Month: January 2021

FEATURE: Unselfish Cooper boys make coach Conover’s job easy

In the midst of his most successful season as the Cooper boys basketball coach, Bryan Conover is having some of the most fun he’s ever had coaching basketball.

And while it would be easy to attribute that to a 5-1 district record that has the Cougars in position to compete for their first district title since 1996, to do so would be to miss the bigger picture.

For Conover, it’s not so much the wins that have made this year’s Cooper squad such a joy to coach. It’s the work ethic, unselfishness and chemistry that have made those wins possible.

With six players averaging between 6.2 and 12.4 points per game for the season, this CHS team is about as balanced as any you’ll find in the area. And though many of those players could score more individually if they had a mind to, they’ve all bought into a team concept with an understanding that the more threats a team has, the harder it is to defend.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Late flurry lifts Abilene High boys to improbable win at OHS

ODESSA — Trailing Odessa High by four points with six seconds remaining Friday, it appeared the Abilene High boys basketball team was headed for its second consecutive loss and third in four games. But persistence, a creative coaching decision and a little good fortune paid dividends in an improbable 65-64 overtime win.

Down 64-60 in the extra period after the teams had closed regulation tied at 53, Abilene High (16-5 overall, 5-3 in District 2-6A) started the winning sequence by sending a baseball pass down the court for a quick layup to cut the deficit to two. Coach Justin Reese then had his team force an intentional delay of game call to reset its defense, and before the ensuing inbounds play, OHS called a timeout it didn’t have for a technical foul that sent Jalen McGee to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game.

McGee, who finished with a game-high 24 points, only made one of two, but with the technical came possession, and Nathan Watts hit a buzzer-beating layup off a long pass to lift the Eagles to the win.

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GAME STORY: Two fast starts for Wall, two Jim Ned rallies produce split doubleheader in Tuscola

TUSCOLA — A high-profile Friday doubleheader saw Jim Ned suffer two straight slow starts against Wall at Bill Thornton arena. The Jim Ned girls overcame theirs, topping their area rival 52-36. 

The boys weren’t so fortunate, falling to the Hawks 55-50, despite a frantic effort to erase an early deficit that had ballooned to 16 points by the second quarter.

On the girls side, Ashton Garner, Alexis Espinosa and Ashlynn Galvin dropped in 15, 14 and 13 points respectively to lift the 15th-ranked Lady Indians (21-2, 11-1). The win forces a first-place tie in District 6-3A with No. 14 Wall (20-3, 11-1), which suffered its first district loss of the year. 

Trailing 17-8 at the end of the first quarter and 21-13 with 4:46 left in the second, the Lady Indians closed the half on a 14-0 run and never relinquished the lead beyond that point. 

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GAME STORY: Wylie boys come up just short in loss to district co-leader Lubbock Cooper

Coming off back-to-back wins over Lubbock Monterey and Lubbock Coronado, the Wylie boys basketball team flirted with its first three-game winning streak of the season Friday at Bulldog Gym.

But leading District 4-5A co-leader Lubbock Cooper 49-48 with less than a minute remaining in a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the Bulldogs received one too many counter punches in a tough 52-49 loss.

Up by a point with about 40 seconds to play, It looked as though Wylie might pull off the upset when Colby Tanner stole a pass to force an apparent fouling situation for Cooper. But Pirates star Bryan Elliott stole the ball right back and turned the live-ball turnover into an uncontested layup for what proved to be the winning points.

After Elliott knocked down a pair of free throws for his 24th and 25th points with 5.2 seconds remaining in the game, Wylie had a chance to force overtime. But Dylan Jennings’ 3-pointer off a well designed and executed and inbounds play rimmed out, allowing Cooper to escape with the win.

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FEATURE: Versatile Edgar using old-school two-point jumpers to take up the slack at Cisco

Photos courtesy of Cisco High School

CISCO — Last year as a junior, Cisco guard Layne Edgar was a respectable player outside of the limelight — distributing the ball to a solid corps of shooters and acting as reliable third or fourth scoring option. 

But an unfortunate thing happened to Cisco on the way to the 2020-21 basketball season: Three of the Loboes’ top scorers — Dawson Hearne (knee injury), Steven Bird (illness) and Kason Conring (knee injury) — haven’t been able to contribute as expected.

This has forced coach Kevin Hearne to turn to Edgar as a surprising safety net. And thus far, the 18-year-old has set a blistering pace, averaging 22.7 points per game.

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