The Cooldown- Week 24

Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Rebecca Slezak

We have officially arrived at the most exciting stretch of the basketball schedule! That’s right, the road to San Antonio starts now. The women tip-off the playoffs this week with some metroplex area teams competing in the bi-district round on Monday night. The men wrap up district play on Tuesday night and have a bye night on Friday before the playoffs tip-off next week. It’s time to recap some of the best games from last Friday and preview the week ahead.

Richardson beats Lake Highlands

It’s a three-peat in Richardson! Cason Wallace and Rylan Griffen had to leave the city with one last district championship before heading off to college. The Eagles beat Lake Highlands 84-78 at home after winning the first matchup 85-78 on the road. Once again it was Richardson jumping out to a large lead and Lake Highlands battling back but falling short. The Eagles led Lake Highlands 21-9 after the first quarter and scored no less than 16 points in a quarter.

Wallace led Richardson with 33 points and Griffen added 19 points to give the dynamic duo a total of 52 points on senior night. Charles Johnson chipped in 18 points to give Richardson three players in double-figures. Tre Johnson was fantastic once again for Lake Highlands, leading the Wildcats in scoring with 39 points. Quinton Perkins added 10 points and BJ Davis chipped in eight points.

Richardson will be a favorite to make it to San Antonio, but Lake Highlands has the talent to make a deep playoff run as well. I will be keeping an eye on both of these teams over the next few weeks in the playoffs.

McKinney beats Denton Guyer

McKinney dropped a close game to Denton Guyer on the road a few weeks back, but the Lions would not be denied against the Wildcats at home last Friday night. McKinney beat Denton Guyer 71-59 after jumping out to a 10-point lead by halftime. Denton Guyer cut that lead back down to seven points heading to the fourth quarter, but the Lions defense held up much better than the first meeting when Denton Guyer scored 83 points and McKinney held on for the win.

Ja’Kobe Walter led the way for McKinney with 28 points and was fantastic on both ends all night long. Jacovey Campbell added 15 points for the Lions and Alex Anamekwe and Thatcher McClure each scored 11 points to give McKinney four players in double-figures. Connor Newton led Denton Guyer with 17 points and KyeRon Lindsay scored 13 points in the loss. Jordan Lowery scored 12 points and Jeremiah Green added eight points.

Denton Guyer and McKinney split its home-and-home district series, but McKinney also has a district loss to Allen. The Lions finished district play with a 10-2 record while Denton Guyer sits at 10-1 and a game against Prosper left on the schedule. A win over Prosper would clinch the district championship for Denton Guyer. Both teams will be teams to watch when the playoffs start next week.

Kimball takes down Lancaster

Kimball lost its only district game a month ago on the road at Lancaster, but the Knights avenged that loss on Friday night at home against the Tigers. Kimball took down Lancaster 90-78 in a game that featured plenty of dunks, playmaking, trash talk and technical fouls. Sounds about like a game between two talented rivals that played a big role in deciding the fate of a district championship.

Kimball’s three-headed monster put the game out of reach down the stretch. The Knights held just a four-point lead at halftime, but outscored Lancaster 29-16 in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Arterio Morris led the way for Kimball with 29 points while Trae Clayton added 25 points and Kyron Henderson scored 17 points. Kade Douglas paced Lancaster with a game-high 31 points in the loss. These teams are ranked second and third in the state in 5A and both will have a good shot to win the 5A State Championship. There can only be one, and the first two matchups this season have been must-see basketball.

Women’s Playoff Preview

DeSoto will be the team to watch once again in the playoffs as the Lady Eagles try to go back-to-back as State Champions. The only two losses for DeSoto this season have come against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in Sidwell Friends. DeSoto is the No. 2 ranked team in the nation and is the clear favorite to win the 6A State Championship Game. The Lady Eagles are led by Sa’Myah Smith, Tionna Herron and Amina Muhammad.

Coppell and Duncanville both stand in the way of DeSoto’s attempt to get back to San Antonio. Coppell is ranked No. 4 in 6A and is led by Jules LaMendola and India Howard. Duncanville lost to DeSoto twice in district play but has enough talent to compete with the Lady Eagles. Duncanville is led by Tristen Taylor and Victoria Flores. Plano East is also a team to keep an eye on in the 6A bracket, led by Donavia Hall. Denton Braswell is one of the hottest teams in 6A, led by Alisa Williams and Kennedy Evans. Braswell has won 24 games in a row and has a record of 31-2 but will face tough competition from other metroplex area teams in the playoffs.

Frisco Liberty will attempt to get to San Antonio but will face one of the toughest roads to the Final Four of any team in any classification. If Frisco Liberty makes it to San Antonio, Jazzy Owens- Barnett will be the one to lead it there. Owens- Barnett is one of the most talented players in the state and will have help from teammate Keyera Roseby. Frisco Liberty is ranked No. 4 in 5A but could face McKinney North (No. 2) and Frisco Memorial (No. 3) on its playoff road. That’s not to mention four other teams ranked in the top 25 in the state playing in Frisco Liberty’s region.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is Frisco Heritage’s Nicholas Jett! Frisco Heritage went 3-0 last week and Jett played a big role in all three wins. The Coyotes got the week started with a 49-46 win over Frisco Centennial on Monday. Jett finished with 16 points as the second leading scorer for Frisco Heritage behind Mosa Osagie. Frisco Heritage routed Frisco Lebanon Trail 73-59 on the second night of a back-to-back and Jett led the way with 23 points. The Coyotes capped off their undefeated week with a 78-63 win over Frisco behind a 40-point performance from Jett!

Cover Photo of McKinney coach Wes Watson courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Staff Photographer Rebecca Slezak.