Panthers, Wolves and Tigers Hunt State Titles

UIL state tournament canceled
The Timberview boys' basketball team heads to San Antonio this weekend to compete in the state finals. Photo courtesy of Mansfield ISD

UIL Tournament

A local dynasty (Duncanville) and another program on the cusp (Mansfield Timberview) hope to add to their winning history as they seek to repeat as champions this weekend in the University Interscholastic League Boys State Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Another program (Lancaster) would like to move into that stratosphere and has its chance this weekend.

In Class 6A, Duncanville basketball is synonymous with ultimate success. The Pantherettes captured the 11th state championship in team history this past weekend, and now the Panthers are hoping to win their fifth, including a second straight – which would be a first for the program.

The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, will face No. 22 San Antonio Northside Brandeis in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinal. Brandeis is making its first state tournament appearance.

The winner will tangle with the survivor between No. 2 Dickinson and unranked Wylie in Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. title game. Wylie is also at state for the first time, while Dickinson is there for the first time since its only other appearance in 1955, when the Gators finished second.

Should the Panthers win Friday, history is on their side. Each of the four previous times they reached the state final they came away with the championship in 1991, 1999, 2007 and 2019.

The Panthers got a scare in the regional quarterfinals (third round) from Grand Prairie, escaping with a 66-65 victory. Otherwise, they won their other four playoff games by an average score of 68-54.

In Class 5A, the defending state champion Mansfield Timberview Wolves entered, ironically, as the lowest-ranked team in the field. The Wolves were ranked 16th in the state by the TABC and face No. 5 San Antonio Wagner in a 7 p.m. semifinal Thursday.

The Wolves are making their fourth state tournament appearance and are looking for their third title in four years, having previously won in 2017 and 2019. In fact, they defeated Wagner in the title game each of those seasons.
Both teams also reached the tournament in 2009, each losing in the semifinals.

The Wolves have already survived a few close calls in returning to state. Along with winning a 41-40 thriller over in-town rival Mansfield Legacy in the third round, they edged Burleson Centennial 64-62 in the regional final, and dodged Denton Braswell 40-36 in the second round.

The Wolves have relied on a stingy defense this season. Only Centennial has managed to top 45 points against them in the postseason.

Also standing in the way of the Wolves and a repeat title are the Lancaster Tigers, the state’s top-ranked team in Class 5A. The Tigers are seeking a third championship in six seasons, having also won in 2015 and 2016.

The Tigers faced Fort Bend Hightower in the other 5A semifinal Thursday at 8:30 p.m., with the winners of both semifinals advancing to Saturday’s 3 p.m. final. Hightower is making its fourth state tournament appearance since 2002, having lost in the semifinals each previous trip.

Class 5A

San Antonio Wagner (35-5) vs. Mansfield Timberview (29-8), 7 p.m. Thursday
Lancaster (36-1) vs. Fort Bend Hightower (33-5), 8:30 p.m. Thursday
3 p.m. Saturday

Mansfield Timberview
Mascot: Wolves
Head coach: Duane Gregory
TABC state rank: 16
Win streak: 9
State tournament appearances: 2009, 2017, 2019, 2020
State championships: 2017, 2019

How they got here: Defeated Fort Worth Eastern Hills in bi-district, 58-45; defeated Denton Braswell in area, 40-36; defeated Mansfield Legacy in regional quarterfinals, 41-40; defeated Wichita Falls Rider in regional semifinals, 50-41; defeated Burleson Centennial in regional final, 64-62.

San Antonio Wagner
Mascot: Thunderbirds
Head coach: Rodney Clark
TABC state rank: 5
Win streak: 17
State tournament appearances: 2009, 2010, 2017, 2019, 2020
State championships: 0 (runners-up in 2017 and 2019)
How they got here: Defeated Austin Travis in bi-district, 77-33; defeated San Antonio Alamo Heights in area, 63-43; defeated Kerrville Tivy in regional quarterfinals, 64-43; defeated Laredo Martin in regional semifinals; 58-47; defeated Northside Harlan in regional final, 64-48.

Mascot: Tigers
Head coach: Ferrin Douglas
TABC state rank: 1
Win streak: 34
State tournament appearances: 1964, 1988, 1995, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2020
State championships: 2015, 2016 (runners-up in 1964 and 2010)
How they got here: Defeated Cleburne in bi-district, 96-32; defeated Texarkana Texas High in area, 85-44; defeated Sulphur Springs in regional quarterfinals, 44-38; defeated Dallas Highland Park in regional semifinals, 62-34; defeated Dallas Kimball in regional final, 90-69.

Fort Bend Hightower
Mascot: Hurricanes
Head coach: Stephen Woods
TABC state rank: 2
Win streak: 15
State tournament appearances: 2002, 2003, 2011, 2020
State championships: 0

How they got here: Defeated Houston Sharpstown in bi-district, 87-56; defeated Port Arthur Memorial in area, 70-57; defeated Crosby in regional quarterfinals, 86-71; defeated Montgomery Lake Creek in regional semifinals, 82-63; defeated Alvin Shadow Creek in regional final, 71-62.

Class 6A

San Antonio Northside Brandeis (33-3) vs. Duncanville (29-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Dickinson (32-5) vs. Wylie (32-7), 8:30 p.m. Friday
8:30 p.m. Saturday

Mascot: Panthers
Head coach: David Peavy
TABC state rank: 1
Win streak: 6
State tournament appearances: 1991, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2019, 2020
State championships: 1991, 1999, 2007, 2019

How they got here: Defeated South Grand Prairie in bi-district, 68-56; defeated Lewisville in area, 86-73; defeated Grand Prairie in regional quarterfinals, 66-65; defeated Arlington Bowie in regional semifinals, 59-44; defeated Odessa Permian in regional final, 59-43.

San Antonio Northside Brandeis
Mascot: Broncos
Head coach: Marc Gardner
TABC state rank: 22
Win streak: 11
State tournament appearances: 2020

How they got here: Defeated San Antonio Churchill in bi-district, 86-55; defeated Austin Bowie in area, 53-50; defeated Austin Anderson in regional quarterfinals, 56-39; defeated Los Fresnos in regional semifinals, 64-52; defeated Converse Judson in regional final, 75-68.

Mascot: Gators
Head coach: Jason Wilson
TABC state rank: 2
Win streak: 22
State tournament appearances: 1955, 2020
State championships: 0 (state runners-up in 1955)

How they got here: Defeated Houston Alief Hastings in bi-district, 76-50; defeated Galena Park North Shore in area, 59-45; defeated Humble Atascocita in regional quarterfinals, 75-49; defeated Katy Morton Ranch in regional semifinals, 83-69; defeated Houston Bellaire in regional final, 70-61.

Mascot: Pirates
Head coach: Stephen Pearce
TABC state rank: Not ranked
Win streak: 20
State tournament appearances: 2020

How they got here: Defeated Plano in bi-district, 55-39; defeated Rockwall in area, 57-56; defeated Waco Midway in regional quarterfinals, 48-44; defeated Round Rock Westwood in regional semifinals, 43-29; defeated Killeen Ellison in regional final, 50-42.

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters