After surprising Fort Worth Dunbar in the area round Friday, Crowley is one step closer to Austin and a few more steps closer to where coach Alfred Jones wants the program to be.
Crowley (18-11) meets District 8-4A foe Waco (22-8) in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday.
“When I got here, it was pretty clear we needed them to understand how much better they needed to work,” Jones said. “They had to know that there weren’t any days off if they wanted to get better.”
Starting the district slate 1-3 and after a successful runner-up finish in the Midland tournament in December, Jones said he saw the confidence start to take hold.
Crowley avenged early season losses and rebounded to finish third in district.
The win over Dunbar has set up a rubber match with Waco. The Lions beat Crowley by a point at Crowley, then Crowley won at Waco four weeks later, 61-48.
“The great thing about playing and getting the win over Dunbar is that they play a lot like Waco in that they have an up-tempo style and they press a lot,” Jones said. “I felt like we didn’t play too bad the first time around, so that speaks to how good Waco can be.”
With the added success this season, Jones said he’s hoping it’s the beginning of a long and successful run.
“Whenever I tell people I coach at Crowley, everyone assumes I’m assistant over at North Crowley or something,” he said. “But this is Crowley; we’ve got a great history here, great athletes and we teach the game here also.”
Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mansfield Summit will settle things Tuesday at Mansfield Legacy High School.
The regional quarterfinal matchup guarantees at least one of the three remaining District 15-4A teams will reach the Class 4A Region II tournament and it guarantees the potential of a huge crowd.
Lancaster, the 15-4A champion, is also still alive with a Tuesday matchup against Whitehouse.
Summit swept Lake Ridge in district play, but Summit coach Jason Mutterer admits that beating the Eagles a third time won’t be easy.
“Both teams are well-coached, both teams are hungry to get to that regional tournament,” he said.
For Lake Ridge, it’s about sustaining the momentum built up to this point.
“I don’t think this team is starting to believe, I think they already do. It’s not a recent thing,” Lake Ridge coach Donte Wilson said.
A Bulldog battle
Fort Worth Trimble Tech and Everman will decide bragging rights for District 7-4A and 8-4A when the title teams play Tuesday in the regional quarterfinals.
The teams that carry the Bulldogs mascot did not meet in nondistrict this season, and were 14-0 in their districts.
Ravyon Parks scored 18 points in Tech’s bi-district win over Burleson Centennial, and Quavon Parks led Tech scorers with 19 points in the area-round win over Birdville. Everman’s K.J. Malveau had 19 and 27 points in playoff wins over Aledo and Denton Guyer.
It’s not a comeback
Faisal Elmi scored his only points of the game Friday night in the waning seconds, and they were the biggest ones for his Arlington Bowie team.
The Volunteers knocked off Amarillo Tascosa 65-64 in the area round and advanced to face El Paso Coronado on Tuesday.
Elmi’s 3-pointer left 9.3 seconds for Bowie’s defense to navigate. Tascosa wasn’t able to convert on either of its two final shots.
Bowie coach Allen Gratts said his team is collected, despite a troubling trend in the first two rounds of falling significantly behind. The Vols overcame a 10-point deficit against Northwest and nine points to Tascosa.
“It’s not the first time we’ve been down and come back this season,” he said. “We don’t want to be in that situation, but we’ve come back before.”
Keller sophomore Nolan Taylor has averaged 19.5 points per game in the playoff wins over Fort Worth Paschal and Odessa Permian.
The Indians, though, have struggled in the first half of both games.
Keller faced a 27-19 deficit to Paschal at the break and rallied to tie Permian 29-29 at the half.
The Indians scored 39 second-half points in bi-district and held Permian to five third-quarter points to pull away.