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Cameron Smith

National power Yates meets its match, falls twice in a week

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Yates (Texas) High is used to racking up huge numbers against opponents. In 2009, the national champion Lions beat eight different teams by 88 points or more, and early in the team's 2010 campaign, the results were similar. After all, it was just earlier this month when a Houston opponent held the ball to run out a brutal loss and keep Yates from reaching its customary 100-point threshold.

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Then, on national television last week, Yates was handed a good, old-fashioned thrashing, and things took a sharp turn downward. First came the embarrassing, 95-69 loss on ESPN to Findlay (Nev.) Prep, which torched Yates' traditional end-to-end press to the tune of a 77-31 run which ended the game. The setback ended a 66-game winning streak for Yates, which hadn't lost in exactly two years.

If that painful loss wasn't enough to bring Yates back down to earth, the school's loss on Monday probably did the trick. With the Houston ISD Tournament championship on the line, Yates couldn't keep up with Westbury Christian (Texas) School, which raced to a 103-91 victory over the Lions, claiming its 17th win while sending Yates to the rarest of rare occasions under the tenure of Yates coach Greg Wise: Multiple losses in the same week.

Still, according to the Houston Chronicle, Wise felt there were plenty of positives that came out of his team's recent setbacks.

"Other than the loss I think we showed a lot of things that we need to improve on but also a lot of things that we did improve on," Wise told the Chronicle.

Others, meanwhile, have been happy to pile on the program which relishes racking up big scorelines. A blog from ESPN's Houston radio affiliate extolled the virtue of Findlay Prep's win and openly wished the Nevada basketball factory had scored even faster.

Meanwhile, the victorious coach from Monday night's face-off -- whose team was annointed as the potential new kings of Houston by TexasHoops.com on Tuesday -- took a higher road after the win.

"It means a lot because you've got some of the best teams in the city of Houston," Westbury Christian coach Russell Carr told the Chronicle. "It's good for us to be able to compete and know that we compete at a high level. It's rewarding."

The Schadenfreude that came from the loss was rewarding for a number of those without any connection to Yates, Findlay Prep or Westbury Christian, too, a testament to Wise's tendency to polarize those who never even come in contact with his team. Given Yates' 170-35 victory against Lee (Texas) High, and the accusations that the Lions have fouled late in games to try and extend time to reach 100 points, that Schadenfreude certainly has grounds.

"It's tough, but we just have to keep our head up because we have a tournament coming up," Yates guard Clyde Santee told the Chronicle. "This winning streak was amazing...We still have a very good chance at winning a state championship this year."

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