Month: January 2020

GAME STORY: Wylie girls reverse script in big win over crosstown rival Cooper

When the Wylie girls basketball team played Cooper the first time this season, the Lady Bulldogs trailed 41-20 by halftime in a game that was decided by the midway point of the second quarter.

Friday night’s rematch at Bulldog Gym was a different story entirely.

Jumping out to a 10-2 lead after one quarter of play, Wylie controlled the first half before withstanding a strong Cooper run in the third to earn a 38-33 win and claim a share of the District 4-5A lead.

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Wylie ISD names Martin as head football coach, but in-house move doesn’t necessarily mean subtle changes

Wylie ISD elected to stay “in house” in replacing legendary Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Hugh Sandifer, naming longtime assistant Clay Martin as his replacement at a school board meeting on Friday. 

Martin, who has been on staff for 27 years, has served as Wylie’s defensive coordinator for most of that time as well as head baseball coach — the latter of which saw him take a state titles in 2016 and 2017. 

“I’m obviously very excited to continue what  Coach Hugh Sandifer has done, and what we’ve all done — all of us together, the school and the administration,” Martin said. “To be able to represent them and lead the athletic program just means the world to me.” 

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FEATURE: San Saba’s Swiss Army knife Courtnee Cash returns to rotation after injury

SAN SABA — After missing 10 games with a sprained knee, San Saba guard Courtnee Cash was more than ready to begin contributing again. And the Lady Dillos were more than happy to welcome her back to the rotation in last week’s game with Center Point.

There’s a good reason for that. 

Cash, who leads the fourth-ranked Lady Dillos (28-3) in scoring with a 12.6-point average, has become a Swiss Army knife of sorts for coach Alicia Cummings, who utilizes the junior for a variety of tasks.

And she’s good at every one of them. 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

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FEATURE: Standout guard Brooks carries heavy load for Bulldogs

Since the start of the 2018-19 season, few players in the Big Country have been more productive than Wylie’s Payton Brooks.

And it could be argued, looking at this season especially, that no player is more important to his team.

Whether it’s his teammates leaning on him for a key bucket or the extra attention he gets from opposing coaches and defenders, the 6-foot-2 senior guard is a “go-to guy” in every sense of the phrase. And despite that serving as public knowledge in every gym Brooks plays in, he still produces numbers that are nothing short of eye-popping for a young Bulldogs squad that needs every bit of that production.

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BCP Podcast No. 79: Geter talks Cooper girls hoops turnaround with Evan, Daniel

Sitting at 22-8 overall and 4-1 in District 4-5A play, the Cooper girls basketball team is in the midst of its best season in more than a decade under the leadership of first-year coach Arsenio Geter.

Earlier this week, Geter took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the Lady Cougars’ turnaround, the goals for the remainder of the season and the future of the program for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss some of the Big Country’s biggest surprises of the boys and girls basketball season.

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls upset No. 23 Rider, boys’ rally comes up short

WICHITA FALLS — After starting the District 4-5A season with lopsided losses to Wichita Falls Rider and Cooper, the Wylie girls basketball team has fought its way back into district title contention.

Riding a two-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game at Rider, the Lady Bulldogs upset the No. 23 Lady Raiders 50-46 to pull within a game of the 4-5A lead heading into Friday’s home matchup against district leader Cooper.

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GAME STORY: Mason girls force first-place tie with big win at San Saba

SAN SABA — It took the better part of three weeks, but the sixth-ranked Mason Cowgirls got a measure of revenge on Tuesday, handing the No. 4 San Saba Lady Dillos a 41-33 loss on their home floor in the first game of a varsity doubleheader. 

Jessie Armstrong tossed in 11 points and Tristin Keller added 10 more to pace Mason (25-3, 4-1 District 27-2A), which rallied from an early 18-11 deficit to get the win. San Saba (28-3, 4-1) was paced by Brighton Adams and Courtnee Cash with 11 points each. 

For Mason (25-3), the victory avenged a 44-36 loss to San Saba on Jan. 10 in Mason and forced a first-place tie between the clubs, both of which sit atop the district with three games to play.  

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GAME STORY: Abilene High boys rally past Richland to stay perfect in 3-6A

The Abilene High boys basketball team had its mettle tested by a desperate North Richland Hills Richland squad Tuesday night at Eagle Gym and came through in the clutch with a gutsy 54-50 victory.

After watching a 34-26 third-quarter lead turn into a six-point deficit (44-38) by the six-minute mark of the fourth, the Eagles closed the game on a 16-6 run to improve to 20-8 on the year and stay perfect at 7-0 in District 3-6A play.

AHS tied the game at 45-all on Jalen McGee’s floater with 3:34 to play and saw a 3-pointer by Richland’s Ikechi Osondu knot the score at 50-all with 1:56 remaining. But Khristian Johnson’s corner 3 at the 1:27 mark put the Eagles back on top, and Joe Joe Escobedo blocked a 3-point attempt in the waning seconds to end the Rebels’ comeback bid. 

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GAME STORY: Freshman Speights fuels Cooper girls past Aledo, into sole possession of 4-5A lead

Trailing Aledo 4-2 after a defensive first quarter, the Cooper girls basketball team needed a spark Tuesday at Cougar Gym. 

They got it from freshman Kyla Speights.

The speedy 5-foot-2 point guard scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the second quarter, including eight during a 12-0 run to start the period, to give the the Lady Cougars a lead they’d never relinquish in 37-30 win.

The victory avenged Cooper’s only district loss — a 50-45 defeat on Jan. 10 at Aledo — and, as it would turn out, was enough to put coach Arsenio Geter’s team alone atop the District 4-5A standings thanks to Wylie’s 50-46 at Wichita Falls Rider on Tuesday.

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FEATURE: Hearne brothers have Cisco boys on dominant run

Cisco’s Kevin Hearne admits there are added challenges to coaching high school boys basketball when his sons are team members.

Hearne’s two youngest sons — senior Gibson Hearne and sophomore Dawson Hearne — are the leading scorers and rebounders for Cisco. After a so-so start to the 2019-2020 season, the 16-5 Loboes have won 14 of 16 games, including their first seven in District 6-3A by an average of 28.6 points.

Cisco opens the second half of district Tuesday by hosting second-place Early (6-1).

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stamford’s Brewer is the top dog

Stamford move-in Austin Brewer has become just what he was expected to be at the Class 2A level: completely dominant. 

Having shifted from Class 5A Wylie to Stamford over the offseason, the 6-foot-10 senior is now a regular among our top weekly performances, and last week was no exception. 

In wins over Cross Plains and Hawley, Brewer posted a combined 59 points, 30 rebounds and 12 blocks to help SHS improve to 18-7 overall and 3-0 in district play. 

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FEATURE: Hanson sisters lead No. 9 Haskell’s 20-game win streak

The Haskell Maidens — one of the Big Country’s most consistent girls basketball programs over the last decade — have won 20 consecutive games this season, including their first five District 8-2A games by an average of 37 points.

The Maidens, 23-3 overall and 5-0 in district after Friday’s 53-32 win at Albany, are seeking their sixth consecutive district championship. Haskell was ranked No. 9 in last week’s Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 2A poll.

There are multiple reasons for this season’s success under new head coach Michael Skelton, but high on the list is the performance of sisters Landry Hanson and Delaney — or Laney — Hanson. Landry, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, is averaging 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 steals. Laney, a 5-11 sophomore forward, is averaging 15.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 steals.

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FEATURE: Jayton’s miracle man, Hunter Gilbert just happy to suit up these days

JAYTON — While some high school basketball players may lament about their playing time, the officiating or the number of touches they get in a game, it’s all good to Jayton’s Hunter Gilbert. 

As a matter of fact, the 17-year-old doesn’t have time to worry about such trivialities. At this stage, he’s simply happy to have a pulse. 

Everything else? All Gravy.

Gilbert, who has been battling cancer since the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, has gained an entirely new perspective on what’s important and what isn’t. 

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

We’re closing in on February and the Big Country’s boys basketball district races are heating up. 

With most of our leagues at or approaching the midpoint of their schedules, we’ve seen championship favorites established in some districts while other races remain wide open. And in most cases, playoff opportunities still remain for those who have fallen out of district title contention. 

With so much left to be decided, let’s take a quick look at the biggest storylines on the local and area boys basketball scene this week.

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

One more week of January hoops in the Big Country before we had down the February home stretch an into postseason play. 

Can you believe it? Blink and it will be here. 

Again, Big Country Preps will hit the road each Tuesday and Friday night to cover the top matchups in the area. 

Let’s have a quick look at last week’s highlights and what’s on tap over the next seven days. 

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FEATURE: Anson getting its money’s worth out of Dollar in dual hoops resurgence

ANSON — Between teaching class, doing the laundry, grading papers, meeting with parents, studying video, running tournaments and in some cases, driving the team bus, a basketball coach’s life is arduous to begin with.

Now try doubling it. 

While it may be common for a handful of individuals to accept the challenge of coaching a boys and girls program simultaneously, only a precious few succeed at both over the long haul. 

Anson’s Ryan Dollar, however, is currently making a strong argument that it can be done — leading a dual AHS hoops resurgence that has both the boys and girls programs challenging for playoff spots.   

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls, boys earn sweep at Wichita Falls High

WICHITA FALLS — The Wylie girls basketball team picked up its second consecutive win Friday, following last week’s win over Aledo with a 75-18 drubbing of Wichita Falls High.

The Lady Bulldogs, now 15-13 overall, outscored the Lady Coyotes 23-7 in the first quarter and poured it on from there to improve to 2-2 in District 4-5A play.

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GAME STORY: Jaybirds sweep Paducah in varsity doubleheader

JAYTON — In the realm of Big Country 1A basketball, matchups don’t get much bigger the visit No. 5 Paducah paid eighth-ranked Jayton on Friday before a packed house at the JHS gym. 

Pecos Smith and Tripp Scott scored 16 and 13 points respectively and Tye Scogin tossed in 10 to lead Jayton (20-5, 3-0 District 15-1A), which took control of the game with a 17-5 first quarter and managed to hold for a 46-37 win. 

Paducah, which trailed by 17 points at the end of the third quarter, began a late rally behind full-court defensive pressure, eventually cutting the lead to seven with a jumper from Mark Flemons with just under two minutes to play. But the Dragons never got any closer — falling victim to a combination of cold shooting down the stretch, three Jayton free throws and a jumper by Scott. 

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GAME STORY: Stamford boys pull away from Hawley, take lead in 8-2A title race

STAMFORD — With the score tied at 14 after a quarter, the Stamford boys basketball team outscored Hawley 16-7 in the second to get the separation it needed to coast to a 68-53 home win Friday night in a key District 8-2A matchup.

With the Bulldogs and Bearcats opening the night as the only two teams without a loss in 8-2A play, Stamford’s win put coach Dean Edwards’ squad a game ahead of Hawley in the league standings with seven regular-season contests remaining.

Senior post Austin Brewer led the way for the Bulldogs, scoring a game-high 27 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. His work inside helped put the Bearcats in early foul trouble, forcing coach Matt Preston out of his normal substitution patterns by the start of the second quarter.

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Mary Mosley

BREAKING: Eula honors an icon, renames Pirate Gymnasium

It was a secret that was kept for three months and in the end, Mary Mosley was caught completely off-guard with a homecoming surprise that will never be forgotten.

With two brothers, a sister, her daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in attendance, Eula’s longtime bookkeeper was surprised by Eula boys basketball coach and athletic director Josh Fostel pulling off a stunner for the ages.

Fostel honored Mosley, who has kept Eula’s scorebook for the past 41 seasons, by having Pirate Gymnasium renamed Mary Mosley Gymnasium on Friday night between games of the Pirates’ District 20-1A doubleheader against Ranger.

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FEATURE: Sophomore McCambridge relishing leadership role for young Plowgirls squad

Shauna McCambridge hasn’t been at Roscoe long, but she’s already the Plowgirls’ leader.

A sophomore who transferred from Coleman before her freshman season, McCambridge is one of just two returning players for a remarkably young RHS squad.

But don’t think for a second that the Plowgirls 5-foot-11 post is their leader by default. She’s in that position because she’s earned it with both her play and the example she sets for her teammates.

In less than two full varsity seasons, McCambridge has already established herself as one of the top rebounders and post defenders in all of the Big Country. And to hear coach Shella Arnwine tell it, she’s only scratching the surface of her potential.

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FEATURE: Unselfish Ford growing more comfortable with scorer’s role at Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — Having spent most of his basketball time at the point guard position, Jim Ned’s Cade Ford has been steeped in unselfishness. He’s been trained to find the open man and he’s been thoroughly schooled in directing the show, rather than playing the lead. 

Now as a senior, he’s being asked to take center stage. 

The transition hasn’t been easy — leading to coach Eric Phelps giving some not-so-friendly encouragement to the 18-year-old when he has overlooked open shot attempts.  

“There was lots of yelling in practice, telling me to get shots up — if I’m open, just let it go,” Ford said. “So it has come (gradually) through the summer and into this season.” 

Diligence, however, has had its rewards. And entering Friday’s district game with Merkel, Ford is 18th in the Big Country with a scoring average of 15.5 points per game — tops on a Jim Ned club that is currently 19-5 overall and 5-0 in District 5-3A. 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days.

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

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FEATURE: Multi-talented junior Willis fueling Cooper girls’ resurgence

Coming off an upset win over No. 13 Wichita Falls Rider on Tuesday, the Cooper girls basketball team is in the midst of a surprising resurgence under first-year coach Arsenio Geter. 

At 21-8 overall, the Lady Cougars have already doubled last year’s win total. And at 3-1 in District 4-5A play, they’re in legitimate contention for their first district title in more than a decade.

At the heart of that rise has been a talented collection of girls who have bought in to a rapidly changing culture both on the court and inside the locker room. And at the heart of that team, Geter said, is junior guard/forward Jennika Willis.

Willis, who possesses one of the most versatile skill sets of any player in the Big Country, has been a steady producer for Geter and the Lady Coogs since the season tipped off in November. But her ability to stuff the stat sheet is only a small part of what she brings to the table.

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BCP Podcast No. 78: Eula’s Josh Fostel talks Pirate hoops with Evan, Daniel

Under longtime boys basketball coach Josh Fostel, the Eula Pirates have been among the best and most consistent Class 1A programs in the state. And EHS, which reached the state semifinals in 2007 before winning the state championship in 2011, has another strong team this year, sitting at 19-6 after routing Moran on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Fostel took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team, its 62-56 upset of Class 4A Brownwood last week and the program he’s built for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss some of the biggest boys and and girls basketball storylines of the season so far.