Garland Naaman Forest aims for district title

Garland Lakeview Centennial didn't give its competition in District 10-5A much of a chance the past two seasons.

The Patriots went undefeated in district play in both years en route to back-to-back appearances in the state title game.

But with the core those teams having graduated and head coach Tony Mauldin now retired, Garland Naaman Forest is looking to capitalize.

The Rangers (16-6, 5-1) sit in a three-way tie for first place and would be in sole possession of the top spot if not for a hiccup against South Garland last week.

That loss also knocked the Rangers out of the ESPN Dallas 5A Top 10, but they've already beaten the two teams they're tied with -- Lakeview Centennial and Rowlett. Naaman Forest crushed the Patriots, 69-48, in the first game back after winter break.

The talent advantage has certainly shifted to Naaman Forest following Chris Jones and Toddrick Gotcher's graduation from Lakeview Centennial as forward Prince Ibeh and guard Demarcus Holland are committed to Texas and South Florida, respectively.

The team also boasts experience. It returns four of its top five scorers from last season -- Ibeh, Holland, Kent High and Trent Dawson.

Whether Naaman Forest can clinch its first district title since 2009 may be decided over the next three games. In addition to Rowlett and Lakeview Centennial playing each other on Friday, the Rangers play both of them next week.