Star power to light up the courts as players gear up for McDonald’s Texas Invitational, Nov. 18-20

Star power to light up the courts as players gear up for McDonald’s Texas Invitational, Nov. 18-20
Posted on 11/03/2021
Star power to light up the courts as players gear up for McDonald’s Texas Invitational, Nov. 18-20

By John Bechtle, Jr. 
South Belt Leader Sports

The star power will be on display from the opening tip until the final light is darkened as the 2021 McDonald’s Texas Invitational, the state’s largest and most prestigious regular season varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball tournament, returns to the area Nov. 18-20.

Once again, 48 boys’ teams and 32 more on the girls’ side of things will vie for supremacy over three days at 10 different Pasadena ISD and Deer Park ISD locations, with the Division I Gold Bracket championship games capping things Nov. 20 at Phillips Field House.

Nine Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason state-ranked Class 6A boys’ squads are included in the field, as are three more state-ranked Class 5A programs.

Opening-day action Nov. 18 features a trio of boys’ games pitting state-ranked foes as 6A power No. 5 Clear Brook goes against No. 14 San Marcos at Dobie main; 6A No. 3 Atascocita and 5A No. 4 Katy Paetow do battle at South Houston High School and 6A No. 19 Elkins and 5A No. 12 Hightower tip off at Deer Park’s Watkins campus.

The 32-program girls’ field could very well provide a bit of a preview of things to come playoff time as state-ranked 6A No. 3 Converse Judson, No. 10 Summer Creek, 13th-ranked Cibolo Steele, No. 20 Spring Branch Memorial and 23rd-ranked Cy-Creek are among those vying for Division I supremacy. 

Game sites for the McDonald’s Texas Invitational include the six Pasadena ISD high schools (Dobie9 included), Beverly Hills Intermediate, Phillips Field House and the Deer Park ISD South and Watkins campuses. On Nov. 18, there are marquee matchups at each location:

Phillips Field House: At 21-4, the Cy-Creek Cougars’ boys’ team played in the Region III semifinals at the Merrill Center and will look to test their talents against state-ranked and 2020-2021 Region I champion Richardson in a 7:30 p.m. battle.

Pasadena Memorial High School: The College Park Cavalier boys, 25-4 a season ago, aim to start strong this time around with a 3 p.m. game against North Crowley, which debuts at No. 15 in the Class 6A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason state poll.

Dobie High School: An early 10:30 a.m. local matchup features Pearland and veteran Houston area coaching standout Steve Buckalew going against defending 24-6A champion Clear Brook, which has made consecutive appearances in the area playoff round.

South Houston High School: Another 10:30 a.m. clash pits Class 6A boys’ power Atascocita against Katy Paetow, which sits at No. 4 in the TABC preseason Class 5A rankings. Atascocita is also the defending Region III champion.

Sam Rayburn High School: The Pearland Dawson boys fashioned a 25-6 run a season ago and return this time around to go against Spring Branch Memorial in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.

Pasadena High School: The Lake Creek boys, winners of 44 overall games the previous two seasons and a District 20-5A title contender for 2021-2022, take on fellow Class 5A power Manvel in a 3 p.m. tilt. The Mavericks start 18th in the 5A TABC preseason rankings.

Watkins (DPISD): Hightower, 12th in the TABC’s preseason 5A poll, goes against an Elkins boys’ squad that is 19th in the 6A rankings. The excitement begins with a 3 p.m. tipoff.

South Auxiliary (DPISD): 

Dobie9: Cibolo Steele, which is 13th in the preseason girls’ TABC state 6A rankings, makes the trip to the McDonald’s event and takes on Pearland in a 9 a.m. game at Dobie9. 

Beverly Hills Intermediate: A full day of Division I girls’ games includes TABC preseason 6A No. 10 Summer Creek going against Clear Springs in a 1:30 p.m. start as two Region III contenders collide.

Visit and bracket play for a full schedule.

Advance sales of tournament passes and individual game tickets began Nov. 1 and will run through the end of the event Nov. 20. Tournament passes will allow access to all the McDonald’s Texas Invitational tournament games and are $20. Individual tickets are also available at $5 per adult and $2 per student.

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