Month: January 2019

FEATURE: Battle-tested Brownwood riding 11-game win streak

BROWNWOOD — By late December, coach Nadir Dalleh’s Brownwood boys basketball team appeared to be spinning its wheels. 

Slugging their way through a difficult-by-design nondistrict schedule, the Lions entered their hometown tournament — The Texas Bank Holiday Classic — with a modest 7-9 overall record. 

They had already taken severe beatings from larger schools from Granbury North Central Texas Academy (82-26), Odessa Permian (50-30), Granbury (62-43) and Cooper (67-41) along the way. 

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FEATURE: AHS seniors Talley, Patton key to young Eagles’ development

With just three returning lettermen and a roster composed primarily of sophomores and juniors, the 2018-19 Abilene High boys basketball team is still very much a work in progress.

Coach Justin Reese’s first Eagle squad features just three seniors. And of those, only guard Landon Talley and forward Brian Patton had ever played a varsity game before this season.

But hidden in the natural inconsistency that comes with a young team — and AHS’ overall record, which sits at 11-17 heading into Friday’s home game against Haltom City Haltom — is a belief in the Eagle locker room that a corner has finally been turned. And it’s thanks in large part to the example Talley and Patton have set that that’s the case, Reese said.

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BCP Podcast No. 31: Evan, Daniel talk Wylie girls hoops with Amy Powell

After a successful six-year run at Hallettsville, Amy Powell took over the Wylie girls basketball program this school year and has the Lady Bulldogs at 20-10 in their first season as a Class 5A program.

This week, Powell took a few minutes to talk with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about what drew her to the Wylie job, her first season on campus and her philosophies and personality as a coach on the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel talk about some of the most significant developments and biggest upcoming matchups on the Big Country boys and girls basketball scene.

 

 

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Abilene High boys fall just short at Central

SAN ANGELO — Leading San Angelo Central 50-47 entering the final quarter Tuesday, the Abilene High boys were on pace to collect their third consecutive win. But the Bobcats outpaced the Eagles 24-17 in the final period to rally for a 71-67 win.

The loss, which dropped AHS to 11-17 overall and 3-6 in District 3-6A action, kept the Eagles from moving into a fourth-place tie with Central in the district standings. They now trail both Central and Hurst Bell by two games with three games to play.

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GAME STORY: Eastland girls upset rival Cisco to headline doubleheader

EASTLAND — A little extra defensive effort by Eastland in the second half, combined with a whole bunch of free throws, was enough to produce a district-tying 56-42 upset of ninth-ranked Cisco on Tuesday night in Game 1 of a girls-boys doubleheader at EHS. 

Hailey Stacy scored 19 points and McKall Morton added 11 more to lead the Lady Mavs (23-7, 11-1), who forced a first-place tie in the District 6-3A standings with Cisco (27-3, 11-1).

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GAME STORY: Sweetwater girls upset rival Snyder in big 5-4A matchup

SNYDER — The Sweetwater girls basketball team was faced with a pretty dire postseason photo heading into Tuesday’s District 5-4A showdown against Snyder at Tiger Gym.

A win over the Lady Tigers would leave Sweetwater with an outside chance of forcing a seeding game next week against Snyder for second place.

A loss on Tuesday night had the potential of dropping Sweetwater to the fourth playoff seed.

The Lady Mustangs got the win they needed, knocking off Snyder 52-42 to set up a potentially crazy ending to the regular season, though the Lady Tigers still control their own destiny.

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GAME STORY: Aledo girls nip Wylie in overtime, Bulldogs cruise past Bearcats

Leading Aledo 25-15 at halftime with all the momentum on their side, the Wylie Lady Bulldogs appeared poised to knock off the Ladycats and grab a share of the District 4-5A lead on Tuesday.

But the visitors rallied in the third quarter to take a lead and held off Wylie in the fourth quarter and overtime to pull out a dramatic 51-47 victory.

The loss spoiled Parent Night for the Lady Bulldogs and kept Wylie from claiming a doubleheader sweep over Aledo as the boys routed the Bearcats 60-43 in Tuesday’s late game.

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FEATURE: Hard-luck Hawley ready for homestretch after difficult first half

Dylan Frazier

HAWLEY — On paper, their 7-13 overall record and 0-5 mark in District 8-2A have the looks of a team patiently waiting for the baseball season to get started. 

From the perspective of the Hawley boys basketball team, however, they are literally 24 combined points away from being 5-0 in league play and 33 points from being 14-6 on the year.

Put another way, Hawley opens the second half of the District 8-2A race Tuesday night against Cross Plains on a brutal seven-game losing streak that has seen the Bearcats lose by six points or less six times and only once by as many as eight. 

Call them snake-bit. Call them unlucky. But don’t say they’re not competitive.

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Big Country Preps Player of the Week: Forsan’s Richardson takes the top spot

Kobe Richardson

He has spent much of this season hidden by West Texas obscurity.

But with the way Forsan’s Kobe Richardson has been playing, he’s becoming noticeable, even while playing in an isolated corner of Howard County.

Last week, the senior guard was magnificent, beginning with a 40-point, eight-rebound night in a tough 60-56 win at Miles that saw him chart nine steals, four blocks and an 18-of-18 tally at the free-throw line.

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EVAN REN: This week in Big Country Girls Basketball (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

It’s difficult to believe but area girls teams have but three nights left in their respective district slates.

A week from Friday we’ll be dealing with tiebreakers and playoff warmup games while speculating on how the regional pairings are shaping up. By Feb. 11, the Big Dance will begin.

In the meantime, let’s check the highlights from last week and the week ahead. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

We’ve hit the home stretch of the high school boys basketball season.

At this stage, not only is every game important, but they’re all rematches, which guarantees some bad blood to go with the desperation and urgency that make district title and playoff chases so much fun.

As always, we’ve got some big matchups to look forward to and some key developments to look back on, so let’s go ahead and jump in and see what’s in store for big country hoops fans this week.

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FEATURE: After 40 years, Eula scorekeeper a highly respected fixture

EULA — The first time Mary Mosley sat as the official scorekeeper of a Eula high school basketball game, “Laverne and Shirley” was the top-rated show on television, Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States and a gallon of gasoline could be purchased for 65 cents. 

Yes, it was a long time ago — 40 years, to be exact — but an eternity for the many who perform this task on a temporary basis to simply help out their school districts. 

Mosley, through her love of the game and of kids, has virtually grown into a Eula institution.  Still going strong at the age of 83, she continues to work every Pirate game — home and away — with no end in sight.

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FEATURE: High-scoring Forsan guard hoping to get collegiate look

Kobe Richardson

FORSAN — He stands in at only 6-foot-0 and 160 pounds. And he plays Class 2A high school basketball on an 11-13 team in a place so isolated, that many Big Country residents can’t even tell you where it’s at. 

But despite some of the hurdles that Forsan’s Kobe Richardson faces in his goal of landing a collegiate roster spot, the senior guard does have several check marks in the plus column.   

This would include an uncanny ability to get the ball in the hole — as either a spot-up shooter, or by getting to the hoop off the dribble with either hand. 

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GAME STORY: Albany, Stamford split key District 8-2A twin bill

ALBANY — After starting District 8-2A with five wins in six games, the Albany girls basketball team had the upper hand in the race for the second playoff spot heading into Friday night’s showdown with Stamford.

The Lady Lions, after all, owned a one-game lead on the Lady Bulldogs by virtue of a 46-45 win at Stamford’s gym and now had the home-court advantage for the second matchup with major playoff seeding implications on the line.

Knowing their backs were against the wall, however, the Lady ‘Dogs responded with a thrilling 45-42 win to move into a second place tie with Albany in district at 5-2.

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GAME STORY: Forsan boys roll Eldorado, assume top spot in 7-2A

FORSAN — With Eldorado’s Kayden Rodriguez ejected and Forsan shooting six technical free throws in the first four minutes, it didn’t take long for the Buffaloes to take control in Friday’s District 7-2A showdown with Eldorado. 

Kobe Richardson finished with a game-high 24 points and Jordan Enriquez added eight more to lead the Buffaloes to a 67-36 rout, allowing them to take sole possession of first place in the process. 

The win gave Forsan (12-13 overall, 5-0 District 7-2A) a varsity doubleheader sweep of its area rival, with the girls winning Game 1 of the twin bill 39-29 earlier in the evening. 

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GAME STORY: Wylie boys, girls score crosstown sweep at Cooper

The Wylie boys basketball team outscored Cooper 28-19 in the first half Friday and held on through a foul-plagued second half to secure a 58-47 road win over the Cougars and take over third place in the District 4-5A standings heading into the second half of league play.

The victory, which wrapped up a doubleheader sweep for Wylie at Cougar Gym, improved the Bulldogs to 15-11 overall and 2-2 in 4-5A play, while Cooper dropped to 13-13 and 1-3.

The Wylie girls won Friday’s early game 64-42 to set a winning tone for the visitors.

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FEATURE: Versatile forward Gonzales the total package for Hermleigh

The list of things Hermleigh’s Makia Gonzales can do on a basketball court is a long one.

At 6-feet tall with a diverse set of offensive and defensive skills, the junior forward can literally play or defend any of the five positions.

Those abilities were evident last year when Gonzales, as a sophomore, helped lead Hermleigh to its first state tournament appearance of the University Interscholastic League era. And they’ve been necessary this year in helping the ninth-ranked Lady Cardinals (22-5 overall, 6-0 District 13-1A) maintain that same level of play despite the loss of a couple of key players and a bigger target on their back.

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FEATURE: Albany, Stamford, set to clash in glimpse of the future

Missy Dutchover’s Stamford  girls team has posted a 20-9 with only one senior. The Lady Bulldogs and a burgeoning team in Albany are both on a rapid ascent with very young talent.

Many of those who follow girls basketball in the Big Country are acutely aware of the highly successful program in Haskell and of its dominance in District 8-2A. 

Haskell, however, may soon have some highly competitive company within the confines of its own league — perhaps as early as next year.

Burgeoning programs in Albany (17-8, 5-1 District 8-2A) and Stamford (20-9, 4-2) have not only taken significant steps forward this year, but have done so with sophomore-heavy rosters that, with typical progression, could improve dramatically over the next two seasons.  

The two teams will meet in the opening game of Friday’s girls-boys doubleheader in Albany, in what could be viewed as a glimpse into the future of Big Country Class 2A girls basketball. In the present, however, a No. 2 playoff seed is the prize both young teams are after.

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FEATURE: Basketball part of DNA for Wylie post Brewer

Standing about 6-foot-3 in the eighth grade with a couple of parents who played college hoops, Wylie post Austin Brewer was born with basketball in his blood.

But it wasn’t until much later that the sport made its way to his heart.

In fact, it took until that eighth grade year for Brewer, now a 6-10 junior for the Bulldogs, to decide that basketball was for him — a decision that’s paid off for both him and his Wylie teammates since.

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BCP Podcast No. 30: Haskell’s Blake Eddleman talks Maiden basketball with Evan, Daniel

During his time at Haskell, Blake Eddleman has been one of the most successful girls basketball coaches in the Big Country. And with this year’s team sitting at 25-1 and ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, he may have his best Maiden team to date.

This week, Eddleman took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the 2018-19 Haskell squad, His unique sagging man defense and the future of his program for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel talk about the biggest developments and upcoming matchups on the Big Country boys and girls basketball scene.

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Abilene High boys score road win at Richland

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — After dropping a double-overtime thriller to North Richland Hills Richland in its District 3-6A opener on Dec. 18, the Abilene High boys basketball team got the Rebels back on Tuesday.

Landon Talley scored a game-high 22 points and the Eagles outscored the Rebels 17-11 in the fourth quarter to claim a 66-60 win at Richland’s Rebel Gym.

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GAME STORY: Wylie girls rout Rider to stay in 4-5A title hunt

The Wylie girls basketball team opened the second half of District 4-5A play with a dominating effort Tuesday, cruising to a 69-30 home win over Wichita Falls Rider.

The Lady Bulldogs, now 19-9 overall and 4-1 in league play, outscored the Lady Raiders 20-5 in the first quarter and never let the visitors back in the game on the way to their second blowout win over Rider.

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GAME STORY: Eula sweeps doubleheader at Baird (two videos, two box scores & photo gallery with 60 images included)

BAIRD — With two key back-court players — Mathew Ladesma and Kade Goble — out with injuries , Baird coach Jeff Campbell knew full well that the visiting Eula Pirates would do everything in their power to exploit that weakness in Tuesday’s district match-up. 

The problem was, doing something to stop them.

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FEATURE: Scott, Tigers bringing excitement back to Snyder basketball

For some programs, 20-win seasons and appearances in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches statewide rankings are commonplace.

Sixth-year Snyder boys coach Lee Scott knows better than most that his program has not been one of those.

It’s that knowledge that has Scott, a Snyder graduate who endured a winless district season his senior year in high school, so excited about this year’s 21-6 record and top-20 ranking in Class 4A. It’s also that knowledge that has him pushing his Tigers to make the most of the opportunities before them.

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Big Country Preps Player of the Week: Cisco senior Bird takes award

Sometimes it’s not the numbers you produce, but the number of minutes you played in which to produce them. 

That was the case in choosing our Big Country Preps Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 19 — a seven-day stretch that was littered with top-flight performances from all over the area. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan. 20-26)

If you were expecting the Big Country boys basketball schedule to calm down after last week’s slate, which featured one high-profile matchup after another, you’re going to be either disappointed or delighted to learn that this week’s lineup of games isn’t all that different.

While last week’s outcomes helped add some clarity to a number of our district races, we’ll see at least three more district leads decided this week when teams with unbeaten league records face off.

If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re probably not a high school basketball fan. If it does, keep reading to see what you can look forward to on the local and area boys basketball scene this week.

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