High School: 2/9/12 girls basketball notes

Duncanville enters playoffs on 21-game streak

February, 9, 2012
Duncanville completed its second straight undefeated District 5-5A girls basketball campaign with a convincing 63-41 home court victory over Mansfield Timberview on Tuesday night.

The district title was the 69th for the storied program.

The Pantherettes extended their win streak to 21 games and stretched their string of victories in district play to 32 dating back to the 2009-2010 season.

Duncanville (33-1) is No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10 and No. 22 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50 Girls' Basketball Rankings.

Senior guard Empress Davenport, a Texas signee, and sophomore guard Tasia Foman each scored 16 points to lead the Pantherettes against Timberview, which finished third in 5-5A. Duncanville didn't pull away until the second half.

Plano West handed Duncanville its only defeat, 58-50, in the finals of the Collin County Roundball Classic on Dec. 3. That defeat was avenged when Duncanville defeated Plano West, 55-38, in the finals of the Sandra Meadows Classic on Dec. 29 at Duncanville.

Duncanville faces off against Hurst L.D. Bell (26-9), the fourth seed from District 6-5A, in a Region I bi-district playoff slated for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Grand Prairie High’s Amos Turner Gymnasium.

No. 3 ranked Plano West and Irving MacArthur, the top-ranked Class 5A team, are in the opposite end of the Region I bracket and could meet Duncanville only in a regional final.

"We accomplished one of our goals of going unbeaten in district,'' said Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan. "Now our goal is to win the next seven. It won't be easy. We are in a very tough region. But I like the way we are playing.''

Defense lifts Waxahachie girls back to playoffs

February, 9, 2012
Waxahachie returns to the girls state basketball playoffs after a rare absence a season ago.

The Lady Indians (20-9), runner-up in District 15-4A, face Round Rock Cedar Ridge (25-10) in the opener of a Region II bi-district doubleheader scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Waco High.

The second game matches 15-4A champion West Mesquite against Hutto, fourth-place finisher in 16-4A.

Waxahachie has relied on defense to make up for a lack of height and a youthful lineup. The Lady Indians start two sophomores, two juniors and one senior.

“Nobody is taller than 5-8, so we have to be good on defense,’’ said Waxahachie coach Lesli Priebe, who guided the Lady Indians to the Class 4A state title in 2006.

Waxahachie counts on the rebounding and scoring of 5-foot-7 junior Ja’Mayia Perez and the all-around play of 5-foot-6 senior guard Taylor Hill.

Cedar Ridge is a new high school without a senior class, so its roster of two freshmen, five sophomores and three juniors is younger than that of Waxahachie. Cedar Ridge enjoys an advantage in height with 6-foot-2 sophomore Courtney Brown.

The teams closed the regular season in opposite fashion, with Waxahachie winning its final three and Cedar Ridge dropping its last three to fall into a tie for second place in District 16-4A. Cedar Ridge settled for the third-place playoff berth after losing a coin flip with Pflugerville Connally.

In its two most recent playoff trips in 2009 and 2010, Waxahachie advanced three rounds before losing in the Region II semifinals.

“We’ve gotten great effort from our girls this season,’’ Priebe said. “We’ll need to play our best against Cedar Ridge.’’

Coach's cancer battle inspires Frisco Wakeland

February, 9, 2012
The Frisco Wakeland Lady Wolverines would have felt guilty this season if they'd taken a possession off, had a lazy practice or failed to meet their obligations off the court.

A simple glance at their bench would remind them what it means to persevere against long odds.

Wakeland assistant coach Jenny Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer and began chemotherapy just as basketball season began.

Despite her condition, Mills missed just one game this season.

"She handled it like a champ," said Wakeland head coach Darilyn Krempin. "She's one of the strongest people I know. I think a lot of it is because she kept on going and didn't allow it to hold her back."

The Lady Wolverines (23-10, 11-1 in District 9-4A) rallied behind their coach this season. After losing the star players from their powerhouse 2010-11 team, Wakeland had a relatively slower start to the season and some outsiders began questioning whether it was the same team it had been the past two years.

But after surviving a difficult nondistrict schedule, Wakeland closed the season by ripping off eight straight wins, capped by Tuesday night's 61-35 victory over Carrollton R.L. Turner to clinch the District 9-4A title.

According to Krempin, Wakeland's success has come because of its belief in the team mentality that's developed around the program because of Mills. The Lady Wolverines rarely have the same leading scorer twice in a row as Alana Aguirre, Faith Hunt, Bria Platenburg, Danielle Westerfield and Darian Dunn have all shared the load during district play.

"We've had the success we've had this year because of the real team, family bonding, because of the things outside of basketball," Krempin said. "It's been a really unique, cool, special season, not even because of anything to do with being district champions."

In turn, Mills has drawn strength from her team. Krempin said the assistant's condition has improved and that "the worst is behind her."

"She's doing great," Krempin said. "I think it's helped her get through it. I think it's good that it was during the season instead of during the summer when we're all away from each other and sitting around doing nothing."

Wakeland opens the playoffs at 7 p.m. Monday at Prosper High School against McKinney North.

Defense powers FM Marcus girls into playoffs

February, 9, 2012
The defending Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus boys are attracting all the attention heading into the playoffs, but the Marcus girls may be poised for a run of their own behind a stellar defense.

Marcus (22-12, 11-3 in 8-5A) finished second in a highly competitive District 8-5A behind Plano West and held numerous area powerhouses to surprisingly low point totals.

Plano West, No. 3 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area rankings, boasts one of the best offenses in the area and averages 64 points per game. It scored just 47 in a win over Marcus.

Plano East, which averages 57 points per game, put up just 29 on Marcus in a loss earlier this year.

Plano isn't too far behind East and West at 56 points per game. In two games against Marcus, Plano scored 29 and 37 points -- both losses.

On the year, Marcus is giving up 42 points per game, and any team with a great defense has a chance to win.

Unfortunately for Marcus, it opens the playoffs against a team that may have an even better defense -- Denton Guyer.

Guyer (25-8, 10-4 in 7-5A) finished dead last in District 7-5A a year ago and had its issues even before it moved up to 5A, but the team has rebounded under second-year coach Harold Colson, who put together strong defensive teams during his tenure at Arlington High.

The Lady Wildcats give up a miniscule 34 points per game.

The two play at 6 p.m. on Monday at Trophy Club Byron Nelson in a game where points will be at a premium.