Private School Hoops

Concordia, Second Baptist & TWCA win a trio of TAPPS ‘ships

The Woodlands Christian Academy edged Arlington Grace Prep for a 79-76 double overtime victory

On Friday, Concordia Lutheran, Second Baptist and The Woodlands Christian Academy added a trio of state championships to an already special boys basketball season for Houston-area squads. They join Houston Christian, who topped SPC in February.

The game of the night at the TAPPS’ state tournament was between Second Baptist and Cedar Hill Trinity Christian in the 5A title game. The Eagles battled with the Tigers throughout the match, but ultimately prevailed 60-57 on VYPE Player of the Game Max Modica’s game-winning three with 5.5 seconds left.

“I wasn’t really knocking down many shots early, but I know whenever it came down to crunch time that my team needed me,” the senior said. “I was happy that I was able to deliver that for them.”

Modica scored all his points in the final three quarters, and finished with 11. He was joined by the team’s leader in points Miles Goodman and Donovan Dastmalchian. Both added 14 in the win. Uzoma Dibiamaka and Cameron Fontenot also had important performances, adding nine and seven respectively. The team effort was too much for even the game’s leading scorer. Tyreek Smith led Trinity Christian with 23 points in the loss.

Right before that game, The Woodlands Christian Academy edged Arlington Grace Prep for a 79-76 double overtime victory in the 4A state title game. The Warriors stormed back in the second half to force the extra periods. VYPE Player of the Game Bakari LaStrap lifted his program to its fifth state championship with five critical points after regulation.

“That’s mesmerizing,” LaStrap said of the connection between his overtime point total and his program’s new title count. “Words can’t explain. That’s crazy!”

As important as LaStrap was, he couldn’t do it alone. Zach Baker recorded four in the extra periods, and Zach Golaszewski and Dawson Libonati added three each.

In the nightcap, Concordia Lutheran had an early cushion after a pair of runs (7-0 and 10-0) against district foe St. Pius X. The Crusaders kept a double-digit lead for most of the game, and breezed to a 70-48 TAPPS 6A state championship win.

VYPE Player of the Game Pierce Hellums finished with a game-high 23 points, and also had two important answers in the fourth. Pius had cut the Crusaders’ lead to nine in the early minutes of the period, but his back-to-back three-point plays were the final stand they needed to wrap up a 43-1 season, and complete the three-game sweep of the Panthers.

Hellums will be back to lead SaderNation in 2018-2019, but a number of his teammates won’t. Seniors Joshua Davis, Yosani Clay and Jaylen Reed contributed 10 points each.

“God blessed me with the greatest teammates I could have ever played with this year, and we’ve created a bond that will never be broken,” Hellums said. “We’ve created a legacy at Concordia now, and I’m going to really miss those guys next year. I don’t know what I’m going to do without ‘em.”


If you enjoyed the state coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) and VYPE (@VYPEPrivates) on Twitter.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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