As much of the district continues to trade punches on a nightly basis, Memorial continues to fly above the pack.
The Warriors, the No. 7 team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 5A state poll, moved to 9-0 in 9-5A on Friday with a 75-69 victory over Heritage to open a three-game advantage over the rest of the field.
The Coyotes were hoping to narrow the gap in the standings and the game featured a number of huge shifts in momentum.
Memorial led 18-11 after one quarter only to have Heritage score 23 points in the second to take a one-point lead into halftime.
The third quarter belonged to the Warriors, who outscored the Coyotes 29-15 to open a 62-49 lead and then held off another Heritage push in the fourth.
Isaiah Foster led a quartet of Memorial players in double figures with 22 points, Avery Jackson, Jr. had 18 and Drew Steffe and Mason Wujek added 14 and 10, respectively.
The Coyotes got 25 points from Nicholas Jett, 19 from Elijah Flowers and 14 from Darien Souter.
Memorial made history last season by breaking through and making the playoffs for the first time and they are hungry for more, not just in adding a first district championship, but making some noise in the postseason.
The Warriors certainly have the pieces to make that happen.
Steffe, a 6-5 junior guard, is a versatile player and a big-time scorer who has attracted the attention of college programs around the country.
Memorial has leadership in the backcourt with a pair of senior guards in Foster and Jackson,, and there is a formidable presence in the middle with 6-8 senior Wujek.
As with all good teams, the Warriors have also had other players step up, including senior Austin Mallett and juniors Leon Horner, Jaxson Thomas and Brycen Perry.
The Coyotes (6-3) have one of the best 1-2 punches in the area in seniors Jett and Taven Washington.
Jett is averaging a team-high 18.6 points with 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while Washington is tallying 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.
There are other consistent contributors, as well, with senior Mitra Nakka, who is scoring 8.1 points and dishing out a team-high 3.7 assists a night, senor Mosa Osagie has a team-best 6.5 rebounds per game and averages 6.6 points and junior Flowers (6.5 ppg) also provides some scoring punch.
Wakeland (6-3) is the two-time defending district champion and is positioned to make a run at its fourth straight playoff berth.
The Wolverines have a seasoned group that knows what it takes to make a playoff push with seniors Michael Niemann, Landon Clark and Brandon Cerda and juniors Austin Brown, Nick Demauro, Matt Hampton, Tyler Tudik and Luke Lee.
Independence (5-4) is seeking its third playoff berth in program history and first since 2020 and is in position.
The Knights have had several different players step up at various points, including seniors Jaxon Copeland, Justin Williams and Tristen Sabin and juniors Elliott Taite, Aiden Leckband and Santana Arroyo.
Liberty (5-4) made six consecutive playoff appearances from 2014-2019, but has not been back in the postseason since.
The Redhawks have an emerging star in freshman Cobe Coleman and a talented junior class that includes Jayden Daniels, Trenton Walters, Jon-Jon Dupree, Matthew Bishop and Tristen Kailey.
Centennial (4-5) has a presence in the middle in 6-6 junior Nikhil Prabhu and other solid contributors with seniors Elijah Conom and Andy Cho and juniors Rome Watkins and Holden Patel.
Lone Star (3-6) is searching for its first playoff berth since 2019. Bishop Jones, a 6-5 senior, has been a steady scorer, as has junior Jayce Spann and Kristian Aquino.
Frisco (3-6), a playoff team a season ago, has the pieces to make a climb back into the postseason race.
Rocco Paul, a 6-4 senior, has been steady, there are talented juniors in Tyler Bozeman, Brandon Miyazono, Justin Wicker and Caleb Kendall and Treyvon Dancer had a recent 29-point effort.
Reedy (3-6) is trying to make the playoffs for the first time in program history, but will need to turn things around in the second half behind seniors Andrew Knabb and Parker Davison, juniors James Ambery and Elian Santana and sophomore Jackson Langford.
Lebanon Trail (1-8), another team looking for its inaugural postseason appearance, has a tall hill to climb, but they could make some noise with seniors Caden Reichmuth, Kabir Kapai and Mason Fuller and juniors Jeremy Jones and Jeremiah Roberts.