Thanksgiving Hoopfest: Richardson upsets the nation’s top team; DeSoto girls rally against Montverde
FORT WORTH — Teams like Richardson — teams with state championship aspirations, and the talent to realistically support them — don’t often celebrate wins in November with a water bottle ambush on their head coach in the locker room. Not before district play, not before the season’s most meaningful games have begun.
But there were Richardson’s boys basketball players, camped out inside of their locker room bathroom inside Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, spraying head coach Kevin Lawson with water, jumping and screaming like a team that had just won in San Antonio.
That’s what happens when you beat the No. 1 team in the country.
Richardson, a 6A state semifinalist in 2021, beat Compass Prep (Ariz.) 61-38 at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest on Saturday. Alabama pledge Rylan Griffen (25 points) and Kentucky pledge Cason Wallace (22 points) handled the bulk of the scoring for Richardson (7-0).
Compass Prep is 247′s top prep team in the nation. ESPN ranks it as the No. 1 overall high school program. The game was never particularly close.
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“I try not to look at rankings for school teams,” Griffen said. “But I looked at that one, and I saw they were No. 1. So we just wanted to come out and punch then in the mouth first.”
Richardson led 17-5 after one quarter. Griffen scored seven points before Compass Prep scored its first. He finished the first half with 20 points, and Richardson led 30-12 through two quarters.
“He was very locked in today at practice,” Lawson said. “He honestly might have missed one shot … he’s the type of kid, when he gets rolling like that, he can just flood points in.”
Wallace, the No. 7 recruit nationally in the class of 2022 per 247, scored 18 points in the second half alone.
“We’re almost unstoppable,” Wallace said of he and Griffen. “He was doing his thing in the first half and I said, ‘Hey, you do your thing on offense, and I’ll carry my load on defense.’”
Said Griffen, who had eight rebounds, too: “We feel like we’re the best backcourt in the country.”
Richardson held Compass Prep, which features five-star juniors Kylan Boswell (13 points) and Mookie Cook (seven points), to 32.5% shooting on the game. It forced 21 turnovers, largely thanks to its 11 steals — five of which came from Griffin. Richardson out-rebounded Compass Prep 26-19.
“Every time down the floor, we locked in,” Lawson said. “We took it personal that we didn’t want them to score.”
Richardson, ranked seventh nationally per 247, is no small shakes. And while the win, and ensuing celebration, was good and all, those inside the now-waterlogged locker room still have higher heights they’d like to ascend.
“I don’t want this to be the highlight of our year,” Lawson said. “And this will not be the highlight of our year.”
DeSoto girls need a late rally versus Montverde
DeSoto, the defending 6A girls basketball state champion and MaxPreps’ No. 1 team nationally, rarely needs a comeback.
Against Montverde Academy (Fla.) on Saturday, which finished 10th in ESPN’s national rankings last season, it did.
No problem for the team with seven Division I signees.
After trailing by three points after the first quarter and by four at halftime, DeSoto (7-0) outscored Montverde by nine in the fourth quarter to win 51-46. Amina Muhammed led DeSoto with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Kimball’s Brown packs a punch
Jayden Blair, who played guard for Kimball (4-3) and graduated last spring, was known as “Clamp God” for his defensive acumen.
The nickname, now, has a successor.
Junior T’Johnn Brown, a three-star recruit, is called “Clamp God Jr.” for his skills on the defensive end. In Kimball’s 67-59 loss to Corona Centennial (Calif.) on Saturday, Brown blocked three shots and often guarded five-star junior guard Jared McCain, who scored 20 points on 6-for-14 shooting.
Brown, just 5-10 and 140 pounds per 247, doesn’t need size to do it, either.
“Just heart, toughness,” Smith said. “Defense is all about heart and want to, and he wants to .. he takes pride in it. He wants to guard the other guy’s best player.”
Seven-footer downs Oak Cliff Faith Family
Kel’el Ware’s rebounding statistics matched what might be expected from a player that stands seven feet tall: 15 on defensive end, three on offense, 18 overall.
But the North Little Rock senior, orally committed to Oregon, demonstrated there is a lot more to his game that would not be normal for a player his size. He finished with a game-high 28 points.
Ware finished 13-of-16 shooting from the floor with two blocks helping North Little Rock (2-0) defeat Oak Cliff Faith Family Academy 79-63.
Jadyn Toppin, a 6-7 junior, led Faith Family (7-3) with 20 points and eight rebounds.
– Randy Jennings
Timberview rallies: The shots were not falling early, but there was no sign of panic from Mansfield Timberview. Timberview (7-1) rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat North Crowley 67-61 in overtime behind big second-half performances by Jared Washington and Donovan O’Day.
Washington, a 6-3 senior guard, scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. O’Day, a 6-2 wing, finished with 17 points before fouling out in overtime. Timberview’s scoring was divided among four players.
“We survive on our defense and rebounding,’’ said coach Duane Gregory, who guided Timberview to state championships in 2017 and 2019. “We always have.’’
Kenneth “Trey’’ Davis III, a 6-2 senior guard, led North Crowley (6-3) with 21 points.
– Randy Jennings
Eli’s coming: A year ago, it was Manny Obaseki in the spotlight when John Paul II took the court. Manny, a 6-4 guard, is now at Texas A&M, but younger brother Elijah is carrying on the family name in his senior season for the Cardinals.
In an 80-52 rout of Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt, the 6-7 Elijah filled up his score line with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks as John Paul II improved its record to 13-2.
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