Tigers bid farewell to 5A with third title

four males sitting at table on stage
(From left) Lancaster players Amari Reed, Mario Perry and Dillon Battie, with coach Ferrin Douglas, in the press conference after winning the Class 5A state championship. Photo by Rick Mauch

In their final game in Class 5A, the Lancaster Tigers left a lasting impression, demolishing Killeen Ellison 59-30 for the state championship on Saturday, March 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

It was the third state championship in Tigers history, along with 2015 and 2016. It was their eighth state tournament appearance in program history, along with getting there in 1964, 1988, 2005, 2010, and 2020 – the latter state tournament being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I really thought we had a great chance to win it in 2020,” Lancaster coach Ferrin Douglas said.

There was no question this season. The Tigers, who finished 30-5 with a 24-game winning streak, had one serious scare en route to the state title, a 42-39 victory against The Colony in the Region 2 final. Otherwise, they defeated every playoff opponent by at least 13 points, including three by 20-plus.

“When we made it to regionals, they (the players) said, ‘Coach, we’re gonna take it,’” Douglas said.

In 2023, the Tigers reached the regional final before falling to Dallas Kimball, which went on to win state.

“It’s hard to get out of Region 2,” Douglas said. “We had a great group last year. These guys were young.”


Former NBA champion and Hall of Famer Chris Bosh was in attendance at the Alamodome on Saturday. Douglas was an assistant coach at Dallas Lincoln when Bosh led the team to a 40-0 record and state and national championships.
Bosh won NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

“It was awesome. He texted me after Thursday’s win (44-31 over Amarillo in the state semifinals) and said congratulations,” Douglas said. “I had no clue he was going to be here.
“We have a special relationship. I spent a lot of time with him in his years at Lincoln.”


Douglas said Lancaster’s motto is “We-Bel-O,” which can stand for one of two things.

“It means ‘We believe in orange,’ or ‘We bleed orange,’” he said.

The Tigers will be playing at a higher level and in a new district next season. In fact, they will join District 11-6A, nicknamed the “District of Doom,” featuring perennial powers Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Waxahachie – and now themselves.

“Next season’s going to be a challenge,” Douglas said. “But one thing about Lancaster basketball, we’ll be ready.”


A team on the fringe of the Focus Daily News’ coverage area, Oak Cliff Faith Family, completed an improbable run to the Class 4A state championship Saturday, capping a 25-11 season. At one point in the season, the Eagles stood 12-11 before going on a 13-game winning streak.

Once in the postseason, the Eagles went on a proverbial tear. They won by 54, 41. 42, 23, 28, 19, and 14 points, topping Silsbee 80-66 in the final.

Among the Eagles’ victories this season was a 62-61 home win over Lancaster early in the season.



Class 5A
Mansfield Timberview – senior guard Crishawn Coleman, senior forward Emilee Jones.

Class 6A
Duncanville – senior forward Mariah Clayton (MVP), senior guard Chloe Mann.
South Grand Prairie – Senior guard Taliyah Parker, junior forward Taylor Barnes.


Class 5A
Lancaster – senior forward Dillon Battie (MVP), senior guard Deontrell Barrett, junior forward Amari Reed.

Class 6A
Mansfield Lake Ridge – senior guard Amir McMillian.


In all, the Focus Daily News coverage area had another solid high school basketball season. Among the boys, a dozen teams reached the playoffs with two state champions and a state semifinalist.

Mansfield Lake Ridge advanced to the Class 6A semifinals before falling 61-45 to Plano East, which became the first team in over two decades to cap a perfect 40-0 season with a state championship.

The girls, likewise, had a state champion as Duncanville returned from a one-year suspension to win the 6A title. They defeated South Grand Prairie 59-41 in the state final.

The area also had a regional finalist as Duncanville defeated DeSoto 46-39 in the regional final, ending a three-year streak of the Lady Eagles reaching state.

For the Pantherettes, it was their 12th state championship in the program’s 27th state tournament appearance.

In Class 5A, the Mansfield Timberview Lady Wolves reached the state title game before falling 59-41 to Frisco Liberty to finish 40-2.

Class 6A boys

Mansfield Lake Ridge – state semifinals.
Waxahachie – third round, eliminated by Lake Ridge.
Duncanville – second round.
Grand Prairie – second round.
South Grand Prairie – bidistrict.
Cedar Hill – bidistrict.

Class 5A boys

Lancaster – state champions.
Mansfield Summit – regional semifinals.
Midlothian – bidistrict.
Mansfield Timberview – bidistrict.
Red Oak – bidistrict.

Class 4A boys

Venus – bidistrict.

Class 6A girls

Duncanville – state champions.
South Grand Prairie – state runner-up.
DeSoto – regional finalist, eliminated by Duncanville.
Mansfield Lake Ridge – third round, eliminated by Duncanville.
Cedar Hill – third round, eliminated by DeSoto.

Class 5A girls

Mansfield Timberview – state finals.
Red Oak – third round.
Midlothian Heritage – bidistrict.
Lancaster – bidistrict.

Class 4A girls

Wilmer-Hutchins – bidistrict.


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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

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