High School Basketball

Tigers top Cougars as playoff race heats up

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 1/19/21

Like every other high school boys basketball team in the country, Katy High has dealt with its share of adversity because of COVID-19. Tuesday’s game against Cinco Ranch was the first time the Tigers had every coach and player healthy since before the Christmas break.

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High School Basketball

Tigers top Cougars as playoff race heats up

Posted

Like every other high school boys basketball team in the country, Katy High has dealt with its share of adversity because of COVID-19. Tuesday’s game against Cinco Ranch was the first time the Tigers had every coach and player healthy since before the Christmas break.

Katy showed what it is capable of at full strength, toppling Cinco Ranch, 76-52, at Cinco Ranch High to improve its standing within an intense District 19-6A playoff race.

Seven Lakes is undefeated in district play at 7-0. Katy (4-4 19-6A) is one of five teams competing for other three playoff spots, joining Taylor (5-3), Mayde Creek (4-4), Tompkins (4-4) and Cinco Ranch (3-4).

The Tigers led the Cougars from start to finish on Tuesday, leading by eight points after the first quarter, 23 at halftime, and 32 after the third quarter.

“It was a really big win for us,” said junior guard Dayvaughn Froe, who paced Katy with 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. “Now we see what we can do. We see our potential. If we keep playing hard like that, we can beat anybody.”

The Tigers lost to the Cougars, 62-56, in their first district meeting on Dec. 22. In that game, Katy held a double-digit lead twice, led by nine in the third quarter, and led by seven in the fourth. But the Tigers couldn’t stop the Cougars, who scored on four consecutive possessions in the final quarter to rally for the win.

Expectedly, defense was at the forefront of the Tigers’ cause in the second meeting. Katy limited Cinco Ranch to 20 total points through the first three quarters and forced 14 turnovers.

No Cougar scored in double-figures. Sophomore guard Derek Kollmansberger led Cinco Ranch with nine points, six coming in the fourth quarter.

“We made a determined team effort to defend, and not just in spots and not just by certain individuals,” coach Danny Russell said. “It was five guys defending for the entirety of the game, and that creates transition opportunities we hadn’t been getting and it builds a lot of pride. The defensive end is where your heart shows, and I think we’re starting to show our heart.”

Senior guard Ryan Johnson, who had three steals and a block, said the mindset was to come into the game with intensity and set the tone.

“We had to pressure the ball more and we had to box out and get on the glass,” Johnson said.

Offensively, Katy scored at least 15 points in every quarter. The Tigers were buoyed by sharp shooting from 3-point range, draining seven of 12 3s in the first half and eight of 18 overall.

Froe and senior Connor Champion each made three triples.

“Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s shot selection,” said Russell, who added his team has shot well from 3 all season long. “But at the end of the day, you can defend regardless of the situation. When we buy into that, it makes the game a lot easier in other areas, and shooting is one of them.”

Five Tigers scored in double-figures. Froe and Champion each had 17, senior Christian Lopez had 16 off the bench, Johnson added 14 and senior Trent Evans finished with 12. Champion and Lopez produced their efforts off the bench.

Russell even credited the players who didn’t play for keeping the team engaged and inspired throughout the game. It’s been a rough few weeks for Katy with coaches and players in and out of action, but the Tigers are grateful everyone is healthy as the race for the postseason heats up.

“Anything can get thrown at you this season,” Froe said. “It’s different than anything else we’ve dealt with before. We’ve struggled, but once we all come together like we did, we can deal with anything and push through.”

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