EULA — After winning the Merkel and Ballinger tournaments, the Stamford girls basketball team put itself in position to win a third on Tuesday, advancing to the championship game of the Eula Holiday Classic with lopsided wins over Lingleville and Tolar.
The Lady Bulldogs, who routed Miles 75-31 on the tournament’s opening day Monday, cruised through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds as well, defeating Lingleville 58-17 and Tolar 56-20 to earn a matchup with Holliday in the girls title game at 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Stamford was the only Big Country team to reach the championship game, as the Jim Ned boys and Hermleigh girls both fell in the semifinals on Tuesday — the Indians to Tolar 50-29 and the Lady Cardinals to Holliday 44-37.
The Lady Bulldogs faced little resistance on their way to Wednesday’s title game, using aggressive zone defense and efficient offense to pull away early from both opponents.
After routing Lingleville in Tuesday’s early game, coach Joe Crabb’s squad raced out to a 33-14 halftime lead against Tolar, before putting the game completely out of reach with a 14-3 run through the third quarter.
“We seem to be getting better and better defensively, and that’s kind of where it all starts for us,” Crabb said. “It produces our offense for us, and that’s pretty much it. We’re just trying to get ready for that stretch run in district. We’ve got some tough opponents, and I felt like we did better today defensively. All in all, I’m pretty pleased.”
Lainee Lefevre scored a game-high 18 points in the semifinal win, while Laylonna Applin added 14 points and Shandlee Mueller scored 11.
Heading into the championship game against Holliday, Crabb said his team’s focus is to continue getting better at the things it does well so it can be at its best when it resumes district play next week.
“We played two pretty solid teams (Tuesday) and we know we’re going to have our hands full (Wednesday) with Holliday,” the coach said. “I’ve been up at Bowie the last couple of years and they’ve been in our district and we had some battles with them, so I kind of know what they’re all about.
“But we won the Ballinger tournament and the Merkel tournament, so this will be the third time to get in the championship. We’ve got Anson next Tuesday, so it’s big for us.”
The Big Country almost had two teams in the girls title game, but Hermleigh couldn’t hold onto a fourth-quarter lead against Tolar. The Lady Cardinals led Holliday 22-19 at halftime and 33-28 after three quarters, but coach Duane Hopper’s squad was outscored 16-4 over the final eight minutes to fall to the Lady Eagles by seven.
Hermleigh, which routed larger schools from Early (58-38) and Colorado City (55-27) in the first two rounds, were led in the semifinal loss by freshman post Hailey Minton with 10 points. Sarah Murphy added eight points, while Summer Smith scored seven and Destiney Hopkins and Juli Munoz both pitched in six in a balanced scoring effort.
On the boys side, Jim Ned was the only team to reach the semifinals after defeating Lingleville (62-46) and Holliday (47-38) on Monday. But after a promising start against Tolar, the Indians were beaten soundly by Tolar in Tuesday’s semifinal.
Jim Ned, which got 11 points from Ben Eshelman and seven from Xavier Wishert, was tied with the Rattlers after a quarter, but a late Tolar to end the second quarter left the Indians in a 25-15 hole at halftime. Coach Blake Allen’s squad outscored THS 11-8 in the third quarter to pull back within seven heading into the fourth but was outscored 17-3 over the final eight minutes to fall into Wednesday’s third-place game.
Tolar will take on New Deal in the boys championship game at 4 p.m. Wednesday, while Jim Ned will take on Bells for third place at noon.
Bells advanced to the semifinals with a narrow 50-48 win in the quarterfinals over the tournament host Eula Pirates — the only other area boys team still alive in the winner’s bracket heading into Tuesday’s action.
Eula will take on Clyde and Holliday in winner’s bracket consolation games on Wednesday with a chance to finish fifth with wins over both.
EULA HOLIDAY CLASSIC
Game 1: Ballinger 44, Eula 27
Game 4: Holliday 62, Eula JV 26
Game 2: Hermleigh 58, Early 38
Game 5: Colorado City 37, Huckabay 36
Game 6: Tolar 45, Clyde 36
Game 7: Eastland 52, New Deal 41
Game 3: Lingleville 43, Christoval 39
Game 8: Stamford 75, Miles 31
Game 9: Holliday 46, Ballinger 34
Game 10: Hermleigh 55, Colorado City 27
Game 12: Tolar 45, Eastland 34
Game 13: Stamford 58, Lingleville 17
Game 18: Holliday 44, Hermleigh 37
Game 20: Stamford 56, Tolar 20
Game 17: Ballinger 61, Colorado City 28
Game 19: Eastland 47, Lingleville 44
Game 27: Colorado City vs. Lingleville: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 25: Ballinger vs. Eastland: 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 29: Hermleigh vs. Tolar: 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 32: Holliday vs. Stamford: 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 11: Eula vs. Eula JV: not played (Eula varsity advances)
Game 14: Huckabay 54, Early 31
Game 15: Clyde 41, New Deal 28
Game 16: Christoval 35, Miles 34
Game 21: Eula 57, Huckabay 54
Game 22: Clyde 53, Christoval 35
Game 23: Eula JV vs. Early: 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 24: New Deal vs. Miles: 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 28: Game 23 loser vs. Game 24 loser: 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, Clyde High School
Game 31: Game 23 winner vs. Game 24 winner: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Clyde High School
Game 26: Huckabay vs. Christoval: noon Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 30: Eula vs. Clyde: 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 1: Clyde 66, Miles 47
Game 3: Tolar 54, Early 41
Game 2: Jim Ned 62, Lingleville 46
Game 5: Holliday 58, Eldorado 33
Game 6: Bells 56, Colorado City 28
Game 7: Eula 59, Breckenridge 46
Game 4: Eastland 63, Brady 39
Game 8: New Deal 63, Eastland 38
Game 12: New Deal 53, Brady 32
Game 9: Tolar 69, Clyde 57
Game 10: Jim Ned 47, Holliday 38
Game 11: Bells 50, Eula 48
Game 17: Tolar 50, Jim Ned 29
Game 19: New Deal 52, Bells 46
Game 16: Holliday 59, Clyde 41
Game 22: Eula vs. Clyde: 8 a.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 26: Holliday vs. Eula: 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 24: Jim Ned vs. Bells: noon Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 29: Tolar vs. New Deal: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Eula High School
Game 13: Early 66, Miles 40
Game 15: Lingleville 56, Eldorado 48
Game 14: Colorado City 56, Breckenridge 34
Game 23: Early vs. Lingleville: 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 20: Colorado City 41, Eastland 39
Game 21: Miles vs. Eldorado: 8 a.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 18: Breckenridge 42, Brady 39
Game 27: Game 21 loser vs. Brady: noon Wednesday, Clyde High School
Game 25: Game 21 winner vs. Breckenridge: 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, Clyde High School
Game 28: Game 23 loser vs. Eastland: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School
Game 30: Game 23 winner vs. Colorado City: 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, Eula Middle School