UIL girls basketball teams seek regional tournament championships this weekend and a berth in the state tournament next week.
Familiar faces, new ones and some of the best coaches around seem to be the theme as games begin Friday for Class 6A Region I and Class 5A Region I and II.
Class 6A Keller and 5A Mansfield Legacy are making their first regional appearances, while defending champs Duncanville and Canyon look to repeat.
Among Star-Telegram area teams, five are playing in the largest classifications, while 4A Godley and 3A Brock also remain in contention.
Class 6A Region I
Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, Fort Worth
Friday semifinals: Keller (30-5) vs. Duncanville (35-2), 6 p.m.; Arlington Lamar (25-9) vs. South Grand Prairie (23-12), 8 p.m.
Final: 1 p.m. Saturday
Keller: The Indians are enjoying their best season in program history. Keller has limited its last three playoff opponents to 38 points a game, and the Indians have won 14 of their last 15.
Duncanville: The Pantherettes are the defending 6A champs, looking for their 10th UIL state title. Duncanville averages 75.5 points per game and limits foes to 39.4. Coach Cathy Self-Morgan has 1,096 career wins.
Lamar: The Vikings, making their second trip to a regional tournament in four years, average 60 points a game. Junior guard Destiny Thurman (15.2 points per game) and senior forward Ariel Williams (12.9) are scoring leaders.
South Grand Prairie: The Warriors return to regionals for the first time since 2003. Coach Samantha Morrow is looking for another state title after winning four straight with Mansfield from 1999-2002.
Class 5A Region I
Western Texas College, Snyder
Friday semifinals: Colleyville Heritage (29-6) vs. Amarillo (36-1), 4 p.m.; Canyon (28-3) vs. Denton Ryan (31-4), 6 p.m.
Final: 2 p.m. Saturday
Heritage: The Panthers advanced to regionals for the first time since 2007. Heritage is on a 14-game winning streak. Junior Bryn Gerlich leads with 19.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Senior McKinley Charles averages 9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals.
Amarillo: The Sandies, No. 1 in 5A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll and No. 13 in the nation by MaxPreps, are making a third straight regional. Their only loss came to Canyon 51-44 in December.
Canyon: UIL girls basketball runs through Canyon. The Eagles go for a fourth straight state title and 19th overall. Coach Joe Lombard has 1,228 career wins.
Ryan: The Raiders’ third regional tournament appearance is their first since 2010. Ryan faces Canyon again as they did seven years ago. The Eagles won that game 52-43.
Class 5A Region II
Culwell Center, Garland
Friday semifinals: Mansfield Legacy (24-11) vs. Frisco Liberty (30-6), 6 p.m.; Mansfield Timberview (34-2) vs. The Colony (36-1), 7:30 p.m.
Final: 1 p.m. Saturday
Legacy: It’s the first regional tournament in the school’s 10-year history. Depth is strength — nine players scored in the quarterfinal win over Burleson Centennial. In three playoff victories, Legacy has outscored opponents by 18 points total.
Liberty: The Redhawks are in a second straight regional. Liberty reached the 5A title game last year, losing to Canyon 41-34. The Redhawks have won 16 straight games.
Timberview: The Wolves seek to erase last season’s memory when they suffered their only loss in the regional semifinal against Frisco Liberty. Timberview is No. 2 in 5A in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll and No. 18 in the nation. Senior guard Chennedy Carter has signed with Texas A&M, will play in the McDonald’s All-America Game on March 29 and Jordan Brand Classic on April 14.
The Colony: Another McDonald’s All-American is 6-foot-4 senior post Jade Williams, who’s going to Duke. The Cougars, who missed the playoffs last year, rank No. 8 in 5A, and the only loss came at Prosper 64-61 on Dec. 30.