These are thick times for basketball at Mansfield Timberview.
A UIL boys state championship this weekend would be the only way to top the Timberview girls runner-up finish, after the Wolves lost a heartbreaker to Canyon 47-45 on Saturday at the Alamodome in the Class 5A final.
“It makes it a special year to have such talented, excellent basketball squads at the same time,” said girls coach Kit Martin, who is also the school’s athletic coordinator. “No doubt, we respect and support each other. We would have loved a double state title year, but I’ll settle for one gold and one silver.”
In recent years, the opportunity to send both basketball teams to state has presented itself more frequently than one might think.
Last season, San Antonio-area school Cibolo Steele sent its boys and girls teams to the 6A state semifinals, but neither advanced to the final. In 2012-13, the Brock girls won the 2A championship, while the boys finished in second place.
A boys state title for Timberview (30-7) would be the first in school history. The Wolves’ only other state tourney appearance came in 2009, when they lost to eventual Class 4A state champion Houston Yates in the semifinals.
But first, Timberview, which was ranked No. 7 in the final Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A poll, will have to get through No. 25 Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (31-6) in the semifinals on Thursday. Memorial features a full complement of shooters and a strong junior class that includes a 6-7 presence inside in forward Will Chayer.
Memorial and Timberview do have a common opponent this year, despite the 409 miles that separate the schools. Memorial lost 63-61 to Mansfield Summit in the Spring Creek Barbeque Invitational tournament in early December. Timberview beat Summit by an average of 16.5 points in two district games.
“They’re darn good,” Timberview coach Duane Gregory said of Memorial. “But our guys have been tested before this season, and hopefully that will be evident this weekend.”
For much of his core group, when Gregory says tested, he means for three seasons now. While seniors Tim Johnson and Williams Owens lead the way, juniors Chris Mullins and Isaac Likekele have played varsity ball for Gregory since their freshman year.
“The biggest thing it’s given them is the great chemistry they play with, and understanding how to play the game the right way,” Gregory said. “Here at Timberview, we don’t care how old you are. If you’re physically and mentally ready to play at a higher level, get ready. This group showed us they were ready, and now they’re seasoned.”
Youth limited Timberview’s run two years ago to a first-round loss to Dallas South Oak Cliff. With Thomas added to the varsity backcourt last year, the Wolves reached the Region II semifinals.
Timberview topped its biggest hurdle to date in a 45-44 win over No. 3 Waxahachie in the Region II final. The Wolves went 0-2 in District 10-5A play against the Indians.
“To have both teams go to the state tournament, that’s something the school is really fired up about,” Gregory said. “We anticipate a lot of support in San Antonio, just like the girls got, but we’ll make some of our own noise, too.”
Matthew Martinez; 817-390-7760; @MCTinez817
UIL boys basketball
Class 5A semifinals
Mansfield Timberview (30-7) vs. Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (31-6), 7 p.m.
Justin Northwest (32-5) vs. Fort Bend Marshall (31-7), 8:30 p.m.
Class 5A final, 3 p.m.