High School: South Oak Cliff

GARLAND, Texas -- Dallas Kimball head coach Royce "Snoop" Johnson had tears running down his face as he spoke to his team before it took the court against South Oak Cliff on Saturday.

While he didn't say much other than how proud he was of them, the emotion with which he expressed it reminded the players of all they have overcome in an up-and-down season and the bond they had formed in the process.

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Kimball channeled the energy of Johnson's speech from the opening tip and rolled to an 84-63 win over South Oak Cliff, a team it had lost to twice during the regular season.

The win puts Kimball (31-5) back in the state tournament a year after winning its first title under Johnson.

"Coach gave us some kind of sermon before the game," Kimball guard Keith Frazier said. "He said something to the team that just touched everybody. We just wanted to come out here and play hard and win the game for him."

Frazier was particularly sharp early in the game, contributing in all phases and scoring a game-high 26 points to go along with eight rebounds. He scored nine in the first quarter while South Oak Cliff (30-8) was still keeping pace.

"He told me last night, 'Coach I'm a little nervous but I'm going to get you out of here tomorrow,'" Johnson said of Frazier. "I looked him right in the eye and knew he meant it and that he was going to be a great player today."

Frazier's play highlighted the size advantage that Kimball used to dominated South Oak Cliff on the boards. Forwards D'Angelo Allen (14 points), Sheldon Yearwood (13) and Trent Brinkley (12) were too deep for the Golden Bears to match inside, and it led to a lot of second-chance points on offense and one-shot possessions on defense.

Allen's play may have been the biggest difference between Saturday's game and Kimball's previous two losses to South Oak Cliff. The sophomore battled injuries and eligibility issues during the regular season. He joined the team for the last two district games but has blossomed in the playoffs.

"The first time we played them, Trent and D'Angelo were out so our inside we were lacking in the rotation," Johnson said. "We knew we could go four or five deep inside and we knew they couldn't go that deep."

The Knights took control of the game in the second quarter, going on a 17-4 run that gave them a 42-32 halftime lead. South Oak Cliff didn't get one offensive rebound during that stretch.

And it only got worse after halftime for the Golden Bears. Kimball extended its lead to 19 points by the end of the frame, a deficit South Oak Cliff didn't seriously cut into before the final buzzer.
GARLAND, Texas -- Dallas Kimball will get a third shot at South Oak Cliff.

Just after Kimball secured its spot in the region finals with a win over Manor, South Oak Cliff easily disposed of West Mesquite, 72-53, on Friday at the Garland Special Events Center.

South Oak Cliff and Kimball meet at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4A Region II finals.

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"It's hard to beat a team three times," said South Oak Cliff head coach James Mays. "Just like they're going to be hungry, we're going to have to be just as hungry in order to get out tomorrow."

Depth was key for South Oak Cliff (30-7). West Mesquite (28-8) kept pace with the Golden Bears through two quarters and trailed just 31-30 at the half.

But while West Mesquite's bench withered, South Oak Cliff's flourished. Using its up-tempo offense, the Golden Bears wore down the Wranglers' substitutes to methodically pull away for the win.

Midway through the third quarter, South Oak Cliff went on a 10-3 run, capped by seven consecutive points by Bryan Umoru, who finished with a team-high 18 points.

Just before the end of the third, South Oak Cliff began a 15-4 run that gave the Golden Bears a commanding lead midway through the fourth. With a tired bench, West Mesquite never recovered.

"They started wearing down in the second half," Mays said. "That's the biggest thing that stood out when we were doing our work scouting is that they didn't have as much relief off the bench. We tried to be judicious in our rotations in the first half with our bench. It helped us for later on in the game."

South Oak Cliff beat Kimball, the defending 4A state champions, twice in the regular season. The Golden Bears captured the District 11-4A championship by virtue of those two wins.

Both teams are coming off games in which bench play and a strong third quarter led to blowout wins, setting up a game that has the potential to be an instant classic.

"Our depth has really been keeping us in games," Mays said. "We trust our starting five. We feel like we have a good of five as anybody in the area, but the depth is key. They have to put in quality minutes."

(At Garland Special Events Center)


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6 p.m.: Dallas Kimball vs. Manor

7:30 p.m.: South Oak Cliff vs. West Mesquite


3 p.m.: Semifinal winners


Dallas Kimball (29-5): The District 11-4A runner-up defeated Dallas Hillcrest in bi-district 82-70; Highland Park in area 72-47; Dallas Woodrow Wilson in regional quarterfinals 56-44.

Manor (21-10): The District 16-4A champion defeated Red Oak in bi-district 63-60; Kilgore in area 63-50; Ennis in regional quarterfinals 77-66.

South Oak Cliff (29-7): The District 11-4A champion defeated Dallas Bryan Adams in bi-district 90-81; McKinney in area 80-75; Dallas Lincoln in regional quarterfinals 71-66.

West Mesquite (28-7): The District 15-4A runner-up defeated Elgin in bi-district 70-63; Whitehouse in area 66-44; Lancaster in regional quarterfinals 64-63.


Dallas Kimball: Keith Frazier (6-5, Jr. G) already has more than a dozen Division I scholarship offers; Shannon Lilly (6-0, Sr. G) was the MVP of the 2011 Class 4A state-title game.

Manor: Jacorey McQueen (6-3, Sr. G) scored 22 points in Manor's win over Ennis on Tuesday and was an honorable mention on the all-state football team as a quarterback.

South Oak Cliff: Bryan Umoru (6-4, Jr. F) is averaging 15.3 points per game in the playoffs; Christopher Hyder (5-10, Sr. G) averages 9 assists per game.

West Mesquite: Braylon Rayson (5-9, Jr. G) leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game; Jalen Etienne (5-10, Jr. G) hit the game-winning shot against Lancaster on Tuesday.


Dallas Kimball: Won the Class 4A state title.

Manor: Missed the playoffs.

South Oak Cliff: Lost to Dallas Lincoln 85-78 in the regional semifinals.

West Mesquite: Missed the playoffs.

SOC's fourth-quarter push knocks off Lincoln

February, 29, 2012
DALLAS – Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal match between South Oak Cliff (29-7) and Dallas Lincoln (18-12) resembled two prizefighters trading haymakers back and forth continuously through the quarters.

[+] EnlargeSouth Oak Cliff
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comSouth Oak Cliff topped Lincoln to advance to the regional semifinals against West Mesquite.
However, it was South Oak Cliff’s experience in tight games throughout the regular season that coach James Mayes III said helped the Golden Bears take Tuesday’s game, 71-66.

“Those games taught us how to handle and be patient,” Mays said. “It’s a tight game, be patient, play close and at the right moment, we’ll make a run. We’re looking for opportunities to get stops and get a run going and if we get up four to six points, it’s in our control. They were patient because of the games earlier in our schedule.”

Like a racecar driver making a move on the final lap, SOC’s game-changing stretch came at the beginning of the fourth quarter, mounting an 8-0 run after a third quarter that remained deadlocked for the majority of the frame.

The run was created by a change in SOC’s defense, going from straight man-to-man to a matchup zone that Mays believes caught Lincoln off guard. SOC was able to turn missed shots into transition buckets to start the fourth.

The Golden Bears then turned to the slow pace of a half-court offense to finish out the game, relying on its slight height advantage to continue putting up points down low.

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“We play up-tempo and we want to play up-tempo, but you can’t play up-tempo all the time on some teams,” Mays said. “This was a team that you didn’t want to play up-tempo because they have too many ball handlers and playmakers and we didn’t want them to get in open-court situations and making plays.”

The strategy paid off, with SOC’s forward tandem of brothers Bryan and Bradley Umoru leading their team in scoring with 18 and 15, respectively.

SOC continues its campaign towards Austin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garland’s Special Events Center against West Mesquite, which took out Lancaster by one point.

“We’ve got our work cut out,” Mays said. “We’ve got to get in here and devise a plan to try and stay up with them.”

South Oak Cliff survives late McKinney rally

February, 25, 2012
DALLAS -- In games between teams that like to push the ball offensively, the team that makes the last run usually wins.

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South Oak Cliff defied that logic against McKinney on Saturday.

After leading the entire game, South Oak Cliff gave up a 10-0 McKinney run late in the fourth quarter but hit enough free throws down the stretch to hang on for a 80-75 win in the first high school basketball game played at American Airlines Center.

South Oak Cliff (28-7) advances to take on Dallas Lincoln in the Class 4A Region II quarterfinals Tuesday at Ellis Davis Field House.

"We knew it was coming," South Oak Cliff coach James Mays said. "We knew they were going to make a run. We were just trying to get as big a lead as we could so we could withstand the run when it came. Thank God we had just enough."

McKinney (20-12) couldn't keep up with a more athletic South Oak Cliff team through 25 minutes and trailed by 18 in the third quarter, but the Lions ripped off a 10-0 run to cut the Golden Bear lead to 72-69 with 2:54 to play.

The Lions had the ball four times with a chance to tie it or take the lead, but they never got a shot off that would do either.

On two of those possessions they were fouled and on another South Oak Cliff's Jamaal Robateau made a vicious block on a layup attempt that would have tied the score.

With less than a minute remaining, the Lions couldn't quite keep possession of a rebound after South Oak Cliff missed a free throw that would have made it a two-possession game. The ball went off a Lion and out of bounds, and McKinney never got another chance.

"We've been in these positions all year," Mays said. "We've taken our lumps from them and we've also benefited from them. We didn't panic. We missed some free throws but we didn't panic."

South Oak Cliff survived despite the brilliance of McKinney's Red Shannon and A.J. Moutry. Shannon lead all scorers with 27, including nine of McKinney's last 11 points. Moutry added 14.

Bryan Umoru and Dennis Jones paced South Oak Cliff with 17 while Christopher Hyder scored 13.

AAC to host four boys playoff games Saturday

February, 22, 2012
American Airlines Center will host an all-day boys basketball playoff extravaganza Saturday, with four area-round games on the schedule.

Of the eight teams who will be in action, five were ranked in ESPN Dallas' final 4A and 5A area top 10s. Here are the matchups:
  • 1 p.m.: 4A No. 2 South Oak Cliff vs. McKinney
  • 3 p.m.: 5A No. 5 DeSoto vs. Rowlett
  • 5 p.m.: 4A No. 8 Arlington Seguin vs. Fort Worth Arlington Heights
  • 7 p.m.: 5A No. 2 South Grand Prairie vs. No. 8 Plano West

Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster for $25 courtside, $15 lower level and $10 upper level. Parking will be available in all American Airlines Center parking lots for $10.

What we got right: The entire 5A boys poll remained the same as last week. Flower Mound Marcus finished as the uncontested No. 1 team through the entire regular season.

What we got wrong: It took the entire year, but the 4A poll finally found resolution as teams were crowned district champions. South Oak Cliff's second win over Dallas Kimball, earning SOC the district title, not only moved them into the No. 2 position, it boosted Highland Park back into the No. 1 spot thanks to the Scots' win over SOC early in the year. Trimble Tech drops to No. 3 but will have a chance to prove itself in the playoffs when it faces competition outside Fort Worth ISD. No teams fell out of the poll from last week.

Say hello to: Nobody

Say goodbye to: Nobody

Your turn: Use the comments section to let us know what you think about these rankings.

Note: The final regular-season girls rankings were published last week. Find them here.
DALLAS -- A large and loud South Oak Cliff (26-6, 14-0) crowd showed up at Sprague Field House on Wednesday to cheer its team on to a 77-74 win over rival and host Dallas Kimball (25-5, 11-2) for the District 11-4A title, SOC’s first since 2008.

“We worked too hard to get to this point and let go,” SOC guard Dennis Jones said. “We wanted to come out with the win and be district champs and go into the playoffs on a good note.”

[+] EnlargeChristopher Hyder
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comSouth Oak Cliff won its first district title since 2008 and will face Bryan Adams in the bi-district round of the 4A playoffs.
In a game that remained close until the final buzzer, Jones took over in the final minute, scoring four of his team’s final five points to secure the win.

With 56 seconds remaining, Jones was fouled on a jump shot and hit both free throws to put his team up 74-71.

“We practice pressure free throws every day in practice,” Jones said. “We try to simulate game situations. My team put me in the right situation to do that, and I knocked the free throws down -- just like practice.”

Kimball standout Keith Frazier was fouled shooting behind the arc on the next possession, but only managed one of the three charity shots.

Jones turned on the jets after the SOC rebound on the final free throw and went the distance of the court to finish a layup that put his team up 76-74.

“I was looking for one of my teammates to see if they were open and they kept jumping in front of me and trying to rip me from the crossover, so I just took it to the rack strong,” Jones said.

Forward Bradley Umoru hit one free throw in the final seconds for SOC’s final point.

A 6-0 run early in the second quarter gave SOC a lead that wouldn’t fall below a tie score for the remainder of the game.

Emotions ran high for both teams in the first half with two technical fouls were handed out for post-whistle activities and taunting.

Halftime adjustments by SOC coach James Mays II settled his players into their game, rather than playing on emotion and what Kimball was giving them.

“I told them that Kimball was going to make a run,” Mays said. “That lead we had at half wasn’t going to hold. We had to block out and Keith was going to get his points. We just had to make him work hard and hopefully, at the end, he would start missing some, and he missed some down the stretch, so that helped.”

SOC will play Dallas Bryan Adams in the bi-district round of the 4A playoffs, which begin Monday. Kimball will face longtime rival Dallas Lincoln in the first round.

In the end, SOC put its claim on the field house in Kimball’s back yard, continuing a history of success at Sprague.

“This is old school for us,” Mays said. “We played a lot of big games in this gym. We never had a problem playing here. Once our crowd gets in it boosts us.”

Recruiting notes: Garland QB switches to Baylor

January, 23, 2012
With national signing day coming up next week, there's been plenty of recent recruiting news

If you have ESPN.com Insider access, the best place for updates about area football recruits is Damon Sayles' Midlands Region blog.

Here is some of the latest news from Sayles about local players:

Upstart Conrad aims to oust another unbeaten

November, 15, 2011
Of all the brow-raising finals from last week’s bi-district action, Dallas Conrad’s 30-23 win over South Oak Cliff may have caused the most double-takes.

Conrad (6-5) beat Dallas Hillcrest in its last regular-season game of the year to capture the fourth playoff spot in a mediocre District 12-4A.

South Oak Cliff strolled to an undefeated regular-season record. Only one team, Dallas Kimball, came within a touchdown of beating the Golden Bears.

None of that mattered last week. South Oak Cliff jumped out to a 16-0 lead behind two touchdowns passes from Jevone Valentine to Fonzale Davis. Conrad trimmed its deficit to 10 by halftime after touchdown runs by Silas Jefferson.

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

South Oak Cliff didn’t score in the second half. With the game tied at 23 with less than two minutes remaining, Conrad blocked a Golden Bears field-goal attempt and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown, giving Conrad its first lead of the game and the win.

Jefferson has proved to be one of the better rushing threats at quarterback in the area. He’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and tallied 218 and two touchdowns against South Oak Cliff.

For Conrad to keep its season alive, it will have to beat another undefeated team – Frisco Centennial (11-0). The two play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Murphy's Kimbrough Stadium.

Schedule gets tough after bye for S. Oak Cliff

September, 13, 2011
Dallas South Oak Cliff heads into its bye week with a perfect 3-0 record. When the Golden Bears return to action, that record will be seriously tested.

South Oak Cliff opens District 11-4A play against Dallas Carter (0-3) on Sept. 22 and Dallas Kimball (3-0) on Sept. 30. Those two games will likely go a long way toward deciding the 11-4A champion.

But the Golden Bears have looked solid so far. Running back Paul Franklin has 379 yards and five touchdowns while quarterback Jevone Valentine looks like a viable dual-threat, rushing for 247 yards while passing for 412.

SOC's most impressive win came two weeks ago against a scrappy Forney team.

With the Bears trailing by a touchdown in the third quarter, Franklin popped off a 46-yard touchdown run to tie it. In the fourth, the defense pulled down an interception with Forney in the red zone, and Valentine hit Corey Callicutt for an 84-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive, giving South Oak Cliff a 28-21 win.

The Golden Bears also defeated Fort Worth Dunbar (26-13) and Dallas Roosevelt (30-8).
ADDISON, Texas -- South Oak Cliff head coach James Mays probably could have scripted a better scenario for when his team finally moved past the area around of the playoffs than the one that unfolded Friday night.

But given the other option -- losing -- Mays and the Golden Bears will gladly take the win.

South Oak Cliff struggled mightily in the opening two quarters but rebounded in the second half in defeating Frisco Liberty, 60-45, at Loos Fieldhouse in the Class 4A Region II area round.

South Oak Cliff (19-9) advances to play Dallas Lincoln in the regional quarterfinals. The win puts the Golden Bears in the third round of the playoffs for the first time since the end of its four-year run of state titles, the last of which came in 2008.

"It is a huge step," Mays said. "We're kind of young. We have four underclassmen on the floor at the end of the game so this is huge for us."

For the first 24 minutes, South Oak Cliff labored to even find the rim. The Golden Bears fell behind by 10 early in the second quarter thanks to a quick 9-0 Liberty run.

But after the run, neither team could hold onto the ball or make a shot as the score stayed stuck at 20-10 for about six minutes. South Oak Cliff's Bryan Umoru finally broke through with a little more than a minute left in the half with a bucket that helped close Liberty's lead to 22-17 by halftime.

"We didn't shoot well at all," said South Oak Cliff James Mays. "That was probably the worst half we've had all season."

Things changed immediately in the second half. South Oak Cliff's defensive press started resulting in Liberty turnovers and ultimately an 11-2 run that gave South Oak Cliff a lead Liberty would never challenge.

Liberty (18-14) was outscored 23-7 in the third quarter as its sloppy transition game amplified its problems with South Oak Cliff's press. Turnovers and fouls mounted, and its already-short bench began to wear thin. South Oak Cliff reached the double bonus early in the fourth quarter.

"We picked up the defensive pressure," Mays said. "It started on the defensive end, and then we got some easier shots."

Carrying a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, South Oak Cliff only furthered its advantage in the final frame.

Upstart Frisco Liberty boys shock Highland Park

February, 23, 2011
Highland Park’s dream season came to a surprisingly early end at the hands of Frisco Liberty on Tuesday night.

Liberty, which had to beat Carrollton Creekview in a play-in game just to make the postseason, overcame a seven-point first-quarter deficit to knock out the Scots, 71-65.

Highland Park (23-9), the District 10-4A champions, fell behind quickly in the second half, but Luke Turpin (24 points) and David Allen (14 points) trimmed Liberty’s lead to two with a minute remaining in the game with free throws. But Liberty sealed the win with four unanswered points.

Liberty had five players score in double digits in the game – Cameron Brown (21), Dante Dunston (13), Aaron Estes (12), Malcolm Hill (12) and Cole Babcock (10).

Liberty (18-13) advances to play South Oak Cliff, which squeaked by Dallas Hillcrest, 50-49, on Monday. Liberty will have to slow down another team that likes to run the floor in the Golden Bears, who average 65 points per game.

Arkansas signee Abron powering Seagoville

February, 10, 2011
Dallas Seagoville (15-8, 6-4) is holding its own in a deep and talented District 11-4A.

Arkansas signee Devonta Abron is leading the way for the Dragons. The power forward averages 27.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, giving Seagoville an inside presence that few teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can match.

With Dallas Kimball (27-1, 10-0) at the top of the 11-4A standings, Seagoville’s chances for a district title have vanished, but it’s in good shape to return to the playoffs despite what stands to be a close finish.

Seagoville is in third place, but Dallas Carter (13-11, 6-5) and Dallas Pinkston (13-13, 5-6) are right on its heels.

A favorable remaining schedule gives Seagoville an advantage over Carter and Pinkston. Seagoville faces South Oak Cliff (16-6, 9-1) on Thursday, but it wraps up the regular season with North Dallas and Dallas Molina, the bottom two teams in the district.

Carter, already a half game behind Seagoville, finishes with South Oak Cliff and Dallas Adamson. Pinkston is 1.5 games behind

Seagoville still has Kimball on its schedule.

DALLAS -- Royce Johnson, head coach of ESPNDallas.com Class 4A No. 1 Dallas Kimball, believes the top team out of the DISD will be the favorite to make it to the state championship game.

On Saturday, his team took another huge step in being the best in town by eking out a close win over District 11-4A rival South Oak Cliff, 59-55.

[+] EnlargeJordan Williams
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comKimball's Jordan Williams shared game-high honors with 15 points in a win over South Oak Cliff.
No. 9 South Oak Cliff had a chance to take the lead with 15 seconds left in the game and trailing by one. But Kimball's Jalen Jones came up huge with a block, sealing the game for the Knights.

"I knew that everyone was going to crash the boards," Jones said. "The main thing was if I could get the rebound or try and get the block. It really gave us a boost and really sealed the victory for us."

Jones was one of two high scorers for his team and for the game, tying Jordan Williams with 15. Right behind was teammate Jarion Henry with 14.

Kimball passed the eye test during the game, with bigger, more athletic players on the court. However, speedy SOC guard Christopher Hyder and his teammates were able to capitalize off of many Kimball turnovers, keeping the Bears in the game.

Johnson said he believes the turnovers came from his team putting unneccesary pressure on itself and trying to win by a large margin to look attractive to national pollsters.

"The kids think you have to beat people by a certain number, and we'll fix that," Johnson said. "I think we did the things we're supposed to do to build a lead up to a 10-point game and then we started getting more conscious on trying to push the score up instead of just being smart."

Kimball also struggled with its outside shot but elected to stick with it. Johnson said that with the talent he has, he can't blame his players for wanting to keep shooting.

"They recognized that we were off a little bit and they kept giving it to us," Johnson said. "It's hard for me to tell the jump shooters that we've got that they aren't going to hit the next one. I'm with them. They've bailed me out sometimes and we're just going to bail each other out."

Kimball (24-1) moved to 7-0 in the district and handed SOC (13-6, 6-1 in district) its first league loss of the season.

"It's a rivalry in the district and always has been a rivalry," Johnson said.