The Cooldown: Week 18

Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Steve Hamm

District play is in full swing across the metroplex as we turn our focus to basketball season. There are two months until the state championships at the Alamodome in San Antonio and its time for us to recap a few games featuring some teams that look like title contenders in 2024.

Plano East takes down Plano West

Plano East defeated Plano West 88-61 last Friday night to improve to 24-0 on the season. Remaining undefeated through March will be nearly impossible, but the Panthers have managed to come this far. Plano East was led by Narit Chotikavanic with 17 points and DJ Hall with 16 points in the win over Plano West. Both players spent the fourth quarter on the bench with the game out of hand as the Panthers cruised to another big win.

Plano East is currently the consensus top team in the state in 6A and for good reason. The Panthers have cruised through district play and figure to continue to do so. If Plano East is able to finish the regular season undefeated, the pressure in the playoffs turns up even more with the chance to not only win a 6A state title, but also do so with a perfect record. No. 3 North Crowley, No. 6 Allen, No. 7 Mansfield Lake Ridge and No. 11 Lewisville are the other top ranked teams in the metroplex and are teams to keep an eye on.

Duncanville routes Skyline and Mansfield

On the girls side, Duncanville is coming for the title this season. The Pantherettes hammered Mansfield 74-33 last Tuesday and beat Skyline 84-41 on Friday. Kaylinn Kemp led the way with 22 points, followed by Chloe Mann with 15 points, in the win over Mansfield. Laila Coleman and Mariah Coleman played big roles in the win over Skyline. Duncanville has a quality similar to the DeSoto team that dominated last year, a handful of skilled players on both ends of the floor.

Speaking of DeSoto, don’t sleep on the Lady Eagles this year. DeSoto will challenge Duncanville for the right to represent the metroplex in San Antonio, and for the district crown. The Lady Eagles beat Cedar Hill 74-53 last Friday behind 23 points from Kamora Pruitt and 13 points from Amari Byles. There is a lot of talent in District 11-6A, but watch out for these two teams specifically.

5A and 4A

Instead of recapping specific games, I want to highlight some of the best men’s teams in 5A and 4A. I highlighted a few of the best 6A teams above, including undefeated Plano East. In 5A, Lancaster is the top ranked team in the TABC top 25. No. 5 Dallas W.T. White, No. 8 Mansfield Summit, No. 9 Frisco Lone Star and No. 10 Argyle round out the top 5A teams in the metroplex, with No. 12 Mansfield Timberview lurking just outside the top 10.

In 4A, Oak Cliff Faith Family has had a stranglehold on metroplex area 4A teams over the last few seasons. Despite that, Faith Family is ranked No. 2 in the state in 4A in the TABC top 25. The only team currently ahead of Faith Family in the top 25 in another metroplex area team, Fort Worth Eastern Hills. The Highlanders have beat North Crowley, Cedar Hill and DeSoto this season, along with a perfect 4-0 record in District 9-4A DII. Eastern Hills figures to go undefeated in district play with relative ease. When the time comes, the Highlanders will have to get past Faith Family, but a trip to the Alamo could be in the cards for a 4A team other than Faith Family this year. The other 4A teams to watch include No. 4 Dallas Carter and No. 9 Kennedale.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is North Garland’s Ashton Minor! North Garland defeated South Garland 67-58 last Friday behind Minor’s 37 point night! Keep an eye on Minor, a freshman who can stuff the stat sheet.

Cover Photo courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Steve Hamm

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