Monday , 25 September 2017

Mike Bruu: Playoff Basketball Arrives & My Full Review of the Grammys

By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor

1. What a hectic time it is for high school athletics in McKinney! Take a heap of basketball playoffs, sprinkle in the beginning of district soccer action, add a touch of baseball and softball, and top it off with some wrestling and National Signing Day coverage, and you have what I like to call a busy schedule. What do you say we get into a little sports discussion?

2. Four of the six MISD basketball teams made the UIL basketball playoffs this season, with the McKinney High boys and the Boyd girls the only two teams to miss out. Already the McKinney North Lady Bulldogs have advanced to the Area round with a convincing 78-26 win over Longview Pine Tree on Monday night. Unfortunately for the McKinney Lionettes, Dallas Skyline and its dominant low post game proved to be too much as MHS fell to the Lady Raiders 54-40 on Monday.

While the Lionettes are certainly disappointed after their first -round exit, just making the playoffs shocked a lot of coaches and media members in the area after McKinney was projected to finish last in District 10-5A. Despite giving up significant size and only fielding nine players on the roster, head coach Debbie Harris and her players found a way to win four district games by playing “as a team.”

“We beat a lot of people that we should not be on the court with, and that is just because our kids believe in each other,” said Harris after the playoff loss on Monday night. “They won’t quit on themselves and they won’t quit on their teammates.”

Only two Lionettes hung up their jersey for the final time on Monday, as seniors Brittany Collard and Nicole Quincy played their final games in the blue and gold. Quincy averaged nearly four points per game and was second on the team in three-pointers made with 27, and while Collard averaged just 1.7 PPG and didn’t play a lot of minutes, Harris said she was an emotional leader for the team.

“She was kind of the glue for this team that most fans don’t get to see,” said Harris.

The Lionettes will return their top two scorers next season in Mariah Mitchell and Jazsmin Nelson, who combined to average nearly 30 PPG and 12 rebounds per game. Mitchell is the quintessential jump shot shooter who can create some points in the paint as well, but teams cannot afford to leave her open along the three-point line or risk being burned with a long jumper.

Nelson is a positive opposite for Mitchell, as the forward can draw some of the defenders inside and allow Mitchell to find her shot along the perimeter with more ease. She is also a tremendous rebounder with six RPG, and will likely need to increase that total next season for the Lionettes to continue to improve.
If there is one player whose growth can take McKinney to the next level, it is sophomore point guard Krissy Fontillas, who averaged two assists per game. Fontillas will enter her third varsity season next winter, and with two full seasons of highly competitive high school ball, she should be able to become a more dynamic part of the offense and become the point guard every team needs to compete for a district title.

3. For those wondering, the three other girls teams for 10-5A all advanced to the Area round of the playoffs. Plano East outlasted Richardson 47-46, Plano West blew out Dallas Sunset 81-34 and Plano dominated Richardson Berkner 93-62.

4. As for the other girls basketball team in postseason, the North Lady Bulldogs won their 23rd consecutive game on Monday night by knocking off Pine Tree in the bi-district round in Van.

While the Lady Bulldog offense gets a lot of pub with the play of senior Alexis Mason, junior Mikaehla Connor and sophomore Chanterria Jackson, their dominant defense throughout the season has been far less talked about than it deserves. Since the Frisco Liberty loss on Nov. 29, North has held its opponents to just 40 PPG during the winning streak. What is more impressive is that during that stretch, the Lady Bulldogs have held teams to less than 10 points in a quarter 42 times. The most points given up in a quarter during the winning streak came on Jan. 15 in a home win versus Sherman, when the Lady Bearcats scored 25 points in the fourth quarter.

North will face Red Oak in the Area round on Friday night at Sachse High School, beginning at 7 p.m. You can check out TSB’s coverage of the game right here in the sports section, and if you cannot make it out to the game you can listen live on KLAK 97.5.

5. For those wondering, all three 13-4A girls basketball schools advanced to the Area round of the playoffs. Sherman upset Sulphur Springs 63-44, Wylie topped Texarkana- Texas 72-61, and Lovejoy outlasted Mt. Pleasant 40-33. If North defeats Red Oak and Lovejoy beats Arlington Seguin, the two 13-4A rivals would meet in the regional quarterfinals next week.

6. After six seasons of missing the postseason, the McKinney Boyd Bronco boys basketball team finally could celebrate their first playoff berth in school history after defeating Plano 55-42 on Tuesday night.

Despite starting off the District 10-5A schedule with a 0-4 record, the Broncos won four of their final six games, including the last three, to claim the fourth seed in the district. While close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, something should be said about how close Boyd was to being more than a 4-6 team in district. Playing in one of the more physical and athletic districts in the area, the Broncos lost district games by 6, 8, 3, 5, 2, and 13, with the 13-point loss coming at home versus TABC No. 3 Plano East.

But despite coming up just short in the first seven games of district, the scrappy Bronco bunch won their final three games that included a 16-point thumping over crosstown rival McKinney, a buzzer beater winner by Michael Grant to defeat Plano West on senior night, and a 13 point road win at Plano in the regular season finale to avoid any possibility of a tiebreaker game with MHS.

Boyd will face District 9-5A champion Richardson Berkner in the Bi-district round next week, with time and location yet to be determined. Berkner finished the district season 14-0 and is the TABC No. 8 team in the state.

7. District soccer opened up on Tuesday night for all six MISD programs, with four of the five McKinney schools earning a victory in the district opener. McKinney High boys will play Plano on Wednesday night.

Click here for the soccer scoreboard coverage from Tuesday night’s matches on TSB.

8. So it turns out my Grammy predictions weren’t as great as I originally intended them to be. Two out of six isn’t too terrible, and a 33% success rate would find me in the hall of fame in baseball, but I think I could have done much better than that. I correctly got the Song of the Year (We Are Young by Fun.) and Best Rock Album (El Camino by The Black Keys). Other than that I was pretty off on the music landscape.

I actually enjoyed the Grammys this year, as it has always been my favorite and most enjoyable award show of the season. The new way of mixing artists together to collaborate has sparked my interest tremendously, and even artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna were somewhat entertaining on Sunday night because of the other artists surrounding them.

Mumford & Sons just became the biggest rock band in the world after winning Album of the Year for Babel, and The Black Keys and Fun(.) aren’t that far behind after taking home Best Rock Album and Song of the Year, respectively. I thought all three bands did really well live, especially the Keys when they joined Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to perform Lonely Boy.

And call me a dumb fan if you want, but Frank Ocean’s performance of Forrest Gump was not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Listen to the original record and how it is structured before you call the song crap. That is my rant for the afternoon, everyone. Moving on.

Overall, a very solid year for the ole Grammys despite the amount of garbage there still is in mainstream music. I give it one and a half thumbs up.

9. The Will Ferrell as an usher bit last night at the Los Angeles Lakers game was incredibly awesome. You truly never know where he is going to be at any moment.

10. Ah, pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training. The excitement for the return of actual baseball news and daily updates supersedes the realization that there won’t be meaningful games for another two months.

11. I hope all the couples around town have a very happy Valentines Day. I’ve been told that the “holiday” is still scheduled for tomorrow, so I can expect lots of romantic comedies and “chick flicks” when I watch my daily dose of the Lifetime channel. I’m kidding of course. I am totally a Hallmark Channel guy. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.

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