Tompkins Triumphant

Tompkins basketball is ready to make a run in the playoffs

The Tompkins Falcons celebrate their first district title. vype.com

For the first time in program history, the Tompkins Falcons ended the regular season as district champs.

With a 26-8 overall record — 12-2 in district — Tompkins claimed the District 19-6A crown that had eluded the Falcons for a couple years.

Tompkins’ season included big wins over district rival Morton Ranch and Duncanville in the McDonalds Invitational Tournament to take home the tournament championship trophy.

Tompkins, ranked 16th in the state, is led by senior guard and Oklahoma signee, Jamal Bieniemy, and talented senior guard, CJ Washington.

Bieniemy finished the district season with an average of 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while Washington had a district average of 16.6 points and 5 rebounds per game.

The two senior guards have been a part of Tompkins since the program’s first ever game when they were freshmen.

Now, the two are trying to lead their talented team that includes guard Eden Holt and shooting guards Emmanuel White and Kristian Sjolund to the program’s first ever playoff victory after back to back years of Bi-District exits.

“We are experienced and locked and loaded for the playoffs to started. We know what we need to do to win, so we just have to go out and play hard as a team to leave with the win,” Bieniemy said.

“We’ve been watching film and practicing hard. I believe we have a good shot to contend for state this year. This is my last year of high school, so I know I am going to go all out for my brothers on the team.”

Tompkins had their ups and downs throughout the regular season, but now it’s playoff time, which means win or go home.

Tompkins have been hungry to get back to playoffs since last year’s quick exit. They want to show that they are not just a regular season team, but they are state contenders too.

“I am very excited for the playoffs. I have been waiting for this day all year. This is my last ride with my brothers, so we got to finish with something to remember,” Washington said.

“I am getting my body right and my mind focus in practice, so I’ll be ready for the game. It been a fun season playing with my brothers that I grew up with, and I just can’t wait for the playoff game to get start with them.”

Throughout the season the Falcons have been seen as a state championship caliber team, but now it is time for them to be put to the test to truly see what kind of team they are.

Tompkins will start its playoff journey against Ridge Point High School on Monday at Alief Taylor.

The lights are getting brighter and the stage is getting bigger for Tompkins and they are coming in with a chip on their shoulder to finally make it pass the Bi-District round and get their first playoff win.

Will this be the year Tompkins finally break through the barrier and make a push for state?

Keion Cage is a student at Tompkins HS and a member of the VYPE U Ambassador Program. To learn more about how you can become a VYPE U Ambassador, visit VYPEU.com

 

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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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