TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fort Worth Wyatt wins Cane’s Key City Classic, AHS drops third-place game

The Raising Cane’s Key City Classic came to a close on Saturday at Abilene High’s Eagle Gym and Cooper’s Cougar Gym with all three local high schools fighting to the end of the three-day tournament with impressive showings.

Fort Worth Wyatt won the championship with a second-half comeback for a 56-51 win over Midland Christian at AHS to close out the tournament.

The host Eagles and Cougars saw their tournaments end with tough losses, while Wylie got a much needed confidence boost with a win over Burnet.

AHS fell in the third-place game 49-38 to North Crowley. Wylie, meanwhile, had no issues with Burnet in a 86-47 runaway at Eagle Gym, and Cooper fell in the seventh-place game 72-66 to Justin Northwest at Cougar Gym.

O.D. Wyatt claims Key City Classic title

Midland Christian started strong in the championship game, jumping out to an 18-13 lead after the first quarter. The Mustangs pushed the lead to nine points at 22-13 in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter before a hot shooting start went ice cold.

Midland Christian hit just 19 of 54 shots (35.2 percent) over the course of the game — making just 10 baskets the rest of the way. The Mustangs were 4 of 25 from 3-point range as they struggled to solve the Chaparrals defense and size advantage.

“You have to give a lot of credit to O.D. Wyatt for the way that they defend and their length,” Midland Christian coach Chris Ryburn said. “We would have liked to have finished a few shots a little better, but basketball is not a game of perfection as sometimes you’re going to have imperfections.”

A pair of free throws by Daniel Elliott midway through the second quarter gave the Mustangs their largest lead of the game at 27-17 before Wyatt started chipping away. The Chaparrals finished the half on an 8-4 run to close the gap to 31-25.

Wyatt then seized control with an 18-7 run in the third quarter before putting the game away in the fourth quarter after Midland Christian closed the gap to 43-40 with 6:53 to play.

The Chaparrals shot just under 50 percent for the game with tournament MVP Marcell McCreary hitting 11 of 13 shots for a game-high 24 points.



  1st 2nd 3rd 4th   Final
Wyatt 13 12 18 13 56
Midland Christian 18 13 7 13 51

Wyatt – Damon Gentry, Jr. 3 0-0 7, Jacobi Lewis 1 4-6 6, Toney Green, Jr. 0 0-0 0, Asad Mohammed 1 0-0 3, Marcell McCreary 11 1-1 24, Darkaun King 1 0-0 2, Jaondatae Bunch 3 0-0 6, Kendall Fair 4 0-0 8. Totals 24 5-7 56.

Midland Christian – Jaythan Jones 1 0-0 2, Chris Brazzell 3 0-0 6, Caden Norris 1 0-0 2, Mitch McCann 2 4-6 9, Daniel Elliott 1 2-3 5, Joseph Venzant 8 3-6 20, Rayshad Chambers 2 0-0 4, David Beebe 1 0-0 3. Totals 19 9-15 51.

3-Point Goals —Wyatt 3 (Gentry, Mohamed, McCreary), Midland Christian 4 (McCann, Elliott, Venzant, Beebe). Fouled Out — Green. Technical Fouls — Wyatt bench. Total Fouls — Wyatt 12, Midland Christian 13.

Abilene High falls in third place game

Tre Ballard had 18 points, and Jacari Chambers and Bryan Thomas each added 12 points for the Panthers, who rallied from a 23-16 halftime deficit while holding the Eagles to 18 second half points.

“We were really working on ourselves because we are in a nine-team district and start district play on Tuesday,” North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel said. “This was more about North Crowley than it was necessarily about Abilene. We wanted to respect all of their players as shooters. They’re also big kids as interior players that get their hands on a lot of balls.”

AHS coach Justin Reese saw his team struggle in the second half for the second consecutive day after a semifinal loss to Wyatt on Friday night.

“Two days in a row we’ve played some really good programs, some of the top programs in the state,” he said. “Coming out of halftime both times, they turned up the defensive pressure on us, and we had trouble scoring. Give them credit, Coach Brakel and his program. There’s a reason he’s won 600 games. Its because his kids play really hard, got after it and competed. Give their guys credit defensively. They really played well.”

Abilene High’s first three baskets on Saturday were 3-pointers, two from Jackson Stevens and a third one from Joe Joe Escobedo. Despite having an 11-10 lead after the first quarter and pushing theadvantage to seven halftime, Reese lamented on missed opportunities with a cold shooting day.

“In the first half, we had a lot of really good looks and missed a lot of them,” Reese said. “We had a lead and had a chance to extend the lead. We’ve got to make those, and maybe that was our legs, but no excuses. We’ve got to knock those down. We’ll hopefully knock them down next time.”

Abilene High, which got eight points apiece from Escobedo and Jalen McGee, shot just 28.8 percent from the field (15 of 52), hitting eight of 31 shots from long range. The frequency of perimeter shots was a result of North Crowley’s press and size.

“They’re just tough because they’re really quick and athletic on the perimeter and they’re tough to stay in front of,” Reese said. “And when you do help on them, they have really athletic bigs on the back side rebounding. We had trouble staying in front and had trouble keeping their big kids off the boards. But that’s why they’re really good.”

North Crowley has the opportunity to go to any number of national tournaments as one of its three allotted per season, but Brakel already knows one his squad will be attending in 2020 — the Key City Classic.

After his team rallied in the second half to beat Abilene High, the veteran coach had nothing but praise for the way the tournament was run, the hospitality shown and the level of competition on display in Abilene.



  1st 2nd 3rd 4th   Final
North Crowley 10 6 13 20 49
Abilene High 11 12 4 11 38

North Crowley – Ty’Rik Taylor 0 2-4 2, Tre Ballard 8 0-0 18, Jacari Chambers 5 0-0 12, Mike Hall 1 1-4 3, Trey Davis 1 0-0 2, Bryan Thomas 5 2-3 12. Totals 20 5-11 49.

Abilene High – Pooh Johnson 1 0-0 2, Jalen McGee 3 0-0 8, Joe Joe Escobedo 3 0-0 8, Khristian Johnson 2 0-0 4, Jackson Stevens 2 0-0 6, D.J. Modest 2 0-0 6, Nathan Watts 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 0-0 38.

3-Point Goals —North Crowley 4 (Ballard 2, Chambers 2); Abilene High 8 (McGee 2, Escobedo 2, Stevens 2, Modest 2). Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — None. Total Fouls — North Crowley 12, Abilene High 11.

Free-throw woes sink Cougars in tourney finale

A fourth-quarter lead evaporated for Cooper as the Cougars hit just four of 12 free throws over the final eight minutes of the seventh-place game.

“We battled but just ran out of steam,” Cooper coach Bryan Conover said. “It was death by missed free throws.”

Noah Garcia, who scored 31 points in the loss, went on a personal 10-0 run in the second half that turned a six-point deficit into a four-point lead for Cooper.

Conover said it was good to see Garcia, a star running back for the Cooper football team, get his legs back under him as he works to get into basketball shape.

“Noah took over in the second half,” Conover said. “He was pretty spectacular and he carried us. He took over in the third and fourth quarters in about two minutes.”

Ultimately, though, the Cougars were plagued by an inability to get timely rebounds and make free throw woes down the stretch.

“I was proud of our guys and we played hard,” Conover said. “I think we played a lot better this weekend even if our record doesn’t reflect it. We played four really good teams and just trusted the process of getting better every day.

Conover said he also saw growth from C.J. Jemison and Deshawn McDonald over the course of the three-day tournament. Jemison had 12 points against Northwest, while McDonald added seven.



  1st 2nd 3rd 4th   Final
Northwest 16 17 9 26 72
Cooper 13 17 20 16 66

Northwest — Ozrik Henry 4 8-8 17, Jordan Dunn 1 0-0 2, Ahmir Wall 5 0-0 10, Kabeya Tshibangu 4 0-0 8, Wallace Onditi 1 0-0 2, Julien Smith 5 6-8 17, T.J. Butcher 0 1-2 1, Jaylen Peterson 2 9-10 15. Totals 22 24-28 72.

Cooper — Deshawn McDonald 2 2-5 7, Noah Garcia 10 9-14 31, Jalen Cherry 1 0-0 2, Colin Reed 1 0-0 2, Kaden Davis 2 3-3 7, CJ Jemison 5 1-2 12, Ashton Curtis 1 3-5 5. Totals 22 18-29 65.

3-Point Goals — Northwest 4 (Peterson 2, Henry, Smith); Cooper 3 (Garcia 2, McDonald). Fouled Out — McDonald. Technical Fouls — None. Total Fouls — Northwest 23; Cooper 23.

Bulldogs rout Burnet to finish off 2-2 tourney run

Peyton Brooks scored a game-high 27 points in just three quarters as Wylie had its best game of the young season on Saturday morning.

The Bulldogs offense had its best performance to date hitting 13 3-pointers (seven by Brooks) to jump out to a 27-6 lead after the first quarter.

It was the start that Wylie coach Gregg Ruffin hoped to see out of his team in a 9 a.m. start.

“We have talked about being better because of who we have played,” he said. “We played a complete game, cutback on our turnovers and did the things that we are supposed to do. Hopefully it gives the kids a lot of confidence because we have some kids that can shoot the ball, they just have to be confident.”

Wylie, a junior-heavy team, scored at least 20 points in every quarter except for the second as they dominated senior-heavy Burnet.

The offensive prowess shown by Wylie allowed Ruffin to get extended playing time for a lot of younger players that see limited action. It’s something that he sees as being beneficial for his team down the road.

“Early morning games are hard and it’s usually that team that can come out with intensity from the get-go,” Ruffin said. “It’s good for team morale because there may be games where they don’t get in. For the guys that play a lot, it’s good for them to get on the bench and cheer those guys on.”

Wylie got scoring contributions from 10 different players, with Shayden Payne (13) and Walker Piland (12) joining Brooks in double digits.

“(Brooks) is one of our leaders and is the best shooter that we’ve got,” Ruffin said. “Not only is he a good player, he’s a good leader.”



  1st 2nd 3rd 4th   Final
Wylie 27 17 22 20 86
Burnet 6 13 19 15 47

Wylie — Noah Phillips 2 2-2 7, Luke Powell 1 0-0 3, Colby Tanner 3 0-0 8, Jahzair George 1 0-0 2, Dylan Jennings 3 0-0 7, Shayden Payne 5 2-2 13, Peyton Brooks 8 4-4 27, Walker Piland 6 0-2 12, Avery Brekke 2 0-0 4, Dante Cano 1 1-2 3. Totals 32 9-12 86.

Burnet — Blaine Burkhalter 1 0-0 2, Kam Ollison 6 4-4 22, Devonte Miller 1 0-0 2, Luke Kiser 7 2-6 19, Connor Lyle 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 6-10 47.

3-Point Goals —Wylie 13 (Brooks 7, Tanner 2, Phillips, Powell, Jennings, Payne); Burnet 9 (Ollison 6, Kiser 3). Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — None. Total Fouls — Wylie 12; Burnet 14.



Game 1: Fort Worth Wyatt 59, Granbury North Central Texas Academy 54

Game 2: Northwest Eaton 59, Wylie 47

Game 3: Abilene High 78, Del Rio 47

Game 4: Justin Northwest 64, El Paso Burges 40

Game 5: Peaster 61, McKinney Boyd 59 (OT)

Game 6: North Crowley 94, Midland Lee 34

Game 7: Cooper 55, Saginaw Boswell 41

Game 8: Midland Christian 83, Burnet 53



Game 13: Wyatt 73, Eaton 61

Game 14: North Crowley 63, Peaster 57

Game 15: Abilene High 68, Northwest 64

Game 16: Midland Christian 73, Cooper 51


Game 21: Midland Christian 59, North Crowley 49

Game 23: Wyatt 60, Abilene High 45


Game 22: Peaster 65, Cooper 56

Game 24: Eaton 55, Northwest 46


Game 32: Wyatt 56, Midland Christian 51


Game 31: North Crowley 49, Abilene High 38


Game 30: Peaster 62, Eaton 51


Game 29: Northwest 72, Cooper 66



Game 9: North Central Texas Academy 58, Wylie 38

Game 10: Boswell 70, Burnet 59

Game 11: Del Rio 75, Burges 68

Game 12: Boyd 62, Lee 32


Game 18: NCTA 59, Del Rio 38

Game 20: Boyd def. Boswell


Game 17: Wylie 43, Burges 35

Game 19: Burnet def. Lee


Game 28: NCTA 45, Boyd 28


Game 27: Boswell 72, Del Rio 48


Game 26: Wylie 86, Burnet 47


Game 25: Burges 43, Lee 28


MVP — Marcell McCreary, Fort Worth Wyatt

TEAM — Jacob Lewis, Fort Worth Wyatt; Kendall Fair, Fort Worth Wyatt; Mitch McCann, Midland Christian; Joseph Venzant, Midland Christian; Tre Ballard, North Crowley; Jacari Chambers, North Crowley; Jalen McGee, Abilene High; Julian Smith, Justin Northwest; Noah Garcia, Cooper; Colin O’Brien, McKinney Boyd; Nathan Tshimanga, McKinney Boyd; Jamari Robertson, Saginaw Boswell; Payton Brooks, Wylie

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