A year ago, there were no state champions crowned in boys basketball, as the playoffs were brought to a halt due the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though there have been some issues with teams having to quarantine, they were able to get the regular season completed and the quest for a state title begins later this week with the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Frisco ISD will have four representatives as Wakeland, Heritage, Frisco and Memorial did not have to go down to the wire, having secured their spots with time to spare, though the seeding was not finalized until last Tuesday.
The Wolverines (22-3, 16-2) claimed the 9-5A championship and top seed in the playoffs and they will take on The Colony in the bi-district round at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lewisville High School.
Wakeland has a solid line with 6-4 senior Cooper Sisco, 6-4 junior Quincy Adams and 6-5 senior Drake Kindsvater and depth to match with senior Xavier Gaffney, junior Michael Niemann and Harris Yaksick.
The Wolverines, who are ranked 18th in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 5A state poll, have just three losses on the season—two close district games and a five-point setback to No. 1 Lancaster.
The Colony (10-12) has had some ups and downs, but has been able to win the games it needed to earn a playoff berth.
The Cougars have a dangerous player in 6-7 senior Tay Mosher, who recently poured in 36 points in a victory. Mosher has gotten support from the likes of seniors Elijah Williams, Caden Sclafani and Oman Ozenne and junior Grayson Ryan and Jahyden Davis.
Heritage (21-4) secured the second seed with Tuesday’s 69-55 win over Lone Star, which earns them a date with Prosper Rock Hill (16-5), who qualified for the playoffs in its inaugural campaign, with those teams slated to meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Plano West High School.
The Coyotes have had one of the best scoring combinations in the district with 6-4 senior Julian Cleary and 6-2 junior Nicholas Jett. That pair has gotten plenty of support from 6-5 senior Camden Disarro, senior Blake Benn and juniors Taven Washington and Mosa Osagie.
The Coyotes are playing as well as anybody and carry a 11-game winning streak into the playoffs.
They have also shown they know how to win close games, as nine of the 11 games were decided by six points or less.
The Blue Hawks have been competitive from the start with only five losses, including a pair of two-point setbacks to Lovejoy.
First-year teams often do not have a large number of seniors, but Rock Hill has a good balance. Among the players to watch are seniors Grant Shaw and Jaythan Jackson, juniors Anthony Williams, Grant Jessen and Marsalis Brandon and sophomore Riley Shore.
One of the most intriguing first-round games pits Frisco (17-8) against 14-5A runner-up McKinney North (20-4). Those two teams will have some extra time before getting started as they are slated to play at 7 p.m. Monday at McKinney High School.
The Raccoons have a match-up advantage inside with 6-8 junior Mason Wujek and a big-time scorer in 6-4 senior Jovani Benae. Frisco has also gotten solid contributions from Rocco Paul, Micah Robinson, Daniel Meneses Tyler Bozeman, Chase Lowery and Jacob Moscowicz.
The Bulldogs have a number of multi-sport athletes who have enjoyed success in several arenas and have high hopes on the court, including seniors J.J. Henry and Jamien Hopkins and juniors Dylan Frazier, Aidan Partee, C.J. Wilson and Elijah Alexander.
Fourth-seeded Memorial (15-10) draws 10-5A champion Lovejoy (19-3) in the bi-district round, which will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Prosper High School.
The Warriors might be the underdog according to seeding, but they are a dangerous team.
Memorial features a trio of solid scorers with 6-5 sophomore Drew Steffe, who is averaging 17.0 points and 5.7 rebounds, junior Avery Jackson, who is recording 13.8 points and 4.3 boards, and junior Isaiah Foster, who is tallying 13.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The Warriors have size in the middle with 6-8 junior Josh Thrower and 6-7 senior Jaylen Johnson and junior Amin White has also been solid.
One of the biggest reasons for the Leopards’ success is their depth, with a strong rotation that includes 6-6 senior Carson Holden, Mitchell Weaver, Karson Temprin, Sean Calhoun, Pete Peabody, Chris Nelson, Dawson Holt and Jax Thompson.