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Cedar Creek up to 10-3 after taking second in own tourney

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Cedar Creek guard Dillon Dubee (4) goes to the rim against IDEA Montopolis on Friday

By Jim Irish

Photos by Dustyn Werner

Round Rock Westwood prevented Cedar Creek from defending its Eagle Shootout basketball tournament.

The Eagles (10-3) couldn’t halt Class 6A Westwood’s perimeter shooting in a 74-66 loss on Thursday.

Westwood (10-3) drilled 50% (10-of-20) from three-point range, while Cedar Creek managed 5-of-16 from long range. The Warriors scored 15 more points than Cedar Creek in that category.

"They opened up on fire... We let them get hot... We did not bring our defense."

-- Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell about Westwood

For Westwood, Zachary Engels connected on 5-of-9 from long range and scored 23 points. Robbie Jeng hit 4-of-8 from the back line and added 14 points.

“They opened up on fire, 4-of-4,” Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said about Westwood. “We let them get hot; (it) gave them confidence. We did not bring our defense.”

Robert Conrad flies in for the layup against IDEA

Maxwell has stressed the motto “good to great” and pointed to Westwood as an example.

“Westwood is a great team,” he said. “Coach (Brad) Hastings has been doing it for 20-plus years there. They win 20 games every year.”

Maxwell said Westwood runs a dribble-drive offense, penetrating inside first and kicking it outside if the layup isn’t available.

Westwood won all four games to capture the tournament.

Cedar Creek’s Kenji Franklin, a 6-foot-6 junior, earned a double-double against Westwood with 28 points (12-of-17) and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Robert Conrad added 24 points (10-of-17) and six assists. Micah McDonald chipped in nine points and eight rebounds.

Both teams had excellent shooting games. Cedar Creek shot 58% (28-of-48) from the field; Westwood 55% (30-of-55).

Cedar Creek took three out of four games. The Eagles hammered Class 6A Killeen 80-51 on Thursday and then blasted Class 6A Vista Ridge 58-43 and Austin charter school IDEA Montopolis 89-21 on Friday.

Despite the lopsided loss, IDEA coach Bryant Natal said, "It's a good opportunity for our boys to see good talent. Hopefully, it'll open their eyes."

Newcomer Leland Washington, a 6-4 transfer from Houston, responded with 12 points and eight rebounds along with two assists and two blocks against Killeen. Franklin achieved another double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Conrad scored 21 points to go with six rebounds. Phineas Koplin scored 16 points.

Against Vista Ridge, Conrad led with 19 points, while McDonald and Franklin banked in 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Cedar Creek substitutes played the majority of the game against IDEA, a last-minute entry after the withdrawal of Belton.

Koplin led Cedar Creek against IDEA with a career-high 23 points on 5-of-11 from long range. Washington and Braydon Adams scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

McDonald did not play against IDEA because of a tweaked knee against Vista Ridge.

Cedar Creek resumes action at Burnet on Friday.

Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas

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