South Houston Ashanta Johnson wrestles away a rebound as teammates Jasmine Paredes (24) and Nina Hernandez (13) clear a path in pool play action against Memorial at Phillips Field House.
Dobie guard Royce Hunter scored 69 points in two pool play games on Thursday to propel the Longhorns into the Division 2 Gold Bracket as the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament tipped off at 10 Pasadena ISD and Deer Park ISD school venues.
Hunter scored 45 points – tying the third-highest total in Texas Invitational history – as the Longhorns fought off McKinney, 85-75, during morning play. The Dobie senior contributed 24 points -- while sitting nearly all of the second half -- in his team’s 84-42 afternoon rout of Crosby. Both games were played at the Dobie gym.
Hunter's 45-point performance featured a 9-for-10 shooting effort on his 2-pointers. He hit five of his seven 3-point attempts and sank 12 of 15 free throws. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
The Longhorns, playing for the first time this season, sent a clear statement that they factor into championship consideration in District 22-6A. District play begins the first week of January. Last season Dobie made a surprise run all the way to the regional semifinals.
With the Longhorns leading the way, Pasadena ISD boys teams finished 5-5 in pool play games. South Houston, Rayburn and Pasadena all split their two games, but only the Texans and Eagles earn spots in the Division 2 Silver Bracket. South Houston came out on the losing end of a three-way tie-breaker among 1-1 teams and landed in the Bronze Bracket.
Dobie plays its Gold Bracket quarter-finals contest at noon Friday on the Longhorns’ home court against Mansfield Summit.
Also advancing to Gold Bracket play in Division 2 were Rockwall, Manvel, Fort Bend Austin, Grapevine, Humble and Lewisville Hebron.
Memorial’s boys team lost twice – to Manfield Summit and to Fort Bend Ridge Point – by two-point margins each time. The Mavericks will join the Trojans in the Bronze Bracket.
The only Pasadena ISD breakthroughs on the girls’ side came from Dobie and from South Houston, which handed the Memorial girls the first of pool play two setbacks. Pool play for all girls teams wraps up on Friday.
Pool play in boys’ Division 1 yielded a minor surprise when Atascocita, the two-time defending Texas Invitational champion, lost its first game, 58-56 in overtime, to Westfield. The Eagles were expected to be in rebuilding mode this season.
Lancaster, regarded as a tournament favorite, claimed easy victories over College Park and Clear Brook to claim a spot in Division 1 Gold.
Duncanville, the favorite on the girls side, won easily against Pearland Dawson and Clear Falls. The Pantherettes can move into Division 1 Gold with a victory in their pool play finale on Friday against Cy-Woods.
The championship for the Division 1 girls is Saturday at 3 p.m. at Phillips Field House. The Division 1 boys title will be determined Saturday at 7 p.m. at Phillips.
PASADENA ISD POOL PLAY GALLERY
Langham Creek 77, South Houston 53
South Houston 71, Rockwall 65 OT
South Houston's Jido Hinojosa drives inside against Langham Creek's Jason Prashad.
Trojans center Deontae Johnson battles for a rebound against Prashad and Will Etheridge (41).
South Houston guard Dralyn Brown works to contain the ball.
South Houston's Ian Butler looks for an opening inside.
Mansfield Summit 53, Memorial 51
Ridge Point 64, Memorial 62
Memorial's Jessie Martinez (22) battles Summit's Zaimel Moses for the ball.
Memorial's LaCharles Jordan works the ball against Summit's Roland Jamison.
The Mavericks' Zebulon Hogan (left) tries to muscle his way past two Summit defenders. Martinez converts a fast break into a layup during second half-action.
Dobie 85, McKinney 75
Dobie 84, Crosby 42
Dobie's Joshua Cooper whips a pass into the corner.
The Longhorns' Jeremy Williams drives the ball inside.
McKinney's James Bobbitt (12) guards Dobie's Royce Hunter.
Fort Bend Austin 46, Pasadena 45
Pasadena 60, Clear Falls 45
Pasadena's David Rodriguez works the top of the key against Ian Clark of Clear Falls.
The Eagles' Arturo Botello guards the point as Clear Falls's Tyler Valentine looks for an opening.
Pasadena's Josh Martinez launches a pass.
David Rodriguez drives inside as Ian Clark defends.
Manvel 68, Rayburn 42
Angleton 74, Rayburn 52
Rayburn's Roger Martinez brings the ball up the count as Angleton's Cameron Hunger stays close.
The Texans' Joevanni Flores looks for a perimeter pass.
(Left) Luis Lessing launches a jumper for the Texans. (Right) Martinez battles with Angleton's Devon Coley (12) for a rebound.
Rayburn's Brooklyn James drives into the lane.
South Houston 38, Memorial 37
Cy-Creek 50, South Houston 24
South Houston's Amy Cabrera drives the baseline against Memorial.
The Lady Trojans' Nina Hernandez brings the ball across the timeline.
South Houston's Gaby Escobar pulls up for a jump shot.
North Crowley 54, Rayburn 28
Deer Park 55, Rayburn 27
Rayburn's Kirsten Simon guards the point against North Crowley.
The Lady Texans' Faith Cattouse (left) penetrates the lane. Rayburn's Jessica Guerra (right) makes a steal at midcourt.
Catthouse goes in for a shot.
South Houston 38, Memorial 37
San Antonio Madison 60, Memorial 38
Memorial's Stacy Rios weaves her way through South Houston's press.
The Lady Mavericks' Crystal Rodriguez (left) drives inside for a layup. (Right) Bianca Silva puts up a jump shot for Memorial.
Memorial's Gesselle Sosa brings the ball over the time line.
Memorial's Rodriguez draws a foul from South Houston's Vanessa Perez after a power move to the basket.
The Woodlands 66, Pasadena 32
San Antonio Jay 46, Pasadena 24
Pasadena's Galilea Pompa handles the ball against San Antonio Jay.
The Lady Eagles' Daniela Pruneda concentrates on guarding the point.
Rosalba Reyes sets up the offense for the Lady Eagles.
College Park 31, Dobie 38
Dobie 38, Mansfield Lake Ridge 35
Dobie's Zaria Thomas looks for a passing lane inside.
Victoria Onozie prepares to finish a second-half breakaway against Lake Ridge.
Here it is -- but you can't have it! Dobie's Taja Tillman teases with the basketball, then plays keep-away with Lake Ridge's Jessica Paulk (12).