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HOUSTON – Vincent Grayson’s father always told him that good things come to those who wait – “just be patient, young lad, and your time will come.”
Grayson’s time, and the Golden Eagles’ time of success, has arrived.
In his 15th year as the head coach of Booker T Washington, his 19th overall at the school, Grayson has watched his group roll through the first two rounds of the playoffs to reach the Regional Quarterfinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
“It’s a good feeling to still be playing this time of the year, because a lot of teams are at home,” Grayson said. “We are expecting this year to be different from the previous years, we are expecting to advance."
Sophomore Chris McDermott added: “It’s amazing being able to advance this far. I’m really enjoying it.”
Every fall, the team enters the season with the same three goals in mind – win district, get to the Regional Tournament, and then to San Antonio.
The No. 3-ranked Golden Eagles went a perfect 16-0 in district play and are one win away from their first Regional Tournament appearance in 27 years.
“This is such a great feeling; Washington is the oldest predominately black school in Houston and it is exciting listening to people talk about our team.” Grayson said. “I can feel the buzz around our community, they are so proud of these young men.”
Junior Andre Walker II added: “Making it to Regionals would mean a lot to this program and community, because they've been waiting for this. It also means a lot to me to help my coach Coach Grayson reach Regionals after all his hard work and dedication towards the program.”
This year is different for many reasons.
Of his 15 years at the helm of the program, Grayson admits that this is his “more complete team” that he’s coached. It starts with good guard play from Walker II, Davion Smith and Jordan Carter. Then they have sheer size.
Size them up in 6-foot-5 leading scorer Kenneth Lewis; 6-foot-7 scoring and rebound machine McDermott; and 6-foot-6 freshman Samuel Jones.
“We are a well-rounded team,” Grayson said.
They are not just well rounded, the Golden Eagles have a three-headed monster in the talents of Lewis, McDermott and Walker II. Through 30 games played, that trio is averaging 39.3 points per game and ripping down 27.3 rebounds per game.
“It’s great being on the team with them,” Lewis said of the trio. “Chris is an elite big man that can play inside and outside, can shoot and dunk on anyone, rebound at a high level and can block anybody shot. Andre is a high major guard that can score at any given time. Great passer with IQ that know how to set the momentum of the game. Good on-ball defender with size.
“He’s kind of underrated right now, but when he goes against the top point guards in Houston and Texas, everyone will know about him, for sure.”
Lewis is the leader in the locker room when it comes to scoring for the Golden Eagles. The junior averages an impressive 27.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
“I think he is one of the best finishers in this city,” Grayson said.
The scoring clip, Lewis credits to the “work put in over the summer and the competition I play during the summer,” but he also gives credit where credit is due – his teammates.
“The players I’m playing with right now are amazing. We trust each other, play hard for each other, and we all working for the same goal - win state,” Lewis said.
But the wildest stat line of the team is owned by the sophomore.
In 30 games, McDermott – who received collegiate offers from Georgetown and Texas A&M in December – is averaging 22.1 points and 16.9 rebounds per game, along with 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.8 blocks per night.
“That average is really crazy, because he is only a sophomore, but it doesn’t surprise us,” Grayson said. “In practice, he is usually the first one finishing sprints. He always get in extra work on his on time, especially in the weight room. As a young player, he really takes good care of his body and he really enjoys playing the game. He believes that every rebound is his and he is very unselfish.
“He is a great kid off the court also, and he make good grades. His father is the custodian at our school ,and he just wants to make him proud.”
In the playoffs so far, Booker T. Washington has beaten Royal 120-61 and Hamshire-Fannett 93-55 to advance to the third round to face Little Cypress-Mauriceville. If the Golden Eagles advance a few more rounds, a date with perennial Houston power Jack Yates could be waiting in the wings in the Region III-4A Championship.
But for now, these Golden Eagles are just enjoying taking flight at the right time of the year.
“It’s feels amazing being a part of this run we’re making,” Walker II said. “It’s exciting seeing all the old alumni and community come to the game supporting us.”
HOUSTON - The playoff field in boys basketball in the State of Texas got just a little bit smaller on Thursday night with the Area Round getting officially put in the books.
There were big performances across the board in multiple games. But here are the top performances, biggest wins that VYPE has found from a busy night of action.
Clements with the win!!! So much Ranger Pride tonight!! Way to go Clements! On to round 3!! #RangerFam #HWPO #culture pic.twitter.com/53YOzBOpsR— Lauryn Berger (@BergerLauryn) February 26, 2022
Clements with the win!!! So much Ranger Pride tonight!! Way to go Clements! On to round 3!! #RangerFam #HWPO #culture pic.twitter.com/53YOzBOpsR
Fort Bend Clements is on one of those historic runs and it continued on Friday. First off, the fact that the Rangers are in the playoffs is a big deal. Prior to this year, Clements hadn't been in the big dance since 2015 - a seven-year drought. With their 52-50 victory over Cy-Fair on Friday, the Rangers made history advancing to the Regional Quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
Clements will now face Mayde Creek and their freshman phenom duo in the next round.
Cougar players @HaggertyPj and @SeanElkinton on their big win tonight. 90-77. Regional quarterfinals next. #thisisnow #txhshoops @CrosbyHoops @CrosbyHigh pic.twitter.com/CWbX7AnEMB— Crosby ISD (@CrosbyISD) February 26, 2022
Cougar players @HaggertyPj and @SeanElkinton on their big win tonight. 90-77. Regional quarterfinals next. #thisisnow #txhshoops @CrosbyHoops @CrosbyHigh pic.twitter.com/CWbX7AnEMB
One of the best emerging duos in the city could be in Crosby, Texas. It showed on Friday as the Cougars downed Fort Bend Marshall 90-77. TCU-signee PJ Haggerty dropped a game-high 38 points in the win as teammate Sean Elkinton scored 28 for the Cougars to advance. Crosby moves on to face Nederland in the Regional Quarters next week.
🚨Final Score🚨Booker at 93Hamshire-Farnett 55@drewalker2004 20 piece @OfficalKenneth1 29 piece@SuperstarrChris 20 pieceEagles Big 3 each brought a family pack— Let Me Tell You Sumn (@Laytho_TooLive) February 25, 2022
🚨Final Score🚨Booker at 93Hamshire-Farnett 55@drewalker2004 20 piece @OfficalKenneth1 29 piece@SuperstarrChris 20 pieceEagles Big 3 each brought a family pack
For a third-straight season, Houston Washington is into the third round of the playoffs. Let's do a history lesson for a second. The Golden Eagles are into the Regional Quarters for only the seventh time since 1990. The three-straight trips is the best run in program history. Prior to this run, Houston Washington was last in the Regional Quarters in 2013, prior to that 2009 and 2007.
These playoffs, the Golden Eagles have absolutely dominated! In the opening round it was a 120-61 victory over Royal, last night it was a 93-55 win over Hamshire-Fannett to get them back to the Regional Quarters. The team was led by Kenneth Lewis' 29 points, followed by Andre Walker II and Chris McDermott with 20 apiece.
Lewis is leading the team with 27.2 points and 6.2 Rebounds per game. McDermott is averaging 22.1 points and 16.9 rebounds per game, while Walker II is averaging 10 points and 4.2 boards per game.
Next up, Houston Washington will play Little Cypress-Mauriceville - who defeated Navasota 64-46 on Friday - in the Regional Quarters. With a win, the Golden Eagles will be in the Regional Semis for the first time since 1995.
Final:#18 Kingwood Park 44Northeast EC 37In control from start to finish; so proud of this TEAM‼️#CultureWinsOn to round 3️⃣ vs #8 Katy Paetow! Game will be Monday 2/28; location TBD so stay tuned‼️ @MarcG14Line @Tabchoops @uiltexas @hoopinsider https://t.co/0ZY4DpKWQP— Kingwood Park Hoops 🏀 (@KParkBasketball) February 26, 2022
Final:#18 Kingwood Park 44Northeast EC 37In control from start to finish; so proud of this TEAM‼️#CultureWinsOn to round 3️⃣ vs #8 Katy Paetow! Game will be Monday 2/28; location TBD so stay tuned‼️ @MarcG14Line @Tabchoops @uiltexas @hoopinsider https://t.co/0ZY4DpKWQP
Well, here we go! For a second-straight season Kingwood Park and Paetow will meet in the Regional Quarterfinals. Last season, Paetow went on to win the meeting, 42-39, advancing to the Region III-5A Final to fall to eventual Class 5A State Champion Beaumont United.
No. 18 Kingwood Park (29-4) defeated Northeast EC 44-37 on Friday to advance to face No. 8 Paetow (30-5), who defeated Manor 74-44 on Thursday. The winner of this game will move on to face the winner of Crosby vs Nederland in the Regional Semifinals.
Kingwood Park faces Paetow on Monday at 7 pm at The Woodlands High School.
Too much @ZyonLittle and @getmoneypj in the 4th quarter. Contributions from @sethjones2022 @Donovangreen23 @donwaun30 and we are on to Round 3. #GATA #BringItBack pic.twitter.com/PghB6dkAON— Coach_K(Klingenberg) (@coach_K_24) February 26, 2022
Too much @ZyonLittle and @getmoneypj in the 4th quarter. Contributions from @sethjones2022 @Donovangreen23 @donwaun30 and we are on to Round 3. #GATA #BringItBack pic.twitter.com/PghB6dkAON
The Gators are back into the third round for just the second time in program history, their last trip here was in 2020 when they had a guy by the name of Tramon Mark on the roster. With a 57-45 win over Beaumont West Brook, Dickinson is heading back to the third round.
Dickinson was paced by senior Seth Jones (16 points) in the win over the Bruins. Jones, as you may remember had the viral dunk from the last round earlier this week. Zyon Little chipped in 12, Donovan Pointer scored 11 and grabbed 4 boards and Patrick Williams had eight points and three boards.
The Gators improve to 33-3 overall with a date with Cam Amboree and Shadow Creek set for next week.
More Final Scores & Notes
Atascocita, which made it to the state tournament last year, defeated Clear Falls, 69-50, and will face Pearland Dawson, who beat C.E. King 68-48, in the next round.
Clements will face Mayde Creek, which defeated Stratford 63-48 on Friday. The Rams have been paced by Lloyd Sonnier (16.6 ppg) and freshmen Christian Jones (14.6 ppg) and Jamal Chretien (12.7 ppg) this season.
Shadow Creek defeated Summer Creek 61-47 on Friday to advance. Summer Creek reached the Regional Finals a year ago and are now finished after the second round. The Sharks will get Dickinson.
Cypress Creek defeated Fort Bend Elkins 63-54 and will play Bellaire, which defeated Seven Lakes on Friday.
Regional Quarters - Atascocita vs Dawson (TBD) | FB Clements vs Mayde Creek (Tuesday - 7:30 pm - Merrell Center) | Dickinson vs Shadow Creek (TBD) | Cypress Creek vs Bellaire (Tuesday - 6 p.m. - Merrell Center)
Cypress Falls defeated College Park 43-39 on Friday to advance to the Regional Quarters to face Westfield, which defeated Klein Collins 75-51 on Friday. On the other side of the bracket, Cypress Ranch defeated Nimitz 61-52 and Langham Creek downed Spring, 46-44, to advance to face each other.
Regional Quarters - Cy Ranch vs Langham Creek | Cypress Falls vs Westfield
Region III-5AGoose Creek Memorial defeated Foster 62-59 to advance to the Regional Quarters, where it will face Beaumont United, who defeated FB Hightower 58-41 on Thursday. The Patriots reached the Regional Semifinals a year ago before falling to Katy Paetow. Now, they will get to tussle with the defending State Champions
Regional Quarters - GCM vs Beaumont United | Crosby vs Nederland | Kingwood Park vs Paetow (Monday - 7 pm - The Woodlands)
Jack Yates is back in the Regional Quarters. With a 75-71 win over West Orange-Stark, the Lions will face rival Silsbee on Monday at 7 pm at Dayton High School. This is the 10th-straight Regional Quarters appearance for the Lions. They last reached state in 2019.