Sunday , 20 August 2017

Collin County Roundball Classic: MISD Schools See Improvement After Playing in Competitive Tournament

By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor

The 6th annual girls Collin County Roundball Classic concluded on Saturday night with Duncanville defeating Plano West 61-55 to claim the tournament title. For the three host MISD programs, they finished a combined 7-7 for the weekend. Below are recaps from the weekends for each program at the Roundball Classic:

McKinney North:

The ninth-ranked Lady Bulldogs of Class 4A had high hopes of reaching the Gold Bracket at the Collin County Roundball Classic. With Class 4A No. 3-ranked Dallas Lincoln, Class 5A No. 3-ranked Plano West, and private school No. 2 John Paul II all in attendance this year, North wanted an opportunity to take on some of the best talent in the state of Texas.

Despite ending up in the Silver Bracket after losing to Frisco Liberty in the opening pool play game 43-38 and finishing Pool B with a 2-1 record, the Lady Bulldogs walked away with the fourth place trophy after defeating John Paul II 46-33.

“Our desire was to play Plano West in the gold bracket, but that didn’t work out because we got beat by a pretty good Liberty team,” said North head coach Michael Oldham. “I think we learned from that and I am just excited that we bounced back in this last game. The other two games we won, we didn’t play real well, but this game was more McKinney North style.”

The Lady Bulldogs ended the weekend with a 4-1 record and was the highest placing MISD school in the tournament. Not only that, but senior Alexis Mason was named by the coaches as a member of the All-Tournament team. Mason averaged 12.6 points per game in the five games, with a tournament-high 21 points versus Prosper.

After the game, Oldham said that he was glad Mason got back to being aggressive with the basketball and taking her shots when she gets them.

“Alexis is so focused on people not thinking she’s a ball hog that she tends to pass the ball when her coach wouldn’t mind if she took a few more shots,” said Oldham. “She got more aggressive in this past game and I think that made our offensive click more. When the defense focuses on her, it opens up more areas on the court.”

North also got strong performances this weekend from junior Mikaehla Connor and sophomore Chanterria Jackson. Both averaged a little over eight points per game in the tournament and played outstanding defense.

While the Lady Bulldogs did not get an opportunity to play Plano West or Lincoln in the Gold Bracket, Oldham was very pleased to walk away with fourth place in a very competitive tournament.

“We focused on making it to the final four, and it might have cost us that first game because we may have been looking down the road a little too much. I was real pleased with a tournament this strong that we went 4-1.”

North will travel to Garland Naaman Forest this Tuesday night. Game time is 7 p.m.

McKinney Boyd:

After going 0-2 in Pool D play and losing the first game on Saturday versus Mesquite, the host Lady Broncos needed a victory in the worst way to salvage some good vibes from the tournament.

Led by Julia Hendrieth and her 14 points, Boyd defeated Lake Highlands 49-33 in the Bronze Bracket 11th-place game. The Lady Broncos finished the weekend 1-3, but Boyd head coach Rachelle Vaughn said after the game that the tournament finale win showed her players how good they can be.

“I think this game showed our girls what it takes to win,” said Vaughn. “We focused more on defense in this game, and I think it showed them how good they can be. We have a lot of talent here but we have to get them used to winning and to play this way every single game.”

When asked if any of her girls stood out this weekend, Vaughn said that the consistent performances of Hendrieth were a huge boost for her team. She averaged 13.3 points per game and a spark plug for the Lady Bronco offense all weekend long.

Boyd drew the short stick with the scheduling, ending up in a pool with state ranked Duncanville and John Paul II. While Vaughn and her squad weren’t petitioning to play these teams this weekend, the exposure to top talent in the state is nothing but beneficial for a developing Boyd team.

“We didn’t necessarily want it, but I think it is good for us to see the best in the state,” said Vuaghn. “I think our girls see that we can compete, and our ultimate goal was always to get ready for districts.”

The biggest difference between the three losses and the victory over Lake Highlands for the Lady Broncos was the turnovers, or lack thereof. They turned the ball over just eight times in the victory over Lake Highlands, while averaging nearly 35 turnovers a game in the other three contests.

The Lady Broncos will try and keep the momentum going when they host Flower Mound on Tuesday night. Game time is 7 p.m.

McKinney High:

Saturday at the Collin County Roundball Classic was too kind to the Lionettes of McKinney High.

After finishing Pool C play at 2-1 with impressive victories over Mesquite and Frisco Wakeland, the Lionettes found themselves in the Silver Bracket and in a matchup with John Paul II. Despite 25 points from junior Mariah Mitchell, McKinney lost the game 44-39 and would Newman Smith in the loser bracket to end the tournament with a winning record.

The Lionettes were held to less than 10 points in two quarters and lost 48-35 to Newman Smith. The loss dropped their tournament record to 2-3, tied with Mesquite for the ninth best record in the tournament.

“Newman Smith is a very athletic team, and I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball and defending,” said McKinney head coach Debbie Harris. “From every position they are one of the most athletic teams that we have faced this year.”

Despite the losing record this weekend, Harris believes her squad battled through fatigue to gain a lot of positives that they can use moving forward.

“I think we got a lot out of it,” said Harris. “The last two weeks have been tough on everyday because it is a lot of basketball in a short amount of time. But just because you don’t win games doesn’t mean that there are not positives.”

The Lionettes stand out performer was junior guard Mariah Mitchell, who averaged 16.8 points per game and was a huge offensive spark for the team. She was the leading scorer for McKinney in all but one game, including scoring a game-high 32 points in the 46-45 win versus Mesquite.

After tough couple weeks of basketball that included two tournaments and two matchups with John Paul II, Harris says that while fatigue has begun to set in for the girls, they are still focused on getting better each and every game.

“Fatigue has a lot to do with that, but the girls have a positive attitude and we aren’t focused on winning or losing ballgames right now. We are focused on getting better and there are some things we are doing that are making us better.”

McKinney is back in action Tuesday night when the Lionettes host old district rival Highland Park. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

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