It’s a fact of life in Duncanville, when it comes sports, specifically basketball, their teams are the ones to beat in the race for a state championship.
That’s just how things are when your program has won 14 championships (10 girls, four boys).
And that is once again the case this season as the Panthers, the defending boys Class 6A state champions, are also the No. 1 team in the state as the postseason begins, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. With that comes the microscope that every such program lives under, and Panthers head coach David Peavy knows this all too well, leading Duncanville to a state title in his first season at the helm.
“We’re still the defending champs, we’re still No. 1, and everybody still wants us,” Peavy said.
The Panthers did show they are not invincible as recently as Feb. 14 when they were dealt an 81-77 defeat by District 8-6A foe Richardson, the No. 6 team in the state. Peavy said that while no one ever likes to lose, sometimes good things come from losses.
“We dodged a lot of bullets this season, but we did need our wakeup call, and that could be it,” he said.
Now comes the gauntlet that is the postseason as the Panthers try to navigate through arguably the toughest region in the state.
CLASS 6A REGION I
Just like the girls, this region is packed with a plethora of boys teams with the potential to reach the pinnacle. While Duncanville, ranked No. 1 in the state, is the overwhelming favorite to emerge and repeat as state champions, there are a host of teams looking to spoil the Panthers’ repeat run, starting with No. 6 Richardson.
There’s also No. 10 Grand Prairie, Waxahachie (12), South Grand Prairie (15), DeSoto (16), Denton Guyer (18), Hurst L.D. Bell (23) and Coppell (24).
Grand Prairie, South Grand Prairie, DeSoto and Waxahachie are already well-tested as they all reside in the same league, District 7-6A.
“If you can get out of Region I you’ve accomplished something special,” Peavy said. “And you’ve got to get out healthy.”
DeSoto’s season also featured the return of Coach Chris Dyer after he had announced his retirement at the end of last season. Following offseason heart surgery, he made a return to the sidelines.
Dyer’s team narrowly missed upsetting the Panthers in the third round of the playoffs last season, falling 61-60. Denton Guyer reached the regional final before dropping a 66-62 contest to Duncanville, which went on to defeat Klein Forest 73-69 for the championship.
CLASS 5A REGION I
Mansfield Timberview is the defending state champion and is ranked 16th in the state this season. The Wolves have plenty of challengers looking to knock them off their perch this season, starting with No. 4 Fort Worth Wyatt.
There’s also El Paso Andress (14), Burleson Centennial (15), Wichita Falls Rider (17), Amarillo (21) and El Paso Chapin (23).
On their way to the title last season, the Wolves were dominant, winning six of their seven games by double digits. They capped their run with a 77-64 victory against San Antonio Wagner.
CLASS 5A REGION II
Lancaster sits atop the state, and therefore also the region, and is the favorite to take the crown this season. To get to San Antonio, however, they’ll face possible matchups against five other teams in the region that are ranked in the state’s top dozen.
Carrollton Newman-Smith is ranked sixth, followed by No. 8 Dallas Kimball, No. 9 Dallas South Oak Cliff and No. 10 Sulphur Springs. Just outside the top 10 is No. 12 Red Oak and No. 13 Midlothian. A dark horse is No. 24 Mount Pleasant.
Sulphur Springs emerged from the region last season, along the way edging Midlothian 62-57 in the second round. Lancaster reached the regional semifinals before falling 60-56 to Frisco Lone Star. Red Oak advanced to the third round before being ousted by Lancaster 72-66.