Houston's private school ranks are deep in talent, making the back half of VYPE's Top 10 as lethal as the top half.
Houston Christian has won back-to-back SPC titles, while the Class 1A Baytown Christian Academy Bulldogs champs are loaded again for another run.
Here are Houston's 6-10 top private schools.
6. Houston Christian Mustangs
Here come the defending champs! Houston Christian enters this season as the reigning back-to-back SPC Champions. Going 30-8 last year, the Mustangs capped off another title season with a 69-64 victory over Episcopal. To win a third-straight crown, Houston Christian will have to replace some big pieces, including Georgia- signee Sahvir Wheeler. The junior class will be one to watch. Noah Kon, who was an All-SPC selection last year, returns after averaging 18 points and five assists per game. Kobe Haynes, an All South Zone SPC selection, is also back after averaging nine points per night. Other players to watch include Elijah Bernstein, Donald Rawls (who was injured last year), Austin Smith and Malachi Bingham. According to coach Ron Crandall, success will be based on "how quickly we can build chemistry and trust". Crandall enters his 13th season at Houston Christian and is 11 wins away from No. 300 at the school. With 25 wins this season, Crandall will hit victory No. 400 for his career.
No. 7 Kinkaid Falcons
When it comes to SPC basketball, all the talk the past few years has been around Houston Christian and Episcopal. Rightfully so, considering those two programs have either won or been runner-ups for state titles the past few years. Kinkaid finished sixth in the SPC tournament last year, falling to Greenhill School, 61-51. Looking to this season, Kinkaid will have to replace All-SPC selection Josh Levy, who averaged 12.3 points per game in 2019. The Falcons do return some firepower, including All-SPC selection Jordan Williams, who earned that nod as a freshman. Williams averaged 10.9 points, four rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, and has seen a considerable uptick in his basketball recruiting this summer, which made him commit more to basketball than football. By the way, Williams is good at both. Another player to keep an eye includes Lucas Wilkins, who averaged 9.7 points per game. The Falcons will have to get others to step up outside Williams and Wilkins but that's not a bad start.
No. 8 St. Thomas Eagles
St. Thomas was two wins away from playing for a TAPPS 6A State Championship last season. The Eagles fell short to Antonian, 82-75, which went on to win the title. St. Thomas finished the year 25-8 overall and 9-1 in district. Heading into this year, St. Thomas returns three starters, led by Maddox Kopp, who stands at 6-foot-5. Kopp, a TAPPS All-State Honorable Mention selection, finished last year averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Other key returners for St. Thomas include Cael Boeckman (8.2 points per game) and Dillon Lowe (6.1 points per game). Gary Hall enters his second season leading the Eagles, but he isn't just getting onto the scene in coaching. Hall enters year 26 of his career with a 442-208 record. Keys to success for St. Thomas heading into this year include blending newcomers with the returners, navigating one of the "toughest schedules in the state", defensive rebounding and perimeter shooting, Hall said.
No. 9 Baytown Christian Academy Bulldogs
The defending TAPPS 1A State Champions are back. Baytown Christian Academy went the distance capping off the championship season with a 63-29 victory over Dallas Tyler Street Christian. The Bulldogs finished 29-3 overall and have some mega-firepower coming back for the 2019-2020 campaign. The group is led by Jaron Jefferson, who averaged a team-leading
17.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He will be a force this season. Pair that output with Jakob Wheatfall, who averaged 17.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game – that is a dynamic duo. Wheatfall was a TAPPS first-team, all-state selection. If that pair can average nearly 20 points per game this year, definitely expect Baytown Christian Academy to be fighting for another title. Also keep an eye on incoming senior Kyron Pitre Jr., who was the team's fifth- best scorer averaging 7.2 points per night to go with 3.7 assists per game.
10 Fort Bend Christian Academy Eagles
While Chuks Uzoka, Timi Ibdapo-Obie and Connor Brotheron have graduated, the show must go on at Fort Bend Christian Academy. Third-year Coach Kalvin Lewis (45-22) led his crew to a 31-5 overall record and an unblemished district mark en route to the TAPPS Final Four. The Eagles were halted by Lutheran South. It was a senior-heavy team, but Lewis has reloaded. In the backcourt are returners Solomon Cole and Owen LaRocca. Jared Bohny will spell Cole at the point guard spot, while Paul Sanchez will complement LaRocca from the three-point line. Eric McCurdy will play a big role in the paint, while Rodney Lipscomb will also provide outside shooting. Lewis will lean on speed, defense and perimeter shooting to carry the nest early, while some lengthy move-ins get their legs under them.
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