A title behind 12 points from Skyler McCurry.

Just like Atascocita, there’s no shame in being the best in Houston, and in Huffman’s case, making a state title game. It was a history-making season for the Falcons even if they fell just short of bringing home the top hardware in the state.

Congratulations once again to our state semifinalists and finalists – Cy Creek girls, Atascocita and Huffman boys – on a great season!

2020-21 Season Recap

Eight months ago we had no idea if we would be able to safely make it through a full sports season. The UIL experimented by having 1A-4A start football season before the 5A and 6A schools to help determine if having a season was going to be safe. Eight months later we have officially crowned all football and basketball champions for the first time since March 2019.

It was a season like none other in that just about every crowd was limited to under 25 percent capacity, or maybe in some cases 50 percent. It was also a weird season in that Houston wasn’t as well represented at the state championships as it normally is. Austin Westlake is to blame for that in a major way as the Chaparrals ended Atascocita’s season one game short of state in basketball and did the same to North Shore in football.

Normally I would be more disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to see more Houston area teams win a state title. But this season I am thankful we got to play at all. I said coming into the year I wasn’t going to take any of it for granted and I know the thousands of athletes across our state didn’t either. Athletes in other states were robbed of their sports seasons meaning thousands of seniors had their athletic careers ended so abruptly at the direction of state government. I’m proud Texas found a safe way to play and provide something so important to so many of us.

With that being said, it is officially a wrap for the coverage season here at Inside High School Sports. We’ll have a little baseball and softball coverage on Twitter as playoffs start up for those sports so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, my third year at IHSS and second year writing this weekly recap blog is over. Thank you to those who read along all season and I can’t wait to start previewing football season for every school in the Greater Houston Area in just a few weeks.