HS BASKETBALL: Preview capsules for Friday, Feb. 23 area playoff games




When/where: 6:30 p.m. today, Abilene Christian School

Records/seeds: MCA 19-8, No. 1 in TAPPS 1-3A; Irving Highlands 15-7, No. 1 in TAPPS 3-3A

Last game: MCA 71, Arlington Burton Adventist 17, area; Irving Highlands 39, Willow Park Trinity 37, area

Notes: Even though it was a 54-point rout, the Lady Knights players left an impression on coach Carla Cunneen with the way they played in Tuesday’s win over Arlington Burton Adventist. “I was really proud of how our kids played (Tuesday) in terms of their intensity and their hustle,” Cunneen said. “They didn’t pay attention to the score. All our kids played significant minutes. I think we are playing with a lot of confidence and maturity, which you hope your team can do this time of the year.” … Cunneen said she wasn’t able to obtain Irving Highlands’ game film. “You have to assume everyone is good,” Cunneen said. “It won’t change our game plan. We will go as hard as we can with the best attitudes we can.” … The Lady Knights have won nine straight. … MCA is seeking its second straight trip to the state tournament and its fourth trip in five years. … Irving Highlands finished in a tie for first with Dallas Yavneh in TAPPS 3-3A at 10-2.

Next: Winner plays Dallas Yavneh-Denton Calvary winner, state semifinal, 6 p.m. March 2, Robinson High School, Robinson

--Compiled by Christopher Hadorn




When/where: 3 p.m. Saturday, Clyde High School

Records/seeds: MCS 24-12, No. 1 seed in TAPPS 1-5A: Cedar Hill Trinity Christian 31-6, No. 1 seed out of TAPPS 2-5A

Last game: MCS 56, Austin St. Dominic Savio Catholic 36 in area, Tuesday; Cedar Hill Trinity Christian 54, El Paso Lydia Patterson Institute 29, Tuesday in area

Notes: The Mustangs are in for a challenge against the No. 1-ranked Tigers, who blazed their way to an 8-0 district mark and bring a whopping size advantage into today’s contest. Trinity Christian features six players who stand 6-foot-3 or taller, led by 6-9 forward Tyreek Smith and 6-5 guard Dominique Jackson. Smith, who is receiving attention from Tulsa, is averaging 20 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game this season, while Jackson is averaging 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-best 4.2 assists per game. Additionally, 6-3 guard Isaiah Range is scoring 16.2 points and adding 6 rebounds a night. … MCS head coach Chris Ryburn said he knows his team will be physically outmatched, as the Mustangs’ tallest player is 6-3 senior A.J. Brown. He added gaining solid positioning on rebounds will be key to counter Trinity Christian’s size. “We’re going to have to do a great job of boxing out because we can’t out jump them,” Ryburn said. “We’re probably going to be outsized by six to eight inches at every position, so it’s going to be a challenge to rebound. That’s an emphasis.” … Ryburn said the Tigers are athletic and like to gamble for steals on defense but also get into transition on offense. He said it’ll be important for his team to get back defensively and set up in the half court. … MCS played a warm-up playoff game against TAPPS 4A No. 1 Arlington Grace Prep on Feb. 13. The Mustangs lost, 48-41, but Ryburn said they saw similar size and scheme to what they’ll see today against Trinity Christian. “That experience, getting over that initial shock, will help us,” he said.

Next: Winner plays winner of Frisco Legacy Christian-Fort Worth All Saints, TBA in TAPPS 5A state semifinal



When/where: 6 p.m. today, Pecos

Records/seeds: Forsan 27-4, No. 1 seed out of District 7-2A; Anthony 14-8, No. 2 seed out of District 6-2A

Last game: Forsan 53, Haskell 36 in bi-district, Tuesday; Anthony 56, Smyer 44 in bi-district, Tuesday

Notes: The back-to-back District 7-2A champion Buffaloes enter this game about as hot as they could possibly be, as they have lost just one of their 14 games in the 2018 calendar year. … All season, Forsan has received balanced scoring efforts as a key to its success, led by junior guard Kobe Richardson, who is averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 51 percent from the floor this year. Senior guards/forwards Bryce Hergert (15.5 ppg) and Garrett Evans (13.8 ppg) are also capable of shouldering the offensive load. … The Buffaloes’ defense this season has been stellar, as they are allowing just 48.3 points per game through 31 games.

Next: Winner plays winner of Stamford-Morton, TBA in Class 2A regional quarterfinal



When/where: 7 p.m. today, Monahans

Records/seeds: Grady 21-7, No. 3 seed out of District 11-1A; Sierra Blanca, No. 1 seed out of District 9-1A

Last game: Grady 49, Ira 34 in bi-district, Tuesday; Sierra Blanca had a bye

Notes: Grady head coach Chris Short said his team’s 49-34 bi-district win over Ira Tuesday was just the second time this season he has had his entire roster available. The Wildcats have been beset by a combination of injuries and illness all season long that has forced Short to juggle lineups from game to game. … Short said Grady played well against a younger, athletic and determined Ira squad, but things will get tougher against the area opponent, Sierra Blanca, who returns four starters from last year. Today’s game is a rematch of last year’s area matchup … “They shoot well and if we don’t close and play good, solid defense, (we’ll have trouble),” Short said. “They’re athletic, not real big but they’ve grown a lot from last year and I’m sure they’ll want some revenge.” … Short said offensively, executing patiently against the Sierra Blanca zone will be key, as well as feeding the ball to leading scorer and post, Marshall Cox.

Next: Winner plays winner of Ackerly Sands-Imperial Buena Vista, TBA in Class 1A Region II quarterfinal



When/where: 5 p.m. today, Merkel

Records/seeds: Garden City, No. 2 seed out of District 14-1A; Clyde Eula 27-6, No. 1 seed out of District 15-1A

Last game: Garden City 66, Leuders-Avoca 45 in bi-district, Tuesday; Clyde Eula had a bye

Notes: Garden City head coach Brad Hall said the Bearkats came out firing on all cylinders early in their blowout bi-district win against Lueders-Avoca on Tuesday. He said that today, his team will need to play with the same level of confidence against No. 6-ranked Eula, which has won 11 games in a row. “We’re going to have to play really well,” Hall said. “Eula has a great coach (Josh Fostel) and has good shooters. You have to contest their shots and limit them to one shot on the offensive end. We’re going to have to execute on offense and knock down some shots.” … Against Leuders-Avoca, Hagan Halfman scored 17 points to lead four Bearkats players in double figures. Scott Miller had 15 and John Alegria and Cesar Chavez each had 10.

Next: Winner plays winner of Roby-Eden, TBA in Class 1A Region II quarterfinal

-Compiled by Will Korn