Add a boys’ basketball banner to the wall in the Rouse gym.
After finishing in second place four times and coming in third place in the district twice in their 10-year history, the Raiders clinched their first-ever district title with their 71-52 win against Elgin last Friday night.
“It means a lot for our program,” head coach Shane Krause said. “We’ve been knocking on the door and this group has really embraced the challenge of being the first group to do it and possibly being recognized as the best team ever.”
Rouse finished in third place in District 19-5A and made it to the third round of the playoffs last year and was the runner-up in 2016.
The Raiders have made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons.
“It feels good to start something new for the team and the program,” senior Trevor Berry said. “It’s all about confidence. Going through games when your teammates trust you, it’s just gotten easier to make plays.”
In its 14 district wins, Rouse has averaged 69.1 points per game with an average margin of victory of more than 18, highlighted by a 55-point win on the road against Cedar Creek in the third district game of the year.
The Raiders only defeat during the district season was a 71-60 loss to second-place Connally on Feb. 2 when the Cougars outscored them 32-23 in the second half to snap Rouse’s seven-game winning streak.
Rouse lives and dies by the 3-point shot and have attempted more than 800 on the season and hit 263 according to MaxPreps.com, good for ninth in the state and second among all Class 5A teams.
“It’s risky, but we have so much trust in our shooters,” senior Carter McMahan said. “We know they’re going to hit shots when they need to hit shots and that’s how we play.”
McMahan averages 12.6 points and leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game and Berry leads the team in the scoring at 15.5 points per game and scored more than 25 in two of the last three games.
Quinlan Daily is the top 3-pointer shooter with 71 on the year. He set a school record when he made 10 shots from beyond the arc in the 85-55 win against Hutto on Feb. 6.
The next step for the Raiders is to get past the second round of the playoffs. They’ve lost in the first round once and fallen in the second round four times. This season feels different.
“We know each round is going to be tougher and tougher,” Carter McMahan said. “(Winning the district title) gives us confidence. We’re the best team to walk through Rouse. We’re not the most talented team, but we’ve got the best chemistry.”
Rouse will take on Tomball, which finished in fourth place in District 20-5A, in the first round of the playoffs.
“This group has set us up for the next decade,” Krause said. “These are some of the most level-headed and resilient kids. Trevor and Carter, their leadership makes it feel like there’s not any pressure.”