By R.V. Baugus, www.texprepsbasketball.com
Special to MaxPreps.com
On a week that had a rather abbreviated high school basketball schedule thanks to Thanksgiving, there was still time for some exciting post-Turkey Day hoops at the 28th Annual Fantasy of Lights Tournament at D.L. Ligon Coliseum in Wichita Falls.
A number of teams stood out in this gathering of some 80 schools featuring more than 1,000 players, beginning with Division I boys champion Hurst L.D. Bell, which pounded South Garland 80-60, to capture top honors. Blue Raider sharpshooter Marshall Henderson came alive in the second half to spark the win for 5-0 Bell, now poised to break in to the next TABC/Tex Preps Basketball state rankings.
The Division II final on the boys’ side pitted a pair of District 5-3A rivals from nearby as perennial juggernaut No. 5 Burkburnett moved to 6-1 by knocking off Wichita Falls Hirschi (4-2), 79-56.
In Division III action Calvary Christian edged the Burkburnett JV, 63-61.
Coach Joe Lombard and the nationally-acclaimed Canyon girls made their first appearance at the tournament one to remember with a 55-48 decision over Wichita Falls.
Canyon, which moved up to Class 4A play this year following realignment, is now 7-0 while the Lady Coyotes are 6-1.
In the Division II final Aubrey (6-1) beat Olney (6-2), 38-29. Wellington took out Guthrie, 38-32, in Division III.
More Tournament Action
Leaving the northern tip of Texas and moving far south, Mission Veteran Memorial’s Ben Gonzalez was named MVP of the Mission Thanksgiving Classic in leading his team to a 57-29 win in the tournament championship over Laredo United South.
Memorial is another team with designs on cracking the state rankings after improving its record to 7-0 in the young season. Teammates Mark Garza, A.J. Gonzalez and Adam Brown were also named to the tourney’s first team roster.
Meanwhile, at the Harlingen Dr. Keillor Classic, a battle of state-ranked boys squads teed off in the championship with No. 13 Converse Wagner nudging No. 18 McAllen, 79-75.
The Thunderbirds’ Eddie Ortiz was rewarded as tournament MVP with Wagner mates Jordan Clarkson and Nate Buckner also placing on the all-tourney team.
Bianca Torre led Harlingen South to the girls’ title with a 94-46 drubbing of rival Harlingen. Torre notched 39 points in the decisive win.
Harlingen South head coach Dawn Engleman has high praise for her star.
“(She is) the best player in the valley, the best we’ve ever had in the Valley,” Engleman said.
While the Thunderbird boys were taking care of business in the Valley, the school’s girls team was busy dispatching San Antonio Madison, 55-52, to win the Northeast Independent School District Tournament championship. Kim Chester led the way with 15 points while Michelle Rodriguez chipped in with 14.
Teams went round-robin in Tyler at the Burger King Classic held at UT-Tyler, and among the most exciting games with a pairing of Class A Division II powers Avinger and Laneville, which ended with Avinger on top by 58-56. Avinger is now 5-1 while defending state champion Laneville is 4-3. Avinger outscored Laneville 20-10 in the fourth quarter and rode Jerome Linwood’s 17 points to victory.
Class 3A state No. 2 Lubbock Estacado rode the 21 points and five 3-pointers of Jamar Johnson to beat host Pampa, 72-57, to capture the Pampa Lions Club Tournament championship.
The battle of Beaumont was captured by Class 4A No. 7 Ozen, 66-34, over West Brook in the final game of the Fred Williams Classic. The classic featured state-ranked Class 3A No. 1 Sour Lake Hardin-Jefferson, which fell to 4A Beaumont Central, 68-61; and Class 3A No. 8 Silsbee, which topped Class 2A No.13 Kountze, 83-57.
Finally, moving to the central part of the state, Kaycie Boyles scored 25 points as Lubbock Coronado’s Lady Mustangs moved to 11-2 by beating Irving MacArthur (12-1), 76-62 to win the Jack Frost Tournament in Georgetown.
Odds and Ends
Boys Class 5A No. 1 San Antonio Madison, which barreled through the McDonald’s Texas Invitational a week earlier, played another state ranked team and topped No. 9 Pflugerville, 74-66, behind Jamal Johnson’s 22 points … In a Houston ISD non-district skirmish, Houston Yates drilled Houston Madison, 107-75. Marshall Lange led the victorious Lions with 22 points, eight assists and five steals. Oklahoma-bound Tommy Mason-Griffin paced the Marlins with 20 points … Dallas South Oak Cliff, which started an uncharacteristic 0-2, got in the win column by topping Class 3A No. 12 Dallas Roosevelt, 85-56 ... Baytown Lee girls coach Terry Gray picked up career win 400 as his Lady Ganders beat Alvin, 53-28. Gray is 400-248 in 22 years at the school and is proudest to have 23 former players who are now coaching.
R.V. Baugus is the Publisher of Tex Prep Basketball magazine and TexPrepsBasketball.com.