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Class 5A state title matchup is a clash of styles

3/12/2011

AUSTIN, Texas -- One team runs the floor and presses defensively. The other picks its spots in a half-court offense while it slows the game down on defense.

Garland Lakeview Centennial and Flower Mound Marcus couldn't be much different from each other except in one key aspect -- excellence.

Both teams are making their second consecutive trips to the state tournament, but only one will walk away the champion after the meet in the Class 5A state finals at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at UT's Frank Erwin Center.

"They play a half-court game. We play an up-tempo full press, so it will be a contrast of styles," Lakeview Centennial head coach Tony Mauldin said.

Marcus (38-1) and Lakeview Centennial (37-1) entered the season as favorites to return to the state tournament because they both returned the core group of players from a year ago.

They didn't disappoint. The Marauders and Patriots each lost just one game during the regular season, Marcus to Converse Judson and Lakeview Arlington Grace Prep.

The two were equally dominant in the playoffs, culminating in Marcus' smothering of Fort Bend Hightower and Lakeview Centennial's offensive explosion against San Antonio Taft in the state semifinals on Friday.

Division I prospects populate both teams. Marcus junior Marcus Smart is a do-everything guard/forward who fuels his team both offensively and defensively with his unwavering hustle and impeccable instincts for the game.

Point guard Chris Jones and forward Toddrick Gotcher, committed to North Texas and Texas Tech, respectively, give Lakeview Centennial elite scorers on the perimeter and in the paint.

Dallas Kimball seeks Class 4A championship

Dallas Kimball (37-3) hopes to atone for losing in the 2009 state final to Houston Yates when it faces La Marque (33-4) in the Class 4A final at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

La Marque which boasts one of the top recruits in the state in Texas signee Julien Lewis.

Kimball is led by Jordan Williams, Jalen Jones and Jarion Henry.