ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in this area:
Girls' Basketball -- Lincoln
After reaching the Class 4A state championship game in five of six season from 1999-2004, the Tigers ended a mini slump by returning to the title game last season. And when the final buzzer sounded, the area's most dominant team of the past decade had won a third state crown since 1999. Three of the central figures in last year's title run return this winter looking for the program's first-ever back-to-back championships. Senior guard Kimetria Hayden is the team's unquestioned leader. The reigning District 13-4A MVP and Dallas Morning News Player of the Year, Hayden averaged 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in 2007-08. The 5-foot-11 playmaker earned title game MVP honors thanks to her 22- point, nine-rebound, four-steal effort. But senior guard Chynna Brown and senior forward Britney Gowans were also major pieces in last year's puzzle. Brown picked up District 13-4A Defensive Player of the Year honors and Gowans was the District's Newcomer of the Year. Both averaged about 12 points per game. The Tigers ended the year on a tear, winning 27 of their final 28 games, and allowing more than 50 points just three times in that span. Hayden, Brown and Gowans have all received serious recruiting interest from colleges around the country. But before the trio splits up to embark on college careers, they'd like to embark on one more trip to Austin to keep the Tigers on top.
Boys' Swimming -- Flower Mound
The Jaguars have been on fire the past few years, steadily improving from an 18th-place result at the Class 5A state meet in 2005 all the way up to a second-place finish in 2008. In addition to its success at state, Flower Mound also won its second consecutive Region 2-5A title last season. Some key swimmers have graduated, including Max Murphy (now at Auburn) and Jack Dwyer (now at Missouri), but senior Jake Brown and junior Jeremy Steward look to lead the way this winter.
Girls' Wrestling -- Coppell
The Cowgirls took another step up the ladder last year toward challenging perennial Texas girls' wrestling power Amarillo Caprock. In 2004, the year Caprock won the first of its five consecutive state championships, Coppell was a distant 13th at state. They dropped to 22nd in '05 then jumped to 11th in '06, seventh in '07 and second last year. Senior Yadinma Nwaiwu returns as the Cowgirls' top wrestler this year after finishing 33-5 last season and taking second at state.
Boys' Basketball -- South Oak Cliff
The Bears raised the Class 4A state championship trophy for the fourth consecutive year last season. The 2008 title came in dramatic fashion, as SOC rallied from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to top F.W. Southwest by three points. After opening the year on a rough 4-5 skid, the Bears roared home at 21-3 to close the season. The team lost its entire 2007-08 starting lineup to graduation, but returns experienced seniors Princeton Andrews, Jonathan Page and Thomas Owens.
BREAK OUT TEAMS
GIRLS' SWIMMING -- THE COLONY
Senior Hayley Schneider and the Cougars look to build on last year's 15th-place state finish.
BOYS' BASKETBALL -- CARTER
Seniors Jarred Shaw and Jarvis Phillips and junior Doward Evans have the Cowboys thinking big.
GIRLS' BASKETBALL -- MACARTHUR
Junior Odyssey Sims and senior Jenise Gentry have the Cardinals prepared to fly high.
WRESTLING -- EULESS TRINITY
Juniors Cody Bye and Joey Vogelsberg both finished in the top three at state last year.
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