Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Girls basketball playoff preview: Teams, players, storylines to watch
The girls basketball playoffs start in earnest Monday with a full slate of games featuring some of the state’s best teams.
No. 1 Duncanville will begin its quest for a perfect season and a second consecutive 5A state championship. Standing in its way of a state tournament appearance will be Region I hopefuls Arlington Bowie, Southlake Carroll, Mansfield Timberview and Flower Mound.
Here’s a look at many of the players and teams vying to reach the UIL state tournament Feb. 28-March 2 in Austin.
Filling the stat sheet
McKenzie Adams, Frisco Centennial: Adams, who signed with Arkansas, has scored 818 points in 35 games — an average of 23.4. She’s also snaring 4.9 rebounds per game.
Ariel Atkins, Duncanville: The junior is arguably the top player in the area. She’s averaging 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists for the top team in the state.
Ashley Deary, Flower Mound: The Northwestern-bound Deary averages 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
Breanna Hayden, Madison: The Baylor signee leads all area scorers with nearly 30 points per game. She’s also averaging nine rebounds.
Tory Jacobs, Irving MacArthur: Jacobs is third among 5A area players with 20.4 points per game. The junior is also averaging 7.6 rebounds.
Kennedy Leonard, Southlake Carroll: The sophomore point guard is one of the top prospects in the 2015 class. She’s averaging 12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
Alexis Mason, McKinney North: The Abilene Christian signee is the leader of North’s offense. The point guard averages 16.7 points and 4.5 assists.
Stabresa McDaniel, Skyline: The 5-10 guard leads Skyline with 12.6 points per game. She signed with Minnesota.
Devri Owens, Plano West: The Utah signee is Plano West’s top scorer, averaging 13.9 points this season. She’s made 89 3-pointers.
Sara Williamson, Rockwall: The sophomore averages 14.5 points along with 7.9 rebounds.
Destiny Nunley, Richland: 18.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg
Wilma Afunugo, Plano: 14.6 ppg, 11.7 rpg
Lauren Cox, Flower Mound: 13.8 ppg, 12.2 rpg
Micayla Buckney, Garland Naaman Forest: 13.3 ppg, 12.0 rpg
Claudia Price, West Mesquite: 15.9 ppg, 13.8 rpg
Best in class
Duncanville (35-0): Defending state champs have won 63 consecutive games.
Plano West (33-3): Lost to Duncanville twice, 61-55 and 64-32, and Plano, 72-62.
Lincoln (30-4): Lost to Arlington Bowie, 50-40; Duncanville, 63-55; Skyline, 42-40; and San Antonio Johnson, 63-54.
McKinney North (29-3): Lost to Irving MacArthur, 46-39; Plano West, 71-59; and Frisco Liberty, 43-38.
Kennedale (25-6): Lost to Cedar Hill, 46-42; Arlington Seguin, 53-51; Krum, 64-53; Stephenville, 73-52; Duncanville, 74-32; and League City Clear Springs, 68-54.
Frisco Lone Star (29-5): Lost to Denton Ryan, 35-33; Lake Highlands, 39-38; Frisco Centennial, 49-38; Sherman, 65-43; and McKinney, 42-36.
Carrollton Newman Smith missed the playoffs last year with a 16-14 overall record and 7-7 district record. It went 23-9, 13-1 to win District 10-4A this year.
Rowlett won its first district title in more than a decade after going 5-9 in district last season. It was 22-8, 11-1 this year.
Red Oak struggled without injured Texas Tech signee Diamond Lockhart last season and missed the playoffs. With Lockhart back in the fold, Red Oak is 25-8, 11-3 and took second in 15-4A.
Frisco Centennial sneaked into last year’s playoffs with an 8-6 mark. This year it’s 28-8 overall and 11-3 in district for a second-place finish.
Flower Mound went from 6-8 in district (fifth place) to 9-1 and district champions.
Plano was the final playoff team out of its district last year with a 7-7 mark. This year it earned a signature win over Plano West and shared the district title.
Can Kennedale get over the hump?
Kennedale, the District 6-3A champion, has been to the Class 3A regional finals three years in a row and lost to Abilene Wylie in the last two.
It will try to break through this year but will need to do so without star guard Jamaika Hughes, a Texas Tech signee who has missed the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
Kennedale (25-6) is led by senior forward Autummn Williams with 19.6 points per game. Junior guard McKinley Bostad averages 16.1 points and 3.8 assists.
Duncanville (35-0) will try to join an elite group of undefeated state champions. The breakdown of UIL undefeated state champs:
South Oak Cliff (5A)
Waco Richfield (4A)
Watch out for
Mansfield Timberview: Timberview, which took second behind Duncanville in 7-5A, probably could have won any other district in the state. It features Stanford signee Lili Thompson, Texas pledge JaLea Bennett and star Terriell Bradley. Timberview (29-5) has lost only to teams ranked in the area top 10.
Flower Mound Marcus: Marcus fell shy of a district title but ended the season on a four-game winning streak. The streak included a decisive 63-51 victory against 5-5A champion Flower Mound.
Skyline: After getting off to a rocky start with four losses in its first nine games, Skyline has been on a roll. It went unbeaten in District 9-5A and has quality wins against Lincoln, The Woodlands and Irving MacArthur.
Mitchell doing it all for McKinney
Junior guard Mariah Mitchell has done most of the heavy lifting this season for McKinney, which earned a playoff berth last week with its 49-43 victory against McKinney Boyd.
Mitchell is averaging 19.6 points and 6.3 rebounds — both team highs. Jazsmin Nelson is second in both categories with 10 points and six rebounds.
Mitchell scored 19 of her team-high 23 points in the second half in the win over Boyd.
Who will emerge from 4A?
The power in Class 5A is clear with No. 1 Duncanville at the top, but Class 4A is a little hazier. Which 4A team or teams will go deep?
Six area teams occupy spots in the state’s top-25 rankings, including Lincoln at No. 2 and McKinney North at No. 8. Also in the fold are Frisco Liberty (12), Arlington Seguin (17), Carrollton Newman Smith (23) and Highland Park (25).
Lincoln was 27-0 when the playoffs started last year but lost to eventual state champion Mansfield Summit in the regional quarterfinals.
Summit was one of four area teams to reach the regional semifinals in a group that included Highland Park, West Mesquite and Rockwall.
These area sharpshooters are dangerous from beyond the arc:
Player School 3-pointers