Unranked Arlington Bowie crashed the Fort Worth ISD Classic Tournament this past weekend and in the process, formally announced its status as a contender.
Not only did the Volunteers walk away with the tournament title, but Texas high school hoops pollsters also will probably begin to take notice.
“I know we’re going to be on the radar screen now,” coach Allen Gratts said. “To me, we’ve always had a great program and we’ve always been competitive amongst area teams. Usually someone notices around midseason.”
The four-win performance improved Bowie to 14-3 on the season and secured the Vols’ fourth FWISD title since 2005. The only other team with multiple tournament titles is Fort Worth Polytechnic.
What may be different this season, though, is not that Bowie did it, but how.
If a 34-point victory Saturday over the state’s fourth-ranked Class 4A team wasn’t enough, consider the fact that Bowie can play almost any style.
Bowie scored 49 and 47 points in quarterfinal and semifinal wins over Arlington Heights and Arlington Lamar by dialing down the tempo.
The Vols then ratcheted up the pace against an equally fast Dunbar team in the final.
“We can play any way an opponent wants to give us,” guard David Chavlovich said. “In the Dunbar game, we wanted to run the ball and we were motivated because we felt like we could play the break better than they could.”
Gratts cited crisp passing as the key to getting easy transition buckets.
“You know we have a lot of great guard play, but we’ve got post play also,” he said. “We’ve got smart players that understand the game and work hard to get better.”
Bowie placed three players on the all-tournament team, while Brandon Hall was left off because he played in only two of the four games.
Also missing is UTA prospect Kevin Hervey, who injured his ACL during summer league play. Gratts said he’s hopeful Hervey can return if the Vols make the playoffs.
So much for rankings
Coming into the Whataburger Orange Invitational, Justin Northwest was the only unranked team to appear in the elite 16-team field.
Elite is the key word. The Texans ran off a 3-1 record on their way to fifth place, losing only to tournament runner-up Jonesboro, Arkansas, 65-53.
Point guard Josh Tatum, who averaged 10.5 points per game for the tournament, took command of a 33-point third quarter during the fifth-place win over Plano West.
“We tried to spread them out a little bit and put our shooters on each side and let Josh make a play,” Northwest coach Mike Hatch said. “[Tatum] made the right play every time and we made every shot that we took. To me, Josh is the best point guard in the area. He’s extremely experienced and he knows how to win.”
Northwest, which was the only local team to advance into the winner’s bracket, missed only two shots in that decisive third quarter.
Crowley falls short
Markus Jones scored 16 points in a semifinal win over Midland that sent Crowley to the title game of the Byron Johnston Holiday Classic in Midland.
Jones and company, though, couldn’t withstand a late rally by Midland Lee, finishing as runner-up after a 49-44 loss.
Still, the run helped improve coach Alfred Jones’ team to 6-9 and build some confidence, despite going 13-of-30 at the free-throw line.
“We always have to work on some things, but I thought we handled things well,” coach Jones said. “The biggest thing for us is working on our late-game composure and not turning it off at the end of games.”
Byron Cooke and Jones earned all-tournament honors. Cooke led all Crowley scorers in the title game with 15 points.
Keller claims title
Nolan Taylor averaged 19 points in three wins as Keller defeated Southlake Carroll in the title game at Byron Nelson High School.
The 19-point average was almost 40 percent of Keller’s 49 points per game.
“He’s a sophomore,” Keller coach Randall Durant said. “We’re a young team and Nolan’s my only returning starter from last year.”
Keller claimed its second tournament title this season. Other District 4-5A teams also have fared well in tournament competition. Justin Northwest finished fifth in the Whataburger Orange, Carroll finished second and Keller Fossil Ridge was 2-2 in the FWISD Tournament with a one-point loss to Arlington Lamar in the quarterfinal.
“Yeah, our district is kind of a well-kept secret,” Durant said. “Our kids have to realize that the two tournament wins amounted to exactly zero district wins. There’s not going to be a night off now.”
Kennedale, ranked second in the TABC Class 3A poll, upended Class 2A No. 4 Brock in the title game at Chisholm Trail High School.
It was the fifth time this season that Kennedale has faced and beaten Brock.
“I told the kids, I can’t remember ever hearing of something like that,” Kennedale coach Doug Groff said. “Not to mention Brock is one of the best teams in 2A, but I know they are sick of seeing us because all five of their losses this season have been to us.”
Aundre Jackson had 24 points in the title game and averaged 19.3 points for the tournament.
Lake Ridge impressing
In it’s second year of varsity hoops, Mansfield Lake Ridge is out to a 13-3 start and made a signature run at the Moritz Dealership Holiday Classic in Aledo.
The Eagles lost in the title game 52-49 to Converse Judson, No. 2 in the TABC’s Class 5A state poll.
After sitting for much of a blowout win over Abilene, Jacob Van went on to average 24 points in three other games, including 22 points in the final.
• Alex Robinson, Mansfield Timberview, signed with Texas A&M: named all-tournament at FWISD Classic, averaged 15.8 ppg.
• Ty Charles, Kennedale, committed to Stephen F. Austin: averaged 15.3 ppg in Whataburger Blue.
• Myles Turner, Euless Trinity, undecided: averaged 25.3 ppg as Trojans went 1-2 in Whataburger Orange.
• Nick Babb, Arlington Martin, signed with Arkansas: had 23 and 25 points as the Warriors went 0-3 in Whataburger Orange.
• Micah Littlejohn, Mansfield, signed with Tulsa: averaged 13.3 ppg in Moritz Dealership Classic, playing three of Tigers’ four games.