The Cooldown- Week 24

The Cooldown- Week 24 (Spring 2023)

On March 6, 1836, the Battle of the Alamo ended after Texan soldiers, led by James Bowie and William Travis, were defeated by a 13-day long siege from Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and thousands of Mexican soldiers. Santa Anna’s army outnumbered the Texans by thousands, though no more than 200 Texan soldiers killed at least 600 Mexican soldiers. Sam Houston, the Commander-in-Chief of Texan forces, and 800 Texan soldiers later defeated Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto as Texans used “Remember the Alamo” as a rallying cry throughout the fight.

It’s been 187 years to the day since the Alamo fell to Santa Anna. Though Mexican forces only held the Alamo for a matter of months, it’s still important to Remember the Alamo. Men’s teams across the metroplex will hope to win a state championship just a few miles from the Alamo in an arena named after it in just a few short days. While the battles that take place in the Alamodome this weekend may not be as epic or historic as the original fight, I hope the end result is victory, and not defeat, for DFW squads.

Before we can preview the 2023 UIL Men’s State Championships, it’s time to put a bow on the women’s season. Three teams made it down to San Antonio, two made a State Championship Game and one hoisted a trophy at the end of a season-long battle.

Frisco Liberty defeats Lubbock Cooper in 5A State Championship Game

Congratulations to Frisco Liberty on winning the 5A State Championship Game with a 57-52 win over Lubbock Cooper! Frisco Liberty trailed 17-8 after the first quarter but used a big second quarter to take a 23-21 lead at halftime. That run was sparked by Keyera Roseby, the MVP of the 5A State Championship Game, who scored 12 points in the first half. Frisco Liberty increased its lead to seven points by the end of the third quarter and held that advantage throughout the final frame.

Roseby led the way for Frisco Liberty with 21 points and eight rebounds. Roseby shot an impressive 85% at the free throw line and 60% from behind the arc in the win. Jacy Abii added 15 points, three rebounds and four steals. Journee Harris scored seven points, Lilian Johnson chipped in six points, Za’Naiha Hensley scored four points, and Jezelle Jolie Moreno and Judith Aluga each scored two points to round out the scoring for Frisco Liberty.

DeSoto falls to Northside Clark in 6A State Championship Game

DeSoto has been a fixture in San Antonio recently, and that figures to continue well into the future with so many talented freshmen contributing this season. The future is bright for DeSoto, but seniority got the better of a young team as Northside Clark took down DeSoto 42-37 in the 6A State Championship Game.

Amayah Garcia led DeSoto with 14 points and Mylasia Smith added seven points. Amari Byles scored six points while Kamora Pruitt and Rieyan DeSouze added four points each. Arianna Roberson dominated the game for Clark with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

DeSoto eliminated Pearland 56-35 in the state semifinal to advance to the State Championship Game. The Lady Eagles got 15 points from Smith and 10 points from Byles in the win. Ma’Riya Vincent nearly missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds and Garcia scored nine points against Pearland as well. It was a fantastic season for DeSoto, and I would be surprised if this group of freshmen don’t deliver a state title to DeSoto sometime in the next three years.

Coppell falls to Northside Clark in 6A State Semifinal

Clark defeated not just one, but two of the DFW area teams that made it to San Antonio. The Clark Cougars had the homecourt advantage, but also looked like the best team in the state tournament. Coppell’s historic season fell just short of a state title, though it was a memorable run through the playoffs for the Cowgirls. Ultimately, that historic season ended in heartbreaking fashion as Clark beat Coppell 49-48 to advance to the 6A State Championship Game.

Jules LaMendola led the Cowgirls, as she has all season, with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Ella Spiller added 14 points. Both LaMendola and Spiller shot 50% from the field in the loss. Macey Mercer scored 11 points for Coppell, while Allyssa Potter scored three points and Waverly Hassman and Landry Sherrer each scored two points.

Games to Watch

6A Semifinal

Lake Highlands vs DeSoto

Two of the four teams playing in the 6A State Semifinals are from DFW and one of those two teams in guaranteed to make it to the title game. Unlike last year, an all-DFW state title game isn’t possible as Beaumont United takes on San Antonio Brennan in the other semifinal.

Lake Highlands beat Byron Nelson 62-36 to advance to San Antonio. The Wildcats will have the best player in the state tournament in Tre Johnson, who dropped 25 points against Byron Nelson on Saturday. Lake Highlands had a few close calls throughout the playoffs, though it left no doubt in the regional tournament with the blowout win over Byron Nelson and a 63-43 win over North Crowley. DeSoto will need to follow the Arlington Martin and Plano East blueprint to keep it close and give it a shot to win.

DeSoto advanced to San Antonio by way of a 34-30 win over Cypress Falls and a 64-53 win over Klein Oak. DeSoto’s playoff route has consisted mostly of Houston area teams. The only metroplex area school the Eagles faced on the road to San Antonio was a 63-45 win over Rockwall Heath in the area round.

There will be a ton of talent on the floor in this game. All eyes will be on Johnson, naturally, but Lake Highlands has plenty of other good players to go to if Johnson struggles. Samson Aletan, Jaire Williams, Quinton Perkins, Chidi Umeh and Jaylen Washington are all impressive players. For DeSoto, football standout Jaxson Davis can hoop, too, and will be going for his second state title of the school year. Russell Foreman, Arrington Cooper, DeShawn Crawford and Nakia Smith all contribute in big ways for DeSoto as well. The Eagles have a strong basketball tradition and have the talent to win the state title, even if they are the lowest ranked team in San Antonio this weekend.

5A State Semifinals

Kimball vs San Antonio Veterans Memorial

Kimball is the top ranked team in 5A and will face the lowest ranked team, San Antonio Veterans Memorial, in the 5A Semifinal. Kimball defeated Lancaster 63-54 to advance to San Antonio. Tylar Hankamer led the Knights in the win over Lancaster with 20 points. T’Johnn Brown and Barack Holland each added 12 points and RJ Osborne scored 11 points. That quartet and DaCannon Wickware give Kimball a lot on both ends of the floor. Brown is the player to watch as he leads Kimball in points and assists-per-game this season.

Kimball routed Red Oak 69-44 before eliminating Lancaster, and aside from the Lancaster win, only played one other competitive game in the playoffs, beating a good Frisco Heritage team 75-72. San Antonio Veterans Memorial beat Corpus Christi Miller 69-33 and Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial 79-63 in the regional tournament. Despite the high scoring blowouts in the regional tournament, San Antonio Veterans Memorial played lower scoring competitive games in the playoffs in wins over Leander Rouse (46-44) and San Antonio Sam Houston (53-46).

Mansfield Summit vs Killeen Ellison

If Kimball defeats San Antonio Veterans Memorial, Mansfield Summit can make it an all-DFW 5A State Championship with a win over Killeen Ellison. Mansfield Summit is led by Franck Emmou, Richard Lemboye and David Terrell. The Jags eliminated El Paso Chapin 54-47 to advance to San Antonio. Both Emmou and Lemboye finished with 14 points and Terrell scored 11 points against El Paso Chapin. Mansfield Summit also defeated Amarillo 55-48 in the regional tournament after blowing out every other team it faced en route to the regional tournament.

Killeen Ellison is led by Oklahoma State signee Jamyron Keller. As an Oklahoma State alumnus, I have followed and paid attention to Keller’s season. He is as advertised and scored 32 points in Ellison’s win over Fort Bend Marshall to advance to the 5A State Tournament. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Keller put up a similar number against Mansfield Summit.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is Frisco Liberty’s Keyera Roseby! As outlined above, Roseby led her team to a 5A State Championship and was named the MVP of the 5A State Championship Game! Roseby scored 21 points in the title game and 28 points in the semifinal win over San Antonio Wagner. Roseby was named to the 5A All-Touranment Team, along with teammate Jacy Abii, who scored 19 points in the semifinal and 15 points in the title game.