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Area teams well-represented in preseason hoops poll

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THREE AREA basketball teams open the 2020-21 season state-ranked as the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches unveiled their preseason polls and district predictions on Wednesday.

Dickinson, which advanced to the boys’ 6A state semifinals before Covid-19 shut down the UIL spring sports season, is ranked 13th in the initial 6A poll. The Gators lost the services of all-state performers Tramon Mark (University of Houston) and Marcus Williams (Wyoming) along with star guard Duce Guidry (Texas State University), coach Jason Wilson’s squad is deep in talent with returning players Jathan Caldwell, Donovan Green, Dylan Jackson and Patrick Williams bolstering the team’s chances for another deep run.

Clear Springs’ girls are ranked 9th in the girls’ 6A poll as coach Pamela Crawford’s squad is primed to build upon last season’s 31-8 campaign. The Chargers will have 10 returning players from the 2019-20 season, which ended with a loss to Cy Creek in the Region III Finals.

Coach Dante McDaniel will have a loaded Hitchcock team that enters the regular season ranked 8th in the girls’ 3A poll. The Bulldogs finished 28-6 last season and bring back four of five starters from a team that lost to Franklin in the 3A, Region III semifinals.

All three teams are picked first in their respective districts as Dickinson and Clear Springs top the 24-6A field while Hitchcock is the heavy favorite in District 24-3A.

As for the rest of the area:

Boys: La Marque is picked first in 24-4A following a 32-7 season and despite the loss of all-state guard Jordan Ivy-Curry (Texas-San Antonio). Texas City tops a wide-open District 22-5A, with Galveston Ball picked second and Friendswood selected as the fourth place team. Hitchcock is picked second in 24-3A while Clear Brook (3rd) and Clear Springs (4th) are expected to challenge Dickinson in 24-6A.

Girls: Former all-state and University of Houston standout Jessieka Palmer is the new coach at La Marque, picked second in District 24-3A. Palmer replaces Andrew Broussard, who passed away this summer after a valiant fight against cancer. The Coogs advanced to the area round last season. Galveston Ball is the favorite in 22-5A, with Friendswood selected second. Although Clear Springs maintains an iron grip on 24-6A, Clear Falls (2nd) and Clear Brook (4th) are in position to make things interesting.

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