Justin Hartojo | VYPE Media
KATY—Five takeaways from Wednesday afternoon's non-district game between Mayde Creek and Hightower, the latter which is ranked No. 20 in VYPE's preseason rankings.
It was the Rams, however, who came away with a demonstrative 87-68 win at home in a contest that consisted of some of Houston's top talents in the Classes of 2022, 2023 and 2025, respectively.
1. Angel Sonnier: the best player on the court
There was plenty of high-caliber talent on the floor, but it was Mayde Creek junior guard Angel Sonnier who stole the show.
The 6-foot lead guard scored a game-high 33 points with five rebounds, five assists, four steals, and 5-of-11 shooting from 3.
"I'm not big on rankings and all that stuff, but Angel Sonnier is one of the best guards in his city," Rams coach Anthony Fobb said. "Now, Angel needs to work on Angel. He's a kid. He's got shortfalls. But when he's playing like he did (Tuesday), the sky's the limit. He's sharing the ball, he's getting his assists, he's getting his points. When he's not worried about recruiting and what the rankings say, he's one of the best in this city. He brings out the best in me, and I just want to bring out the best in him."
Sonnier went up against two players who are considered to have a higher profile in Hightower senior guards Aaron Williams Jr. and Jacory Chatman.
Sonnier outshined both.
"There's no pressure," Sonnier said. "I just play my game. My game speaks for itself."
Sonnier was primarily a spot shooter last season. This season, he said he's more aggressive looking to create for himself and others. He showed off deft ballhandling that created space time and time again.
"Angel doesn't feel he's getting his just due, but when he shows up for games like this, guys will notice," Fobb said. "Let them do the talking."
Check out the sweet moves by @angelongo_ on this dish to Landon Bean for a 3. #txhshoops @MCRamsHoops @MCHSAthleticDeppic.twitter.com/6q6Rv5Fo8Z— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637783417
2. Rams halt Hurricanes' Williams' momentum
Hightower's Williams was averaging 19 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and shooting 47 percent overall and 40 percent from 3 entering the Mayde Creek game.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder had 18 points on Tuesday, 14 in the second half after Mayde Creek built a 42-22 lead, and shot 2-for-9 from 3.
Fobb saw on film that Hightower tended to play like his Rams sometimes: one pass and then shot, with nobody in offensive rebounding position.
"The goal was to get them to take bad shots and get in position to rebound and get out and run," Fobb said. "We made (Williams) play defense on the other side, and being a shooter, his legs and arms wore down."
Chatman led the Hurricanes with 20 points, 13 in the second half.
.@Williams_Aaron3 again. Already has a couple buckets and an assist early this 3Q. #txhshoops @HHS_Boys_Bballpic.twitter.com/L2J5EQtfFT— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637784449
3. Freshmen starring for Rams
Mayde Creek has two of the more promising talents in the Class of 2025 in the Greater Houston area.
Point guard Christian Jones, a 5-foot-9 sharpshooter, scored 20 points with four steals and four assists and shot 6-for-9 on 3s. He scored 12 points in the second quarter when the Rams turned a seven-point lead into 20 by the half.
Jamal Chretien II, a lithe, 6-foot-3 rangy forward, had 13 points and three rebounds. Eleven of his points came in the second half.
Jones, who was previously home-schooled like Chretien, said his seven games on varsity have been eye-opening.
"It's given me better skills, toughness and just becoming a better point guard," Jones said. "It's adjusting to going up against guys bigger and stronger than you."
"He's still got a lot of work to do," Fobb added. "The different reads, the different speeds of the game at certain times. Natural things a freshman struggles with. But scoring-wise, we see that every day in practice. We expect it to go in, and he's not a selfish player. He can get any shot he wants, but he'll pass the ball."
Jones said his on-ball defense has improved considerably. It had to if he expected to see playing time under Fobb. He has also had to raise his shooting pocket to get the shot off faster.
Fobb said it's his rookies' intensity and physicality that impressed him during summer and offseason tournaments and gave him confidence they could succeed on varsity.
"Both of them have private training and we lift weights hard here, and they really embrace the weights," Fobb said. "They're very mature, and they have really good parents. They don't let them get too high; they're on them hard. They can play on this level."
That\u2019s 6-9 from 3 for @MCRamsHoops freshman @C_Dior30. #txhshoops @MCHSAthleticDeppic.twitter.com/PwqEqZ7M5V— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637785874
4. Hurricanes stand out
Hightower's stars of Williams and Chatman did not play up to their elite standards, but others stood out for coach Stephen Woods.
Senior forward Joshua Lacour, who came off the bench in the first half but started the second, was a difference-maker in the paint with six points and nine rebounds. Sophomore 6-foot-2 forward Milton Rice also had a strong game with six points and six rebounds.
5. Fast start, no surprise
Mayde Creek's 6-1 start is not a surprise to anyone in the Rams' locker room.
"This is what I expected, especially when you have these incoming freshmen who can take a lot of pressure off me," Sonnier said. "They bring a lot more diversity to the game. We know what we're doing. We're good, and we're going to get it done."
Mayde Creek's only loss is to Dallas Mansfield Timberview. The Rams won the consolation bracket of the Magnolia Tournament.
"Guys had us third or fourth in district, and that's fine," Fobb said. "We don't care about that. We come here and work. I call it a blue-collar program. This was a really good, legitimate win for us against a strong, playoff-caliber team."
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24 Nov, 2021
HOUSTON – The Texas high school football playoffs could be best compared to a heavy-weight championship boxing match.
Whichever teams are still standing after six brutal rounds are the champions. That's it.
With the first two rounds in the books, every District 21-6A team – North Shore, Atascocita, C.E. King and Summer Creek – has taken their punches but are all still standing entering the Regional Semifinals.
"It just shows the competition in the district, and I think a lot of people realize that it was one of the toughest districts," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said. "Even though West Brook didn't make it, they would've probably made it in a lot of districts.
"It's hard to tell while you're in it because you're in the middle of it. But when you get out and start seeing other districts it says a lot about it. I think it's real important who you play."
As the playoffs push into the third round, District 21-6A is the only Class 6A District in the State of Texas that has all four playoff teams still in.
There are four districts that have three teams each (5-6A, 11-6A, 19-6A and 26-6A) and four with just two teams left (4-6A, 10-6A, 14-6A and 31-6A).
But none with four.
"It speaks volumes of the level of competition in our district," Summer Creek coach Kenny Harrison told VYPE via text. "Labeled as the toughest district in the state before the season began, and this district has prepared you to be sound in all three phases. It has prepared the four of us to be able to play at a very high level the first two rounds."
If you take the time and look at the history of the teams in District 21-6A, there is a reason many believe it is one of the toughest in the state.
North Shore has won three state championships since 2015; Atascocita is into the Regional Semis for a seventh-straight season and were State Semifinalists in 2016; and Beaumont West Brook – which finished 5th and out of the playoffs – was a state runner-up back in 2018.
District of Doom is a fair name.
"You don't have any weeks off," C.E. King coach Derek Fitzhenry said about the competition level of 21-6A play. "All the teams are capable of beating you with the slightest margin of error. A mistake here or there and the game is out of reach.
"You have to continually grow each week to keep up."
That experience has shown in the first two rounds.
In the Bi-District Round, every team scored 49 or more points – North Shore scoring the most beating Pasadena Dobie 62-14. In the Area Round, three of the four teams scored 35 or more points. With the wins, District 21-6A now boasts three 10-win teams (North Shore at 11-1), and a nine-win squad.
In 12 games played, every playoff team is averaging 39 or more points – Summer Creek leading with 45.416 per game.
"It says a lot about the quality of coaching and athletes we have in District 21-6A," Fitzhenry said.
With the way the bracket is set up, if every District 21-6A team wins this week, that will set up all-District 21-6A State Quarterfinals in Class 6A Division I – Atascocita vs North Shore – and Division II – C.E. King vs Summer Creek – in Region III.
"I've had the opportunity to watch these 21-6A teams play throughout the entire year. I can't say that I'm surprised by their success, and I truly hope it continues," North Shore coach Jon Kay said. "I think it's testament to the quality of football on the Eastside. I'm looking forward to seeing all of us compete this weekend against some incredible opponents."
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