Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Steve Nurenberg
It’s officially playoff basketball season in Texas! The women tipped-off the playoffs this week with the area round set to get under way over the next two days. The men wrapped up the regular season on Tuesday night and will begin the playoffs with the bi district round next Tuesday night. San Antonio is in sight for many teams across the state, but only a handful will make it there. Let’s recap a few of the best games from the men’s regular season finale and the bi district round of the women’s playoffs.
Duncanville tops Mansfield Legacy
It’s not often- or maybe ever- that the best team in the metroplex ends its season before the playoffs even start. That’s what Duncanville experienced after beating Mansfield Legacy 75-68 on Tuesday night. Duncanville ISD self-imposed a postseason ban for this season after coach David Peavy was suspended by the UIL for the use of an ineligible player last season. The repercussions mean players like Texas commit Ron Holland end their season without a shot at repeating as state champions.
Holland finished in double figures for Duncanville, scoring 11 points in his final high school game. Another senior, Arizona signee KJ Lewis, paced Duncanville with 19 points. Isaiah Manning led the way for Mansfield Legacy with 21 points while Amir McMillan scored 16 points and Ahmare Rose chipped in 15 points. Mansfield Legacy will head to the playoffs with dreams of making it to San Antonio still alive. For Duncanville, that dream will have to wait until next season, but there’s no point in counting the Panthers out. Especially not after the way Duncanville responded to adversity in the midst of this season.
Colleyville Heritage beats Denton
Colleyville Heritage clinched the last playoff spot in District 7-5A with a 43-37 win over Denton. The Panthers technically tied for second in a competitive district at 9-5, along with Birdville and Grapevine. Richland won the district at 10-4 and Denton missed out on the playoffs despite an 8-6 record. Argyle was also competitive, finishing 7-7.
Colleyville Heritage used a 20-5 advantage in the third quarter to clinch the win-and-your-in district finale. Tristan Strength and Carson Jach each scored 13 points to lead the Panthers, and Tim Finau added 11 points in the win. Sammon Johnson scored six points and was one of only four players to score for Colleyville Heritage. MJ Thomas led the way for Denton with 17 points. Thomas didn’t get much help on the offensive end of the floor as the rest of his teammates combined for 20 points.
Coppell eliminates Allen
Coppell took down Allen in overtime 41-38 to advance to the area round. The Cowgirls have one of the area’s best players in Indiana signee Jules LaMendola, who scored all seven of Coppell’s points in overtime. Allen took a two-point lead to halftime before Coppell outscored the Lady Eagles 9-8 in both the third and fourth quarters.
LaMendola scored a game-high 25 points to power Coppell to the area round. She scored all seven of her overtime points from the free throw line and finished with 15 points at the free throw line for the game. Ella Spiller scored 10 of Coppell’s 34 points in regulation. Raimi McCrary led Allen with 10 points while Aryn Roberts chipped in nine points and Simone Richmond scored seven points.
Coppell will face Highland Park, who defeated Arlington Sam Houston 52-31, in the area round. LaMendola will match up with Highland Park’s Paris Lauro, who scored 12 points in Highland Park’s bi-district win. Lauro is a New Mexico signee.
Denton Braswell eliminates Flower Mound
Denton Braswell eliminated Flower Mound from the playoffs with a 51-46 win in the bi-district round. Flower Mound stormed back from a large deficit, outscoring Denton Braswell 19-7 in the fourth quarter. In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Denton Braswell lead proved too much for Flower Mound to overcome.
Oklahoma State signee Kennedy Evans scored 17 points and Torie Sevier chipped in 16 points to give Denton Braswell a strong scoring punch. Yves Cox scored eight points and Makayla Vation added six points in the win. Kaitlyn Edmondson impressed with a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead Flower Mound. Madison Cox nearly missed a double-double, scoring nine points and grabbing 13 rebounds. The duo combined for seven blocks on the defensive end of the floor.
Denton Braswell will face South Grand Prairie in the area round. South Grand Prairie eliminated Irving MacArthur 77-25 in the bi-district round. Denton Braswell will need Evans and Sevier to play their best in order to compete with a talented South Grand Prairie squad.
Player of the Week
My Player of the Week is Frisco Liberty’s Tristen Kailey! Frisco Liberty clinched the District 10-5A championship with a 71-61 overtime win over Frisco Centennial on Tuesday night. Kailey stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 36 points in the win! Kailey got help from Jayden Daniels (21 points) on the offensive end. Frisco Liberty will be a team to watch in the playoffs with Kailey, Daniels and Cobe Coleman all capable of filling it up on the offensive end.
Cover Photo of Denton Braswell's Kennedy Evans courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Steve Nurenberg.