For the third consecutive year, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools will stage their state basketball tournaments at the Mansfield school district.
One team that will not appear is Class 4A defending champion Grace Prep. But that doesn’t mean the talent level for area teams has dropped.
TAPPS State tourney
Boys Class 5A semifinals
• Nolan Catholic vs. Argyle Liberty, 9 p.m. Friday, Mansfield Timberview
• Plano John Paul II vs. Plano Prestonwood, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mansfield Timberview
Girls Class 4A semifinals
• FW Christian vs. Lubbock Trinity, 4:30 p.m. Friday, Mansfield Legacy
• Austin St. Dominic Savio vs. Fort Bend Baprist, 6 p.m. Friday, Mansfield Legacy
In Class 5A boys alone, four Metroplex teams fill the semifinal spots, including Nolan Catholic.
Fort Worth Christian is the lone representative on the girls side.
Nolan Catholic boys
There are three districts in TAPPS Class 5A. When the final four teams of the 5A state tournament all come from District 1, you know the basketball has been tough all season. Nolan Catholic (31-4) plays Argyle Liberty Christian (25-4) at 9 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Timberview. Nolan reached the semifinal after a 39-point victory against Brownsville St. Joseph and a 20-point win against Austin St. Michael’s. But now the turbulence begins. The Vikings take another shot at Liberty Christian’s Warriors, who won both meetings this season, by six and 11 points. In the other semifinal, Plano John Paul II faces Plano Prestonwood Christian. Nolan’s only other two loses were to John Paul II.
Nolan has one of the best inside-out offenses in the state. Senior forward Michael Hoffman averages 16.8 points and 9.1 rebounds a game. Guards Landon Russell and Michael Sarrat average 14 and 11 points a game, respectively.
Nolan might benefit from Liberty Christian looking ahead to a rematch with John Paul II in a potential state final. Liberty Christian lost twice to John Paul, by one and three points in district play, but opened the season with a victory over the Cardinals.
FW Christian girls
The Cardinals (25-14) are the last district champion remaining in the Class 4A state tournament. After a 9-1 run in 1-4A, FWC recorded playoff wins over Waco Reicher and Midland Christian. The Cardinals face Lubbock Trinity at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Legacy in one state semifinal. Austin St. Dominic Savio squares off with Fort Bend Christian in the other.
This will be the third meeting between FWC and Trinity (19-11) with the Cardinals winning both, by 10 and six points. Kym Young leads Fort Worth Christian with 13 points a game while Olivia Tarbet, Jeri Sharp and Megan Rosewell each contribute more than eight points.
FWC plays strong half-court defense and holds opponents to 35 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from 3-point territory. The Cardinals have not faced potential state final opponents St. Dominic or Fort Bend Christian.
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