The Cooldown- Week 26

Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Michael Ainsworth

Tuesday is the first day of March. That means March Madness is officially here and it starts with a fantastic slate of men’s playoff games on Tuesday night. The women’s Final Four will take place in San Antonio at the end of the week while the men will compete on Friday and Saturday to determine which teams make the trip to San Antonio for the Final Four the following weekend. We have a recap of some of the best playoff games from the last weekend and a preview of the women’s Final Four and the Tuesday night round three men’s playoff games.

DeSoto defeats Duncanville to clinch Final Four appearance

DeSoto will defend its state championship this weekend in the Final Four after a 60-47 win over Duncanville to punch its ticket to San Antonio. The Lady Eagles will be favored to win the 6A State Championship this weekend as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation.

Duncanville jumped out to an early lead and took a 16-8 lead into the second quarter before DeSoto got hot. The Lady Eagles offense kicked into high gear, scoring 20 points in the second quarter and holding Duncanville to just four points in the second frame. That large run was enough for DeSoto to gain a comfortable lead and not look back.

Sa’Myah Smith led the way for DeSoto with 17 points and Ayanna Thompson added 12 points. Ja’Mia Harris scored 10 points while Amina Muhammad chipped in nine points. Tionna Herron and Jiya Perry each scored six points to round out the scoring for DeSoto. Duncanville was led by 17 points from Tristen Taylor and Victoria Flores scored 12 points for the Pantherettes. Kaylinn Kemp and Tajenae Gooden each scored six points in the loss.

DeSoto will face No. 3 San Antonio Clark in the state semifinal on Friday night at 8:30. That game will tip-off after the conclusion of the other 6A State Semifinal game between No. 2 Humble Summer Creek and No. 5 South Grand Prairie. We could get an all-DFW 6A State Championship Game if both DeSoto and South Grand Prairie can advance.

South Grand Prairie eliminates Denton Braswell to advance to the Final Four

As mentioned just above, South Grand Prairie isn’t the only metroplex area team making the four-hour trip down to San Antonio to play at the Alamodome in the Final Four. South Grand Prairie defeated Denton Braswell 47-35 after jumping out to a 16-2 lead after the first quarter. Denton Braswell rallied in the second half, but its comeback attempt fell short as South Grand Prairie utilized a balanced scoring attack to eliminate the Bengals from the playoffs.

Adhel Tac led the way with 12 points for South Grand Prairie. Taylor Barnes scored 11 points and Jahcelyn Hartfield added nine points. Victoria Dixon chipped in eight points for the Warriors in the win. Alisa Williams scored a game-high 20 points for Denton Braswell in the loss, and Jazmyne Jackson added nine points.

South Grand Prairie will face a Humble Summer Creek team that last made the Final Four in 2019 and lost to DeSoto in the state semifinal game. Summer Creek won Region III after beating Pearland 59-42 behind 20 points from Kaitlyn Duhon. Tip-off is set for Friday night at 7:00 with the DeSoto-San Antonio Clark game to follow.

Frisco Memorial eliminates Frisco Liberty to clinch Final Four appearance

Frisco Memorial will make its first appearance at the Final Four in San Antonio after the Warriors beat Frisco Liberty 43-35 in the Region II Championship Game. Frisco Memorial trailed Frisco Liberty 31-28 heading to the fourth quarter before the Warriors closed the game on a 15-4 run. Sisters Jasmyn and Falyn Lott combined to score all of Frisco Liberty’s 15 points in the fourth quarter. Jasmyn finished with 17 points and Falyn finished with eight points in the game. Brynn Lusby added 10 points for Frisco Memorial in the win. Jazzy Owens- Barnett paced Frisco Liberty with 13 points in her final high school game. Keyera Roseby scored nine points and Ashley Anderson chipped in eight points in the loss.

No. 3 Frisco Memorial will face No. 5 Amarillo in the 5A State Semifinal Game on Thursday night at 8:30. The other 5A State Semifinal Game will be played on Thursday night at 7:00 between Cedar Park (35-0) and College Station (31-6).

Men’s Games to Watch- Tuesday Night

Richardson vs McKinney- Curtis Culwell Center @ 7:00

Richardson outlasted Allen 65-61 on Friday night to advance while McKinney beat South Grand Prairie 60-45. Richardson’s game was a little too close for comfort, but it’s the playoffs. It isn’t supposed to be comfortable. Especially not for a team as talented as Richardson. The Eagles have a large target on their backs because many assume Richardson will march right to San Antonio to face Duncanville. Overlooking McKinney would be a massive mistake as the Lions are one of the most talented teams- with one of the most talented players- in the metroplex. This will be the game of the night in the metroplex and the Culwell Center should be packed. Rylan Griffen and Cason Wallace vs Ja’Kobe Walter and Alex Anamekwe will be one of the best two-on-two matchups we will see in the playoffs. Get out and watch this one in person if you’re able to.

Richland vs Mansfield Summit- Wilkerson Greines Athletic Center @ 7:00

Richland raced past Arlington Seguin 68-49 and Mansfield Summit dominated Denton Ryan 73-39 to advance. This game will be much more competitive than the previous round was for each of these teams. Both of these teams have several players who can score in double figures on any given night and I expect a bit of a shootout. This game will be one to keep an eye on as the winner will face the winner of Amarillo and Randall for the right to play for the Region I Championship.

Duncanville vs DeSoto- Ellis Davis Fieldhouse @ 7:30

Any time we get a matchup between district rivals in the playoffs, especially rivals as fierce as Duncanville and DeSoto are, it is must-watch basketball. DeSoto just beat Duncanville in women’s basketball to advance to the Final Four and now the Duncanville men will have a chance to avenge the loss the women suffered to DeSoto last weekend. On the other hand, DeSoto could sweep Duncanville out of the playoffs in basketball. Duncanville will be large favorites after handling DeSoto in the two district matchups. But this is the playoffs, and anything can happen in the playoffs.

Mansfield Timberview vs Mansfield Legacy- Mansfield Lake Ridge HS @ 6:30

How about an all- Mansfield playoff game? Mansfield Timberview beat Mansfield Legacy 65-63 in late January after Timberview used a 17-4 run in the fourth quarter to pull out the close victory that day. Both of these teams are talented and know each other well. That always makes for interesting playoff basketball and this game should be no different.

Lake Highlands vs Arlington Martin- Lancaster HS @ 7:00

Lake Highlands knocked off previously undefeated Plano 58-56 on Friday night to continue its fantastic season while Arlington Martin upset District 5-6A Champion Denton Guyer 47-46 to advance. Arlington Martin was led by football star Cydd Ford with 15 points in the win. The playoff road doesn’t get any easier for the Warriors as Arlington Martin now has to face top ranked sophomore Tre Johnson and Lake Highlands.

Player of the Week

My Player of the Week is Richardson’s Cason Wallace! Richardson went 2-0 in the playoffs last week to advance to the regional quarterfinals against McKinney. Wallace knocked down the game-winning jumper against Allen to propel Richardson to a 65-61 win over Allen on Friday night! Wallace also led the Eagles in scoring with 28 points in a 97-63 win over Grand Prairie in the bi-district round!

Cover Photo of the South Grand Prairie women's basketball team courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Michael Ainsworth.

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