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Cy Falls’ hoops geared up for another state title run

Cy Falls will look for another deep run. Vype

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.”

 

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Houston's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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