The Cooldown: Week 17

District play is in full swing across the metroplex as most teams have completed the first half of district play. That means the playoffs aren’t too far off and some teams can start dreaming about deep postseason runs. Others have work to do just to make it to the first round. Let’s recap some of the best games and storylines from around the metroplex recently.

Lake Highlands outlasts Highland Park

Lake Highlands is ranked No. 1 in the state for good reason. Junior Tre Johnson is the top ranked player in his class in the nation and has played up to that hype so far this season. Despite the all the talent on the Lake Highlands roster, and it certainly doesn’t begin and end with Johnson, Highland Park has played the Wildcats as close as anyone all season.

Lake Highlands faced the Scots from Highland Park for the third time since Dec. 9. on Tuesday night, winning the first two matchups by six points. Regulation wasn’t enough to decide this one as the Scots pushed Lake Highlands to double overtime before the Wildcats eventually prevailed 80-76. Johnson led the way with 30 points and got help on the offensive end from Quinton Perkins, who finished with 19 points. Samson Aletan added 15 points and Jaylen Washington chipped in 14 points to give the Wildcats four double-figure scorers.

Dylan Walker was the star of the night for Highland Park, scoring a game-high 31 points. Coleson Messer, Jackson Heis and Jordan Stribling all helped out on the offensive end to keep the Scots in the game. I’m not a big fan of the term quality loss, but Highland Park certainly has three of them competing with a team of Lake Highlands’ caliber down to the wire three times in two months. That experience should serve the Scots well when March rolls around.

Birdville takes down Denton Ryan

Birdville defeated Denton Ryan 60-59 in yet another Tuesday night overtime thriller. Gehrig Normand is back from injury for the Hawks. The Michigan State commit has picked up right where he left off, scoring 20 points in the win. Matthew Zakaria added 19 points to give Birdville another reliable scoring option. The Hawks jumped out to a nice lead by halftime before Denton Ryan outscored Birdville by three points in the third quarter and six points in the final frame to force overtime.

Matt Carter paced the Raiders with 19 points. He got help from Tyler Johnson, who added 18 points and Mario Bellamy who chipped in 11 points. District 7-5A DI is deep and every win is crucial. Denton, Grapevine, Birdville, Richland and Colleyville Heritage are square in the mix for a playoff spot. Denton Ryan really needed a win last night but falls to 1-5 in district play instead.

Duncanville defeats DeSoto

A highly anticipated matchup between two of the best teams in the state and the country did not disappoint. Duncanville beat DeSoto 74-69. Duncanville would love nothing more than to win a district championship this season and Tuesday night’s result went a long way towards realizing that goal. Duncanville claimed its second win over DeSoto in district play and would need to lose at least three of its remaining district games to give DeSoto a shot at the district title.

Duncanville jumped out to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter and DeSoto wasn’t able to recover from that deficit. Tristen Taylor led the way with 19 points and Mariah Clayton added 17 points to give Duncanville a strong scoring attack. Chloe Mann chipped in 13 points, Tajenae Gooden scored 12 points and Kaylinn Kemp scored 11 points to give Duncanville five scorers in double-figures.

Amari Byles matched Taylor’s scoring with 19 points of her own to lead the DeSoto scoring attack. Kamara Pruitt added 13 points and Ma’Riya Vincent scored 11 points to give DeSoto three players in double-figures. Nissa Muhammad and Rieyan DeSouze each contributed eight points for the Lady Eagles.

Player of the Week

Duncanville’s Ron Holland is my Player of the Week! Holland surpassed a significant milestone in his high school career on Tuesday night. The Texas commit scored his 1,500th point for Duncanville in a win over rival DeSoto on his way to scoring 25 points in the win!

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