High School: Highland Park

Highland Park and Frisco Wakeland’s meetings in the UIL Class 4A baseball playoffs have become a tradition like no other.

The teams have met in the playoffs the last two years, and each best-of-three series was decided in Wakeland's favor the final inning of the third game.

This weekend, the tradition continues for the third consecutive year in the regional quarterfinal round.

All of the pressure lies with Highland Park, which has been on the short end of two heartbreaking defeats at the hands of a group of current seniors who have taken part in both Wakeland wins.

“They have three that are definitely killers and that’s (Willie) Schwanke, (Justin) Swanner and (Hayden) Nixon and we’ve faced them the last three years,” Highland Park coach Frank Oliver said. “There’s still three names that are still around and they’re still a good ball club.”

Wakeland was the undefeated champion of District 9-4A. Highland Park finished second in 10-4A, turning its season around after a 1-4 start in district play. Since that sixth game of the district slate, Highland Park has lost just one game.

This will be Highland Park’s first best-of-three series in this playoff run as the Scots look to advance past the regional quarterfinal round for the first time in four years.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it goes three games again,” Oliver said.

Area teams wiped from 5A Region II

Any hope of a DFW title coming from Class 5A Region II was eliminated in the area round last weekend.

The Metroplex’s chance at gold now lies in the hands of five teams in Region I, four of are facing off.

Southlake Carroll has one of the toughest challenges against District 8-5A runner up Flower Mound in a one-and-done match 7:30 p.m. Friday at Colleyville Heritage.

Two third-place finishers play in the other area pairing between Hurst L.D. Bell and Plano East.

Arlington Martin rounds up the five, continuing it’s West Texas travel to face Lubbock Coronado in the regional quarterfinal.

Lake Highlands playoff run goes viral

Seen the Harvard baseball team’s dance to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” that recently took YouTube by storm?

If not, click here and check out the goofy dance that has tallied over 7 million views.

Well, the Class 5A area round might not have been all fun and games for the Lake Highlands baseball squad on the diamond -- Temple swept the series in two games -- but the Wildcats sure made the best of their bus ride to the Hill Country.

Here is the Wildcats' rebuttal to Harvard to the tune of Wham's “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.
Frisco Centennial and Dallas Hillcrest have a lot at stake in their area-round matchup.

Centennial drew the short end of the stick last season, facing a strong Highland Park squad in the first round that sent the team packing after one quick game.

Centennial finished 2012 as the second seed in District 9-4A behind Frisco Wakeland and has a playoff win under its belt, but Hillcrest stands in the way of a long-overdue playoff run.

Hillcrest took the District 12-4A crown this season, running the table in one of the area’s weaker districts. However, Hillcrest has playoff experience from a run to the regional quarterfinals last season that took a talented Rockwall-Heath team to the third game in a best-of-3 series.

The winner of this area-round duel will then potentially face Rockwall-Heath in the regional quarterfinal next week.

Highland Park, Wakeland headed for rematch

In one of the more epic wins of the playoffs last season, Frisco Wakeland knocked off Highland Park on a two-run, walk-off homer in the third game of the regional quarterfinals.

Those two are one win away from another meeting in the same round this season.

Highland Park eked past Carrollton Creekview in the bi-district round, 1-0, and has North Dallas in its sights this weekend.

Wakeland found late life against McKinney North, taking the third game of the series 13-0 after two close games to begin the series. It will face Dallas Bryan Adams in the area round.

Class 5A Region I bracket heating up

Before the playoffs began, Arlington Martin head coach Curt Culbertson said the lack of DFW schools deep in the baseball playoffs was due, in part, to Metroplex teams falling to other local teams early in the brackets.

This year is no different.

The bottom of the Region I bracket will see two strong DFW teams fall at the hands of another North Texas team.

District 7-5A champion Southlake Carroll will face District 6-5A runner up Grapevine in area-round action this weekend. Also, District 8-5A runner up Flower Mound and District 5-5A champ Mansfield face off to play the winner of Carroll and Grapevine.

The setup will leave just one Metroplex team with the chance to advance to the bottom region semifinal in Region I.
Highland Park's name covers the tennis results from this week's 4A state tournament in Austin, including gold in mixed doubles by the Scots' Connor LaFavre and Margo Taylor.

The pair took down Jared Fellows and Briana Fellows from Boerne Champion 6-1, 6-1 to claim the title.

Two other doubles teams from Highland Park took silver: Sarah Cannon and Alin Piranian in girls and Luke Stainback and Hunter Holman in boys. Both lost to pairs from Austin Lake Travis.

Lacy Blake and Maddie Schorlemmer of Argyle won gold in 3A girls doubles and the pair of Ryan Ford and Anisha Sriastava of Lucas Lovejoy took silver in 3A mixed doubles.
The Allen girls golf team brought home the gold, finishing a full 11 strokes ahead of second place The Woodlands.

Allen golfer Maddie Szeryk finished second in the individual ranks, with scores of 67 and 70 over the two-day tournament that wrapped up Tuesday in Austin, one shot behind Austin Westlake's Sierra Sims.

In the 4A boys tournament, Highland Park's Scottie Scheffler finished on top of the individual results, shooting a 68 and 72. His team finished second behind Austin Lake Travis.

Trophy Club Byron Nelson's boys team finished fourth in the 4A tournament with a score of 607 and a playoff loss to Montgomery.

Byron Nelson's girls team took home silver with a two-day score of 625, three strokes behind Montgomery Purple.

Mansfield's boys finished fourth in the 5A tournament with a score of 591.
Earlier this season in Round Rock, home of the state baseball tournament, Flower Mound Marcus pitcher Colin Poché displayed the superior ability that has made a believer of his coach.

The senior ace limited a historically strong Coppell to four hits in Marcus' 2-1 victory.

Those who weren't there to witness Poché's talent that day may also not be aware of his 0.00 ERA through 57 innings pitched.

“You’ll most likely see him pitching on TV one day,” Marcus coach Dustin Sykora.

Poché has collected six wins in his senior year and has seen opposing runners cross the plate during his time on the mound. However, all runs under his watch have been unearned.

Sykora said his pitching star has everything you can ask for in a left-handed pitcher, including a tall frame that he’s grown into during his time at Marcus.

Poché has committed to Arkansas, but Sykora believes he won't set foot on campus with major league aspirations looming in the pitcher's immediate future.

Crazy finish for District 10-4A

Always strong Highland Park began district play already on the ropes. The Scots picked up their four 10-4A losses quickly, sitting at 1-4 through the first five district games.

However, the Scots haven't lost since falling to McKinney North and even knocked off previously nationally ranked Rockwall-Heath twice.

Rockwall-Heath sits in control of the district at 10-3 but could lose its grip to either Highland Park or Rockwall if it loses its final game of the season against Wylie East.

Both Highland Park and Rockwall have one game remaining as well.

Arlington Martin remains only DFW Fab 50 team

Martin (24-2-1) gained ground in this week’s ESPNHS Fab 50 poll, moving into the No. 33 spot after a big district win over state-ranked Weatherford. Martin previously sat in the No. 46 spot a week prior.

Leading the Texas pack is Corpus Christi Calallen at No. 7, followed by Corpus Christi Carroll at No. 21 and Deer Park at No. 25.

Keeper leads Highland Park girls to 4A  crown

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
1:29
PM CT
Highland Park junior goalkeeper Sarah Howley was almost perfect throughout the UIL Class 4A girls soccer playoffs.

Highland Park allowed just one goal in the postseason, capped by a 1-0 shootout victory Saturday over Trophy Club Byron Nelson in the state championship game in Georgetown, Texas.

The Lady Scots secured the championship with a 4-3 advantage in the shootout after Howley and Byron Nelson keeper Ariana Morrison registered shutouts through regulation and both overtime periods.

It's the first girls soccer state title since 2002 for Highland Park, which also reached the state tournament in 2003, '05 and '06.

It was the first trip to the state tournament for Byron Nelson, which opened only three years ago.

For her efforts, Howley was named the championship game MVP and heads up the 4A girls all-state tournament team. Morrison also made the team.

Here are the complete all-state tournament teams, as selected by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches:

Plano West's girls soccer team will head to the Class 5A state final after knocking off Klein Oak in a dominant 2-0 victory Friday in Georgetown, Texas.

The Lady Wolves jumped into the lead 20 minutes in on a penalty kick off the boot of senior Karson Keogh that just found the inside of the frame. The kick was awarded after Casie Ramsier was taken down in the box.

"She hit it well but it went just on the inside of the post," West coach Carley Phillips said. "It was a little bit stressful."

West netted the other goal with 27 seconds left in the first half.

"Their keeper was very aggressive and came out for a ball and we got past her," Phillips said. "There was an open net and Ashley Smith gave a nice little pass to Tori Gates, who put it in."

The team is excited to remain in Georgetown through the weekend, but the semifinal win was just another step closer to the ultimate goal, Philips said.

"It was just a win for them," she said. "We're just kind of at the point where we're looking for that end result, which is to be state champions.They're excited and happy about the win but the focus is on the finals now."

Plano West will take on Katy Seven Lakes at 11 a.m. Saturday for the 5A championship

Hat trick effort puts Highland Park in title bout

Junior Katie Martin beat the keeper three times in Highland Park's 5-2 victory over Waco Midway to punch the Lady Scots' ticket into the 4A state final.

Martin netted the first goal of the game, heading in a corner kick cross in the first half. The goal ended a 19 game shutout streak Midway carried into the 4A semifinal match.

The junior tallied her second just before halftime, firing a rocket from the top of the penalty box into the back corner of the net.

Martin finished her barrage in the second half, hitting from 22 yards after cutting past an oncoming Midway defender.

Highland Park will face the winner of Friday's semifinal between Trophy Club Byron Nelson and Cedar Park at 4 p.m. Saturday for the 4A crown.

UIL state soccer tournament results, pairings

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
4:08
PM CT
THURSDAY'S CLASS 5A SEMIFINALS

Girls
  • Plano West 2, Klein Oak 0
  • Katy Seven Lakes 2, San Antonio Churchill 1 (3-2, SO)
Boys
  • 4 p.m. -- Mission Sharyland 3, Mansfield 1
  • 6 p.m. -- Katy Morton Ranch 4, Austin Westlake 1
FRIDAY'S CLASS 4A SEMIFINALS

Girls
  • Highland Park 5, Waco Midway 2
  • Trophy Club Byron Nelson 1, Cedar Park 0
Boys
  • Wichita Falls Rider 1 vs. Mount Pleasant 0
  • San Antonio Alamo Heights 1 vs. Friendswood 0
SATURDAY'S STATE FINALS
  • Girls Class 5A: Plano West 1, Katy Seven Lakes 0
  • Boys Class 5A: Mission Sharyland 3, Katy Morton Ranch 2
  • Highland Park 1, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 0 (4-3 SO)
  • San Antonio Alamo Heights 3, Wichita Falls Rider 2 (3-2 SO)
Plano West Team Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comPlano West's girls soccer team is two wins from a state championship.

The Plano West girls soccer team’s final training session before the state tournament moved at a lively pace, focusing primarily on basic touch drills to sharpen key fundamentals.

The transfers between drills Tuesday worked seamlessly as players followed a routine that has helped earned them the No. 3 national rank according to ESPNHS going into the Class 5A state tournament.

But before the players could move on to a free-for-all, scrimmage-like scoring drill known as World Cup with the most serious weekend of their careers upon them, they all had to line up with hands over hearts and sing an ear-splitting, downright silly rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” directed with conductor-like movements from coach Carley Phillips.

[+] EnlargePlano West Freshman
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comPlano West has found a good balance between keeping things light and taking care of business.
“We were playing World Cup and talking about wanting it and who wants it more and so we decided to have a national anthem and an international walkout like in the World Cup,” Phillips said.

No, this Plano West team isn’t one to spend days leading up to big games in solemn meditation and reflective silence. The Lady Wolves screamed the lyrics to the Spice Girls' song “Wannabe” right before hitting the field for the region final, which, frankly, is a testament to the players' natural ability to operate well beyond their years.

Most of the team was a year old when the song was first released.

Last year, the Lady Wolves were led by a talented but inexperienced group of sophomores who saw their season earlier than expected in the bi-district round.

While still considered a young team with its core of juniors, goofy antics and all, mature play inside the touchlines has Plano West on the verge of a 5A state title.

“I feel like we have a different atmosphere around our team and going into [the playoffs] we had a different mindset,” junior goalie Clair Wheatley said. “It feels completely different to me.”

Credit that new vibe to Phillips, in her first year as the Lady Wolves' head coach, and her ability to relate to her players. As a Plano West soccer alumnus -- playing varsity from 2002-05 and going to state in '02 and '04 -- she's gone through all the same experiences her team faces.

“She knows where we’re coming from,” junior Taylor Jackson said. “She’s been through all this and she connects with us like that. She doesn’t have to say much to get us motivated, just her being here and being an example to us.”

A win against semifinal opponent Klein Oak (25-1-1) Thursday at 11 a.m. would put the Lady Wolves (21-3-4) one step closer to ending their season like Phillips did in 2002 – hoisting a state championship trophy.

Two teams make first tournament appearance

Mansfield's boys and Trophy Club Byron Nelson’s girls are making their schools' first trip to Georgetown for the state soccer tournament.

Mansfield (21-5-4) is the only boys squad representing the Metroplex this weekend, facing Mission Sharyland (15-3) in the 5A semifinal Thursday at 4 p.m.

Three years after the school opened, Byron Nelson’s girls are already within two wins a state championship. After storming through the playoffs, outscoring opponents 27-3, the Bobcats (23-2-4) will try their skill against tournament hometown Cedar Park (21-3-3) Friday at 1 p.m. in a 4A semifinal.

Highland Park girls return to state

The Lady Scots return to the state tournament for the eighth time, the first since 2006, in hopes of continuing the tradition of a girls title returning to the Metroplex.

Highland Park (26-1-2) will face Waco Midway (21-4-4) in the 4A semifinal Friday at 11 a.m.

The Lady Scots have allowed just one goal throughout their playoff run.

Find the full state tournament schedule here.
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The UIL released its state soccer tournament pairings, with the Class 5A semifinals scheduled for Thursday and the 4A semis Friday. All games are at the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex.

The Mansfield boys and Plano West, Highland Park and Trophy Club Byron Nelson girls are representing the Dallas-Fort Worth area at state

Here's the schedule:

THURSDAY'S CLASS 5A SEMIFINALS

Girls
  • 11 a.m. -- Klein Oak (25-1-1) vs. Plano West (21-3-4)
  • 1 p.m. -- Katy Seven Lakes (22-3-3) vs. San Antonio Churchill (19-6-1)
Boys
  • 4 p.m. -- Mission Sharyland (15-3) vs. Mansfield (21-5-4)
  • 6 p.m. -- Austin Westlake (25-1-1) vs. Katy Morton Ranch (19-3-6)
FRIDAY'S CLASS 4A SEMIFINALS

Girls
  • 11 a.m. -- Highland Park (26-1-2) vs. Waco Midway (21-4-4)
  • 1 p.m. -- Trophy Club Byron Nelson (23-2-4) vs. Cedar Park (21-3-3)
Boys
  • 4 p.m. -- Wichita Falls Rider (27-2) vs. Mount Pleasant (20-2-6)
  • 6 p.m. -- San Antonio Alamo Heights (28-2-1) vs. Friendswood (26-1-5)
SATURDAY'S STATE FINALS
  • 11 a.m. -- Girls Class 5A
  • 1 p.m. -- Boys Class 5A
  • 4 p.m. -- Girls Class 4A
  • 6 p.m. -- Boys Class 4A

High school baseball in 2012 has a whole new look and sound.

Gone are the bloated offensive numbers and high-pitched pings that had been the norm since metal bats made their way into the game in the 1970s.

With new "deader" bats now the standard, emphasis has shifted from power to strategy ... from long ball to small ball.

SPORTS SCIENCE Video
A look at the science behind the BBCOR bats now being used in Texas high school baseball.

Watch Video
“This is my third year as a head coach here and this is the first year I’ve called a hit-and-run,” South Grand Prairie coach Dennis Pelfrey said. “Typically we run and steal bases and a not worry about sacrifice bunting or hitting-and-running. This year we’ve called more sacrifice bunts than I ever have and more hit-and-runs that I’ve never called before.”

The bats now outlawed from the high school game fell under a standard known as Ball Exit Speed Ratio. For a bat to be eligible for use, it needed the BESR stamp of approval, stating that the exit speed of the ball off the bat, depending on the speed of the pitch, was not too great for fielders to have a chance to react.

Safety issues still arose under the former standard, resulting in the NCAA and eventually the National Federation of State High School Associations to change to a new standard -- Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. As part of the NFHS adopting the BBCOR standard, the UIL and TAPPS followed suit for the 2012 season.

BBCOR, in laymen’s terms, measures the trampoline effect of the bat as the ball makes contact. The standard governs the amount of energy lost in contact at a measure of 0.5, which is just slightly greater than that of a wooden bat.

Easton, one of the top metal bat manufacturers, offers this explanation on its website:
In the past, when a pitched ball made contact with an alloy or composite bat, the barrel would flex inward ever so slightly and the ball would retain some of its energy resulting in farther hits. Wood bats don’t have as much “give” to them and the ball loses much of its energy upon impact. Like BESR, the BBCOR standard ensures that non-wood bats perform more comparably to wood bats in an attempt to level the playing field.


“There’s definitely not as many cheap home runs and cheap hits,” Rockwall-Heath coach Greg Harvey said . “Those are now caught. It makes you focus on the fundamentals of the game.”

The NCAA was first to implement mandatory use of BBCOR bats in 2011 and offers the best statistical case study of the comparability of BBCOR bats to wood bats.

In 2011, the first season of BBCOR bat use, the batting average of all NCAA Division I schools fell from .305 to .282, the lowest it had been since 1976, the third year metal bats were used in the NCAA. Scoring was down from 6.98 runs per game in 2010 to 5.58, which is a low that hadn’t been seen since 1975. Home runs per game finished at a 0.52 clip, down from 0.94 from 2010 and also the lowest since 1975.

[+] EnlargeHigh School baseball bats
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comWhe the NCAA started using BBCOR bats in 2011, overall batting averages fell from .305 in 2010 to .282.
Through around 10 games for most Division I teams this year, the nationwide batting average was .267.

Although the sample size is smaller at the high school level, the downward trend in offense has been apparent.

For example, Rockwall-Heath featured two of the area’s top hitters in Jovan Hernandez and Jake Thompson, who helped the Hawks blast 48 home runs in 41 games in 2011. With Hernandez and Thompson both back for their senior seasons, the Hawks hit 12 home runs through their first 20 games of 2012.

Coaches say they're willing to scratch out runs one at a time rather than risk stranding runners while attempting to put up a crooked number in a big inning. That means more hit-and-run attempts, a willingness to give up outs to move up runners and utilizing squeeze bunts to push across runs.

“Is it going to be a 2-1 game or a 9-7 game?” Harvey said. “If we’re in a game where it doesn’t look like we’re going to score a lot of runs, we’re going to look for a run. Smaller innings are a bigger part of the game now.”

On the converse, the skipper in the opposite dugout must have his team defensively prepared to handle strategic hitting.

Highland Park’s Fred Oliver crafted a Hall of Fame coaching career by implementing the fundamentals of small ball into his strategy even when BESR bats were allowed. His focus in the dawn of the BBCOR era is preparing his players to defend against the bunt with greater consistency.

[+] EnlargeZach Williamson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comMcKinney North's Zach Williamson lays down a bunt, a play that's more common at Texas high school games this year because of the new bats.
“I’ve seen a lot more bunting, so you have to be prepared for that with a good bunt defense,” Oliver said “They are just lower scoring games, like 4-3, 2-1 and 1-0. We’ve lost seven games this year by one run, so I think it has affected the game.”

Players around the area have noticed the changes and have been forced to make adjustments, big and small, for the new bats. Those adjustments range from completely changing a swing to not relying on the sound of the bat for judging whether good contact was made.

“It’s going to bring out the best hitters and helping to show what they’re going to do the next years in college,” said Mansfield Timberview center fielder Chuck Taylor, a UT-Arlington recruit and major league prospect.

Current San Jacinto Junior College player Justin Byrd spent his high school years in Dallas under the BESR standard, leading the area in hitting in 2010 with just under a .700 batting average at First Baptist Academy. He said he experienced some growing pains with the new bats in college last year.

“The spring rolled around and threw us for a loop,” Byrd said “Early in the season you still get the guys, and I did it myself, who tried to drive it out of the park and you come up short with these new bats. You can tell a difference in a good 10 to 15 feet. Balls I crushed that were no-doubters with the old bats were getting caught at the warning track.”

While hitters are being thrown for a loop, pitchers have been able to thrive.

Oliver said his pitchers have gained confidence knowing they no longer have to nibble around the corners. They can, instead, go after hitters, aggressively hitting different spots in the strike zone.

“You see guys that get jammed on inside pitches in years past who hit doubles down the line or even balls that leave the yard,” Pelfrey agreed. “Now you’re seeing actions like a ball would break a bat if they were using wooden bats in the big leagues. It’s the same type of actions where the ball doesn’t go anywhere.”

Pitchers with less-than-breathtaking velocity but above-average accuracy have become more valued.

“The guy throwing the ball in the low to mid 80s with control is a special commodity,” Oliver said.

Overall, coaches agreed that the new thud of BBCOR bats takes the game back to the way it was played when they were novices in the study of baseball strategy, which is a refreshing change in a time where young players can be more worried about the chicks who dig the long ball than the basics of the game.

"Our coaches have preached all season how the game has changed more drastically this year than it ever has for high schoolers," McKinney North outfielder Heath Beasley said. "Small ball is back for high school ball."
HIGHLAND PARK, Texas -- Two home runs sparked McKinney North to a key 4-2 district win over Highland Park on Friday night.

North starting pitcher Aaron Rhodes opened the game's scoring in the top of the fifth, hitting the first pitch he saw over the right-center wall.

North's Heath Beasley continued the Bulldog offensive roll in the top of the seventh, sending another first-pitch ball out of Scotland Yard over the left-field wall. The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the inning to stretch the lead to 4-1.

The Scots drove in one in the bottom of the seventh and moved runners to second and third with two outs but couldn't complete the comeback.

Rhodes picked up the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits in his complete-game effort.

McKinney North is 3-2 in District 10-4A with the win. Highland Park falls to 1-4 in district play, which is a skid coach Fred Oliver said hasn't been seen at Highland Park for as long as he can remember.

"We can't seem to buy a hit when we need to," Oliver said. "Our backs are against the wall. We have to win."

SL Carroll boys, girls sweep 5A swimming titles

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
7:37
PM CT
Southlake Carroll's boys and girls swept the Class 5A team titles at the UIL swimming and diving championships over the weekend at Austin's Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

Highland Park's girls won the Class 4A team championship.

Frisco's Corey Nix set a 4A state record in the boys 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.13 seconds.

The following area swimmers won their events:

CLASS 5A GIRLS
  • 200 medley relay: Southlake Carroll, 1:44.22
  • 200 freestyle: Julia Anderson, Fort Worth Paschal, 1:45.88
  • 100 freestyle: Julia Anderson Fort Worth Paschal, 49.53
  • 200 freestyle relay: Southlake Carroll, 1:36.08
  • 100 backstroke: Caroline Korst, Hebron, 55.62
  • 400 freestyle relay: Southlake Carroll, 3:27.99
CLASS 5A BOYS
  • 200 freestyle: Ted Singley, Southlake Carroll, 1:38.38
  • 50 freestyle: Ted Singley, Southlake Carroll, 4:23.68
CLASS 4A GIRLS
  • 200 medley relay: Highland Park, 1:49.09
  • 200 freestyle: Claire Walters, Rockwall-Heath, 1:50.86
  • 200 IM: Whitney Allen, Frisco, 2:03.54
  • 50 freestyle: Raena Eldridge, Rockwall, 23.69
  • 100 freestyle: Sammie Hashbarger, McKinney, 51.55
  • 500 freestyle: Emily Nightingale, Lucas Lovejoy, 4:55.53
  • 200 freestyle relay: Highland Park, 1:36.48
  • 100 breaststroke: Destiny Nelson, Prosper, 1:06.12
  • 400 freestyle relay: Highland Park, 3:32.96
CLASS 4A BOYS
  • 200 IM: Adam Bull, Richardson Pearce, 1:49.84
  • 100 freestyle: Corey Nix, Frisco, 45.13
  • 500 freestyle: Adam Bull, Richardson Pearce, 4:30.47
  • 200 freestyle relay: Frisco, 1:25.75

Big second quarter lifts West Mesquite past HP

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
12:00
AM CT
GARLAND, Texas -- Highland Park kept pace with a quick West Mesquite team for about a quarter.

Then the Lady Scots started turning the ball over.

That lead to a disastrous second quarter for Highland Park where West Mesquite built a huge lead and cruised to a 62-51 win on Friday at the Garland Special Events Center.

UIL BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
West Mesquite (31-7) advances to play Rockwall in the Class 4A Region II finals at 3 p.m. Saturday.

"A lot of teams think they're quick," said West Mesquite head coach Darrin Samuels. "But it's not track quick, it's basketball quick. You have to be able to change to directions and stay under control while you do it. We can do it."

Highland Park (25-8) looked impressive in the first quarter as Sydney McDaniel, Amanda Goodwin and the rest of the Lady Scots' fast-paced offense clicked, giving them a 15-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

But it went south in a hurry. West Mesquite had no trouble running down a Highland Park offense that likes to push the ball down. As a result, the Lady Scots had more turnovers (11) than points (five) in the second quarter.

"We had to man up on their two best players -- No. 44 [Kaitlyn Read] and No. 12 [McDaniel]," said West Mesquite point guard Sha'Georgia Williams. "We're a small team, so we have to out-quick everyone and keep the game going at our tempo."

West Mesquite capitalized on those turnovers behind Williams' play. She scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter and guided the Lady Wranglers on a 19-2 run that began in the first quarter and didn't end until just before halftime. West Mesquite took a 35-20 lead into the break.

"We watched a little film," Williams said. "I personally sat there and watched the film on my own as coach just let it play in the locker room to see what I could do and what to tell my team to help us come out with the win."

Highland Park recovered a bit in the second half but played the entire third quarter without its leading scorer in Read, who picked up her fourth foul just after the halftime break. She finished with 12 points.

Meanwhile, West Mesquite continued to score at will. Despite a size disadvantage, the Lady Wranglers even found room to score in the paint.

The win puts West Mesquite within a win of its first state tournament appearance in school history, but it faces a versatile Rockwall team that can shoot from the outside and pound the paint with post Alyssa Lang.

"I know they can shoot, I know they play hard and I know they got a great coach," Samuels said. "That's the bottom line on that. We have to bring our A-game. Anything less and we're not going to meet our goal."
Highland Park leading scorer David Allen will not play in the Scots’ area round matchup against Dallas Kimball on Friday, marking the second game he'll miss under a school-sanctioned suspension for his DWI arrest over the weekend.

Highland Park ISD director of communications Helen Williams said she could not directly comment on an individual student’s disciplinary action, but cited the school's Extra-curricular Code of Conduct, which states that the minimum suspension for a first-time offender is a week or 10 percent of the regular season, which would automatically include Friday’s game.

“I can’t discuss a specific student, but that game on Friday would fall within the minimum [suspension],” Williams said.

Allen was arrested Saturday on charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene after hitting a parked car.

The area-round matchup between ESPN Dallas 4A boys No. 1 Highland Park and No. 5 Kimball, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lancaster High School, highlights the slate of boys playoff games Friday.

Kimball rolls into the marquee matchup after beating Dallas Hillcrest, 82-70, in the highest ranked matchup of the bi-district round. Kimball head coach Royce Johnson was unaware of Allen’s suspension after the bi-district win and said it wouldn’t affect Kimball’s game plan.

Highland Park and Kimball shared a common opponent this season in South Oak Cliff, which Highland Park beat 65-59 in a non-district matchup and Kimball lost to twice in district play by a combined six points.

Although the teams have not faced off since the 2007-08 season in a 70-56 Kimball win, Johnson said he’s familiar with the Scots’ style.

“I’m familiar with their coach, just like he’s familiar with me,” Johnson said. “I’m familiar with his style and he’s familiar with mine. He’s going to have his guys well prepared and relaxed. They’re going to be aggressive and not be intimidated by us.”

Kimball will naturally look to get the ball in the hands of leading scorer Keith Frazier, who can create scoring chances off the dribble or pull up and hit from almost any distance, even in traffic.

Frazier believes the key will be the play of Kimball’s big men in the post matching up with Highland Park post Chase Fletcher.

“Our coaches told us they have a big front line," Frazier said, "and we’re just going to have our big guys ready so we can attack them.”

One player Kimball hopes to have ready is forward Sheldon Yearwood, who has been dealing with a quad injury.

But Johnson said he believes preparation is the key and that the better-prepared team will win Friday.

“If Highland Park is victorious against us it’s because they were better prepared and they outplayed us,” Johnson said. “There’s not going to be such a thing as we played down or anything. We’re going to give our best effort.”

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