Month: December 2018

DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in boys basketball (Dec. 30-Jan. 5)

A second straight holiday week brings a light schedule for area boys basketball teams, but as the calendar turns from 2018 to 2019, all games played become more and more important.

Many Big Country teams have either already started district play or do so this week. And those that won’t be playing league games Friday will be preparing to do so in short order. If you’re a high school basketball fan, there’s a lot to like about this time of year.

Here’s a look at what you can look forward to this week in the Big Country and what you might have missed last week.

Top Upcoming Matchups: It’s tough to call any game played in the first week of January a must-win, but that could be the situation the Abilene High Eagles find themselves in Friday when they host San Angelo Central at 7:30 p.m.

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EVAN REN: This week in girls basketball (Dec. 30-Jan. 5)

With New Year’s Day still approaching, area hoops schedules will remain spotty for a few more days. But there’s ample hoops action approaching for us to take our weekly look at what’s ahead — and what we’ve just left behind. 

Top Upcoming Matchups: Friday will see the Big Country dive headlong into district play, and with that, some old rivalries will quickly come to the forefront. 

Topping that list, will be matchups between 11th-ranked Cisco (19-2) and a solid team from Eastland (15-7) on Friday. The Lady Mavericks will bring some momentum into this game with their archrival, having won their last two games in the Eula tournament, including a 54-41 victory over a good Merkel team.   

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Haskell girls pull away from Lady Pirates for Eula Holiday Classic title

Trailing the tournament hosts 16-13 at halftime of the Eula Holiday Classic girls title game, the Haskell Maidens outscored the Lady Pirates 23-7 over the final two quarters Saturday to claim the championship with a 36-23 victory.

Haskell, which improved to 19-1 with the win, got 10 points from freshman Melody Martinez, nine from Landry Hanson and eight from Delaney Hanson in beating its third consecutive ranked opponent and claiming its second tournament title of the season.

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Merkel rally falls short against Holliday in Eula Holiday Classic third-place game

The Merkel boys rallied a couple of times in the fourth quarter to pull within two possessions of a stout Holliday squad, but ultimately the Eagles were too much for the Badgers in a 46-35 win in the Eula Holiday Classic third-place game.

Trailing 28-15 at halftime and 33-25 heading into the final period, coach B.C. Lee’s team trimmed the deficit to five points (36-31) at the 6:43 mark and to six (41-35) with 2:36 to play. But Holliday answered both runs with one of their own to finish 3-1 at the Classic and improve to 9-4 on the season.

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Anson Lions Club Tournament roundup

In an otherwise difficult tournament for Big Country area teams, it was the Roscoe Plowgirls who emerged with a chance at taking home a championship at the Anson Lions Club Tournament on Friday. 

Unfortunately, they had one rather large roadblock: The fifth-ranked undefeated Vega Lady Longhorns (24-0), who handed Roscoe a 58-22 loss in the title round. 

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Oi! Oi! Oi! Vegimite-wielding Australians come to Anson seeking basketball and BBQ

ANSON — Some unusual sounds were audible in Anson on Thursday and Friday, coming in the form of unified voices, chanting something completely foreign to rural Texas.

How foreign? About 8,400 miles worth.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! … Oi! Oi! Oi! Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! … Oi! Oi! Oi!

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Eula Holiday Classic girls roundup Day 2

The championship game of the Eula Holiday Classic this year is going to be quite the doozy.

Eula, which entered the tournament ranked 15th in Class 1A, will be taking on Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Haskell after the two squads posted semifinal wins on Friday.

The Lady Pirates, who defeated Tolar 56-46 in the quarterfinals Thursday night, downed Christoval 52-41 in Friday’s semifinals to earn their spot in the title game, while the Maidens topped Class 3A No. 17 Colorado City (51-42) and Class 1A No. 12 Hermleigh (57-41) on Friday advance. Eula and Haskell will meet at 5:20 p.m. Saturday to decide the tournament’s championship.

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Eula Holiday Classic boys roundup Day 2

The second day of the Eula Holiday Classic saw several Big Country boys teams fall short of their championship aspirations on Friday afternoon.

The host Pirates, Colorado City and Jim Ned all lost in the quarterfinals, while Merkel fell in the semifinals.

The Badgers, who beat Childress 65-61 in the quarterfinals Thursday before losing 41-32 to Tolar in Friday’s semifinals, will now face Holliday in the third-place game at 4 p.m. Saturday and are guaranteed the best finish of any area boys team. 

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Eula Holiday Classic girls roundup Day 1

The Eula girls basketball team picked up a pair of wins over Clyde and Tolar on Thursday to move into this afternoon’s semifinals of the annual Eula Holiday Classic.

Eula had an opening round 46-34 win over Clyde before closing the opening day’s action by knocking off the Lady Rattlers 56-46.

The Lady Pirates will be joined in the semifinals by Christoval, a 50-49 quarterfinal winner over Eastland.

Eastland started the tournament with a 15-point win over Ballinger (41-26) before the narrow loss.

Christoval scored eight points in the final minute — including a buzzer-beater to win — to rally from a seven-point deficit to win.

Eastland coach Patrick Blount was disappointed in the final score, but said it didn’t change anything that his team had done all day.

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Eula Holiday Classic boys roundup Day 1

The opening day of the annual Eula Holiday Classic got off to a high-scoring start on Thursday with several close games and others that were more lopsided.

Holliday, Childress, Martins Mill and Jim Ned were the top-scoring squads in the first round of the tournament, advancing to the championship side of the 16-team tournament.

The Eagles rolled to an easy 90-32 win over Breckenridge in the day’s fourth game, while the Bobcats followed up with an 89-37 mauling of Brady.

Martins Mill had no issues in posting an 83-36 win over Early in the final game of the opening round.

While not putting up as many points as those three, Jim Ned had the most stifling defensive effort of the day in a 76-30 win over Christoval.

The host Pirates opened the day’s action with a 43-30 win over Eastland and then fell 47-46 Thursday night in the quarterfinals in a thriller against Tolar. The Rattlers were in the quarterfinals after a 60-36 win over Clyde earlier in the day.

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FEATURE: Energy, effort, belief fuel Cuffy’s emergence for Abilene High

When Donte Cuffy elected to skip his senior football season to focus solely on basketball, it was a difficult choice. It was also a somewhat surprising one.

Football had been his primary sport growing up, and he was on his way to significant playing time for the Abilene High Eagles at defensive end last year before having his junior season cut short by a broken left foot. So his decision to give up the gridiron for the hardwood, where he was a member of the AHS junior varsity as a junior, may have seemed puzzling to some.

But with the senior season Cuffy is putting together for first-year Eagle coach Justin Reese, it’s hard to argue with the results. Averaging 10 points, eight rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 assists per game this year, the 6-foot-4 forward has been one of AHS’ most productive players.

And the energy he brings to the court each and every game has been every bit as vital to the Eagles’ success as the numbers.

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BCP Podcast Greatest Hits Part 1: Evan, Daniel revisit conversations with Slaughter, Huston, Cervetto

With Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood taking a two-week break from the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast to celebrate the holidays, we take a look back at three of our favorite interviews from the first six months of our weekly podcast.

In Part 1 of our two-part “Greatest Hits” series, we revisit our conversations with current Wall defensive coordinator and former Clyde and Sweetwater head football coach Craig Slaughter, legendary Brownwood broadcaster Dallas Huston and Dublin football coach Bob Cervetto.

We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

PHOTO GALLERY: Evan Ren’s Top 100 football photos for 2018

FEATURED SCHOOLS: Albany, Anson, Baird, Breckenridge, Brock, Brownwood, Clyde, Coahoma, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, Dublin, Eastland, Forsan, Hamlin, Haskell, Jim Ned, Merkel, Snyder, Stamford, Stephenville, Wall and Winters.

Photos may be purchased for $7 each by pushing the small shopping cart emblem below the lower right corner of the gallery.

This week in girls basketball (Dec. 23-29)

Top Upcoming Matchups: With teams across Texas enjoying a five-day holiday break, this week’s Big Country action doesn’t begin until Dec. 27. And nowhere in the area will things get more heated than in the 16-team bracket in the always-tough Eula Holiday Classic.

Several of the Big Country’s top small-school girls teams will take part in the event, including fourth-ranked Class 2A Haskell (15-1) and an uber-athletic, albeit unranked team from Stamford (13-6).

No. 19 Colorado City (12-3) will be there, as will other Class 3A toughies from Merkel (14-8), Eastland (12-4) and Ballinger (11-7). 

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This week in boys basketball (Dec. 23-29)

Top Upcoming Matchups: With teams enjoying a mandatory five-day break for the holidays, we’ve got a back-loaded schedule this week. But that’s not to say it’s an uninteresting one.

In fact, with holiday tournaments scheduled throughout the state, including a few right here in the Big Country, it is anything but.

Headlining that list are the Eula Holiday Classic, Brownwood’s Texas Bank Holiday Classic and the Anson Lions Club Holiday Tournament, which combined will feature more than 20 Big Country boys basketball teams. 

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2018 State Championship Roundup

ARLINGTON — It seems like just yesterday that the Big Country Preps era was beginning with the kickoff of the 2018 football season.

As of Saturday night, the football season is over and the Big Country saw one champion, Strawn.

This year also marked the first time that instant replay was used at the championship games.

All replays were initiated from the replay booth and it was used 22 times in 12 games with the call on the field being overturned on 14 occasions.

The first replay review went Strawn’s way as it overturned an illegal touching call on an onside kick and allowed the Greyhounds to keep possession and sparked a 45-point rule win.

If you were not one of the 228,285 people that made it to AT&T Stadium to take in any of the four days of action, here’s a recap of what you missed.

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