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Cedar Creek reaches playoffs with aid from Hendrickson

Cedar Creek guard Robert Conrad (1) finds the path blocked by a Georgetown player

By Jim Irish

Photos by Dustyn Werner

Cedar Creek has advanced to the state basketball playoffs, only the second time in the school’s history.

But the Eagles (22-10 overall, 7-5 in District 23-5A) required assistance from Hendrickson in achieving it.

They missed an opportunity to reach the playoffs on their own, falling to district leader Georgetown 61-49 at home on Tuesday.

But Hendrickson smashed East View 66-50, guaranteeing fourth-place Cedar Creek a spot in the playoffs. Even if East View (5-7) and Cedar Creek tie, the Eagles advance on the basis of two district victories over the Patriots.

"Not the way you want to clinch a playoff spot, but so excited for our players, coaches, and administrators."

-- Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell

”Not the way you want to clinch a playoff spot, but so excited for our players, coaches, and administrators,” Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said. “There has been a ton of hard work to get to this point.”

Cedar Creek last earned a trip to the playoffs in 2020 with 6-foot-5 Alfred Collins, a current member of the University of Texas football team. The Eagles lost in the bi-district round to Cedar Park 51-43.

Cedar Creek's Kenji Franklin attracts a crowd

Georgetown knocked off Cedar Creek without 6-6 junior Ryan Dupre, who had suffered a sprained ankle.

"... I give our guys all the credit. They rallied together. They played really hard."

-- Georgetown coach Dave Canfield

It’s a big loss,” Georgetown coach Dave Canfield said about Dupre, who has missed two games. “I give our guys all the credit. They rallied together. They played really hard.”

Georgetown (25-7, 11-1) sprinted to a 12-0 lead at the outset. Cedar Creek cut the margin to 32-28 at halftime, but the damage had been done.

”We weren’t ready to play,” Maxwell said.

To make matters worse, Kenji Franklin, Cedar Creek’s 6-5 junior, was in foul trouble early and picked up three by halftime. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half but was forced to sit for extended time in the second. He fouled out with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Cedar Creek was out rebounded by Georgetown 36 to 22. More important, The Bulldogs grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to Cedar Creek’s seven.

Georgetown worked its passing game to earn open shots. As a result, it had 14 assists. Cedar Creek had only three assists.

Cedar Creek sliced Georgetown’s lead to 46-43 early in the fourth quarter on a putback by Micah McDonald. But Georgetown scored two consecutive baskets to go up 50-43.

Cedar Creek shifted to a 1-2-2 zone defense from its regular man-to-man defense in the second half with Franklin in foul trouble.

Franklin shoots close to the basket

”We wanted to slow the game down,” Maxwell said. “Keep it a manageable game to where (Kenji) could come back and still put an imprint on it.”

Landry Bouillion, Georgetown’s sixth man who moved into a starting spot after Dupre’s injury, scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, many on cuts under the basket.

”(Bouillion) did a great job for them,” Maxwell said. “He’d be a starter on most teams.”

Robert Conrad, Cedar Creek’s 5-10 point guard, led with 20 points and three steals.

Franklin sank all eight of his free throws, had two blocks but snagged only five rebounds. He has averaged in double figures this season.

Georgetown’s Qui Raun Presley and Ronald Proctor added 15 and 10 points, respectively. Kai Canfield, the coach’s son, chipped in seven points, eight rebounds, and four steals.

”It’s always great to get a road district win,” Canfield said.

On Friday, Cedar Creek visits Bastrop (4-23, 0-12), which has lost 16 consecutive games. The Eagles finish with a home game on Tuesday against Pflugerville (3-9).

Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas

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