District 10-5A has proven to be one of the toughest conferences in the state, and that is not just in football.
There is no question that the district’s football teams have proven their clout, with Mansfield Lake Ridge, Mansfield Legacy, Mansfield Summit and Waxahachie combining for 10 playoff victories to this point, with Legacy still playing.
But despite the overlap between the end of football season and the beginning of basketball season, the district’s basketball teams are also top of the line, with the defending Class 5A state champion, Mansfield Timberview, actually finishing second in district to Waxahachie last season.
The Wolves knocked Waxahachie and Lancaster out of the playoffs last season, but not before both teams reached the regional tournament.
Timberview coach Duane Gregory, last season’s Texas Association of Basketball Coaches boys Coach of the Year recipient, said all you have to is look at recent history to see where the district’s teams comes out at the end of the season.
“I agree, 10-5A is the strongest boys basketball district in the state,” Gregory said. “Whoever comes out of our district has been battle-tested and should be ready for the playoffs ... the last three state champions have come from our district.”
In 2016, in what was then 14-5A, Lancaster won a state title, with Timberview reaching the regional semifinals and Lake Ridge advancing to the regional quarterfinals before losing to Lancaster.
“I have had an opportunity to coach at several levels, areas of the state and classifications,” Legacy coach Cornelius Mitchell said. “One of the first things I look at is how teams from this district fair in the playoffs.
“Last year, the four teams that qualified only lost games to other 10-5A teams in the playoffs, with Timberview winning the state championship. Over the last five years or so, I think we have teams in the regional and state tournament every year.”
In 2015, Lancaster also brought home a state title, while Mansfield Summit advanced to the regional semifinals.
Summit coach Jason Mutterer said in a previous interview that 10-5A was “the most competitive basketball district in the state.”
According to the Dec. 11 TABC 5A poll, Waxahachie is the top-ranked team in the state and Timberview is number two, while Midlothian is ranked 12th and Lancaster is sitting in 17th place.
These teams are joined by district-mate Red Oak in the latest MaxPreps poll, sitting at 28th place. Summit is ranked 66th and Lake Ridge is 79th.
Lake Ridge advanced three rounds in the postseason two years ago before losing to district foe and eventual state champion Lancaster.
As the team prepared for the start of district play last season, head coach Donte Wilson said he expected any team from 10-5A that reached the playoffs to be well-tested once they were there.
“Every team in our district is pretty good,” Wilson said.
All of the Mansfield coaches say playing in 10-5A is challenging, but Mitchell added there really was not a better way to prepare for a long postseason run.
“I think that’s what is so good about our district,” Mitchell said. “It prepares you for deep playoff runs. If you can get in the playoffs, it says a lot about your team.
“It means they are tough, they have to win close games and they are able to play on the road. All those things help you in the playoffs.”