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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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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