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Boys basketball

Bearcat playoff run ends at area


All good things come to an end. 

In the case of the Aledo Bearcat hoops season, one of the top three best seasons they’ve had in the last 25 years, came to an unfortunate end on Friday, Feb. 23 at Mansfield Legacy High School where Colleyville Heritage dispatched the Bearcats from the playoff picture with a 69-30 loss in the area round.

Aledo (20-13) won 20 games for the second time in the JD Robinson coaching era, and just the third time in the last 25 years. The Bearcats earned just the second bi-istrict title in program history three days before, when they upset the top seed out of District 6-5A, Arlington Heights, on Feb. 20.

Heading into the area matchup against Colleyville Heritage, the Bearcats knew they were in for a battle. The second seeds out of District 7-5A, Heritage won 28 games during the regular season. The Panthers dismissed Midlothian from the playoffs with a 15-point win in the bi-district round earlier in the week. 

Despite the accolades Colleyville collected over the season, Aledo, the No. 4 seed from District 5-5A, came into the matchup confident, having just toppled a top-seeded team days earlier.

Heritage got out early on the Bearcats and never looked back. By the end of the first quarter, they’d already pulled ahead by two possessions as the Panther defense held Aledo to under 10 points in the first quarter.

The second quarter was much the same as Colleyville Heritage found their rhythm at both ends of the floor while Aledo struggled to contend. By the end of the first half, the Panthers held a comfortable 30-19 lead. 

When play resumed in the second half, the third quarter went exactly how Heritage wanted it to go. Colleyville stifled the Bearcats on the offensive end of the floor, while simultaneously overwhelming the Aledo defense, essentially nullifying it completely. Heritage slammed the door shut on any possibilities of a comeback the Bearcats might have had with a 26-4 showing in the third stanza as they cruised to victory in the fourth quarter.

The Bearcats are in good shape for the future. While starters Jack Sawyer, Jackson Todd, and Owen Peterson will be missed, along with the contributions they made to the Bearcat hoops program the past two seasons, Aledo will return a solid group of players with varsity experience heading into next year. 

Starting guard Joaquin Pacheco has been an invaluable addition to the varsity roster this season. Second in scoring only behind Sawyer, Pacheco has been the spark plug for the Bearcats all season long.

Freshman guard Caden Cunningham earned a significant amount of varsity minutes this season. With excellent ball-handling ability, the experience gained this season will make him a valuable asset around the perimeter heading into 2024-25. 

Kaden LoBaugh and Brett Barclay made contributions to the post play, especially at the defensive end of the floor this season. Their ability to transition into scoring threats down in the paint in place of Sawyer over the offseason will help the Bearcats keep opposing defenses from being able to zero in on the top end of the offense next season.

Townes Vanhuysen missed most of the season after suffering a broken thumb early in the year. Relegated to the bench for much of the season due to the injury, he waited for his opportunity to return to the court with as much patience as a thoroughbred waiting to be let out of the shoots at the Kentucky Derby. 

Robinson had high expectations for the 6-foot-6 sophomore heading into the season. He’ll have an opportunity to live up to those expectations during his junior season in 2024-25. 

Class 5A playoffs, area round


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