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VYPE U: Looking back; forward with Cy Falls hoops

Cy Falls had rebuilding year. By Bradley Collier

Over the last three seasons, the Cypress Falls Eagles Basketball team has an astonishing 81-24 record while capturing back-to-back district titles and the coveted 2016-2017 UIL Texas 6A State Championship.

This recent line of success can be attributed to the undeniable talent of the rosters and the consistent development of players on all levels of play.

“What made us successful was that everyone on the team was important even the bench players. They brought out the best out of us in practice every day,” said current University of Louisiana freshman point guard Trajan Wesley.

Wesley along with standout forward Nigel Hawkins and big man Kendall Scott dominated the 6A circuit. Posting an impressive 35-3 regular season record while going undefeated in district play.

“Our first agenda going into the playoffs was to take it one game at a time and to not let the moment get too big,” said Trajan.

That playoff mindset ultimately worked for the Golden Eagles as they knocked off a stout Dallas Skyline team 46-43 in a triple overtime defensive showcase in the state semis. The San Antonio Wagner Thunderbirds awaited the Golden Eagles in the 6A state title game.

Cypress Falls came away the winners of the contest 63-57 becoming the first team in CFISD history to win a state basketball championship in almost 50 years.

In the 2017-2018 season, the Eagles were fortunate enough to have “Houston Player of the Year” Nigel Hawkins returning along with Wesley and surging big man Kendall Scott and guard Andrew Ngyen.

With the stars of the state squad returning, the Eagles were picked to repeat as champions of 6A. Being selected as the No. 1 overall team in Texas by both Maxpreps and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches put an immense target on the back of the champs. However, this was not the only problem going into the 2018 season. The team also lost pivotal role players to both injury and graduation.

“We had a lot of bench guys who were new to varsity and didn’t know what to expect, so it was on us to guide and teach them throughout the season,” said 6-foot-7 then-senior Kendall Scott, when describing the challenges of his final season.

Despite these challenges, Falls started the season 12-0 extending their winning streak to a record 37 games. The Eagles ended the 2018 regular season with a record of 31-4, continuing their dominance and capturing their second undefeated district championship in two years.

The Eagles would face a familiar foe in the 2018 playoffs as the matched up with the Sam Houston Tigers, a team they previously eliminated in the third round of their championship run. Falls trailed by double-digits with less than seven minutes left in regulation.

The Golden Eagles stars put on a show -- Wesley with a tough 28 points and Hawkins scoring 24 prior to fouling out. With the help of their stars, the team clawed back forcing double-overtime but finally falling to the tigers 65-64 in a heartbreaker.

The current 2018-2019 season is an anomaly in the opulence of success the Eagles are a custom to. The team currently sits a few games below .500 at 15-17.

The team has also experienced a plethora of unfortunate events by losing both senior point guard Semaj Trahan and forward Nick Esechie to season-ending hand injuries. The few bright spots of this season included the play of 6-foot-9 center Braydon Redd and the frequent flashes of potential from younger players like Jaden Ross.

“My favorite part of my game is dunking and shot blocking,” said Redd, who is averaging a team high 13 points and 12 rebounds. Redd, a senior is a constant threat in the low post both on offense and defense. He anchors and protects the paint with his 7-foot-1 wingspan and finishes strong in the hole with his 250-pound frame.

Injuries have forced the Eagles to play much younger than anticipated. The team lost two starting seniors to injury and have had to start sophomore point guard Jaden Ross. Ross, who has flashed a gritty slashing mentality combined with lockdown defense, is averaging nine points per game and should be a force in 17-6A for the next two years.

Even with the misfortune and inexperience of this year's squad, the Golden Eagles remained in the playoff hunt until the end of the season. This continues to prove that the Golden Eagles, regardless of the constant changing and unpredictability of high school sports, will always be competitive.

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