5 Things To Know About Austin Area Boys Basketball Playoffs
The 2019-2020 UIL boys basketball postseason begins tonight and there are interesting Austin area storylines going into it. Check out five things to know.
No. 1: Healthy Greg Brown Leads Vandegrift To New Heights
While everyone waits for national recruit Greg Brown to commit to a college basketball program for the 2020-2021 season, he's bounced back from an injury-filled 2018-2019 season. As a senior in the 2019-2020 campaign, he brings 27.3 point and 13.4 rebound averages to the postseason. Austin Vandegrift, the team he plays for, has definitely benefitted from his additional action in his final high school hurrah. Without him, the Vipers wouldn't have recorded their program-best 31-2 regular season record or topped a varsity district for the first time in winning UIL 13-6A. Most of their playoff path will be against tough UIL 6A Region II competition, but everyone in the state knows that Brown's presence allows them to strike at any time.
No. 2: UIL 18-5A Sends Two Powers To Postseason
Let's start with "Orange Crush" Hutto because it set a program standard for years to come. The Hippos went from five straight losing seasons (2011-2012 to 2015-2016) to a winning non-playoff year (15-14 in 2016-2017) and finally three consecutive UIL 5A postseason trips (2018, 2019 and 2020). That includes the 2019-2020 campaign, which included a 31-3 regular season and an undefeated 18-5A district title. Look for Hutto to continue its best season in years by leaning on scoring machine Jean-Pierre Sanders. The runner-up in this year's district standings was a Manor program that advanced to the 2019 state semifinal. The Mustangs still feature Houston 2020 commit Jamal Shead and junior Augustine Arroyo on their roster, so another deep run can occur over the next three weeks.
No. 3: Westlake Remains A State Power
Westlake has been one of the state's most successful boys basketball programs since 2015 and continued that trend during the 2019-2020 campaign. The Chaparrals won 128 games from the start of the 2015-2016 season until the end of the 2018-2019 campaign, and are ready for the 2020 UIL 6A postseason after a 32-win regular season. They also have great experience from their three regional final appearances and one state final four trip during that time, and plan to lean on top recruit KJ Adams in another deep playoff push.
No. 4: Fredericksburg Keeps Adding To Basketball Resume
When you trek from Austin to the Hill Country, don't be surprised when you find a strong boys basketball program in Fredericksburg. In the nine seasons prior to the current campaign, the Battlin' Billies recorded nine straight 20-win seasons and advanced to eight regional quarterfinals. They followed that with a 32-1 regular season during the 2019-2020 campaign and a state ranking before the 2020 UIL 4A postseason, so there are multiple reasons to keep an eye on the boys from the hills.
No. 5: Thorndale Is Primed For Another Deep Playoff Run
Thorndale knows how to thrive this time of year, so everyone expects it to produce another lengthy run in the 2020 UIL 2A postseason. The Bulldogs' boys basketball program advanced to the regional quarterfinal in 2014, regional final in 2015, state semifinal in 2016 and 2017, state championship game in 2018 and regional semifinal in 2019, and start their latest playoff march as a state-ranked team.
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