Cinco Ranch High School, Cougars, Texas high school boys basketball, Derek Dickenscheidt, Katy ISD

Finally healthy, Cinco Ranch tops Tompkins, fights back into playoff race

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 1/28/20

The injury bug has been a persistent, unwelcome guest in the Cinco Ranch boys basketball locker room this season, but it seems to have been squashed right as the District 19-6A playoff race is heating up.

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Cinco Ranch High School, Cougars, Texas high school boys basketball, Derek Dickenscheidt, Katy ISD

Finally healthy, Cinco Ranch tops Tompkins, fights back into playoff race

Posted

The injury bug has been a persistent, unwelcome guest in the Cinco Ranch boys basketball locker room this season, but it seems to have been squashed right as the District 19-6A playoff race is heating up.

The Cougars are finally as healthy as they’ve been at any point of the season, and it’s showing. Cinco Ranch’s 71-63 win over Tompkins on Tuesday, Jan. 28, was the Cougars’ third district win in the last four games. Not coincidentally, that streak has coincided with the return of standout senior forward Derek Dickenscheidt.

The 6-foot-5, 175-pound Dickenscheidt sprained his ankle a little more than a month ago and missed six games, including the first three games of district play when Cinco Ranch went 0-3. But since his return against Taylor on Jan. 17, the Cougars are 3-1, winning by an average of almost eight points per game in those victories.

Dickenscheidt was vital against Tompkins. After a scoreless first quarter, when he only took one shot, he scored 17 points over the next three to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

“He’s a three-year letterman and he’s done this before,” Cougars coach Neil King said. “The team is more confident with him out there. He’s a hard guard—he’s got some length to him and he can be a matchup problem for teams.

“He’s a team captain for a reason and he’s a big piece of what we do.”

Dickenscheidt isn’t at full health just yet. He guesstimates he’s about “85-90 percent” there.

“I wouldn’t say I’m totally 100 percent yet,” he said. “I’m still fighting through some pain, but I feel good. I’m working on it. It’s getting better every day. I’m just glad to be back playing and contributing to our wins.”

With Dickenscheidt on the floor, the Cougars had a solid ballhandler and sharp shooter against Tompkins’ 2-3 zone. He picked his opportunities, was patient in doing so, and then turned up his game when Cinco Ranch needed it most in the second half.

Dickenscheidt scored nine points over the final two quarters to go with three assists. It was arguably his best game yet since coming back from injury, and the Cougars could not have asked for better timing.

A loss would have sent Cinco Ranch to 2-5 in district play, jeopardizing its playoff hopes.

“I’d say I put a little bit of pressure on myself,” Dickenscheidt said. “This was a big game. I just tried to play my game and keep the offense flowing smooth. Against a zone, you have to take care of the ball and make sure everybody is under control, hitting shots. This was big.”

He wasn’t the only Cougar to play well.

Three other Cinco Ranch players scored in double figures. Senior guard Chris Ngene had a huge 10-point first half and finished with a game-high 18, knocking in 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Senior forwards Jayden Collymore and Jonathan Joseph each had 14 points.

Collymore had his typically strong game, but the 6-foot-6 jumping-jack Joseph is another Cougar finding his groove after missing more than half of the season with an ankle injury.

Joseph’s play along the baseline and at the rim gave Tompkins headaches as he ran free all night on the back side of the zone.

“Since they were in that 2-3 (zone), we were able to get the ball to the middle and my teammates kept finding me,” said Joseph, who particularly benefitted from senior guard Kaleb Crandall’s smart passing and heads-up play. “I was able to find some ways to finish, but credit my teammates for sharing the ball and finding me.”

Added King: “Jonathan is getting more comfortable. It’s a confidence-builder for him, especially from a health standpoint. He’s athletic and long, and we were able to get the ball to him in areas where he can be successful.”

King said his players are aware of the sense of urgency necessary because of the Cougars’ place in the district standings. With the win, Cinco Ranch is currently in fourth place, the last and final spot for playoff qualifiers, but just a half-game ahead of fifth-place Taylor and a game ahead of sixth-place Mayde Creek.

“This was a huge win,” Joseph said. “We needed this. Us seniors, we want to leave our legacy at this school. We want to do well, and we’re just going out and giving it our best right now.”

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