As 2017 comes to an end, the holiday basketball season gave fans a taste of the excitement and thrills of the new year approaching.
Now that tournaments are over, it’s time to get back to what really matters — district play — with teams gearing up for playoff berths and postseason success.
But before all that goes on next week, the Star-Telegram takes a quick look back at the week of happiness and sadness.
Who were the winners and what teams stood out the most?
The tournament that put on the best show was by far the 60th annual Whataburger Boys Orange bracket at Thomas Coliseum.
With 14 state-ranked teams, 13 hailing from the Lone Star state, most of the games had the feeling of a state tournament preview.
In the championship game Saturday night, defending 5A state champ, No. 2 Mansfield Timberview out-lasted District 10-5A rival, No. 1 Waxahachie 67-60.
“This tourney was stacked with all these high quality teams, and it comes down to us and Waxahachie. Crazy how it worked out that way,” coach Duane Gregory said. “I thought the guys came out and played hard. They executed well and knocked down free throws to seal it.”
Senior Isaac Likekele was named tourney MVP with 22 points. Senior Chris Mullins and junior Tarzarien White joined him on the all-tournament team.
“It was a nice victory,” said Likekele, who’s signed with Fresno State. “I felt like we had the game under control for most of the game.”
Trophy Club Nelson hosted and won its tourney, defeating Wylie 60-52. The Bobcats also beat R.L. Turner (61-55) and Mount Lebanon, Penn. 60-56.
Fort Worth Trimble Tech earned third place over John Tyler 77-68 at the Leroy Romines tournament. Seniors Jujuan White and Kaleb Favors led the Bulldogs with 28 and 26 points. Senior Tariq Roberts had 17 points and was named all-tourney after averaging 21 points per game.
Justin Northwest junior guard Avery Anderson scored 27 points in the second half, 24 in the fourth quarter in the Texans’ 81-76 win over 6A No. 8 Houston Sam Houston in the first round of the Whataburger tourney Thursday night.
Anderson scored 33 points overall for the 5A No. 3 Texans.
Mansfield Timberview, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, won the 15th annual Spring Creek Invitational on Friday night 49-34 against McKinney.
Virginia Commonwealth signee Lauryn Thompson led the way with a game-high 18 points, but it was junior guard Destiny Jackson who opened a few eyes.
Jackson was named tournament MVP. She led the Wolves in scoring during victories over Katy Thompkins (77-39) and 5A No. 5 Prosper (56-55).
“Feels really great to do it for my team and for myself,” Jackson said. “I’m happy we were able to end the year with a win.”
Over at the Keller Central tournament, Southlake Carroll defeated Denton Ryan to win the Gold Division. Junior Kayla Colan was named all-tourney. Cleburne won the silver bracket.
Class 5A No. 18 Saginaw Boswell won the consolation championship at the M.T. Rice tournament.
Senior forward and Texas signee Audrey Warren was named all-tournament. Earlier in the tourney against Humble Summer Creek, Warren scored 28 points to eclipse the 2,000 point mark in her career.
Hurst L.D. Bell also earned its way into the win column on Saturday after clinging on to a 32-30 victory over Denton in the Keller Central hoops championship.
“As we were going out in the second half, Coach [Andy Bloodworth] just said that this was our game and we came out and believed and played as a team,” Gordon said.
Sophomore Myra Gordon and junior Madison Bishop were named all-tournament.
Gordon is one of the top prospects in the country — her older sister Lexi is a freshman at Connecticut — so she didn’t have to open eyes, but she did by setting a record.
Against Cleburne on Thursday, Gordon scored a school single-game record 53 points as Bell won 81-73. Gordon, who was 24 of 28 at the free-throw line, broke the previous record held by her big sis, who had 47 in a game during the 2014-15 season.
Gordon followed that performance with 31 points the next day against Keller Central.
“It’s a huge honor. I was shocked, I didn’t know I had that much,” Gordon said. “I just kept shooting, it felt like I couldn’t miss.”