The second half of conference action in many of the state’s boys basketball districts began on Tuesday, as races for both league championships and playoff berths begin to amplify in the coming weeks.
Thus far, Lewisville ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD project to qualify multiple teams for the playoffs, with programs turning in encouraging runs through 6-6A and 11-5A so far.
Here’s a look at how those teams stack up as they close in on the stretch run.
(Editor’s Note: Records reflective of games played entering Friday)
1. Coppell (6-2)
Five of the Cowboys’ first six district wins have come by double digits — good for an average margin of margin of victory of 19 points. When in control, Coppell’s well-rounded brand of basketball, spearheaded by seniors Adam Roussa, Brandon Taylor and sophomores Ryan Agarwal and Anthony Black, has scuttled some of the top teams in the Metroplex.
Against Lewisville, however, it’s been a different story. The Farmers, fueled by some crunch-time heroics by Keyonte George, have accounted for the lone blemishes on Coppell’s 6-6A resume — including a 57-54 overtime verdict on Tuesday.
Those losses could prove costly should the two teams wind up tied in the standings, but Coppell holding at least one head-to-head win over every other team in the district should still bode well for its prospects during the homestretch.
1. Flower Mound (6-2)
Perhaps the district’s best mix between inside and outside scoring, the Jaguars’ balance has thrust them squarely into the district title conversation. Flower Mound exited Tuesday averaging 65.1 points per game in conference play, and that 60-point threshold has been telling all season — on the year, the Jaguars have lost only one time (to private school juggernaut John Paul II) when scoring at least 60 points.
Between seniors Jeffrey Mills, Jack Richter, Gavin Green, Robert Cieri and junior Hayden Lacy, the Jaguars have the depth and ammunition to continue firing away against 6-6A defenses.
There are plenty of key contests remaining for Flower Mound, but chances to avenge prior losses to Coppell and MacArthur on Feb. 7 and Feb. 11, respectively, stand out.
1. Marcus (6-2)
One of the more impressive resurgences in the area emanates from Marcus, where the Marauders have overcome an up-and-down preseason to stake a justified claim at district title contention.
Slowed by injuries early in the year, Marcus has been a well-oiled machine when at full strength, evidenced by commanding, double-digit victories over playoff hopefuls MacArthur (70-53) and Lewisville (71-57).
Led by juniors Nick Donnelly and Cale Martens, the Marauders have also shown a knack for raising their level of play against the rest of the district’s best — averaging 68.3 points per game versus Flower Mound, Lewisville and MacArthur versus just 54 points elsewhere in the conference.
A season sweep of either the Cardinals or the Farmers would go a long way toward potentially clinching the program’s first playoff berth since 2015.
5. Lewisville (5-3)
The preseason district favorite Farmers have as much top-shelf talent as any program in the Metroplex, but the rest of 6-6A hasn’t backed down — dealing Lewisville a three-game losing streak following a 4-0 start, which had the team surprisingly outside the playoff picture through the first half of conference action.
A season sweep of state-ranked Coppell reinforces the Farmers’ glaring potential, and Lewisville will need to channel that level of execution several more times after dropping outings to Flower Mound, Marcus and MacArthur during the first half of district play — setbacks that could loom large should tiebreakers kick in at the end of the regular season.
Bet against any team with Keyonte George at your own peril, but Lewisville’s margin for error is the slimmest of all the playoff hopefuls entering the homestretch.
6. Hebron (2-6)
On paper, the Hawks had the ammunition to wedge their way into the district’s five-team logjam, but wins over Irving and Irving Nimitz have been all that Hebron can muster so far.
The absence of leading scorer and senior Logan McLaughlin looms large, with the Hawks struggling to replace the dynamic guard’s offense. The result has been just 46 points per game in district play, with players like Cameryn Miller and David Deal among those who have tried picking up the slack without McLaughlin.
However, it’s those limitations on the offensive end that, barring a turnaround, have contributed to what’s increasingly looking like the end of a four-year run of consecutive playoff appearances for Hebron.
1. Newman Smith (8-0)
The Trojans are perfect not just in district play, but for the 2019-20 season, improving to 21-0 following Tuesday’s 94-34 blowout of Thomas Jefferson — upping Smith’s average margin of victory to a staggering 38.0 points against the rest of 11-5A.
One of just four undefeated teams remaining among those ranked throughout the state by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, the Trojans have received contributions from all over — be it the all-around scoring of Sam Houston State pledge Jarren Cook, the interior presence of Domani Villaruel or the backcourt generalship of Thibaut Tagnon. Even in the team’s toughest test in district — a 74-66 road win over Highland Park — it was AJ Bar-Jona who led the way with 21 points.
That victory heightened the odds of the Trojans posting a rare perfect regular season.
4. Creekview (4-4)
The Mustangs did themselves no favors by starting off district play in an 0-4 hole, but have responded with four straight wins to claim the inside track to 11-5A’s final playoff seed. Tuesday’s 44-43 win over rival R.L. Turner could loom large down the road, as Creekview rallied down six points down entering the fourth quarter.
The comeback was all the more notable considering the Mustangs overcame just a six-point night from Trey Wooten, who had averaged 19.5 points over Creekview’s prior four games.
Games against Woodrow Wilson and Newman Smith in the coming week won’t do the Mustangs any favors, but a winnable homestretch should aid Creekview in the playoff race.
7. R.L. Turner (2-6)
Not only did Tuesday’s one-point loss to Creekview boost the Mustangs’ postseason odds, it made the road that much more daunting for the Lions, who dropped their sixth district ballgame in a row. Those losses came after a 2-0 start that included wins over Creekview and Thomas Jefferson, with the ensuing setbacks including two decided by three points or less, which may wind up being the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
Senior Bryndon Looney should help make things interesting, though, with the 6-foot-5 forward logging multiple 20-plus-point games in district play.