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Morton Ranch keeps Classic championship in Katy

December 3, 2018

Morton Ranch basketball had quite a showing at the Katy Classic, losing only once in ten games between the boys and girls divisions.

Morton Ranch’s boys finished undefeated for the tournament championship. The Mavericks completed a stellar three days with an 85-79 victory against Klein Forest in the Gold Bracket final, Dec. 1 at Merrell Center.

The Morton Ranch girls lost their opener but did nothing but win the rest of the way, finishing 4-1 including a 42-35 victory against Cinco Ranch for the consolation championship.

Katy ISD had three girls teams in the championship bracket, led by Katy’s quarterfinal appearance and sixth-place finish. Tompkins and Seven Lakes both ranked in the top half of the tournament as well.

The home district had three boys teams in the Gold Bracket for the second straight year, with Tompkins winning the consolation side of the bracket for fifth place overall and Cinco Ranch taking third place.

Morton Ranch cruised through its Pool 5 opener as L.J. Cryer and Westley Sellers both poured in 30 points. Cryer added seven assists and seven steals, while Eddie Lampkin and Noah Dickey both had 14 points in a 112-49 rout.

Lampkin led the Mavericks past Cypress Springs, 77-71, for the pool championship. The 6-foot-10 center made 10 of 12 shots for 23 points and added 12 rebounds. Cryer and Sellers combined for 29 points and 13 assists.

Morton Ranch had to really in all three Gold Bracket victories, starting with an early double-digit deficit against Spring. But Sellers’ 19 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals paced a 77-75 victory.

Cryer (18 points, eight assists), Lampkin (15 points) and D’erice Ulmer (12 points) played key roles throughout bracket play.

It appeared an improved Cinco Ranch squad was headed for the Katy Classic final, leading the Mavericks by 20 entering the fourth quarter. But Morton Ranch scored 32 points in the final eight minutes to tie the game and won 86-78 in overtime.

Cyer (21 points, 10 rebounds), Sellers (17 points, 10 assists), Ulmer (15 points), Lampkin (11 points, 11 rebounds), Isaiah Babalola (10 points) and Adrian Caldwell (nine points) led the Mavericks to victory.

Morton Ranch trailed 8-0 almost immediately in the final against Klein Forest and struggled with turnovers in the first quarter. But baskets by Babalola and Dickey sparked a 12-1 run.

“Our kids get nervous sometimes,” Morton Ranch coach Khris Turner said. “But it’s good they understand when we tell them something it actually works. We kept telling them to attack. Don’t let up. Play our pace.”

Lampkin helped the Mavericks score consistently inside, recording 13 of his 17 points, including three dunks, before halftime. The junior added 10 rebounds and made seven of nine shots in the final, continuing to improve despite a preseason shoulder injury.

“I think he’s hungrier,” Turner said. “Anything he could’ve worked on, he fixed.”

The Mavericks led 43-35 at halftime, adding a 9-2 run later in the second quarter. The teams traded shots in the third, including a key three-point basket by Ulmer for a 60-49 lead, followed by a three-point play from Sellers.

The double-digit lead gave the Mavericks room to work through a Klein Forest charge in the fourth quarter.

“They make us attack at practice,” said Ulmer, who made seven of his eight shots in the final. “At halftime we said just keep attacking, get in the paint.”

Cryer finished with 17 points and 11 assists, including a three for a 72-63 lead, but departed due to an ankle injury.

“When L.J. went down we just had to step up as a group,” Lampkin said. “We’ve got to do it for him. Let’s get this done.”

Cryer’s absence tested the Mavericks, but Sellers took over the ball-handling lead and guided the team down the stretch. The junior led Morton Ranch with 19 points and eight rebounds.

“Nothing he did surprised any of us,” Turner said. “But I think the fact that we were on a big enough platform for him to actually be able to showcase what he does … he’s getting some accolades he’s never gotten.”

The Mavericks improved to 13-2 overall, with the only defeats coming at the competitive Texas Invitational. They lost to Plano East 67-66 before defeating Dawson, Converse Judson and Richardson in succession. Playing without Cryer, they lost to district foe Tompkins 53-40 in the final.

The Mavericks play Alief Taylor and Eisenhower to close the non-district schedule. District 19-6A play begins at home against Seven Lakes.

A district crown and state tournament appearance are among Morton Ranch’s primary aspirations, looking to match Tompkins’ run last year.

Mayde Creek led KISD in the boys Silver Bracket, finishing third including a win against Seven Lakes and posting a 3-2 mark. Katy made Silver as well, with Taylor reaching the Bronze final and Paetow earning a win against La Porte in Bronze play.

Katy started strong in the 32-team girls bracket, defeating Mansfield 66-22 and Klein Collins 43-38 for a quarterfinal berth. The Tigers shook off two defeats to defeat Killeen Ellison in their finale.

Tompkins and Seven Lakes defeated San Antonio Wagner and Bush, respectively, to open the tournament. The Falcons added wins against Hastings and Klein Collins.

Morton Ranch improved to 10-3 overall, following a loss to Spring with a 61-55 overtime victory against Kempner. Madyson Bailey (16 points), D’Andrea Hunter (14) and Kamill Rangel (14) led a balanced scoring effort, with Valentina Taborda Ospino adding key free throws.

The Mavericks continued with a 41-37 win against rival Mayde Creek, then defeated Conroe 54-41 to set up a consolation final showdown against Cinco Ranch. Bailey (18), Rangel (14), Jharyn Craig (7) and Aaliyah Wiley (7) led the Mavericks against Conroe.

Taylor finished strong after a slow start, defeating Bush, Davis and Cypress Falls to close the tournament. Paetow earned a victory against Channelview in its final game.

District 19-6A play begins Dec. 7 for the girls as Morton Ranch visits Taylor, Mayde Creek hosts Cinco Ranch and Tompkins heads to Seven Lakes.

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