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Cy Falls’ hoops geared up for another state title run
Originally appeared on Vype.com.
Cypress Falls made school history winning the 2017 UIL 6A state basketball title, but it’s also in a unique position with its returning talent.
The Golden Eagles not only have six seniors back from the second state championship season in Cy-Fair ISD boys basketball history, but five of them are returning starters.
“We’re trying to make it more memorable,” forward Zach Stephenson said. “Focus on this year, and try to do it again, so it will be more significant later in life.”
The starters include guards Trajan Wesley, Andrew Nguyen and Nigel Hawkins, as well as forwards Kendall Scott and D.J. Weaver.
Wesley is a Louisiana-Lafayette commit, and Hawkins won the UIL State Championship Game MVP last season.
The players know they have something special, and have a bond for life, whether it’s competing on the court, playing NBA 2K or meeting up for meals.
“It’s a good brotherhood,” Nguyen said. “A lot of memories have been made. Before the lights even come on, you see the bonds we have made and how much fun we have before the game. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
A big part of the team’s success is coach Richard Flores. He taught them before last season’s run to never be the hunted.
“He’s really humbled us and made us realize that we have to take it one game at a time,” Nguyen said. “We can’t look into the future. We have to think about the present right now and we can’t look back at the past.”
That mentality came after a 2016 playoff loss to Sam Houston. The Eagles remembered the feeling of loss against the Tigers, who advanced to the state tournament in San Antonio.
The Eagles’ six-pack of talent started to excite the community before last season and a buzz started to settle in. That’s why Flores stressed to them that everything they did between then and the year’s ultimate goal would decide their destiny. That approach paid off in not only the championship, but his players turning into leaders as well.
“They know what the expectations are,” Flores said. “The guys have been a lot more vocal, and have taken more and more leadership of the program.”
That was on display at RCS Sports’ Super 16 Extravaganza in late September and early October.
Falls could’ve come out rusty like other teams, but it finished in the top four. That start excites Flores, but he also noticed a couple of areas where his team can improve before district play and the postseason — defensive rotations, transition, ball movement and game rhythm.
If they clean those up, Flores’ team will be in great shape.
According to him, Weaver is as healthy and strong as he was before his sophomore ACL injury, his speed is back and his ball-handling has improved. Flores also expects Stephenson and Scott to take the next step in man-to-man defense, catch-and-shoot situations, being active on the glass and creating opportunities for teammates.
Wesley played a big role in closing out San Antonio Wagner in last year’s state title game and plans to answer some of those calls. He wants to be a vocal leader on offense and defense, give his teammates more touches and help new players adjust to the team’s system.
When the media and fans talk about this group’s potential for the season ahead, the team, coaches and school community will be cherishing the run on a daily basis. They are in a rare position where they recognize greatness as it’s happening and don’t want to miss a minute.
“They mean a bunch to this community, this school and to me,” Flores said. “They’ve already established a legacy. If we win, they’ve just added to their legacy, and if we come up a little short, they’ve already established themselves as one of the best teams in the state and in the nation.
“They set a standard for this program, as to what [it needs] to do to be successful.”