FORT BEND ISD (Covering Fort Bend News) - One girls team from Fort Bend ISD reached the “Final Four” in the state UIL basketball playoffs in 2019, and three boys’ teams got within two wins of reaching the same level in their division.

VYPE Sports Radio has produced the first of five retrospective programs on the athletic accomplishments of FBISD’s 11 high schools, and the debut program is available now to hear at “Hoop Dreams” & Hurricanes’ new coach features coach interviews and highlight clips from Hightower, Bush and Elkins, as well as an introductory interview with Joseph Sam, the new Hightower head football coach.

Hightower hoops

The Hightower Hurricanes pose before walking out of Pasadena’s Phillips Fieldhouse, where they rallied in the 4th quarter Thursday to beat Barbers Hill, 53-46, and advance to the 3rd round of the Class 5A basketball playoffs.

Sam began teaching at Hightower in February, succeeding Padriac McGinnis, and is a first-year head coach whose last stop before Hightower was Mansfield Timberview. McGinnis led the ‘Canes to one state championship game during his tenure, as they fell to Southlake Carroll in 2011. 

The Lady Hurricanes basketball team, under the leadership of Head Coach Deborah Mize, advanced to the state girls’ semifinals in San Antonio, where they fell to eventual state champion Amarillo.

The three most successful boys team in FBISD reached the regional semifinals: In its first season in Class 5A, the Hightower boys under Head Coach Stephen Woods lost to Manor in the Round of 16. Woods’ squad in 2020 will feature exception sophomore Bryce Griggs and several other returning starters who helped them to defeat Barbers Hill and Texas City in playoff games broadcasted on VYPE.

In Class 6A, the Elkins Knights and Bush Broncos missed a chance to face each other for the third time during the 2019 season when they lost their respective semifinal games at Cy Fair’s Berry Center: Elkins fell to North Shore, the eventual Region III-6A champion, despite leading by 12 points early in the fourth quarter.

Bush, with first-year Head Coach Brandon Gay succeeding Ronnie Courtney (who led Willowridge to state titles in 2000 and 2001, and won another one with the Broncos in 2010), exceeded expectations with a Bush team that will return four of its five starters. George Ranch moved ahead by double digits in the first half as Bush had a bout with cold shooting, and held off the Broncos when they reduced the Longhorns’ lead to two points in the final minutes.

Wednesday at, the second program in VYPE’s summer series will debut: “The Buffalo Run to Glory” chronicles Marshall’s state championship in track and field, and their football team’s magnificent 15-1 football season, overcoming tough opponents and tragedy en route to the Buffs’ first appearance in the state title game.

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