High School: Jan. 26 boys notes

Plano West pushes FM Marcus with game plan

January, 26, 2011
With no shot clock in high school basketball, teams will sit with the ball for an entire overtime period and try to win the game on a buzzer-beater, a tactic used rather often.

Against Flower Mound Marcus on Tuesday, Plano West used that strategy for an entire game.

West (18-9, 3-5 in District 8-5A) held the ball for minutes at a time in an attempt to shorten the game and keep Marcus’ offense from getting on a run. It helped West push the game into triple overtime, but the Wolves ultimately lost, 38-31.

A win would have gone a long way toward rescuing a season that’s gone awry for West. Despite an overall winning percentage above .700, the Wolves sit in sixth place in 8-5A and a game behind Allen and Plano for the fourth and final playoff spot in the district.

Of West’s five 8-5A losses, two were by two points, one was by five against area power Lewisville and the other two were against Marcus (26-1, 8-0), ranked No. 1 in ESPN Dallas’ Class 5A boys rankings.

With six games remaining in the season -- including Friday’s road game against Allen -- West still has plenty of opportunities to make up ground.

First-place Azle boys on an 8-0 roll in 5-4A

January, 26, 2011
Drew Charles’ well-rounded skills are a big reason the Azle Hornets are 8-0 and in first place in District 5-4A.

The 6-foot-1 junior guard leads Azle in scoring (18.1), assists (4.7) and steals (2.8) and is second in rebounds (7.2.)

Charles was right on his 18-point average in Tuesday’s 56-40 victory over Fort Worth Boswell.

Backcourt mate and fellow captain Dillon Bagwell, a 6-foot senior, scored 13 points against Boswell and 6-foot-8 senior post Jake Zuihof added 13.

Azle (20-4) has not lost since the calendar flipped to 2011.

State-wide recognition is catching up to the Hornets, who are ranked No. 18 in Class 4A in the latest poll of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

The Hornets are bidding for a third straight playoff appearance. They went 1-1 in 2009 and 2-1 last year, taking out Little Elm and Fort Worth Trimble Tech before being ousted by Mansfield Legacy.

Azle hosts Birdville at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Richland riding front line to 10-0 district mark

January, 26, 2011
Mix a couple of talented 6-foot-7 move-ins with a nucleus of eight returning veterans and it isn’t a surprise Richland is breezing along with a 10-0 record in District 6-5A.

Justin Hammonds, a senior wing, and his brother, sophomore Leyton Hammonds, have fit in nicely with the Rebels after a move from San Antonio Johnson.

Add 6-foot-7, 230-pound Kris Brown to the mix and Richland can put an intimidating front line on the court. Not to mention match-up problems that coach Richard Bacon can create.

The older of the brothers, Justin, leads Richland in scoring with a 16.7 average. The Air Force Academy signee averages eight rebounds.

Leyton, who continues to show flashes of potential, has raised his scoring average to 9.2 points per game while posting solid rebound numbers with 5.3 per game.

Brown, a junior, is averaging a team-leading 8.4 rebounds to go along with an 11.2 scoring average.

Sharp-shooting 5-foot-10 senior guard Wesley Gipson is the No. 2 scorer with a 14.6 average.

Richland, idle on Tuesday, owns a 1-game lead in 6-5A over Colleyville Heritage and Irving, which are both 9-2.

The Rebels travel to Irving for one of their six remaining district games on Friday. Tipoff is 8 p.m.