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SAN ANTONIO — With the game knotted at 48 in the final seconds of regulation, Wall’s Sawyer Lloyd canned a jumper as time expired to give the Lady Hawks a would-be 50-48 win over Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill in Thursday’s 3A state semifinal in the Alamodome.
There was, however, a problem — did the ball leave her hands before time expired?
After a few intense minutes of video replay study, game officials determined that Lloyd’s shot wasn’t released in time, forcing overtime where Chapel Hill eventually prevailed 53-49.
SAN ANTONIO — For the second straight year, the Hermleigh Lady Cardinals squared off with perennial power Nazareth in the Class 1A state semifinals.
And for the second straight year, HHS had difficulty keeping pace with Swiftettes, falling 48-17 on Thursday in the Alamodome.
Held to just 18 percent shooting, Hermleigh didn’t score a field goal until the 7:20 mark of the second quarter when a Makia Gonzales layup broke the Lady Cardinals’ cold spell. By that point, Hermleigh trailed 14-3 and never managed to cut the lead under single digits.
The Wall Lady Hawks and Hermleigh Lady Cardinals are state-bound. But before they arrived in San Antonio for Thursday’s semifinals, their coaches — Wall’s Tate Lombard and Hermleigh’s Duane Hopper — took some time to talk to Big Countr Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.
Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the boys basketball playoff picture.
With the Texas High School equivalent to the Final Four kicking off in San Antonio with this week’s UIL state tournament, two Big Country representatives — Wall and Hermleigh — are among the survivors.
And as one might suspect, any further advancement will be a major challenge for both.
Ninth-ranked Hermleigh (30-5) will take the stage first, taking on top-ranked perennial power Nazareth (30-6) in a Class 1A state semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Alamodome.
Wall (32-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, will hit the floor at 1:30 p.m. against No. 2 Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill (35-0).
STAMFORD — Tuesday night’s Region I-3A quarterfinal between Jim Ned and Childress at Bulldog Gymnasium had more back-and-forth momentum swings than a pendulum.
In a game that featured both squads trading haymakers and taking the best punch the other side could offer, it was the Bobcats who came away with a 51-46 double overtime win.
Trailing Munday by seven points with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter Tuesday, Jayton finished the game on a 28-7 run to defeat the Moguls 53-39 and advance to the Region II-1A tournament this weekend at Abilene Christian University.
After pulling within one point to close the third quarter, the Jaybirds opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers, kick-starting a 20-5 final period that turned what had been a battle to that point into a comfortable victory at McMurry’s Kimbrell Arena.
EASTLAND — The Eula Pirates may have been a bit streaky on the offensive side in Tuesday’s Region III-1A quarterfinal with Huckabay. But coach Josh Fostel’s crew made up for it with a wire-to-wire defensive effort in a 60-26 win at Eastland High School.
Cade Smith scored 17 points while Dakota Boles and Matthew Booth added 11 each to pace the 11th-ranked Pirates (28-6), who now push on to the Region III-1A tournament, where they will meet No. 6 Slidell at 5 p.m. Friday in Mansfield.
GRAHAM — The top-ranked Brock boys basketball team jumped on Holliday early and never let up Monday, punching its ticket to the Region I-3A tournament with a 60-25 blowout at the Graham High School gym.
Coach Zach Boxell’s Eagles raced out to a 17-5 first-quarter advantage and pushed its lead to 45-11 by the end of the third quarter, before cruising in the fourth to the lopsided victory.
Softball and baseball are officially here. And cold weather or not, we’re already seeing performances worthy of consideration here.
Case in point: Eastland’s Brynna Foster, our Big Country Preps Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 23.
Foster, who is only a junior, tossed four shutouts in last week’s Stephenville tournament to help the Lady Mavs improve to 10-2.
The first two rounds of the boys basketball playoffs weren’t kind to the Big Country, leaving just nine area teams standing this week in the region quarterfinal round.
With two games involving a pair of Big Country schools — both at the Class 1A level — we’re certain to have at least two teams playing in this weekend’s regional tournaments. But when you get to the third round of the playoffs, little else is guaranteed.
With that said, let’s take a look at what the area’s nine survivors are up against this week.
Here are the results from the UIL girls basketball state championships:
After edging Veribest 44-39 with a sluggish effort in Friday’s Region II-1A semifinals, the Hermleigh Lady Cardinals left no doubt in Saturday’s region title game.
Coach Duane Hopper’s team roared to a 15-5 first-quarter lead and held off a third-quarter surge to top Rankin 58-46 and clinch its second consecutive state tournament berth at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum.
PLAINVIEW —A slight edge in every major statistic added up to a convincing 52-36 win for the Wall Lady Hawks in Saturday’s Region I-3A championship game with Idalou.
Jayden Fiebiger scored 16 points and Samantha Rocha added a dozen more to lift Wall (32-1), which took control of the game shortly after the outset of the second half.
The Lady Hawks now advance to the UIL State Tournament in San Antonio on Feb. 28. Their opponent in the state semifinals should be announced on Sunday.
BRECKENRIDGE — For three of the four quarters Friday, the No. 17 Snyder Tigers went toe-to-toe with eighth-ranked Argyle.
But it was the one quarter for which that wasn’t the case that proved to be the difference in a 45-32 loss to the Eagles in a Region I-4A area-round playoff at the Breckenridge ISD Athletics and Fine Arts Center.
Leading 5-4 midway through the first quarter, Snyder was outscored 14-0 the rest of the period and forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game — a task that proved difficult against a talented and disciplined Argyle squad.
Coming off its first appearance in a University Interscholastic League state tournament under first-year coach Duane Hopper in 2017-18, the Hermleigh girls basketball team knew it was going to take everyone’s best shot this season.
The Lady Cardinals are now one win away from giving Hopper state tournament berths in each of his first two seasons as a coach after knocking off Veribest 44-39 in a Region II-1A semifinal Friday night at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum.
Hermleigh’s performance wasn’t always pretty, but it was enough to earn the Lady Cardinals a spot in Saturday’s region championship game against Rankin.
Slow starts were fairly common for the Aspermont girls basketball team throughout the 2018-19 season. But until Friday night, the Lady Hornets had displayed a knack for digging their way out of early holes.
Aspermont’s luck finally ran out, though, in a 56-45 loss to Rankin at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum.
Rankin advanced to Saturday night’s region championship game against Hermleigh, a 44-39 winner over Veribest, for the right to advance to next week’s state tournament in San Antonio.
PLAINVIEW — Missed opportunities. Missed free throws. Turnovers.
It may take a while for the sting of Friday’s 41-36 overtime loss to Idalou in a Region I-3A semifinal to finally subside for the Jim Ned Lady Indians, who staged an improbable comeback at Wayland Baptist University, only to see their season slip away in the end.
Shaylee Stovall scored game-high 22 points to pace Idalou (31-5), which squares off with Wall (31-1) in the Region I-3A title game at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
PLAINVIEW — In the end, it all came down to how many extra shots were taken.
Pounding the glass for 14 offensive rebounds, the top-ranked Wall Lady Hawks got 16 extra shots in their 56-49 win over Brock in Friday’s Region I-3A semifinal at Wayland Baptist University.
That, combined with a 15-7 disparity in turnovers, was a handicap that Brock had no answer for as Wall (31-1) advanced to Saturday’s regional title game. There, they will face third-ranked Idalou (31-5), which closed the semifinal doubleheader with a 41-36 overtime win over Jim Ned.
STAMFORD — Merkel’s zone defense gave Holliday fits all evening Thursday, but the Badgers’ own struggles from the field and free-throw line forced them to play from behind throughout in a 52-43 area-round playoff loss at Bulldog Gym.
Coach B.C. Lee’s team limited Holliday to just 13 field goals, but they made just 11 of their own and missed three more free throws than the Eagles in three fewer attempts.
Despite that, Merkel had the deficit down to one possession on a pair of occasions in the second half, before their opponent eventually pulled away and sealed the win from the foul line.
CISCO — For two full quarters, the unranked Colorado City Wolves played No. 1 Brock to a near standstill at Ray Saunders Gym, heading into the locker room trailing 27-24.
The third quarter, however, brought a stark reminder of why Brock entered this week sitting atop the rankings, with a backbreaking 20-3 run to put the game out of reach in just eight minutes.
Bradon Smith scored 19 points and Scott Thomas tossed in 18 more to lead Brock, which then cruised to a 60-47 win.
The final answer will be displayed in San Antonio’s Alamodome beginning on Feb. 28.
The question, however, is still on the table.
How many, if any, Big Country teams will reach the Texas high school equivalent of the Final Four?
There are two factors at play here, the first of which is obvious: team quality. The second, however, is quantity.
The Snyder boys basketball team is in the midst of one of the most dramatic turnarounds the Big Country has seen in quite some time, and at the helm of the ship is coach Lee Scott, a former Snyder Tiger himself.
Recently, Scott took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the dream season his squad is enjoying, what it means to him as a Snyder graduate and how far this group can go in the playoffs for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.
Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel take a look at the area boys and girls basketball playoff picture, recapping the previous week’s results and spotlighting some of the most intriguing upcoming matchups..
GAIL — The Wylie boys basketball team saw its first season in Class 5A come to an end Tuesday with a 58-50 bi-district loss to Lubbock Monterey at Borden County High School.
The Bulldogs played the Plainsmen to a 50-50 tie in the fourth quarter, but Monterey finished the game on an 8-0 run to secure the win and advance.