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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Preview: Boys basketball state semfinal games

By ESPNDallas.com

THURSDAY'S GAMES

CLASS 3A: Argyle (29-8) vs. Lubbock Estacado (27-7), 2 p.m.

UIL BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
Road to Austin: Argyle defeated Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins in the Region II championship game behind Connor York’s 18 points. The Eagles had no trouble dispatching Texarkana Pleasant Grove 49-30 in the semifinal round of the tournament. Lucas Lovejoy provided Argyle’s toughest playoff test to date, a 40-37 Eagles win in a regional quarterfinal. After receiving a bye in the opening round, Argyle defeated Dallas Madison in the area round 43-29. Estacado punched its ticket to Austin with a 56-46 win over Abilene Wylie in the Region I finals. In the semifinal round, Estacado breezed past Alvarado 75-59 and had an easy time in the regional quarterfinals with Seminole, 79-60. After a bye in the opening round, Estacado opened its postseason with a 79-47 thumping of Clint.

Argyle: Strong leadership from senior captains Clarke Overlander, Connor York and Andrew Resch has helped the Eagles get past the regional quarterfinal round that has proved a stumbling block in the past. When opponents concentrate too much on the 6-foot-5 Overlander, a North Texas signee, York from the outside and Resch from the inside can make them pay. Junior point guard Zach Dickerson plays a big role with his defense and ball handling.

Estacado: The Matadors are making their fourth appearance in the state tournament and first since winning the title in 2010. A win over Argyle will put Estacado in the state finals for the third time in four years. Ryheim Hunter, a 6-foot-0 senior guard, scored 19 points in the regional title game. Ti Russell, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, was named the regional tournament MVP.

--Randy Jennings

CLASS 4A: Dallas Kimball (32-5) vs. San Antonio Heights (34-2), 7 p.m.

Road to Austin: Kimball survived a gantlet of the Metroplex’s best basketball talent to punch its ticket to the state tournament. After knocking out area-ranked Dallas Hillcrest, Highland Park and Dallas Woodrow Wilson in order, the Knights took out Manor 85-76 in the regional semifinal. Kimball finally topped South Oak Cliff in its third try this season, 84-63 in the regional final.

Alamo Heights: Heights is making its fifth state tournament appearance – its first since 1991. As a team, Alamo Heights averages 63.4 points per game, 21 of which come from leading scorer Jeffrey Rodewald. Heights, featuring 6-foot-8 centers Evan Boland and Shelby Lane, will have the height advantage over Kimball.

Kimball: The Knights are making their ninth appearance in the state tournament, returning in 2012 as defending 4A state champions. Despite losing eight seniors from last year’s title team, Kimball returns championship MVP Shannon Lilly and features 2012 transfer Keith Frazier, the No. 14 national recruit for the Class of 2013. Frazier is Kimball’s go-to scorer, averaging 21 points per game. Frazier has the range to hit any shot and can score on dribble penetration. Kimball’s big men had suffered some minor bangs and bruises through the final games of the playoffs but should be good to go after a week’s rest.

--Travis L. Brown

CLASS 4A: Denton Ryan (23-11) vs. Houston Yates (32-5), 8:30 p.m.

Road to Austin: After handily defeating two west Texas teams to open the playoffs, Ryan has pulled off three narrow and somewhat shocking upsets over Little Elm (61-59), Fort Worth Trimble Tech (58-56) and Fort Worth Arlington Heights (71-68).

Denton Ryan: Making its first appearance in the state tournament since winning the 4A title in 2000, Ryan has gone a run that few saw coming despite using just six players during the postseason. Point guard Trey Mohair is leading the way, scoring 27 points per game in the playoffs, and the team has given up more than 60 points just once during the postseason.

Houston Yates: With its relentless full-court press, Yates returns to the state tournament for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Yates has scored 104 points per game in the playoffs and is led by guard Damyean Dotson, an Oregon signee.

--Jeff Andrews

FRIDAY'S GAME

CLASS 5A: Flower Mound Marcus (32-2) vs. Garland Naaman Forest (29-7), 8:30 p.m.

Road to Austin: Marcus cruised past Mansfield Timberview in the regional quarterfinal before hanging on to beat North Crowley 66-55. In the highly anticipated final against South Grand Prairie, Marcus Smart blocked a last-second shot to advance in a defensive 39-38 win. Naaman Forest squeaked by College Station A&M Consolidated and Conroe Woodlands College Park before upsetting DeSoto 56-49 on the way to Austin.

Marcus: Most folks around the state are already aware of Smart, one of the top players in the nation. He's led this team to Austin three years in a row. This season, he's had a lot of help from sharpshooter Phil Forte, versatile big man Nick Banyard and a very good defense. They're giving up just 45 points per game in the playoffs.

Naaman Forest: Demarcus Holland is a very athletic guard who should keep Marcus Smart busy. The bigger challenge against Naaman Forest is getting past their 6-foot-11 shot-blocking machine, Prince Ibeh. To upset Marcus, the Rangers will need the big man to have a big game on the other end of the court. He has been quiet in the playoffs on offense.

--David Stein