By Jim Irish
Photo By Mike Valiska
The Cedar Creek boys basketball season has been punctuated with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
The Eagles opened the season like a world-class runner, sprinting to a 13-1 record. The streak included the first-ever victory against Del Valle and the program’s first two tournament titles. During that stretch, Cedar Creek was the top-ranked Class 5A team in Central Texas by the Austin American-Statesman. Advancing to the state playoffs appeared to be a guarantee.
Then starters Kenji Franklin (ankle), Robert Conrad (dislocated elbow), and Micah McDonald (torn meniscus) suffered injuries. Moore, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, missed nine games; Conrad, the 5-11 point guard, has been out for the past 16 games; and McDonald, a 6-2 wing, hasn’t played the past nine games. Since the injuries, Cedar Creek has gone 4-15.
Franklin, who missed three District 23-5A games, scored 26 points in addition to eight rebounds and two blocked shots in Cedar Creek’s 58-51 win over crosstown rival Bastrop at home on Friday.
The Eagles (17-16 overall, 3-10 in district) swept Bastrop in a season for the first time in school's12-year varsity history, Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said.
"We never quit and kept trying to get better."
-- Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said about injuries
“We never quit and kept trying to get better,” Maxwell said about the injuries. “I’m proud of them.”
Bryan Allen, a 6-1 senior, proved to be the catalyst for Cedar Creek in the fourth quarter of a competitive contest. Allen scored eight points in a two-minute span as the Eagles all but sealed the deal 53-40 with 3:36 remaining. He was fouled on a layup and converted the free throw and then dropped a three-pointer on the next possession. He finished with a season-high 16 points and 14 rebounds.
“Bryan played his best game of the season,” Maxwell said.
Bastrop first-year coach Eric Woods said Allen sparked the Eagles.
“(Allen) stepped up,” Woods said. “He did a great job of finding areas to attack our defense and just playing with confidence.”
"Bryan played his best game of the season."
-- Maxwell about senior Bryan Allen
Woods chose Braden Tuck to shadow Franklin in the Bears’ man-to-man defense. Tuck gave up six inches to Franklin but prevented him from finding a rhythm with his jump shot. Franklin then turned to his drive to score the bulk of his points.
“He’s just a tough and disciplined kid,” Woods said about Tuck. “He understands the assignment. He did a tremendous job of making (Franklin) compete and making him earn everything he got. We didn’t protect (Tuck) enough on the backside on (Franklin’s) drives to the basket.”
Cedar Creek’s K’veahon Houston added 13 points on 6-of-10 from the field.
Keyshon Moore, a 5-6 sophomore, led Bastrop with 23 points. The point guard displayed a quick first step to the basket and also had six steals.
Nathaniel Mosley chipped in 12 points, including 6-for-6 from the free throw line, for Bastrop (8-22, 2-11).
Cedar Creek finishes its season at Pflugerville (4-9 in district), while Bastrop plays host to Georgetown (9-4).
Conrad was honored at halftime for scoring his 1,000th career point in November before his injury.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas