Hoops recap

Elkins' Chris Johnson brings the ball up the court during a 2020 game against Bush at Hopson Fieldhouse. Johnson and the Knights began District 20-6A play with two wins last week. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

District play got underway for many of the area’s Class 6A boys basketball teams this week, and several traditional powers have gotten off to strong starts as they look to assert dominance early in the district schedule.

The Elkins Knights, Travis Tigers, and Ridge Point Panthers are all annual contenders in 20-6A, and all three teams went 2-0 last week to highlight the area’s boys’ action.

Much of the attention for the Knights this season has been star guard Chris Johnson. But it always takes more than one player to make an elite team, and they’re proving it with strong early-season play so far.

The Knights (18-5, 3-0 District 20-6A) asserted some dominance with a pair of wins last week, in the process serving notice that they’re still one of the teams to beat in the area. Following a 61-52 win over Bush on Jan. 5, the Knights – ranked 5th in Class 6A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches entering play this week – handily defeated the Clements Rangers by a score of 66-39 on Saturday.

Kristopher Barnett paced the Knights with a season-high 16 points, while Johnson added 15 points to go along with five rebounds and five steals against Bush. Jackson Fields also had 12 rebounds, his ninth double-digit performance of the season

Travis had wins over George Ranch (62-44) on Jan. 5 and Bush (53-51) on Saturday to move to 14-8 overall and 2-0 in district. Ridge Point is also 2-0 in district play following wins over Austin (61-55) on Jan. 5 and Dulles (63-39) on Saturday, moving to 15-7 overall.

Austin dropped a couple of district games last week, but still had a few standout performances. Davion Jackson had 21 points – his second-highest scoring game of the season – to pace the Bulldogs (10-12, 0-3), while Tylon Harris added 16 points of his own.

In Class 5A action, three Hightower players scored in double digits as the Hurricanes (15-8, 5-1 district) knocked off the Kempner Cougars on Jan. 4 for their third straight victory and seventh in the last 10 games. Jacory Chatman led the way for Hightower with 14 points, while Javon Smith and Traveon Hannah added 10 points apiece. Jaden Hughes also chipped in with nine points and six rebounds.

The Cougars bounced right back, however with a 76-43 win over Willowridge on Jan. 7, moving to 12-11 overall and 3-3 in District 24-5A play. Bryan Etunmu posted his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Justin Peters had 10 points. Noel Ike also chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds as the Cougars snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Marshall Buffalos also continued a strong district run, beating Angleton (86-51) on Jan. 4 and Lamar Consolidated (94-50) to run their record to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in District 24-5A.

Girls

Austin’s Lady Bulldogs continued their best season in nearly a decade with a pair of District 20-6A wins last week. Freshman standout Andrea Sturdivant had a strong all-around game for the Lady Bulldogs (19-5, 5-0) in a 65-27 win over Ridge Point on Jan. 5 with 12 points and 10 assists to go along with eight rebounds and five steals, while Gabby Johnson (17 points) led the scoring attack.

Johnson also had a 22 points in a 60-54 win over George Ranch on Saturday, while Sturdivant poured in 27 of her own – her seventh 20-point performance of the season.

The Dulles Lady Vikings are 15-6 overall and 4-1 in District 20-6A after a pair of wins. Dai Dai Powell led the way for Dulles with 18 points in a 57-36 win over Ridge Point last Saturday, while Jakiya Thompson had 15 points and six steals. Nya Threatt had a strong all-around contest with 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.

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