1. Area teams hitting stretch run
For district races to follow down the stretch, the greater areas south and southeast of Houston are great places to start, with elite squads from Districts 24-6A and 23-5A locked into tight battles that promise plenty of fireworks in the final weeks of the regular season.
The 23-5A race features three state-ranked teams in Elkins, Shadow Creek and Texas City that all have two losses – and reigning state finalist Fort Bend Marshall is fourth at 8-4 – with two weeks remaining.
And in 24-6A, Dickinson, Clear Creek and Clear Lake are tied for first at 8-2 with four games to go. They were in a four-way tie for first with Clear Springs before the Gators beat the Chargers 59-39 on Tuesday at home, and so far they’ve all split their district series, with Dickinson splitting with Springs and Lake, and Creek splitting its district games with Springs, so the title and playoff seeding are far from decided. Dickinson and Clear Creek reconvene Tuesday in Dickinson.
“It was very important that we protected home court,” Dickinson coach Jason Wilson said after beating Springs, which won 55-54 in the first round. “We’ve got to steal a few on the road, but we were able to do what we needed to do (Jan. 30) to get one of those teams out of that four-way tie. So we have a little cushion, but the race is certainly not over.”
2. Johnson, Mustangs heating up
The race isn’t over in 21-6A either after North Shore dealt Atascocita its first setback last week, although the Eagles still have a leg up on the chase for the championship, sporting a one-game lead on North Shore with four games to play. They split their season series, with Atascocita winning 42-38 in the first round and North Shore prevailing 54-51 on Jan. 23, behind a surging Tayvion Johnson.
With the 6-7 forward leading the way, the Mustangs are on a six-game winning streak heading into the stretch run. Johnson, an unsigned senior, supplied 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Atascocita, and 12 points, 11 boards, four assists and four blocks in a 62-39 win over Kingwood. North Shore kept rolling with a 58-39 win over Channelview on Tuesday.
“(Johnson’s) our best player, by far,” coach David Green said. “He’s taken it to another level, as far as getting our season going in the right direction. He’s the glue. The other kids are following his lead.”
3. Cy-Falls rolling as playoffs approach
The reigning Class 6A champion Cypress Falls Golden Eagles appear primed to defend their state title after posting their ninth straight win, and 13th in the last 14 games Friday, rolling over Jersey Village, 64-34, on the road. They dispatched their closest competition for the second time last week in a 51-42 win over Cy Creek, with standout shooting guard Nigel Hawkins supplying 19 points, three assists, three steals – and one devastating dunk captured on a video that’s currently making the rounds on Twitter.
Hawkins, who boasts offers from Texas A&M and Houston, is averaging 18.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the No. 3 Eagles (25-3, 9-0), who’ve won 24 consecutive district games going back to the end of the 2015-16 season. They face Langham Creek on Friday before closing district with Cy Ranch, Cy Ridge and Cy Lakes.
4. Moffat, Magnolia making moves
Magnolia (8-2 in district) kept its championship hopes alive in 20-5A, edging Tomball Memorial 77-68 behind a huge game from 6-7 forward Jackson Moffatt, who erupted for 40 points and 11 rebounds. Evan Palmquist added 12 points and six assists, keeping the Bulldogs tied for second with Willis – which beat Brenham 60-50 Tuesday behind Darius Mickens’ 45 points and school-record 21 boards – one game behind Huntsville with four games left. Magnolia and Willis collide Friday at Willis.
5. Sam Houston,Dekaney cruising
Dekaney and Sam Houston look like legitimate championship contenders, too. Dekaney, ranked fourth in 6A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 6A, extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 95-59 rout of rival Spring, sending them to 27-3, 10-0. No. 10 Sam Houston beat Bellaire 75-67 behind 36 points from Kendric Davis for its ninth straight win, lifting it to 23-3, 9-0.
6. Springs charging up rankings
The Clear Springs girls (25-7, 12-0), unranked only two weeks ago, are on the radar now, jumping to No. 12 in this week’s TABC 6A rankings. They’re on a nine-game winning streak after a 72-31 win over Dickinson, with Dymond Gladney supplying 14 points, five assists and five steals. Cy Creek and Cy Ranch are seventh and eighth, respectively, and Atascocita is ranked 20th.
7. Barbers Hill wraps up share of 21-5A
The Barbers Hill girls, No. 2 in 5A, clinched at least a share of the 21-5A championship with a 61-30 win over Humble, sending them to 33-2, 16-0. Texas signee Charli Collier supplied 33 points in the win. The Eagles, who went 18-0 in district last season, go for another outright title Friday at New Caney.
8. Angleton vs.Foster boys
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday, Foster
This feud doesn’t end on the gridiron, where the No. 24 Wildcats and Falcons met in the regional finals in December. They’re both 9-1 in 27-5A. Foster won 77-74 on Jan. 9 but also lost to Terry on Dec. 22.
9. Texas City vs. Shadow Creek boys
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday, Shadow Creek
The No. 17 Sharks and 19th-ranked Stingarees reunite for another pivotal matchup in the 23-5A title hunt. They’re both 10-2, a half-game behind No. 12 Elkins. Shadow Creek won 60-50 on Jan. 2 at Texas City.
10. Atascocita vs.Summer Creek girls
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday, Summer Creek
First place is at stake in another big game on a loaded Friday night, with the state-ranked Eagles, 10-0 in 21-6A, taking on the rival Bulldogs (25-4, 9-1), who struggled offensively in the first meeting.
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