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IT’S SHOWTIME!


Forrest Gump’s perspective on life could easily be applied to the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

Except for great high-school basketball.

As it turned out, last year’s edition of the tournament produced the No. 1 girls player in the nation -- Manvel’s Brianna Turner, now a freshman at Notre Dame.

And, as it turned out, the 2013 girls championship game was a preview of the 2014 Class 5A state championship contest. At the Texas Invitational, Duncanville beat Manvel by six points. Did that outcome repeat in Austin?

Nope. Manvel toppled two-time state champ Duncanville by five, ending the Pantherettes’ epic 105-game winning streak.

Once again this year, the girls’ side of the Texas Invitational is expected to rival the boys’ event in both intensity and star power and heighten the appeal of what has evolved into the premier fall high-school basketball tournament in the country.

An 80-team field that includes many of the top teams in Texas will gather for the three-day event beginning on Thursday (Nov. 20). Forty-eight boys teams and 32 girls teams will play nearly 200 games running almost non-stop at 10 venues across the Pasadena and Deer Park school districts.

The boys championship game in Division 1 is set for Saturday (Nov. 22) at 8 p.m. at Phillips Field House. The Division 1 girls championship will be settled on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Phillips.

In between games, at 6 p.m., alumni players from Deer Park High School and from the five Pasadena ISD high schools will square off at Phillips in the second annual Alumni Challenge, an event that came close to packing the gym in its debut last year.

The tournament is sponsored by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation and the Deer Park ISD Education Foundation. All proceeds are returned to those two education foundations. 

Since its inception in 2003, the tournament has provided nearly $1.5 million to the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, all of which goes back into local school needs. 

 The Division 1 boys championship game will be televised live on the Time Warner Game Channel with availability in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley and the Beaumont area. A live stream will also be available on Fox Sports Southwest’s website (www.foxsports.com/southwest). 

 The girls championship game will be streamed live on the Fox Sports Southwest website. Both championship games will be also be carried live on the Texas Invitational website (www.texasinvitational.com). 

All boys and girls teams from the five Pasadena ISD high schools will compete in Division 2. The five Pasadena ISD boys teams will play their two pool games in their home gyms on Thursday at both 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 

The five Pasadena ISD girls teams will play in their home gyms at noon on Thursday and again at 4:30 p.m. – with two exceptions. 

The girls teams from Dobie and Sam Rayburn will meet at Phillips at noon. The Pasadena and Memorial girls teams will play at Phillips at 4:30 p.m. All five girls teams will complete pool play on Friday at 1:30 p.m. on their home courts. 

Spacious, new competition gyms at Sam Rayburn and South Houston will be used as tournament sites for the first time. 

On the girls side of the tournament, Manvel and Duncanville promise to command most of the attention. Manvel, the dominant team in District 22-6A, goes into the season with the state’s top ranking, according to MaxPreps, while Duncanville is No. 3. 

The Pantherettes own an eye-popping 15-game Texas Invitational winning streak, resulting in three consecutive tournament titles. Last spring’s loss to Manvel in Austin denied Duncanville a third straight state crown. 

Gone from the Duncanville fold are four of their five starters. The lone holdover is Ciera Johnson, a 6-4 junior center. 

Manvel comes in favored to sweep the girls field. Although Turner is gone, the Lady Mavericks return two prominent players: Jordan Hosey, a 6-2 forward who has committed to the University of Texas, and Ameiya Jackson, a 5-7 guard and the key to Manvel’s pressing defense. 

The combined record of the two teams last season was 73-3. 

Both teams will play all three of their pool contests at Deer Park venues. 

Duncanville certainly have history on its side, as will the DeSoto boys, the defending Division 1 champs. Of the past eight Texas Invitational titles won in Division 1 boys and girls competition, either a Duncanville team or a DeSoto team has claimed six of them. 

The DeSoto boys rank as favorites to repeat -- something no team has done on the boys side since 2006. Stiff competition will likely come from Fort Bend Bush and Lancaster. All three teams go into the season with top five rankings from MaxPreps. 

DeSoto, 31-4 last season, returns a pair of starters in guards Dominique Thomas and guard Julian Miranda. New to the lineup is 6-foot-9 post Marques Bolden, who last year as a reserve was named the top sophomore in his district. The Eagles reached the state semifinals last spring.

Bush made the regional finals last season while posting a 30-5 record. Key returnees are senior guard Brendon Ganaway, who averaged 16.3 points last season, and senior forward Eden Ewing. 

Lancaster, also 30-5 last season, sports possibly the best player in Texas – Elijah Thomas, a 6-9 forward who has pledged to Texas A&M. As a junior, Thomas averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

DeSoto will play its Thursday pool games at Memorial High at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Bush will open at Dobie High at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Lancaster will play at South Houston High at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  

The tournament will retain the same format this year.

*On the boys side, 48 teams have been divided into two 24-team divisions. Each division has been divided into eight three-team pools. After two pool-play games on Thursday, the teams are divided -- by record -- into Gold, Silver and Bronze brackets, each bracket working toward a champion in bracket play on Friday and Saturday. 

*On the girls side, 32 teams are divided into two 16-team divisions, and each division is divided into four four-team pools. Three pool games are held Thursday and Friday. After pool play, teams are placed – by record-- into Gold, Silver and Bronze brackets. All bracket games are held on Saturday. 

Results and bracket schedules can be accessed on the Pasadena ISD website (www.pasadenaisd.org), via the district’s Facebook page and Twitter account, and on the Texas Invitational website. 

latest Information

The Division 1 boys and girls championship games will be live streamed on www.foxsportssouthwest.com. The Alumni game will be streamed live as well. Both championships, including the alumni game, will be carried live on on the Texas Invitational website (www.texasinvitational.com). A late addition to the live webcasts has the championships being streamed live on the Fox Sports national streaming platform, FSGo.

Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (Ch.323) will replay the boys championship game 4 times next week. They will then go on VOD for the next several months. Time Warner Cable Sports Channel is available in most TWC markets in Texas, including Dallas/FW, Austin, and San Antonio.

Monday 11/24 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday 11/25 @ 5:00pm
Friday 11/28 @ 11am
Saturday 11/29 @ 2pm.


MaxPreps

MaxPreps is the official photographer of the McDonald’s Texas Invitational. To view and buy high quality action photos from today’s games, please visit MaxPreps.com. Also, visit MaxPreps on your mobile phone to view scores from across the country. MaxPreps.com – America’s Source for High School Sports.


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