Bellaire/West U. roundup: Seniors put Marlins in position for crown
Most basketball teams are fortunate to have two double-figure scorers, three at the most.
But the Madison boys basketball team is the exception to the rule, with four legitimate scorers. That overall balance has the Marlins in position to claim the District 20-5A championship.
"We have four seniors who can score 15 or more points any given night," said Madison head coach Craig Maura. "It makes us tough to defend."
Just ask Bellaire. Madison swept the Cardinals, the six-time defending district champs, this season, including a recent 83-77 victory. That left the Marlins, who meet Milby at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at Barnett Sports Complex, at 22-7 overall and a perfect 10-0 in District 20-5A with four games remaining.
Barring a late-season collapse, Madison can give the program its first outright district crown in more than 15 years (1994-95 season), when Maura was an assistant coach on the staff of ex-head coach Richard Blair.
"Winning district is something our guys really want to achieve," Maura said. "We've had success in the playoffs, but we've never won district, not even when (ex-Madison and current Oklahoma University standout) Tommy Mason-Griffin was here."
However, Madison's veterans have won titles in the past, although not on the varsity. Consequently, Maura isn't surprised by the Marlins' fast start.
"Our seniors were district champions when they were on the freshman and junior varsity (teams)," Maura said. "They've been in this position before."
That experience is apparent in the backcourt. Madison has three veterans, all capable of handling any of the guard spots.
Clarence Shelvin, a 5-foot-11 senior, averages 18.2 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 steals to power the attack. However, 5-11 senior Jonathan Barfield (15.4 points, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals) and 6-2 senior Daniel Wilson (10.7 points, 9.7 rebounds) have had their moments.
"We don't have one true point guard. We actually have three," Maura said. "Ball-handling is one of our strengths."
Roderick Smith, a 6-5 senior, has been productive at forward, putting up 18.3 points and 11.7 rebounds — both team-highs.
"Roderick is the sleeper," Maura said. "He's the one who's taken us from being a pretty good team to a championship-type team."
Maura also recently elevated senior Olatunde Idowu, a 6-4 forward, into the starting line-up.
"Olatunde is a banger," Maura said. "He's really tough inside and we need his physical presence to play the bigger teams."
Keyon Thomas, a 6-5 senior, also has rotated with Idowu, starting a number of games for the Marlins.
Dedrick Basile, a 5-9 sophomore, gives Madison energy off the bench at guard. Junior Ashton Richardson, a 6-3 forward, and junior Denzell West, a 6-7 post, add depth.
While thrilled with Madison's performance to date, Maura doesn't consider the Marlins one of the top contenders in Region III just yet.
"We're taking it a game at a time and nothing more," Maura said. "In the playoffs, every opponent is tough. It depends on the match-up and who we play. We're small and quick, and the taller teams can give us trouble. We have to be at our best to have a shot."
Episcopal finished fourth at the recent Texas State Prep Wrestling Championships in Dallas. It wasn't what head coach Steve Leisz had in mind, but he was pleased with the effort.
"We easily could have been third, but we missed a couple of scoring opportunities," Leisz said.
While the Knights finished behind Dallas Bishop Lynch, St. Thomas and Dallas St. Mark's, they managed to send four wrestlers to the finals.
Senior Will Thompson won his second state title, claiming the 171-pound division. Thompson ran his season record to an impressive 38-6.
Losing finalists for Episcopal were junior Patrick Williford at 125 pounds, senior Will Karges at 135 and senior Connor Mannon, who dropped a 4-3 decision in the title match at 189. Coming in third was junior Kyle Tennyson at 145.
Leisz felt his team could better its position at the Southwest Preparatory Conference Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Kinkaid.
"It's a smaller tournament, which should work to our advantage," Leisz said.
Aside from Karges, Mannon, Thompson and Williford, the Knights could vie for medals in several other weight classes. Other contenders include junior Ben Matthews at 112 pounds, junior Carr Cody at 140, sophomore Mason Hale at 160, junior Andrew Callender at 180, sophomore Pete Looney at 215 and junior Marshall Baker at 285. Meanwhile, junior Connor Leisz is returning from an ankle injury and is a threat at 152.
Lamar, Bellaire boys go 2-3 in wrestling
Lamar and Bellaire finished second and third, respectively, at the District 23 Wrestling Championships held recently at Delmar Field House.
Westside claimed the boys' division with 280 points, followed by the Redskins with 177.5, the Cardinals with 122.5, Sam Houston with 119.5, Chavez with 70.5, Lee with 26, Davis with 23 and Reagan with 20.
Lamar's district champions were seniors Jeremy Rangel at 112 pounds, Cody Robertson at 145, Joel Cardenas at 171 and Axel Melartin at 215. Finishing second were senior Isaac Gonzales at 125 and freshman Steven Whitfield at 189.
Taking first place from Bellaire were junior De'Von Jackson at 103 pounds, senior Adam Dyer at 160 and senior Victor Monsi at 180. Second-place finishers for the Cardinals were senior Dominique Carter at 112, senior Marquise Thornton-Phillips at 119 and junior Joaquin Gonzalez at 140.
On the girls' side, Sam Houston was the team champion with 101 points, followed by Davis with 77, Westside with 64, Lamar with 57, Bellaire with 45, Reagan with 31, Lee with 23 and Chavez with four.
The top two finishers qualified for the Region 3 Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at the Merrell Center in Katy.
EHS has title hopes
The Episcopal boys basketball team has a good shot at capturing the Southwest Preparatory Conference Division I title.
The Knights will compete at the SPC Winter Championships on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at St. John's Liu Court.
Episcopal entered the final week of the regular season battling Fort Worth All Saints and St. John's for the South Zone's No. 1 seed. The Knights (21-12, 5-1) have already clinched a spot in the upper division, regardless of the outcome of the All Saints game, which was rescheduled due to the winter storms.
Episcopal head coach Bobby Sanders said the field is wide-open, with Fort Worth All Saints, Episcopal, St. John's and Kinkaid on the list of contenders along with Tulsa Holland Hall and Dallas St. Mark's.
"At this tournament, you have to play good defense in all three games," Sanders said. "You can't be off or you'll wind up in the loser's bracket."
Episcopal has evolved into a solid defensive team, holding most opponents to 50 points or less.
Sophomore point guard Ken Williams is the Knights' top offensive player. Williams is one of the top scorers in the SPC, averaging 24.5 points to go with 5.0 assists.
Senior Sirius Berwanger, a 6-10 post, is contribution a double double (11.0 points, 10.0 rebounds) to go with 3.1 blocks.
Rounding out the starting five is senior Cullen Munz and junior Stewart Cartwright at the guards and sophomore Kendell Ramlal (8.0 points, 8.0 rebounds) at forward.
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