Of the six playoff appearances in the 30-plus history of Mayde Creek boys basketball, two have come the last two seasons.
Of the six playoff appearances in the more than 30 years of Mayde Creek boys basketball, two have come the last two seasons.
A huge reason is Rommell Williams.
After emerging as one of the top players in the city of Houston last season in returning Mayde Creek to the playoffs, Williams once again showcased his talent on a premier stage, putting the Rams on his back and willing Mayde Creek to an intense 45-43 win over Cinco Ranch on Friday, Feb. 21, to award the Rams the fourth and final playoff spot in District 19-6A.
Williams, a senior guard averaging 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists entering the play-in game at Taylor High, scored a game-high 24 points against Cinco Ranch, including 10 of his team’s 14 points in a defensive-minded second half.
“I’ve got to put the ball in my best player’s hands,” Mayde Creek second-year coach Anthony Fobb said after the win. “That’s Rommell Williams. He’s one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever coached. He doesn’t like shooting all the shots. He loves distributing. But I have to make him be aggressive. He’s got to want the ball. He wanted it tonight.”
The 6-foot-1, 164-pound Williams, who has signed to play with NCAA Division II power Midwestern State, added six rebounds, four steals and three assists. He scored all of the Rams’ five points in the fourth quarter as they held off a gutsy Cougars team.
“I just wanted to play hard,” Williams said. “I wanted to be a leader. This feels good. I remember last year when we played Tompkins to get in, our seniors didn’t want it to be their last game. I remember how they felt. I felt the same way.”
Williams got things going early, scoring nine first-quarter points as the Rams jumped out to a 17-11 lead. But Cinco Ranch, playing without its top scorer in senior wing Jayden Collymore because of injury, was no easy out, thanks to the inspired play of 6-6 senior forward Jonathan Joseph (16 points, eight rebounds).
But defense spurred the Rams.
Williams picked up a pair of key steals in the fourth quarter that led to free throws at the other end. He was also the primary defender on Cinco Ranch’s 6-5 senior forward Derek Dickenscheidt, a talented shooter and scorer who was held to six points on 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
It was another overall strong performance for the Rams star, who had, almost singlehandedly, revived his team’s season.
In the first half of district play, when Mayde Creek lost five of six games, Williams averaged 16.9 points. In the second half, when the Rams surged to four wins in six games to force a play-in game, Williams averaged 30.6 points.
“When he doesn’t score 20 points or more, we lost,” Fobb said. “So, he’s got to be aggressive. Do what your coach asks you to do—I’m asking him to score. I’ll worry about his teammates and everything else.”
Score, he did. Williams, who has a little less than 1,300 points over the last two seasons, attacked, attacked and attacked Cinco Ranch early and often, often catching the defense on its heels as he had his way getting to the basket. He made two of three 3-point attempts and four of six free throws.
When he wasn’t scoring, Willians was either dishing off against a double-team or face-guard to open teammates, or setting tough screens to free up teammates in halfcourt sets.
“It’s about the best shot for the team, and if that means me taking five shots in a row and then passing off to somebody else … just making the right play,” Williams said. “I feel lately I needed to step up, but because of my seniors and juniors.”
His teammates are grateful for it.
“He’s been playing great,” senior guard David Chavez said. “Rommell is our leader and we count on him for the big plays. When he’s aggressive, it opens up so much more. Him just being on the court is an assist because of all the attention he gets defensively.”
The Rams are 19-17 and will play District 20-6A champ Fort Bend Travis in the bi-district round of the Class 6A playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Coleman Coliseum at 5:30 p.m.
“I’m happy. This is awesome,” Williams said. “I feel like throughout the season, I wasn’t talked about as much. But that’s fine. It doesn’t mean anything. This is important to get to the playoffs. I’m playing for my team right now. If they’re happy, I’m happy.”