The first round of District 11-2A plays finishes up with action on Friday, and two teams are the clear-cut favorites to stay atop the league.

Both the Keene Chargers (18-6, 4-0) and the Itasca Wampus Cats (17-4, 4-0) enter this afternoon’s contest aiming to claim the top spot with five games remaining in the district slate.

Today’s clash of the titans is set to tip-off at 4 p.m. at the Keene High School gymnasium.

Itasca comes into the game with a three-headed monster for an offensive attack that is red hot, as the team has not lost since a two-point defeat at Meridian on Dec. 30 .

A total of 77.7 percent of the Wampus Cat scoring during district play has come from Tralyn Harden, and the Mayberry brothers, Caleb and Kendale.

Kendale Mayberry has the lowest total of the three players through the four game, averaging 13.25 points per game, with Caleb Mayberry just a point higher at 14.25 points per game. Both Mayberrys reached their highest totals against Maypearl where Kendale and Caleb scored 23 and 18, respectively.

Harden is the highest scoring player in the district, currently holding the top three highest scoring games in the loop through four contests.

Godley managed to hold Harden to 14 points in a 48-40 Wampus Cat victory, but Harden has been superhuman in the other three games. He scored 33 against Grandview, 23 against Maypearl and 39 in Tuesday’s victory over Rio Vista.

Charger head coach Jason Hill believes his side has the weapons to slow the Wampus Cats down.

“They’re going to take a lot of shots, but we’re going to make them work for them,” Hill said. “If it’s easy for them to shoot, they’ll get on a roll. But if we get in their face on defense, they’ll have a tough time finding the hole.”

Keene looks to be one of the most likely candidates to slow the Wampus Cats down as one the best defensive side in the district. The Chargers have allowed only 33.25 points per game during loop play, over 10 points better than the nearest challenger.

Hill said contesting the shots won’t be enough to stop the Wampus Cats.

“We’ve got to make them guard us and crash the boards. They’re not great rebounders, so we have to get on the boards on both ends of the floor,” Hill said.

The Charger lineup is loaded with players who can get rebounds, including senior standout Kameron Barnes, along with Dushy Alik on the interior. Melvin Clark is expected to be a strong defender on the perimeter along with Ben Kelso and Joseph Meyers.

On the offensive end, Barnes, Clark, Kelso and Meyers can all score well from both the inside and outside when needed, with Alik primarily picking up points off of the offensive boards.

The Charger bench is solid as well, with A.J. Alcudia, William Castillo, Arthur Dassow, Giovanni Ganzalez and Dexter Jikit filling in with little drop off when called upon.

In other District 11-2A action, the Grandview Zebras (15-8, 2-2) look to claim the third winning record in the standings as they host cross-county rivals Rio Vista (10-12, 0-4). The Eagles, under the direction of Dustin Bates, are searching for their first district win.

The Godley Wildcats (14-10, 1-3) hit the road to take on the Maypearl Panthers (8-16, 1-3). George Tidwell scored 29 for the Wildcats in their loss to Grandview on Tuesday night, and the team looks for a follow-up performance that results in a win.

The two late games are both anticipated to tip off around 8 p.m.



Josh Manck can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2335, or sportsreporter@trcle.com

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