The Cooldown: Week 19

Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Steve Nurenberg

Winter weather has closed schools and canceled games across the state of Texas, which must mean the playoffs are right around the corner. Texas usually experiences winter weather at the end of January and throughout February and, as a result, the basketball schedule almost always gets interrupted. This year will be no different as teams across the metroplex will have at least one district game rescheduled. This comes at a time when the men only have a handful of games left and the women have three games left in district play. Let’s recap a few games with playoff seeding implications from last week.

Keller tops Byron Nelson

Keller took down Byron Nelson 72-51 on the road after dropping a game to the Bobcats at home earlier in the month. That loss is Keller’s only defeat in district play, while Byron Nelson now has a loss to Keller and a road loss to Keller Central. The playoff picture in District 4-6A is pretty clear with Keller leading the way at 8-1 and Byron Nelson lurking at 7-2. Keller Timber Creek (6-3) and Keller Central (5-4) round out the playoff picture. If those teams take care of business over the next two weeks, those will be the four playoff teams. Southlake Carroll, Eaton and Haltom all currently sit at 3-6 with an outside shot at grabbing the last playoff spot.

Parker Hannah and Brooks Bahr led the way for Keller in the win over Byron Nelson. Hannah finished with 31 points and Bahr added 24 points to provide the Indians with a powerful one-two scoring punch. Finley Bizjack led the way for Byron Nelson with 26 points, though the Indians did a good job at keeping him at bay and sending multiple defenders his way throughout possessions. That resulted in several open looks for Jacob MacDonald, who finished with 13 points. Connor Lindsay was held to just four points in the loss.

Plano East outlasts Lewisville

As I outlined last week, the playoff race in District 6-6A is one of the best in the metroplex. Plano East beat Lewisville 73-68 on Friday to improve to 8-1 in district play. The Panthers are tied with Plano atop the district standings with Hebron (6-3), Coppell (5-4), and Lewisville (5-4) all in the playoff picture. Plano East lost to Plano by a point and Plano lost to Lewisville 72-67. There are five teams for four playoff spots, and the seeding of those spots could look different than what it looks like now.

Xavier Miller led the way for Plano East with 18 points and DJ Hall added 17 points. Narit Chotikavanic scored 13 points and the Panthers rounded out the scoring with eight points from Jordan Mizell and Isaiah Brewington. Lewisville nearly had five players in double-figures, though it wasn’t quite enough to win. Rakai Crawford scored a game-high 24 points while Landon Brown chipped in 13 points. Tre’lin Green and Adrian Banks each scored 10 points and Princeton Green scored nine points. Lewisville needs a win against Plano West in its next game before going for a season sweep of Plano after that. Plano East will look to avenge its only district loss against Plano in its next game before taking on Coppell later this week.

Coppell beats Flower Mound

Two of the top players in the metroplex got together on Friday and our bobblehead winner, Coppell’s Julianna LaMendola, got the better of Flower Mound’s Maddie Cox. Coppell took down Flower Mound 53-34 in a game that was never close. Coppell is 10-1 in district play and a game back of Hebron. Coppell was supposed to face Hebron on Tuesday night, but now that game has been rescheduled due to winter weather.

LaMendola led the way for Coppell, scoring 22 points in the win. LaMendola was one of three double-digit scorers for the Cowgirls as Macey Mercer scored 14 points and Ella Spiller added 10 points. Cox and Maya Bujak led the way for Flower Mound with 10 points each in the loss. Coppell’s rematch with Hebron will be must see basketball whenever it does get rescheduled, hopefully sometime later this week.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is McKinney’s Jaidyn Gunter! The freshman scored 20 points to help power the Lionettes past Allen 55-51 on Friday night! Allen was ranked just inside the top 25 in the state and Gunter’s performance helped McKinney notch an impressive second win over a state ranked team in district play. Keep an eye on Gunter and McKinney the rest of this season!

Cover Photo of Coppell's Julianna LaMendola courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Steve Nurenberg.

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