Kennedale Wildcats back on familiar ground ? UIL Playoffs

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Photos by Staci


The Kennedale Wildcats (22-12, 9-1) enters the playoffs for the umpteen time tonight playing Springtown (10-17, 2-6), a 4th place finisher out of District 8-4A. The game will be played at North Crowley High School beginning at 7:30 p.m. {{more:[Read more]}}
top seed out of District 7-4A …
Kennedale earned its top seed and a more favorable playoff bracket by winning a one game match-up with District 7-4A Co-Champ Midlothian Heritage (23-6, 9-1) Friday night in Burleson by a score of 67-57. Kennedale controlled this game once it established a 20-9 spread after the 1st. Heritage unsuccessfully played catch-up from that point. Score by quarters: Q1 20-9, Q2 34-21, Q3 50-36, Q4 67-57.

For Kennedale, Brandon Conwright (Sr) led with 20 points, followed by Colton Otts (Sr) 11, {{t2:Stephone Jackson: }} (Sr) 9, Quardraiz Wadley (Sr) 9, Darius Hammond (Sr) 8, {{t2:Chris Saulsby: }} (Jr) 4, {{t2:Uniikye Washington: }} (So) 4 and Zach Tate (Sr) 4.

These first round bi-district games between 1st and 4th place teams are rarely competitive. The danger for coaches of the top place team is a lack of focus and over-confidence. It is the other matchups between 2nd and 3rd place teams in bi-district play that are most interesting.
On the other side of the bi-district bracket from the Kennedale/Springtown game is 2nd seed Mineral Wells (20-13, 5-3) out of District 6-4A and 3rd seed Iowa Park (10-17, 3-5) out of District 5-4A.
possible rematch with Mineral Wells and Bridgeport …
Mineral Wells is expected to win in that contest and with a win by Kennedale, it sets up a familiar match-up. At the beginning of this basketball season, Mineral Wells celebrated an upset overtime win over the Cats, 90-86. It was especially pleasing for Mineral Wells because Kennedale had knocked th Rams out of the playoffs the previous year.
If the wins continue for Kennedale, there is a likely rematch game with Bridgeport in the Regional 1 Quarterfinals. Bridgeport is the defending state 4A champion. The Bulls stopped Kennedale?s playoff run last year in the quarterfinals 74-62 and, in the first game of this season, defeated the Cats 79-67. Kennedale has undergone some lineup changes for the better since then and Bridgeport is not the same team they were last year due to transfers and UIL eligibility questions. It should be a competitive game with an outcome far from certain.
enters the playoffs unranked …
This is the first time in a while that Kennedale enters the playoffs unranked. This has been a team trying to find its identity especially in the first two months of play. However, since the beginning of January this team has gone 13-1 albeit most of those wins have come out of a non-competitive district. However, that stretch does include a 59-56 visiting win over then state ranked #4 Argyle (25-5, 10-0).
Kennedale is now in a position to prove that the Argyle win was no fluke. This Kennedale team is an ?ensemble? team. There are no superstars, but there are some very good player. When they win, they mesh. When they lose, there are 5 separate players on the court playing their own game. This is a senior led team which should mean the added maturity will be a playoff plus. These players for the most part were around as freshmen and sophomore when Kennedale went on a 71-4 run with regional and state finishes.
need best performances from top 4 …
Brandon Conwright will get his points but top performances will be required of forward Colton Otts, guard Darius Hammond and guard Quardraiz Wadley all seniors along with Zach Tate and Michael Alridge. In support is forward Stephone Jackson(Jr) who has steadily improved every game since coming off the Wildcat football team in the fall, forward Chris Saulsby (Jr) who has found his way on the court since moving up from JV earlier this season and guard Uniikye Washington (So), who as the youngest member of the varsity has been playing above his paygrade. Others, contributing to the 13-1 run, include {{t2:Alex Groff: }} (Jr) and {{t2:Devon Stapleton: }} (So).

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