While the Ryan Lady Raiders and Argyle Lady Eagles attempt to punch their tickets to the state basketball tournament next week in San Antonio, five Denton-area boys teams will be trying to advance when the playoffs resume Friday night.
AUSTIN — At the biggest meet of the season, all three Denton ISD swimmers set personal bests in Friday’s Class 5A state swim meet, and Braswell’s Alexa Barnes also was able to qualify for Saturday’s finals.
The Ryan boys basketball team won a coin flip against Denton on Wednesday afternoon, making the Raiders the top seed in District 5-5A.
The girls basketball playoffs are set to resume tonight as four area teams were crowned bi-district champions earlier this week.
KELLER — What Ryan saw out of Saginaw Chisholm Trail on Tuesday looked nothing like what the team saw on film. The result was a back-and-forth playoff opener that saw the Lady Raiders do just enough to eke out a 57-50 win and secure the program’s first playoff victory since 2011. Traeli Calhoun led all scorers with 23 points.
The coaching shuffle at North Texas last week has impacted the Ryan football team. Junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc, whose father, Derrick LeBlanc, is on his way to Kentucky after one year as the Mean Green’s defensive line coach, also is leaving after just one season with the Raiders.
Screams roared through a Denton High locker room following Round 2 of the crosstown rivalry between Denton and Ryan. After the Broncos won an overtime thriller at Ryan on Jan. 17 to improve their District 5-5A record to 5-0, it was the Raiders who enjoyed the celebration Friday.
After so many years as childhood friends and being on the same football teams, Ryan’s Tyreke Davis and Delano Robinson are taking different paths as recruits for rival programs North Texas and SMU. And the playful jabs were thrown around early and often during national signing day on Wednesday.
Even with a lackluster opening quarter, Ryan made Tuesday’s game against Wichita Falls look easy. The Raiders blew open what was a tied ballgame by scoring 46 points over the next two quarters and getting big nights from Jay Wilson and Dan Dickenson en route to a 69-38 win at Billy Ryan Gym. The win was Ryan’s third in a row since its Jan. 17 loss to Denton, adding much-needed momentum with four games to play.
So far, so good. In Denton’s first District 5-5A game, against crosstown rival Ryan, the Lady Broncos had a goal of playing with high intensity.
Ryan’s offense hasn’t been scaring anyone. But that may have changed now that district play has started. Senior midfielder Cody Davidson scored twice Friday, including the go-ahead goal with just more than 17 minutes to play, as the Raiders rallied for a 2-1 win against crosstown rival Denton in the District 5-5A opener for both teams.
There was a time when Spencer Sanders was not his team’s first option at quarterback. He wasn’t even the second. Sanders, a Ryan junior and Oklahoma State commit, said he was the third-string QB for his select football team when he was about 8.
LITTLE ELM — Braswell played the best basketball it has played all season, but when facing a Ryan squad that is undefeated in district play, it’s tough to notch a win. The Lady Raiders have been on a tear through District 5-5A, adding their eighth consecutive victory with a 62-45 win at Braswell on Friday night.
Ryan hosted Denton on Tuesday. And of course the game went into overtime. What else could be expected from a game that featured crosstown rivals who not only were overdue for a district showdown — neither have been in the same district since the 2011-2012 season — but also were battling for the top spot in the standings.
Ryan and Denison had a back-and-forth game going Tuesday — then came the second half. Ryan kept scoring and the Lady Yellow Jackets, well, didn’t.
PONDER — Chase Harris had 16 points to lead the No. 5 Ponder boys to a 105-56 win over Callisburg on Saturday, and the senior guard became the all-time leading scorer in Ponder history with 2,189 career points. Harris also broke the school’s 3-point field goal record with 312.
Ryan defensive tackle Earnest Brown IV can count on one hand the number of times he’s been beaten on a play this week during U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices. If that’s the case, Brown, a Northwestern commit, clearly is holding his own among the nation’s top college recruits invited to play in the prestigious high school All-America game. Kickoff is slated for noon today at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet long has worried about his team’s ability to consistently score points in bunches. As Tuesday’s game against Sherman wore on, those concerns were nowhere to be found. The Raiders had four players score in double figures, and nearly added a fifth to that list, while breaking open what was otherwise a back-and-forth battle with a 20-point fourth quarter en route to a 64-50 District 5-5A win at Billy Ryan Gym.
BRIDGEPORT — Aubrey advanced to the final of the Bridgeport tournament after defeating the host team 68-51, but fell short of the title as Class 5A Birdville dominated the Chaparrals 84-39 in Thursday’s finale.
FORT WORTH — Three Denton-area teams picked up first-round wins to open the Whataburger Tournament, as Guyer blew past Richland 76-59, Ponder scraped by Liberty Christian 66-59 and Argyle edged Wall 44-37.
By the time Ryan took the court after halftime, its game against Krum was out of hand. The Lady Raiders had built a 20-point lead and, despite an up-and-down second half, continued to benefit from Krum’s inconsistent shooting in a 55-37 nondistrict win Friday at Billy Ryan Gym.
A stellar year for football teams in the Denton school district paid off when two of its schools had multiple players land on the first or second team of The Associated Press’ Class 5A all-state team,...
Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, confirming what many close to the junior’s situation anticipated after he was injured in last weekend’s Class 5A Division I state semifinal loss to Highland Park.
CORINTH — The minutes leading up to halftime and the first few minutes of the second half are pivotal stretches in basketball. In Tuesday’s nondistrict game at Lake Dallas, the Ryan Raiders were nearly flawless during the key stretch en route to a 71-56 road win against the Falcons.
DALLAS — Keith Pierce, a Ryan High School assistant track and cross country coach, took an early lead in the BMW Dallas Marathon on Sunday morning and then held off a late challenge to capture the marathon title.
Injuries happen in sports. You just hate to lose that one guy. For Ryan, that guy was quarterback and Oklahoma State commit Spencer Sanders. Sanders went down with a right knee injury with roughly seven minutes to play in the first half, drastically changing the Raiders’ offense for the rest of the day as Highland Park pulled out a stunning 31-24 win at AT&T Stadium.
Junior cornerback Jordan Rucker knew a significant amount of pressure was on him and his Ryan defensive teammates heading into Saturday’s state semifinal matchup against fellow defensive power Highland Park.
In a battle between District 5-5A foes and crosstown rivals Denton and Ryan, defense was the main focus for each coach. Ryan coach Monesha Allen and Denton coach Erin Taylor are known for their defense pedigrees, and in the teams’ district opener Friday, Ryan’s defense flourished while Denton’s was lackluster.
When Ryan and Highland Park last played each other in a state semifinal, it was 2003 and the Raiders won 45-21 to advance to their fourth straight state championship game. To get back to the title game — their sixth trip since 2000 — Ryan again must go through the Scots.
Ryan and Liberty Christian didn’t make things easy on each other Tuesday, or themselves. At least that’s how things felt as the Raiders jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 13-point lead midway through the third quarter only to blow that lead to the suddenly hot-shooting Warriors, who then promptly gave up a buzzer-beating 3-pointer before losing 60-57 in overtime at Billy Ryan Gym.
ARLINGTON — Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders loves having a great defense on his side, so much that if he had it his way, that unit would spend the majority of every game just standing on the sideline....
ARLINGTON — Four carries into his day, Ryan senior Tyreke Davis had an eerily familiar feeling. After a 25-yard scamper, he felt a tweak in his right knee — the knee he injured in Ryan’s third-round playoff win last year that allowed him just one carry in the Raiders’ loss to Allen the following week.
SAINT JO — The Calvary boys took home a tournament title Saturday after defeating Ryan 61-41 in the final of the Saint Jo tournament.
Ryan has been here before — lots of times. Just last year, the Raiders entered the fourth round of the playoffs unbeaten and on a roll in the state’s largest classification. But that run was halted in a hurry in a tough loss to Allen, then a three-time defending state champion.
Denton-area volleyball players were represented well on their respective all-district teams. The select players are chosen by district coaches, who consider their performance during district play.
ABILENE — Credit the Ryan Raiders with this from Friday night: They’re tough to beat, even when trying to beat themselves. Despite more than doubling Lubbock Monterey’s offensive production, Ryan found itself clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter thanks largely to 140 yards in penalties and a late burst from Monterey.
When Ryan was presented with its area-round trophy after last week’s win over Richland, the comment was made that while it wasn’t the trophy the Raiders were ultimately after, it did represent being one step closer to the one they want.