Boys basketball midseason report


Boys basketball midseason report

SURPRISE! SURPRISE!

These five teams qualify as mid-season surprises:

• Del Valle (15-5)

After five consecutive losing seasons from 2011-16, the Cardinals have regained their groove behind veteran coach Marvin Hall and Dayante McClellan, a 6-foot-6 forward who leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Del Valle has won 31 games during the past two seasons and should contend with Bowie for the District 14-6A championship.

• Elgin (13-7)

The Wildcats are off to their best start in coach John Morgan’s three-year tenure and they enter Friday’s game against Cedar Park tied for third in the competitive District 19-5A. Kris Wyche, a 6-4 forward, has double-doubles in four of Elgin’s five district wins.

• Hendrickson (14-9)

Since claiming a district championship in the 2010-11 school year, Hendrickson hasn’t had a winning season, but third-year coach Dustin White has the Hawks soaring into playoff contention. A buzzer-beater by Peyton Hardin gave Hendrickson a signature victory over McNeil on Tuesday and pushed the team into a tie for second place in District 13-6A.

• Leander (12-9)

The Lions were an afterthought after UIL realignment moved them into a Class 6A district with such heavyweights as Westlake, Vista Ridge and Lake Travis, but after three District 25-6A games, Leander remains unbeaten thanks to a ferocious defense anchored by 6-6 forward Chase Cotton.

• Lampasas (15-2)

After posting just three winning records in its previous 10 seasons, Lampasas garnered statewide attention recently when it knocked off state-ranked Boerne at a holiday tournament. On Tuesday, the Badgers legitimized their status as a District 19-4A favorite with a 49-48 win over Burnet.

FAB FIVE

At this point, these players rank as the leading candidates to be named the 2016-17 All-Central Texas player of the year:

• Victor Bailey Jr., sr., G, McNeil

The only McDonald’s All-American nominee from Central Texas, the 6-3 Oregon signee leads the Mavericks in scoring and assists. He’ll need more help if McNeil is to rebound from a 1-3 start to District 13-6A play.

• Brock Cunningham, jr., F, Westlake

A 6-7 forward who leads the state-ranked Chaps in scoring (15.9 PPG), rebounding (11.8) and floor burns, Cunningham is Westlake’s emotional leader. He’s also a fierce help-side defender who has a team-best 42 blocks.

• Aaron Gregg, sr., G, Vista Ridge

With a fearless and creative style, the 6-2 point guard powers a Vista Ridge team that’s in title contention in District 25-6A. Gregg leads the Rangers with 17.8 points and 4.2 assists per game.

• Kaden Herbert, sr., G, Georgetown

A deft outside touch — Herbert shoots better than 40 percent from three-point range — helps the 6-2 guard lead Georgetown in scoring at 14.3 PPG.

• Avery Sullivan, sr., F, Pflugerville

The man in the middle for the Panthers’ high-octane squad, the 6-7 Lamar signee averages seven rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game while scoring in double digits for the 13-6A leader.

YOUNG GUNS

This group of underclassmen has made a difference for their respective teams:

Brian Batts, 6-0, soph., LBJ: After splitting time as the Jags’ starting QB during the football season, Batts averages 11.5 points and 3.4 assists for a deep and balanced squad ranked fourth in the state in Class 5A.

Greg Brown III, 6-7, fr., Vandegrift: The gifted freshman leads the Class 6A Vipers with 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks a game.

D.J. Thorpe, 6-7, soph., Lake Travis: The son of former NBA standout Otis Thorpe plays like his father; D.J. Thorpe leads the playoff-contending Cavaliers in points and rebounds.

Sam Reaves, 6-3, soph., Thorndale: The young power forward gives the Class 2A Bulldogs a scoring threat in the paint with his average of 10.8 PPG.

Will Baker, 6-9, soph., Westlake: An old-school post player, Baker boasts quick feet and can score with either hand while giving the Chaparrals a reliable option on the block.

OFF TO THE RACES

As district play ramps up across the Austin area, here’s how some of the most competitive district races shape up:

• District 13-6A

Favorite: Pflugerville (3-0). Other contenders: Westwood (2-1), Hendrickson (2-2), Cedar Ridge (2-2), McNeil (1-3). Showdowns ahead: Pflugerville at Cedar Ridge, Friday; Pflugerville at Hendrickson, Jan. 20; McNeil at Cedar Ridge, Jan. 27.

• District 14-6A

Favorite: Del Valle (0-0, district play opens Friday). Other contenders: Bowie, San Marcos, Manor. Showdowns ahead: San Marcos at Manor, Friday; Del Valle at Bowie, Jan. 24; Bowie at Manor, Jan. 27.

• District 25-6A

Favorite: Westlake (3-0). Other contenders: Leander (3-0) Lake Travis (2-1), Vista Ridge (2-1). Showdowns ahead: Leander at Lake Travis, Friday; Lake Travis at Vista Ridge, Jan. 17; Vista Ridge at Westlake, Jan. 20.

• District 19-5A

Favorite: Georgetown (6-1). Other contenders: Connally (6-1), Rouse (5-2), Elgin (5-2). Showdowns ahead: Georgetown at Connally, Friday; Elgin at Georgetown, Jan 20; Connally at Elgin, Jan. 24; Georgetown at Rouse, Jan. 31.

• District 19-4A

Favorite: Lampasas (3-0). Other contenders: Liberty Hill (3-0), Burnet (3-1). Showdowns ahead: Liberty Hill at Lampasas, Friday; Burnet at Liberty Hill, Jan. 20; Burnet at Lampasas, Feb. 3.



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