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The stars of 2023-24 Summer Creek Girls Basketball
Summer Creek is going to be a problem.
Coach Donny Ott comes over from Cedar Park, where he won two State Titles. The Bulldogs were a win away from heading to State in 2023 and are the most formidable squad in Class 6A Region III.
They are the favorites. Why?
They are loaded with talent , and led by all-state selection Zachara Perkins, who is committed to Rutgers. But she is not alone.
Kennedy Simpson was the District Defensive Player of the Year, while Janiyah Murphy and Torran Deterville were first-teamers. Additionally, Mariyah Brown was a second-teamer.
The keys to 2024?
“Defensive pressure, team discipline, quickness,endurance and team rebounding”.
This is a special group that will follow the motto –“Buy In, Sell Out”.
Some of the stars of 2023-24 Summer Creek Football
Through three weeks of play, Summer Creek has seemingly been shot out of cannon to begin the fall season.
Last week’s matchup against a tough opponent like Klein Collins, in which they dominated to the tune of a 34-0 victory, reminded audiences that the Bulldogs (3-0) are a team worthy of everyone’s attention.
“It’s a great feeling and it’s just a compliment to our seniors,” said coach Kenny Harrison. “For the last three years we’ve had great senior classes. Our guys had a tremendous offseason and they embraced the grind, understanding that we were going to have a tough non-district schedule to prepare us for district.
“We talk about it all the time, we play quality opponents. I told our guys that we were going to have to overcome some adversity and they’ve risen to the challenge.”
On the topic of adversity, Summer Creek lost their starting QB Tristan Sanchez after he was injured in the Deer Park scrimmage a week prior to their season-opener against Klein Cain.
Junior WR-turned-QB Blake Thomas (#2) celebrates one of his scores against Klein CainMatthew Ogle (VYPE)
However, the Bulldogs’ leading receiver Blake Thomas has stepped up big time, taking on the role of the team’s signal-caller.
“We knew he (Thomas) could throw because he got reps in the spring,” Harrison said. “He’s turned himself into a leader. He got the opportunity to watch his older brother, Myles Thomas, a couple years ago, so he understands what it takes for a football team to be successful and the work that goes into it.”
Furthermore, senior RB Lloyd Avant (Tulsa-commit) and senior LB Xavier Atkins (LSU) have each become tone-setters in their respective fashions, among the many talented players on Summer Creek’s stacked roster.
Summer Creek's Lloyd AvantLorin Cook (VYPE)
“Avant is not necessarily a vocal leader, he’s a young man that leads by example,” said Harrison. “Kids follow him on the field as well as off the field because of the fact that he’s a high-character guy. Anytime you have someone like that on your team, you’ll have the opportunity to be successful.
“Then you move on to that guy, Xavier Atkins, who moved here in January. It was quite an adjustment for him, just the workload and preparing for the way we do things here in the state of Texas. He caught on quickly. He’s definitely a vocal leader, so we have the best of both worlds with those two.”
Summer Creek's Xavier Atkins prays before his Texas football debut Matthew Ogle (VYPE)
Since moving into the Bulldogs program six years ago, Harrison and his staff have turned Summer Creek into a perennial contender, despite being in a brutal district that features the likes of fellow heavyweights North Shore and Atascocita.
How have they done it?
“Just mental and physical toughness that we’ve brought here to the Summer Creek culture,” he said. “I think one thing that separates our program from a lot of others is the emphasis on that during the offseason."
“We do a lot of things during the offseason that gets our kids mentally and physically prepared to play for 48 minutes. We pride ourselves on that, getting them ready to play a very demanding schedule.”
District-play is about to commence for the Bulldogs, starting with West Brook next Friday. To say the least, it’s going to be entertaining to witness the rest of the season play out for this momentous group.