McKinney North GBB

McKinney North sophomore Ciara Harris, left, and the Lady Bulldogs are in first place in District 10-5A.

In a sense, the 2020-21 season was a sign of things to come in District 10-5A girls basketball.

McKinney North was one of the area's breakout teams last year and the Lady Bulldogs have built on that potential for an unbeaten run through first half of the district schedule and that state's current No. 2 ranking in Class 5A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

The upshot for North is that 10-5A won't afford any room for complacency with opponents like Princeton and Wylie East proving capable of pushing the Lady Bulldogs to the limit. Elsewhere in the conference, Prosper Rock Hill and Lovejoy are jockeying for fourth place, and The Colony hopes to join that mix at some point if it can string together a productive homestretch.

As the second half of the district schedule gets underway, here's a look at where things stand around 10-5A.

 

(Editor's Note: Records and statistics reflective of games played through Tuesday)

 

1. McKinney North (8-0)

Matt Welch: The Lady Bulldogs have picked up where they left off from a productive 2020-21 campaign that produced a second-place district finish, despite entrusting heavy minutes to a cast of freshmen.

Sophomores like Kaelyn Hamilton and Ciara Harris have benefited plenty from that baptism by fire, leading North to an unbeaten start to 10-5A play this season. Both players rank either first or second on the team in points, rebounds and blocks per game.

Although North no doubt misses the play of sophomore Cheyenne Wooten, who had ACL surgery over the summer, seniors Jayden Smallwood and Alexia Catchings have stepped up to keep the Lady Bulldogs among the Class 5A elite.

2. Princeton (6-2)

Matt Welch: The Lady Panthers are all grown up, and they've staked a valid claim as the No. 2 team in 10-5A. Princeton's only two losses in district have come to North, and the team holds the current edge in tiebreakers over Wylie East thanks to a 54-48 victory over the Lady Raiders on Jan. 7.

Seniors Kaitlyn McKenna and Raylee Cave combined for 33 points in that win, and those two have led the charge for Princeton this season. That duo has been contributing at the varsity level since its freshman year.

The Lady Panthers even gave North a battle on Tuesday after battling back from an early double-digit deficit in a 53-48 loss.

Although Princeton may not crack the Lady Bulldogs' tier, they've gotten the best of the everyone else in 10-5A.

2. Wylie East (6-2)

Matt Welch: The Lady Raiders lost district MVP Akasha Davis to graduation and district newcomer of the year Keyera Roseby is now plying her craft at Frisco Liberty, but East remains plenty formidable.

Players like Taylor Dailey, LeAire Nicks and Aleena Dawkins all contributed during the Lady Raiders' run to the regional finals last season, and they've taken the reins this year for a group that's in position to make a return to the playoffs.

East gave North all it could handle in their first meeting on Jan. 14 in a 50-49 loss. The Lady Raiders get a second crack at the Lady Bulldogs on Feb. 8 and a key bout for potential seeding remains against Princeton on Feb. 1.

4. Prosper Rock Hill (3-5)

Matt Welch: The Lady Blue Hawks have vaulted themselves firmly into the playoff discussion, so much so that if the postseason began today, Rock Hill would earn the No. 4 seed by virtue of its 28-27 victory over Lovejoy on Jan. 14.

That the Lady Blue Hawks are even in this position after starting district 0-4 is noteworthy.

Rock Hill has righted the ship in recent weeks, winning three of its past four ballgames to scale the district standings. The second-year program can thank a seasoned core for that turnaround with players like Rebekah Juett, Haleiyah Hayes and Laney Hutson all impressing in their second varsity campaigns at Rock Hill.

4. Lovejoy (3-5)

Matt Welch: A fourth-quarter rally by the Lady Leopards fell short in the aforementioned one-point loss to Rock Hill -- an outcome that puts added pressure on Lovejoy for the Feb. 8 rematch with regards to a potential playoff berth.

Some timely 3-point baskets from junior Chloe Schaeffer helped the Lady Leopards erase a 10-point deficit, while junior Sam Basson found her shot after a tough first three quarters.

Basson enters the second half of league play averaging just over 13 points per game, and when she's in a groove, Lovejoy has shown that it can hang with the best in the district. Basson poured in a season-high 26 points against district leader North on Jan. 7 in a 45-40 loss.

6. The Colony (2-6)

David Wolman: The Colony has bounced back nicely after starting the season 1-7, which included a 5-1 record at the Frisco Centennial tournament. Junior forward Aaliyah Brown totaled 27 rebounds and 16 points in the Lady Cougars' 57-37 win over McKinney Boyd on Dec. 28.

But the Lady Cougars are without Brown, having missed the last four games because of an undisclosed injury -- a setback that she suffered during a game on Jan. 4 against Princeton. The Colony currently finds itself on the outside of the playoffs after dropping three straight games, the last two by a combined eight points.

6. Denison (2-6)

David Wolman: After going 5-19 last season for its first losing season since 2015-16, Denison is back to its winning ways. Senior Jade Fry has been one of the standout players in 10-5A this season, having averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and seven steals per game.

Juniors Jada Matthews (8.7 points) and Ari Washington (8.3 points) have also chipped in offensively for the Yellow Jackets.

However, Denison remains two games out of the final playoff berth in 10-5A. 

6. Sherman (2-6)

David Wolman: Sherman squandered a huge chance to get back in the playoff hunt Tuesday. The Lady Bearcats battled in a 37-34 loss to Prosper Rock Hill, leaving Sherman two games behind the Blue Hawks for the final playoff berth in 10-5A.

Scoring has been an issue for the Bearcats, who have averaged just 40.1 points per game. However, two underclassmen have shown promise. Sophomore Shamiah Johnson and junior Destiny Briscoe are both averaging more than 9.5 points per game with Johnson pulling down 9.0 boards per contest. 

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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