King's Academy opens TCAL 2A state tournament


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Cole Rainwater (right) and the King's Academy basketball team walk into the gym at the Trinity Baptist Church for a pep rally before leaving for the TCAL 2A state basketball tournament Wednesday afternoon. (Herb Nygren Jr. | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

The defending TCAL 1A state champs are back for more, only this time in 2A.

King’s Academy opens the TCAL 2A boys basketball state championship today at 10 a.m. against Bryan Allen Academy in the quarterfinals at Fieldhouse USA in Frisco.

After winning it all in San Antonio, the Royal Knights head to the Metroplex this weekend. The first two rounds are played at Fieldhouse USA with the championship game slated for Cotton Bowl Coliseum in Dallas at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The winner of today’s game plays either Waco Live Oak Classical or Greenville Phoenix Charter at 1 p.m. Friday. The Royal Knights beat Phoenix Charter twice in the regular season, while the Rams beat Live Oak twice.

“The jump from 1A to 2A has been a shock,” head coach Dodie Wilson said. “The teams in TCAL 2A have bigger size and better talent. I think we’ve adjusted pretty good.”

King’s Academy (11-8) is led by a trio of seniors: captains Caleb Sherrod and Caleb Groth and post Ben Flanders.

Sherrod paces the team with 13.3 points per game and Groth puts up 8.8 per game. Flanders averages nearly a double-double with 10.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Levi Taylor is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.0 per game while senior Cole Rainwater adds 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Also contributing for King’s Academy are junior Philip McKinney; sophomores James Baber, Drew Glover, Race Bares, Luke Merritt and Leland Thompson; and freshmen Ethan Broadfield, Joseph Flanders and Koelson Sutsch. Assisting Wilson are Jason Brooks and Dave Nedbalek.

“Caleb Groth and Caleb Sherrod, Ben Flanders and Levi Taylor were all a part of our state championship team last year,” Wilson said. “They’ve each shown great leadership.”

The Rams (27-10), the top-ranked team in the state, are coached by former Baylor head coach Dave Bliss.

Allen Academy has been led by senior Michael Homann (18.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.0 steals) and junior Judd Horton (12.2 points, 10.7 rebounds).

“We’re used to playing the No. 1 seed at state and our players are excited and up for the challenge of playing Allen Academy in the first round,” Wilson said. “The expectations are high for this group this year at state.”

— Jonathon Groth contributed to this report.

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TCAL 2A Boys Basketball State Tournament

Thursday-Friday at Fieldhouse USA, Frisco

Thursday

Game 1: Bryan Allen Academy vs. King’s Academy, 10 a.m.

Game 2: Waco Live Oak Classical vs. Greenville Phoenix Charter, 11:30 a.m.

Game 3: San Antonio Atonement Academy vs. play-in winner, 1 p.m.

Game 4: Poetry Community Christian vs. Bryan Harmony Science Academy, 2:30 p.m.

Friday

Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 10 a.m.

Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 11:30 a.m.

Game 7: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1 p.m.

Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 2:30 p.m.

Game 9, Consolation Final: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m.

Saturday

Championship: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 3 p.m., Cotton Bowl Coliseum, Dallas