The Knights are once again the champions of the SPC 4A division.
Since 2014 Episcopal has been relentless to take back the title. For the third consecutive year, the Knights would be facing off against rivalry school, Kinkaid, whom they had lost to within the previous past two years.
This time around the Knights wanted to switch it up with a different ending to a season.
The first half of the game consisted of both teams fighting for a lead. Episcopal received the opening kickoff, enabling them to set the tone for the night. By the middle of the first quarter on a third down, Nick Mayberry was able to find Cailen Graham open wide in the endzone to score first. This would assist the Knights offense to have a lead over the Falcons.
This lead wouldn't remain for too long as the Falcons responded quick with a 95-yard kick return from Cameron Henry, tying the game up 7-7.
The Falcons took matters into their own hands advancing the lead with a flee flicker pass of 35 yards by Victor Garza. Just as the Falcons thought they would maintain the lead, the Knights responded fast. On another third down, Quon Marion gets a handoff and had a run of 72 yards to tie the game up back to 14-14 ending the first half of this nerve wrecking game.
Steve Leisz wanted to wear out the Falcons and turn things into a different gear second half.
Starting the third quarter off like the first, Episcopal's offense pressed a 30-yard touchdown by Adrian Cormier, making it 21-14. Kinkaid came back with a short touchdown; once again evening up the score, 21-21.
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Quon Marion successfully drove into the endzone from the 1-yard line obtaining the lead once again. Just when things would be over in the third quarter, Cormier takes a pitch from Mayberry and took it 25 yards into the endzone extending the Knights lead 35-21 only leaving 15.8 seconds.
By the fourth quarter, Quon Marion made another play as he dove into the endzone to silence the Falcons with a 42-21 final. This would leave Marion with a total of 270 yards and Cormier of 199 yards and the Knights offense breaking through the second half. Also, the defense holding strong only allowing one touchdown to slip by.
At Butler Stadium, the Kinkaid Falcons fell short of the three-peat, crowning new champions the Episcopal Knights.
Kinkaid has continued to be the queens of this city.
Last year, for the third-straight season, Kinkaid took home the SPC Championship. The Falcons have some pieces to replace but should be considered a contender for that title again.
Moving over to TAPPS. The Village School reached the 6A title game but fell short; Second Baptist reached the state semifinals in 5A; Lutheran North played for a state title in 4A and Rosehill Christian reached the state semis in 3A.
So, several teams came close to the ultimate prize last season, but who could finish it off this year?
VYPE's PRESEASON TOP 5 GIRLS' PRIVATE SCHOOL RANKINGS
1. The Village School
2. Lutheran North
3. Second Baptist
5. Duchesne Academy
Others to Watch: Frassati Catholic, Houston Christian, Fort Bend Christian Academy
No. 1 The Village School
One win. That's all that separated The Village School from a state title last season, falling short to Dallas Bishop Lynch, 81-62, in the TAPPS 6A State Championship. Doug Brotherton enters year eight (154-64) at the helm of the Vikings' program and has some firepower back. It all starts with Jada Malone. The junior is currently the 36th-best 2021 prospect in the country, according to ESPN.com. The four-star recruit was selected to the TAPPS first-team, all-state squad after averaging 22.3 points and 11 rebounds per game last year. Other key returners include Tymberlin Criswell (12 points, 5 assists) and Aiken Semones (13 points, most 3-pointers in state made, shot 40-percent). Sydney Ward and Emily Dogbatse (a transfer from Klein Collins) will also be ones to watch. A newcomer to the high school scene will be Rylee Grays, who is considered among the best freshmen in the country, making ESPN's watchlist. On paper, the Village School looks like it has gotten even better than last year, which is scary for the state
No. 2 Lutheran North Lions
Lutheran North reached the final game of the bracket last season. The Lions fell short to Lubbock Trinity Christian, 72-34, and finished with a 15-9 record. Lutheran North heads into this year seeking its eighth-straight trip to the playoffs and trying to get back to that coveted title game. The Lions do look to be in good shape to get back into the playoff picture with four starters returning. Amongst that group is TAPPS first-team, all-state selection Jaelyn Compton. Last year, Compton averaged 10.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Another top returner is Geonna Waddell – a TAPPS second- team, all-state pick – who averaged 8.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Other key returners include all-state, honorable mention Madeline Stephens (5.8 points, 11.2 rebounds) and first-team, all-district selections Elena Martens (2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds) and Kaitlyn Alexander (5.2 points and 8 rebounds). John Slomcheck enters his ninth season at the helm of the Lions' program and has a 172-71 career mark. The Lions won the title three years ago.
No. 3 Second Baptist Eagles
The Second Baptist School was a victory away from playing for a TAPPS 5A State Championship a year ago. The Eagles finished the year 27-7 overall, going 13-0 in District 7-5A, and in the end fell to San Antonio Christian 59-45. The Eagles led by John Herndon should be able to contend again for a district title and a deep playoff run when it's all said and done. The Eagles bring back a pair of TAPPS all-state selections in Mary Hardin Baylor-commit Kaitlyn Kollmorgen (first-team, all-state) and Victoria Ryan (second-team, all-state). Kollmorgen averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, while Ryan scored 18 a night. Also, returning are second-team all-district selections Emily Blackmon and Caroline Torn. That is a solid senior class returning with hopes of a deep run in the postseason. The Eagles are bona fide TAPPS state favorites.
No. 4 Kinkaid Falcons
Here come the SPC champions! Not just defending, but back-to-back-to-back defending SPC champs. Kinkaid has owned girls' basketball over the past few years. Gone are the talents of Onuchi Ndee, the Cozby sisters and Kate Petrovic. So, who steps up to take over that coveted senior leadership role? Nakeeya McCardell will be the first place to look. McCardell, who is verbally committed to play lacrosse at Oregon, will lead this group after averaging 10 points, five rebounds and six steals per game a year ago. McCardell will be joined by Trinity Curry, who averaged nine points and six rebounds per game. Heading into this season, Kinkaid coach Stacey Marshall is inching closer to a career milestone. The 16th-year coach with her 20th win of this season will reach victory No. 400 of her illustrious career. Marshall enters this year with a 380-124 mark. Keys to success to this season Marshall said include senior leadership, guard play, defense and rebounding, Marshall said.
5. Duchesne Academy Chargers
Duchesne Academy heads into the 2019-2020 campaign looking to piece together another run at the playoffs. The Chargers enter this year seeking their sixth-straight playoff appearance. As coach Alye Inman, who enters her fourth season (37-44), examines her roster for this year, there has to be some excitement in the air with five starters returning. Leading the group will be Catherine "CeeCee" Van Pelt, who averaged 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and four assists a year ago. Van Pelt earned TAPPS second-team, all-state honors along with a first-team, all-district nod. Another key returner to watch is first-team, all-district selection Annette Clark (7.3 points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 blocks). Also returning are second-team, all-district selections Meta Sapien (9.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists) and Aleyna Ozcelik (6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists).
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