Mansfield’s best playoff run in 14 years ends against defending champ Duncanville

Brian Gosset
·3 min read

Mansfield coach Jason Speakes praised Duncanville’s length and depth during Saturday’s game.

Mansfield has three players 6-3 and taller. Duncanville has nine.

The Tigers brought the energy, getting out to an early lead, but once the Panthers started to roll, they couldn’t be stopped in a 73-53 victory to win the Class 6A Region 2 boys basketball quarterfinal showdown at Arlington ISD Athletic Center.

Duncanville (25-1), ranked No. 2 in the state and the defending state champ, advances to the regional semifinals to take on the winner between Cypress Park and Cypress Ranch. The Panthers complete the season sweep over Mansfield (3-0). They won two previous District 11-6A matches, 77-57 and 78-39.

Duncanville won state in 2019 and reached the tourney in 2020 before it was canceled due to COVID-19.

“This team has a chance to be the best of all three [Duncanville teams],” Panther coach David Peavy said. “They love each other, they play well together and they click. We have some things we have to work on, but this team has a chance to be special.”

Mansfield ends 21-5 with its deepest playoff run since 2007.

The Tigers will graduate nine seniors.

“Mansfield basketball is now back on the map. We’ve had our ups and downs the last couple years, but this group of seniors have been around a long time. Most of them have been playing varsity for three years. We’re an experienced bunch and we only lost five games this year. Three of them have been to [Duncanville]. They’re a heck of a team with a lot of talent, but my guys never quit and battled to the very end, and I’m super proud of them.”

Mansfield, got off to a 10-3 lead with a floater by Marquis Thibert and triple by Drew Crippen.

Duncanville trailed 11-5, but would score the next 12, which included a three from CJ Ford and reverse layup by Ron Holland that gave the Panthers a 14-11 edge with 1:39 left in the period.

Mansfield’s Donerio Davenport stopped the run with one of his three triples, but Duncanville still managed to close the quarter with a 19-4 run and 22-14 lead after the opening quarter.

Duncanville ballooned the lead to 15 on a Juan Reyna three from the left wing. Mansfield got as close as 12 and the Panthers took a 38-23 advantage into intermission.

“We have good players and when the game is played the way it was today, with the tempo, we’re pretty good,” Peavy said. “All the respect to Mansfield and coach Speakes. They punched us in the mouth early and we knew that could be a possibility. We just kept playing and kept the tempo up.”

Mansfield made a push, but every time the Tigers scored, the Panthers answered.

Ford knocked down a 3-pointer for a 46-29 lead midway through the third. The Panthers led by 14 after three. Mansfield got as close as 54-44 with six minutes left in the fourth on a Crippen layup, but Duncanville counted with the next six points to pull away.

Five Panthers scored in double figures led by Damon Nicholas’ 17. Zhuric Phelps added 14 and Holland, Ford and Reyna chipped in 12, 11 and 10, respectively.

Crippen paced the Tigers with 16. Andrew Iyamah added 11 and Davenport and Thibert had 10 apiece.

“One of Duncanville’s strengths is their depth ... and their length. Some teams can hang with them for a half or even three quarters, but a lot of times their deep runs so deep that they wear you done with the full-court pressure and that showed today,” Speakes said. “They had a lot of stuff near the basket and we didn’t shoot from the outside as well as we needed to, but I love this group and how they represented the program this year.”