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SportzBuzz – January 2015

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The twin-brothers tandem of Hayden (at left) and Austin Richard helped lead the Stratford Spartans to a second straight UIL cross-country state championship.

It was another run to glory for the Stratford Spartans, who captured the UIL Class 5A State Cross Country Championship for the second straight year.

“The first time was great, but to repeat is especially tough against great competition from across the state,” said Spartans cross-country coach Tony Brillon. “The kids really wanted this title. They were simply motivated to repeat as state champions.”

Leading the way for Stratford was senior Austin Richard, who, for the second straight year, finished second overall in a field of 149 runners. “Austin had a great season again,” said Brillon. “He finished first in every major meet of the season leading up to state.”

The Spartans’ second best finisher at the state meet was none other than Austin’s twin brother Hayden Richard, who crossed the finish line 14th overall. “Hayden was in 40th place at the one-mile mark, and to see him move up as much as he did was tremendous,” said Brillon. “Both Hayden and Austin are extremely smart and highly motivated individuals. Much like the rest of the team, they’re also very goal oriented.”

Another runner reaching his goals was senior Paul Brastrom, who was the Spartans’ third best finisher at state. “Paul saved his best race for last,” said Brillon. “He had fluctuated during the season, but really showed a lot of character with his run at the state meet.”

Coming in just behind Brastrom was fellow senior Doug Baker, followed by junior Jake Roberts.  Rounding out the top seven for the Spartans were sophomores Devin Fahey and Sam Evetts. “From the first day of summer, our guys trained to win a state championship,” said Brillon. “The reason for our success is their discipline and commitment to the program.”

Despite injuries to two of star players, expectations remain high for the Bellaire Cardinals boys basketball team this season. Bellaire is trying to weather the storm while players Christian James and Jarren Greenwood recover from injuries. James, who’ll play college ball at Oklahoma and is considered one of the region’s top players, suffered a broken leg during summer-league play. He’s expected to return to the team in late January.

In addition, senior Jarren Greenwood, who averaged 20 points and six assists last season, has been out most of the year with a broken left toe. He also should return to the lineup sometime in January.

“It’s pretty tough to lose your two top players, but we have a lot of guys stepping up,” said Cardinals head coach Bruce Glover. Filling in for Greenwood at the point guard position has been Leonard Pradia, who was a sixth-man type of player last season. In addition, Glover cited the play of sophomores Maxwell Evans and Jaylon Peevy as well as junior DeAndre Boyd.

“It’s been fun coaching these guys,” said Glover. “We’ve played close games against an extremely tough schedule. It’s only going to make us better in the long run, and once we get Christian and Jarren back I have no doubt that we’re going to be a really good basketball team.”

Over at Lamar, third-year Texans head basketball coach Jerry Van Dusen expects big improvements over a team that went 15-13 last season. “We have a really nice mixture of young and experienced players,” said Van Dusen. The coach had high praise for his young backcourt tandem of freshman Tamir Bynum and sophomore Markus Valliens. “Those two guys are going to be something special. I expect both to be playing Division 1 college basketball.”  

Meanwhile, senior Rodrick Harris is leading the team in scoring, while Van Dusen says fellow seniors Donzell Henton and Darion Butler have all been big contributors. “We expect to compete for a district championship. Plus, we’re also excited that our junior varsity is coming off an undefeated season. I really believe the future is bright for Lamar basketball.”

Episcopal Knights linebacker Trey Horne, seen here making a big tackle in the Knights’ 37-30 playoff victory over Dallas’ St. Marks, won the Private High School Defensive Player of the Year award. (Photo: Kevin Long/Gulf Coast Shots)

The football season may be over and done with, but not without some major awards for local players at the Touchdown Club of Houston’s Private High School Awards Dinner. From the Southwest Preparatory Conference Champion Episcopal Knights, senior Trey Horne was honored as the Defensive Player of the Year.

In addition, Kinkaid Falcon Tyler Higby, who’ll play college football at Michigan State, was named the Lineman of the Year, while Second Baptist Eagle Chase Wertheimer and John David Bishop of Bay Area Christian shared the Ironman of the Year Award. 

Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email todd@thebuzzmagazines.com.

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