The Cooldown: Week 23

Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Steve Hamm.

It’s officially playoff basketball time across the state of Texas. The women’s side will be all the way to regional tournaments by the end of this week, while the men tip-off the first two rounds of the playoffs. Let’s recap a couple girls playoff basketball games before previewing the playoff road ahead.

South Grand Prairie eliminates Denton Braswell

South Grand Prairie bounced Denton Braswell from the playoffs in a 52-47 thriller. Free throws down the stretch powered South Grand Prairie to a regional quarterfinal showdown with the Allen Eagles. The Warriors are doing all this without top recruit Adhel Tac.

South Grand Prairie’s success in absence of Tac has been due in large part to the play of Taliyah Parker and Taylor Barnes, who would have played a large role in the Warriors success with or without Tac. Barnes scored 21 points in the win over Denton Braswell and Parker added 12 points.

Makayla Vation led the way for Denton Braswell with 14 points, Ytaly Lewis chipped in 12 points and Amaya McDonald added 11 points in the loss. The path forward for South Grand Prairie includes a regional quarterfinal date with Allen on Monday night at Coppell High School. The winner of that game will face the winner of Southlake Carroll and Wolfforth Frenship in the regional tournament at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. The other teams hoping to make the regional tournament in Region I include the winner of Hebron and Little Elm, as well as the winner of Boswell and El Paso Eastwood.

Mansfield Timberview eliminates Aledo

In 5A, Mansfield Timberview is a state title contender and flexed its muscles in a dominating 70-32 win over the Aledo Bearcats. The Lady Wolves had four players finish in double figures, led by 16 points from Emilee Jones. Chrishawn Coleman scored 13 points, Kamryn Wilson added 11 points and Brooklyn Terry chipped in 10 points.

That’s exactly the type of scoring depth Mansfield Timberview will need to make a run at a state title. The path ahead includes a matchup with Denton Ryan on Monday night at Keller Central High School. The winner advances to face the winner of Amarillo and Lubbock Monterrey at the Kay Yeager Coliseum in the regional tournament. The other Region I teams hoping to make the regional tournament include the winner of Colleyville Heritage and Argyle, as well as the winner of Amarillo Tascosa and Lubbock Cooper.

Men’s State Title Contenders


Plano East

I can’t start this list and not mention the only remaining undefeated team left in the metroplex. Plano East has to be at the top of every 6A state title contender list after finishing the regular season with a sparkling 33-0 record. Friday Night Glory’s Kenny Matthews spoke on the show this week about Plano Easts’ potential revolving around big man DJ Hall, but the Panthers scoring options and versatility on the defensive end expand far beyond just Hall. Any number of players, including Xavier Miller, Jordan Mizell, Jon Tran and Narit Chotikavanic could step up on any given night. That’s what makes Plano East an exciting pick to be the first team to finish a season as undefeated state champions.


It’s odd to not start this list with Duncanville, but Plano East earned the nod after an undefeated regular season. When elimination comes down to one game, Duncanville matches up well with any team in the state. Kayden Edwards leads the way, averaging 23.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on 44.8% from the field. Brandon Davis-Ray provides another potent scoring option, averaging 19.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per night on 51.2% shooting from the field and over 37% from deep. A one-two punch as good as that will take a team far into March, and Duncanville has the state championship pedigree to do it.

The Others

North Crowley has had a great season with 30-3 record on the year. Keller is in this tier if Brooks Bahr is healthy enough to give it a go. Waxahachie won the district Duncanville plays in and is led by big man Parker Jefferson. Allen won 30 games and a district title, led by senior Kaiden Myers. All of these teams are going to challenge for a trip to San Antonio. Now it’s time to see which team make the trip south for the final four.



Lancaster is the metroplex team to watch in 5A this season. The Tigers should be extra motivated to cut down the Alamodome nets this season with a move up to 6A looming. Dillon Battie will be a load to handle for opponents Lancaster faces throughout the playoffs. Devon Pearson and Damontrey Atkins will also need to play a big role if Lancaster is to cut down the nets in March.

Frisco Lone Star

The Rangers have had a great season with a 28-3 record and a top 10 ranking in the state heading into the playoffs. Frisco Lone Star is led by Trent Perry, and he will have to have a herculean playoff performance to get the Rangers to San Antonio with a tough playoff road to navigate in order to make the final four.

The Others

The Colony will have one of the best players in the entire 5A tournament in Dakari Spear, who has averaged 18 points, six boards and three assists per game for the season. Like Perry, Spear would need to put the team on his back for a trip to San Antonio to be in the cards, but it is possible. Dallas Kimball is the defending state champions, but the path to another state title will be tough. The path should get easier with a drop to 4A next season. One of the teams Kimball lost to this season was W.T. White. The Horns should be able to make the regional tournament where a possible matchup with The Colony looms large.


Oak Cliff Faith Family

With three state titles since 2019, this can’t be too much of a surprise. Faith Family is led by Isaac Williams, who averages 21 points, five boards and five assists per game. Faith Family has dominated the 4A classification over the last half decade, but there is one team that could end its playoff run prematurely.

Fort Worth Eastern Hills

A potential matchup between Eastern Hills and Faith Family would take place in the regional tournament. That means only one of these two teams can make it to San Antonio. These are also the top two ranked teams in 4A. Eastern Hills is led by a strong starting five, including Alex Barther, Kamden McGilvary and Messiah Miller. Eastern Hills handed 6A title contender North Crowley one of its three losses earlier this season, and this team is certainly capable of taking down Faith Family. At the same time, this will likely be Eastern Hills’ first deep playoff run with this group. Faith Family should be more than comfortable under pressure in March.

Dallas Carter

“The others” section is really just Dallas Carter as far as 4A teams from the metroplex go. Faith Family and Eastern Hills are the favorites in my eye, but I’m not sleeping on the Carter Cowboys either. Carter will have to get through Eastern Hills, and then also beat Faith Family, in order to make it to San Antonio, but the Cowboys can do it. Chance Puryear leads Carter along with Daniel Thomas, Adarrien Kaniki and Kole Williams. I don’t know which of these three teams will make it to San Antonio, but I am confident that the team that emerges will win a state championship.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is South Grand Prairie’s Taylor Barnes! South Grand Prairie staved off elimination with a 52-47 win over Denton Braswell. Barnes scored 21 points to send South Grand Prairie to the regional quarterfinals and a matchup with the Allen Eagles!

Cover Photo of South Grand Prairie's Anyla Herbert courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Steve Hamm.