Written by Corbett Smith
Madison vs. Houston Yates: Top two teams prepare to settle it in 3A final
Deep, fast-paced teams square off in matchup of mirror images with state championship at stake
AUSTIN — Houston Yates coach Greg Wise has made a career by being relentless, applying his trapping, swarming full-court press to great effect during his tenure at Yates. He isn’t afraid of being impolitic.
When asked what he thought about facing Madison, giving the UIL a dream No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in Saturday’s 10 a.m. Class 3A final, Wise said he didn’t care what team lined up from the opposite side of the bracket.
“We’re trying to do one game better than we did last year,” Wise said. “We want to keep our focus and play the way we need to play.
“Whoever is there — it just happens to be Dallas Madison — I know will be ready to play, and I’m sure we’ll be ready to play also.”
Such nonchalance isn’t offered by Madison, which seems thrilled heading into Saturday with a shot at one of the state’s most storied programs.
Yates (32-4) has made the state tournament in four of the last five seasons, winning 4A titles in 2009 and 2010. It was upset in last year’s 4A final by a last-minute run by Kimball, and entered this season penciled in as the favorite after moving down to 3A in the UIL’s recent alignment. Yates has only three seniors on its roster.
“They were such a tough 4A team for the past five, six years,” Madison coach Damien Mobley said. “They have just a deep tradition when it comes to basketball.
“It’s going to be a pleasure for us to go out [there], and may the best man win.”
Madison (31-4) will have to contend with the speedy guard duo of senior Darrion Martin and sophomore Joseph Anderson — which combined for 35 points in Yates’ 81-70 win over Brookshire Royal in the semifinals — as well as one of the tallest and athletic frontcourts in the tournament: 6-7 junior Melvin Swift (a Xavier pledge), 6-6 junior J.C. Washington and 6-6 senior Sadiq Inuwa.
On paper, Madison — the 2009 3A champion and 2010 runner-up — seems up for the task. In its 92-55 semifinal win over Abilene Wylie, each player on the 15-man roster got at least five minutes of playing time, with no discernible dip between its starters and reserves.
Sophomore guard Admon Gilder had one of the best performances of the state tournament in the semis, going 7-of-8 from the 3-point line for 25 points. J.D. Wallace, Madison’s 6-8 senior post, had 13 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.
With four players 6-7 or taller, a deep bench and similar up-tempo attack, Madison seems poised to challenge Yates at its own game.
“We’ll see on Saturday which team does it the best,” Mobley said.
Matt Wixon and the Houston Chronicle’s Angel Verdejo contributed to this article.