By Jim Irish
Super sophomore Kenji Franklin has missed Cedar Creek’s last three games — all losses — because of an injured lower leg.
Now, add starting point guard Robert Conrad to the injured list.
Conrad, a 5-foot-11 junior, dislocated his left elbow Tuesday in the District 23-5A opener, a 71-51 loss to Hendrickson, at the Eagles gym. Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said Conrad was driving for a layup at the start of the second quarter when he was fouled, his legs got clipped, and he tried to brace his fall.
“(It was) a really bad injury,” Maxwell said. “Luckily no break.”
"It was a really bad injury. Luckily no break."
-- Valentino Maxwell about Robert Conrad
Conrad, averaging 20.5 points per game, had 10 points in the first quarter and “would have finished with 40,” Maxwell said.
Conrad, a three-year starter and two-time all-district first team, is out indefinitely, Maxwell said.
Franklin, a 6-6 leaper averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, may be cleared by the end of December, Maxwell said.
Conrad and Franklin are the only Eagles averaging in double figures on offense.
“They’re irreplaceable,” Maxwell said. “They’re next level college players. Hopefully, a playoff berth will be within reach when everyone gets healthy.”
Bryan Allen, a third starter, missed the Hendrickson game because of personal reasons, Maxwell said.
If the three starters had played “the game would have been completely different,” Maxwell said. “At the same time, Hendrickson did what they were supposed to do.”
"They're irreplaceable. ...Hopefully, a playoff berth will be within reach when everyone gets healthy."
-- Maxwell said about Conrad and Franklin
Cedar Creek (13-4 overall) will play a post-Christmas tournament at Fredericksburg without Conrad and Franklin.
“It’s the next man up mentality,” Maxwell said. “Everyone has to improve. Everyone has to do more.”
Micah McDonald, a 6-2 junior, led the Eagles with 19 points.
“Micah did well in (Conrad’s) absence,” Maxwell said. “He can raise his play.”
Cedar Creek trailed only 18-15 after the first quarter. Hendrickson then took advantage after Conrad’s injury.
Davion Allen, a 5-11 senior, dominated play with 26 points on 11-of-14 from the field. In addition he had five rebounds and three steals.
Hendrickson had balanced scoring. Spencer Distefano scored 15 points, while Evan Millard and Amir Thompson added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite the loss, Cedar Creek shot 56% (18-of-32) from the floor as a team.
Hendrickson won the battle of the boards, 28 to 13. It also had more assists, 20 to 11 and steals, 11 to 3.
In the Fredericksburg tourney, Cedar Creek faces Graham on Dec. 27 and Hudson and Liberty Hill on Dec. 28.
In a another District 23-5A opener Tuesday, Bastrop (6-9) fell to Pflugerville 62-42.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer living in Bastrop, Texas