High School: Lewisville

8-5A falls short of expectations in postseason

November, 21, 2011
Since District 8-5A’s conception two years ago, many considered it one of the strongest and deepest football districts in the state.

With realignment looming in February, Flower Mound Marcus and Allen losing this weekend marked the end of the perceived super-district.

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Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

While the 8-5A performed well in nondistrict play during the regular season, its playoff record didn’t live up to the hype.

Consider these numbers:

-- 8-5A went an incredible 38-10 in nondistrict regular-season play;

-- 8-5A went just 3-8 in the playoffs;

-- 8-5A went 3-5 against District 7-5A, its bi-district rival;

-- No 8-5A team went beyond the area round, and only three teams made it to area – both Allen teams and 2011 Marcus.

Like with any statistic, these numbers come with caveats.

It’s hard to say how good the two Allen teams were because they got very unfortunate area-round draws against Euless Trinity. With a better draw, Allen might have improved 8-5A’s overall playoff record.

The same can be said of playing 7-5A in bi-district. If 8-5A had been number 9 or 10 instead of 8 and played a weaker district in the first round, it might have been a very different story.

However, the final results don’t refute two facets of 8-5A – parity and depth. Only two teams didn’t make the playoffs in the district’s two-year history (Plano West and Lewisville), and playoff-worthy teams got left out of the postseason both years because of tiebreakers (Hebron in 2010, Plano West in 2011).

And for evidence of parity within the district, one only had to watch a game. District 8-5A play produced some of the year’s best regular-season games of the season, and the average margin of victory for 8-5A playoff teams against other 8-5A playoff teams was less than a touchdown.

District 8-5A shows strength during nondistrict

September, 19, 2011
It looks all but certain that a quality team will get left out of the playoffs in District 8-5A – again.

During nondistrict play, the eight 8-5A teams went a combined 18-6, better than any other district in the area in Class 5A.

The only team to beat an 8-5A team by more than a touchdown is powerhouse Arlington Martin, which beat both Flower Mound (56-41) and Plano West (45-7) handily.

But don’t expect the sparkling records to last in what may be the deepest district in the state. With so many good teams, there are bound to be more than a few surprising final scores, and more than one playoff spot might get decided in Week 10.

Allen, Flower Mound Marcus and Plano are all undefeated at 3-0, while Hebron, Plano East, Plano West and Lewisville are 2-1.

Even Flower Mound (1-2), the only team in the district with a losing record, is a legitimate threat to make the playoffs as the Jaguars lead the area in total offense.

The only sure thing in the district may be No. 1 Allen. The Eagles looked absolutely dominant en route to their perfect record, registering quality wins over Cedar Hill (28-13) and at Longview (42-23), a team with a great home-field advantage.

The first weekend of 8-5A play features plenty of salty matchups, headlined by Allen at Plano on Friday. Plano East hosts Marcus, Lewisville hosts Plano West and Flower Mound hosts Hebron.

District 8-5A football season preview

August, 19, 2011
  • Allen (10-2, 6-1) lost in DI area. Coach: Tom Westerburg.
  • Flower Mound (7-4, 5-2) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Cody Vanderford.
  • Flower Mound Marcus (8-3, 5-2) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Bryan Erwin.
  • Hebron (6-4, 4-3). Coach: Brian Brazil.
  • Lewisville (3-7, 1-6). Coach: Dick Olin.
  • Plano (7-4, 4-3) lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Jaydon McCullough.
  • Plano East (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Johnny Ringo.
  • Plano West (3-7, 0-7). Coach: Mike Hughes.
THE BIG QUESTION: Which playoff-caliber teams will get left out of the postseason?

It's a safe bet that Allen, a near-consensus No. 1 team in the state, will make the playoffs in District 8-5A.

After that, it's anybody's guess.

8-5A remains one of the deepest districts in the state, which means more than one team that would be a shoo-in for the postseason in another district will likely have to pack it up after 10 games.

Preseason predictions have varied wildly, with one publication's No. 2 pick landing at No. 6 on another publication's list.

Will Hebron fall just short again? Will the losses of Paul Millard and Hunter Lee prove too much for Flower Mound to overcome? Could a team with as much talent and tradition as Plano fail to make the playoffs like it came so close to doing in 2010? Will the return of QB Corey Wesley and RB Nathan Meadors get Plano East back in the playoffs?

In 8-5A, high school football's equivalent of the SEC, the only certainty is that deserving teams will get left out.


QB Alec Morris, RB Jonathan Williams, Thaddeus LaGrone, Allen; QB Marshall Williams, RB Connor Ashley, WR Brad Bush, Flower Mound; WR Deion Sanders Jr., RB Harvey Giddens, LB Joe Sikes, Flower Mound Marcus.WR Kiante' Griffin, DE Deatrich Wise, DB Jamal Adams, Hebron; RB Rodrick Williams, RB DeAndre Brown, DT Scott Ekpe, Lewisville; DE Xavier Harbert, DE Dwayne Hicks, QB Richard Lagow, Plano; LB Toby Obumseli, QB Corey Wesley, RB Nathan Meadors, Plano East; LB Bryce Cottrell, QB Carson Smith, WR Carlos Wiggins, Plano West.


Allen is playing its last season in Eagle Stadium before it moves into its new $60 million facility. ... Plano West is riding a seven-game losing streak. The Wolves started 2010 3-0, only to lose out the rest of the season. ... Sophomore Cole Erwin takes over at QB for Flower Mound Marcus, pushing last year's starter, Deion Sanders Jr., to wide receiver.


  1. Allen
  2. Plano
  3. Flower Mound Marcus
  4. Hebron

Forward Smart is right at home at FM Marcus

March, 1, 2011
CARROLLTON, Texas -- Most of Flower Mound Marcus' raucous fan base is heading home, but a few dozen well-wishers line the corridor between the team's locker room and the exit at R.L. Turner High School.

The Marauders' 56-50 area-round playoff victory over Duncanville ended 40 minutes earlier.

Marcus Smart, the best player on perhaps the best high school basketball team in the state, is one of the last to emerge.

Waiting patiently near the end of the hall is his mother, Camellia Smart.

She has gone through similar game-night rituals many times before with three older sons.

Marcus Smart
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comFlower Mound Marcus forward Marcus Smart is ESPNU's 35th-ranked junior in the nation.
When the face of her 6-foot-4, 200-pound "baby" appears above the crowd, mom smiles.

It was Camellia that put her son's transfer to Marcus High School in motion by relocating to Flower Mound in 2008.

Whether the Marauders (34-1) would be getting ready for Wednesday night's third-round playoff game against Lewisville without her son, ESPNU's No. 35 junior in the nation, is questionable.

But after raising three other boys in Southwest Dallas County, Camellia has never second-guessed her decision to move and is sure that her youngest is better off at Marcus High School.

Smart attended school in Red Oak in the seventh and eighth grade before the family moved.

"I wanted Marcus to get a better education," Camellia explained. "He didn't have good study habits and I didn't feel he was getting the attention he needed to succeed."

Neighborhood gangs were another concern.

"One in particular was really violent," she said.

It's understandable that mom wanted to take precautions. The family has already suffered through two life-altering tragedies.

Marcus' eldest brother, Todd Westbrook, was diagnosed with cancer at age 15 and succumbed to the disease at 33. Gary, his uncle, is confined to a wheelchair, the result of a gunshot wound.


  • Girls state tournament pairings »
  • More girls playoff coverage »
  • Boys regional quarter pairings »
  • More boys playoff coverage »
  • That created a heavy load on the shoulders of Camellia, who has been called by retired Lancaster coach Joe Rushing the most supportive parent he encountered. Rushing coached Camellia's three oldest sons and has memories of Marcus as a 10-year-old at the end of the Lancaster bench.

    The family's move to Flower Mound, however, has come with different kinds of challenges.

    Accusations of transferring for athletic purposes, a University Interscholastic League violation, prompted a district executive committee's closer inspection last season, a year when the team advanced to the state tournament.

    Complaints recently surfaced again, just before the playoffs began, concerning the amount of rent the Smart family pays on its home. The home is owned by Phil Forte, the father of Marcus Smart's teammate and best friend, point guard Phil Forte.

    Lewisville ISD public information officer Karen Permetti said the issue of Smart's eligibility was put to rest on Monday when the UIL found no evidence of a rules violation.

    In an open letter to the Marcus community after the most recent concerns were raised, school principal Gary Shafferman wrote: "We believe this story should highlight how a family has helped another family after suffering a life-altering tragedy. It saddens me to think that friends helping friends is a gesture of cheating the system. I applaud these students and their families for demonstrating character, compassion and kindness. This is what we try to teach our students every school day."

    Marcus coach Danny Henderson said the relationship between the senior Forte and Smart is close-knit. Forte's son and Smart have been teammates in summer ball since they were 10.

    "It is neat to watch these kids," said the senior Forte. "I learned from reading a story the other day that Marcus and my son plan to be the best man in each other's wedding. That's how close they are."

    I wanted Marcus to get a better education. He didn't have good study habits and I didn't feel he was getting the attention he needed to succeed.

    -- Camellia Smart, mother of Marcus Smart, on moving her family to Flower Mound
    On the court, there has never been a question about the ability of Smart, who averages 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.

    Here's ESPN recruiting evaluator Michael LaPlante's take on the forward, who has yet to commit to a college: "He is a bruiser who attacks the basket, draws fouls and gets to the charity stripe with regularity. He plays much bigger than his listed size."

    When watching Smart play, it's clear that his leadership sets the tone for the rest of the team.

    "We know we have to get the ball in his hands," Henderson said. "I feel good when he has the ball. He is so unselfish, he couldn't care less about how many points he scores."

    Lewisville, the team that stands between the Marauders and the Region I tournament, lost twice to Marcus in the regular season, so Farmers coach Henry Thomas is very familiar with Smart.

    "Talking with kids that play against him, he plays so dang hard all the time," Thomas said. "And he's got the right name, because that's just how he plays: smart."

    He's smart in the classroom, too, having become an A/B honor roll student. And his mother couldn't be happier.

    "We love Flower Mound and we love the people," Camellia said. "Great people and great kids."

    Plano West beats Lewisville to cap 4-win week

    February, 11, 2011
    PM CT
    PLANO, Texas -- Plano West entered the week in sixth place in District 8-5A facing the possibility of missing the playoffs despite having a talented team with high expectations.

    It enters the weekend in a tie for second place with one game remaining in the regular season.

    The Wolves (23-9, 8-5) won all four games they played this week, capping it with a hard-fought 56-51 victory over Lewisville on Friday at Plano West.

    "Our guys finally saw that we needed a sense of urgency," said Plano West assistant coach Nathan Leraas. "All year long we talked about playing with passion, playing with pride, playing with intensity. But until you're faced with elimination from the playoffs your senior year, it doesn't sit in too well."

    The win was the fifth straight for the Wolves since they lost to Flower Mound Marcus on Jan. 25 in a game where Plano West tried to milk the clock for most of the contest.

    The winning streak helped erase a painful first half of district play in which Plano West suffered heartbreaking losses to Hebron (45-43), Plano (63-61) and Lewisville (64-59). It avenged all three of those losses this week.

    "That week off really helped me," said Plano West post and Creighton signee Geoffrey Groselle. "My legs were just tired. That week off refreshed my legs. Everyone felt good and we knew what we needed to do."

    Plano West beat Lewisville (21-10, 8-5) despite losing star shooting guard Deshon Portley to an ankle injury just before halftime. Receiving a long inbounds pass at the opposite free throw line, Portley had his feet taken out from under him while reaching up for the ball.

    The injury ended Portley's night but not before he scored a game-high 17 points. He said the injury won't keep him out of Tuesday's finale against Plano East.

    "I saw him run up under me," Portley said. "When I jumped I tried to use my body to protect myself, but he slid under me and I fell on his foot."

    In the second half, Plano West shifted its focus to working the ball inside to Groselle, who scored 10 of his 14 points after the break.

    With Lewisville leading 48-47 late in the fourth quarter, Groselle turned it on, scoring six straight points to put the Wolves in front. Justin Staley and Danny O'Leary sunk free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

    "I had a mismatch and I took care of it," Groselle said. "We just started getting the ball inside more. He [Portley] was on fire but I guess it was my turn."

    Plano West jumped out to a 22-15 lead after the first quarter thanks to Portley's hot hand. Lewisville hung around, but didn't take a lead until early in the third quarter when Ray Dorsey's basket gave the Farmers a 34-33 lead.

    The third quarter featured seven lead changes and Lewisville entered the fourth with a 43-41 lead before Groselle's surge put Plano West up for good.

    Ryan Bowie led Lewisville with 13 points, while Dorsey (12) and Jeremy Norman (11) also scored in double digits.
    Plano West (25-6, 12-1) can wrap up the District 8-5A title with a win over Flower Mound (13-16, 4-9) Thursday night.

    Plano East (25-7, 11-2) fell out of a first-place tie with Plano West after losing to Lewisville 54-50 on Tuesday. Plano East and Plano West split their season series.

    Lewisville (24-8, 10-3) still has a shot at the second seed in 8-5A, and is just a game behind Plano East, against whom it split the season series. But Lewisville needs a win over Flower Mound Marcus and a Plano East loss to Plano to pull into a tie for second.

    Marcus (16-16, 7-6), which swept the season series against Plano (13-13, 6-7) and has a one-game lead, has already wrapped up the fourth and final playoff spot in 8-5A.

    Plano West pushes FM Marcus with game plan

    January, 26, 2011
    PM CT
    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.

    Lewisville leaning on junior guard tandem

    January, 19, 2011
    PM CT
    The guard tandem of Ryan Bowie and Ray Dorsey has Lewisville well positioned in a competitive District 8-5A.

    Bowie, who averages 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, and Dorsey, who averages 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, are juniors, giving the Farmers one of the most formidable backcourts in the area for the foreseeable future.

    Lewisville (18-6, 5-1) is second only to No. 1 Flower Mound Marcus in 8-5A coming up on the midway point of district play.

    “They’ve been really good,” Lewisville head coach Henry Thomas said. “They’ve pretty much carried us.”

    Recruiters are hot after both players. Thomas expects both to play for Division I colleges.

    The two have helped Lewisville make a seamless transition to the 2011 season after the Farmers lost scorers Brandon Jefferson and Jordan Richardson to graduation.

    The Farmers average a strong 64 points per game.

    On Tuesday, Lewisville got revenge on Plano West, the team that knocked the Farmers out of the playoffs in 2010. After trailing by seven at halftime, Lewisville stormed back for a 64-59 win.

    Lewisville plays at Allen at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

    Banyard powers FM Marcus over Lewisville

    January, 10, 2011
    PM CT
    FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- Flower Mound Marcus was a state-tournament team without Nick Banyard.

    With him, the Marauders may be a state-title team.

    The transfer from Arlington Grace Prep showed what kind of impact he can have in Marcus' 61-51 win over rival Lewisville on Monday, a win that puts the Marauders (22-1, 4-0) in sole possession of first place in District 8-5A.

    Banyard led Marcus in scoring with 20 points and cleaned up on the glass, tallying 13 rebounds. And the 6-foot-8 junior showed incredible versatility, knocking down 3-pointers in the second quarter while mucking it up in the paint in a physical third quarter, picking up a technical foul.

    "I thought this was his best game of the year," Marcus head coach Danny Henderson said of Banyard. "He's getting better and better every game."

    Banyard has gotten acclimated to a Marcus system that's more structured than the one he played in at Grace Prep, and he's standing out on a team already loaded with star power.

    "It took me awhile, like a couple months, but I'm starting to get used to it now," Banyard said. "The system here is a lot more strict. We have more rules. 'You're not going to do this or you're going to come out.'"

    The usual suspects also contributed for Marcus, the top-ranked team in the ESPN Dallas Class 5A rankings. Phil Forte and Marcus Smart, the duo that guided the Marauders to the state semifinals in 2010, scored 15 and 14, respectively.

    After a sloppy first quarter, Forte put Marcus in control in the second quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and two free throws to give Marcus a 21-17 lead.

    The five-point swing was the nexus of a 14-2 run, leading the Marauders to a 29-20 lead at halftime.

    "We just executed better," Henderson said. "In the first quarter, we shot too many contested shots. That's all I talked about at the quarter break -- trying to get uncontested shots. We did that in the second quarter."

    The game slowed down after the break in a third quarter where each team collected more than seven fouls by the end.

    Ryan Dorsey, who scored 15 for No. 9 Lewisville, opened the frame with a hot hand and his free throw cut Marcus' lead to seven midway through the frame.

    But the Farmers (16-6, 3-1) wouldn't get any closer despite Dorsey and a team-high 20 from Ryan Bowie. Marcus pulled away in the fourth behind dominant play from Banyard and Smart.

    "It was closer than the score indicated," Henderson said.
    District 8-5A was unmatched in talent and depth in football.

    It could end up equally good in boys basketball.

    Seven of the eight teams currently sport winning records, and five made the playoffs in 2010 (Flower Mound Marcus, Lewisville, Allen, Plano West and Flower Mound).

    Throw in improved Plano and Hebron teams and the 8-5A playoff race could be one of the most interesting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Coming off a state tournament appearance with the bulk of its roster returning, Flower Mound Marcus (20-1, 2-0) is the overwhelming favorite to win the district title. The Mauraders are ranked No. 1 in the ESPN Dallas 5A area rankings.

    Lewisville (15-5, 2-0) and No. 8 Plano West (16-5, 1-1) are traditional powers that will push Marcus.

    Allen (17-5, 1-1) made it back to the playoffs in 2010 and has looked strong to open this season. No. 9 Plano (14-6, 1-1) is rebounding after missing the postseason last year.

    But like in football, a good team will get left out of the postseason in 8-5A because of the depth in the district.

    Surprise results keep coming in loaded 8-5A

    October, 4, 2010
    PM CT
    District 8-5A might be the best district in the state, but don’t expect the records to show that at the end of the season.

    With six teams at 1-1 in 8-5A play, the district will likely produce a handful of teams that finish around .500. It’s possible a messy tiebreaker could decide the playoff fate of more than one team.

    With such parity in the district, every game has the potential for an upset, and there have been plenty of surprises already.

    Plano West (3-2, 0-2 in 8-5A) roared into district play with a three-game win streak but is still looking for its first district win after losses to Lewisville (3-2, 1-1) and Plano East (3-2, 1-1).

    No. 10 Flower Mound Marcus (4-1, 1-1) upset East two weeks ago, only to be stunned itself over the weekend in a 52-49 loss to Flower Mound (3-2, 1-1).

    The only sure bet – if there is one – seems to be No. 2 Allen (5-0, 2-0). The Eagles have already beaten No. 5 Plano (4-1, 1-1) and haven’t missed a beat despite replacing most of its roster this season.

    District 8-5A football season preview

    August, 21, 2010
    PM CT

    • Allen (10-2, 6-0 in 8-5A) lost in DII area. Coach: Tom Westerburg
    • Flower Mound (6-5, 2-3 in 6-5A) lost in DII bi-district. Coach Cody Vanderford
    • Flower Mound Marcus (7-4, 3-2 in 6-5A) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Bryan Erwin
    • Hebron (4-6, 1-4 in 6-5A). Coach: Brian Brazil
    • Lewisville (2-8, 0-5 in 6-5A). Coach: Dick Olin
    • Plano (5-7, 3-3 in 8-5A) lost in DI area. Coach: Jaydon McCullough
    • Plano East (7-4, 5-1 in 8-5A) lost in DI area. Coach: Johnny Ringo
    • Plano West (5-6, 3-3 in 8-5A) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Mike Hughes
    THE BIG QUESTION: Is 8-5A the best district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

    [+] EnlargeAllen High School football
    Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comAllen checks in at No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's preseason Class 5A rankings.
    College realignment failed to produce a super conference in the offseason, but the UIL created a super district during its biennial realignment.

    Already stacked with elite area programs, 8-5A got even tougher when it absorbed most of what was District 6-5A.

    Six of the eight teams in the new 8-5A made the playoffs in 2009 and the two that didn't -- Lewisville and Hebron -- are expected to improve greatly, giving postseason implications to each 8-5A tilt.

    Two years removed from a state title, Allen remains the favorite despite returning just four starters. Plano and Plano East are strong threats, while Flower Mound, Flower Mound Marcus and Plano West all have the talent to make the playoffs.

    But with so many contenders, more than a few strong teams will get left out of the postseason.


    Allen WR Jonathon Lee, a Baylor commit, may be the best receiver in the area. He caught 17 touchdowns in 2009. ... Plano East S Lyndell Johnson is a rangy safety who can cover and move up to stop the run. ... 8-5A features numerous Division I-quality offensive linemen, including Plano East's Jake Brendel (UCLA), Plano West's Travis Cross (Oklahoma State) and Allen's Brad McNulty. ... Flower Mound QB Paul Millard has the potential to put up the best numbers in the area.


    New Flower Mound Marcus QB Deion Sanders is the son of former NFL superstar Deion Sanders. ... Hebron QB Kyle Aubuchon is the younger brother of Brian Aubuchon, who led the Hawks to the 2005 4A state title. ... Plano nearly knocked off eventual state champion Euless Trinity in the area round in 2009, losing 41-38.


    1. Allen
    2. Plano East
    3. Hebron
    4. Plano

    THSCA All-Star basketball game tonight

    July, 19, 2010
    PM CT
    Six area players will represent the North in tonight’s 66th Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game at San Antonio’s Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s University.

    Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.

    Area players include:

    *Travis Dykman, a 6-2 guard from Crandall.

    *Scott Greg, a 6-6 post from Ponder.

    *Kristapher Gulley, a 6-7 forward from Dallas Madison.

    *Brandon Jefferson, a 5-10 guard from Lewisville.

    *Tanner Milson, a 6-2 guard from Cedar Hill.

    *T.J. Taylor, a 6-3 guard from Denison.

    The South team will be led by Houston Yates guard Joseph Young, who is bound for Providence College.

    The North will be coached by Coppell’s Brad Chasteen along with his assistant coaches, Jon Ziaer and Pat Hernandez.

    Monday is the first full day of THSCA’s annual convention. Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall, Oregon football coach Chip Kelly and Xavier basketball coach Chris Mack are today’s featured speakers.

    The THSCA football all-star game will be played Tuesday night.

    7-on-7 tournament begins Thursday

    July, 7, 2010
    AM CT
    Many of the state’s top high school football skill players will descend on College Station, Texas, for the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship presented by adidas and Academy Sports & Outdoors.

    The tournament consists of two 64-team divisions based on the school’s UIL classification.

    Within each division, teams are divided into 16 pools of four. The top two finishers in each pool advance to championship single-elimination and the bottom two finishers are placed in consolation single-elimination.

    Pool play in Division II (Class 3A, 2A, 1A) begins at 1 p.m. Thursday and culminates in the state title game at 5 p.m. Friday at Kyle Field.

    Area teams that have qualified in Division II include defending champion Celina, Aubrey, Godley, Kaufman, Lovejoy, Melissa, Prosper, Sanger and Wills Point.

    Division I (Class 5A, 4A) pool play begins at 1 p.m. Friday and concludes with the championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Kyle Field.

    Local qualifiers include: Arlington Bowie, Arlington Lamar, Coppell, DeSoto, Grand Prairie, Hebron, Irving Nimitz, Lewisville, Mansfield Legacy, Mesquite, Plano, Plano West, Richland, Rockwall, Saginaw Boswell, Dallas Skyline, Southlake Carroll, West Mesquite and Wylie.

    Lamar is the state's only DI team to qualify for all 13 state tournaments. Nimitz, Lewisville and Skyline will be playing in the state tournament for the first time.

    Three 7-on-7 state champions have gone on to win UIL state titles the following fall: Celina, twice, in 2000 and 2007, and Tyler Lee in 2004.

    Here’s a list of the tournament’s past DI champions:
    2009: Round Rock Stony Point
    2008: Richland
    2007: Georgetown
    2006: Colleyville Heritage
    2005: Baytown Lee
    2004: Tyler Lee
    2003: Odessa Permian
    2002: Katy Cinco Ranch
    2001: Baytown Lee
    2000: Celina
    1999: North Mesquite
    1998: Southlake Carroll

    The DII champions:
    2009: Celina
    2008: Crane
    2007: Celina

    Early setbacks didn't hinder Plano West

    March, 4, 2010
    PM CT
    Plano West’s season began with a series of unfortunate breaks.

    Transfer guard Bakari Turner and 7-foot center Ivan Rangel were lost before they even played a game because of eligibility and injury, respectively.

    That didn’t stop West from having a banner year though as the Wolves have gone farther in the playoffs than they have in school history.

    They play North Crowley in the Class 5A Region I semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

    “We’re pretty excited about that here,” said West head coach Anthony Morgan, who has gone farther in the playoffs in his career this year.

    Morgan credited the assistant coaches throughout the program for overcoming those losses. Guard Deshon Portley emerged as the team’s leading scorer after playing mostly on the junior varsity team last year, and numerous others stepped up to fill out a roster whose only returning starter – Jackson Jeffcoat – was on the football field when basketball season began.

    “My coaching staff did a real good job preparing our younger kids,” Morgan said. “Coach [Nathan] Leraas and coach [Derrick] Richardson really prepared our JV group and we filled a lot of holes. We lost six seniors last year.”

    West (24-8) nearly coughed up its season against Lewisville on Monday. After trailing most of the game, Lewisville stormed back to take a lead with 4.9 seconds left in the game.

    The Wolves managed to tie it when Lewisville accidentally fouled West on the final play. West took an early lead in overtime and coasted to a 69-65 win.