Month: January 2022

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Merkel senior takes this week’s award

 

When selecting our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week, it’s not entirely about numbers, though that’s certainly a part of it. The quality of the competition counts, as does the importance of the game itself.

And when factoring in all of the above, nobody had a better overall week than Merkel senior Alyssa O’Malley, who has been among the area’s most consistent performers all season. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan 31-Feb. 6)

We’re down to the final three weeks of the boys basketball regular season, and district title and playoff races are starting to take shape. But there’s still plenty to be decided in these last few games of league play. 

With every game holding extra significance and teams beginning to play with playoff urgency, area basketball fans are in for a treat these next few weeks.

With that being the case, let’s take a look at what the upcoming week holds on the area boys basket scene.

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EVAN REN: This week in Big Country girls basketball (Jan. 31-Feb. 6)

We’re down to the final two weeks of regular season play for girls basketball, which means every game carries a heavy significance. 

Before you know it, the Big Dance will begin. But first, we need to see who gets invited. 

We now take our weekly look at Big Country girls hoops — the top games of this week and the most important results of last week. 

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GAME STORY: Cooper boys rally but fall short in tough home loss to Lubbock Monterey

Entering the night tied with Lubbock Monterey and Wylie atop the District 4-5A standings, the Cooper boys had a chance to gain a leg up on the Plainsmen when they visited Cougar Gym on Friday.

But after rallying from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to take a 53-52 lead with 3:14 remaining, the Cougars were outscored 13-5 the rest of the way in a tough 65-58 loss.

It was the second consecutive loss for Cooper, which fell 60-39 at Lubbock Cooper on Tuesday after coming into the week one of just two District 4-5A teams without a loss through three league games.

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GAME STORY: Reed’s clutch 3 lifts Wylie over Coronado, into thick of District 4-5A playoff race

Mykala Reed’s 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining broke a 48-all tie and proved to be the game-winner for Wylie in a key 51-48 win over Lubbock Coronado on Friday at Bulldog Gym.

The Lady Bulldogs, who led by nine at half, found themselves down five (48-43) with 3:10 remaining in the game. But a corner 3 from Caroline Steadman pulled WHS back within two, before Kenyah Maroney tied the game with a layup.

That — and a couple of big stops on the defensive end — set up Reed’s big shot, which sent the crowd into a frenzy and ultimately pulled the Lady Bulldogs right back into the thick of the District 4-5A playoff race.

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GAME STORY: Eula pulls away late in both games to sweep May

EULA — Cayden Franklin led a trio of Eula players in double digits with 16 points and the Pirates pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 62-46 win over May in District 13-1A play on Friday night at Mary Mosley Gymnasium.

It marked the Pirates 60th consecutive win in district play, a milestone first-year head coach Shae Sanford was happy to hit.

“It’s a pretty special tradition around here and I’m honored to get to be a part of it,” he said. “Hopefully we can extend it another five games this year and keep battling after that.”

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GAME STORY: Brock sweeps varsity doubleheader from Early

BROCK — With both clubs chasing Peaster for a possible league title and a No. 2 seed also in the balance, the Brock and Early boys arrived for Friday’s District 8-3A matchup  knowing full well what was at stake.  

And so did the crowd at BHS, as the Eagles rallied from a six-point first-half deficit to top Early 45-34 in an atmosphere the rivaled playoff intensity. Tyce Gentry scored 15 points and Sawyer Strosnider added 10 more to lead Brock (20-8, 8-1), which remains one game behind Peaster in the league title hunt. 

The win capped a varsity doubleheader sweep for BHS, which also took the girls game 52-26 earlier in the evening. 

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FEATURE: At 25 points and 9 rebounds per game, Hico’s Booth drawing flattering comparisons

HICO — As Grace Booth nears the halfway point of her high school basketball career, the Hico sophomore can’t help but draw comparisons to Marissa Warren, the previous Lady Tigers’ star player.

“Oh yeah, you can compare them. They’re actually very similar,” longtime Hico girls’ coach Brad Stegall said. “Grace is a little stronger, especially going to the basket and rebounding. Marissa was a little better ball handler. They both can take over a game if they need to.”

Warren, who played at 5-foot-8, was a two-time all-state point guard and three-time district MVP. Anybody objective fan from an opposing town or school that saw Warren play knew she was hands-down the best player in the district from 2016-2018.

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Big Country Boys Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 27)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

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 Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 27)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

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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BREAKING: Phil Blue set to retire as AISD’s athletics director

After a long career in coaching and administration, Abilene Independent School District Athletics Director Phil Blue announced Wednesday morning that he will be retiring from his post at the end of the school year.

Blue, who was named to his post in 2015, has spent more than 30 years of his career in coaching and administration.

AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young said in a press release that a search would begin immediately for Blue’s successor.

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GAME STORY: Winters boys hold off Forsan, take over second in tight 8-2A race

WINTERS — Playing for sole possession of second place in a hyper-competitive District 8-2A race, the Winters boys basketball team protected its home court against Forsan on Tuesday, outscoring the Buffaloes 15-10 in the fourth quarter to preserve a 46-38 victory at Blizzard Gym.

Winters, now 16-11 overall and 3-1 in league play, never trailed after after the 7:25 mark of the first quarter. But the victory was anything but easy.

After racing out to an early 9-2 lead and pushing that to 17-10 after a quarter, the Blizzards had their advantage cut to a single point in the second and fourth quarters and erased completely for a brief stint in the third. But coach Colton Holmes’ squad answered each Forsan run with one of its own to stay within a game of district leader Colorado City, which defeated Miles on Tuesday to stay perfect in 8-2A play at 4-0.

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GAME STORY: Clyde boys, girls take step towards postseason with sweep of Brady

CLYDE — The boys and girls basketball teams from both Clyde and Brady entered Tuesday’s showdown knowing they were facing a must-win situation to remain in the hunt for a playoff berth in the District 6-3A races.

While one game separated the squads in both the boys and girls standings, Tuesday’s results had a major impact on the standings as Clyde swept the doubleheader.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the night with a dominant 60-30 win, before the boys squad, under interim coach Don Heseman, pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 58-52 win.

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GAME STORY: Stamford, Cisco split varsity doubleheader at CHS

 CISCO — Stamford girls basketball coach Joe Crabb fully expected the Cisco Lady Loboes to hit his team with their best shot on Tuesday night and he had his 14th-ranked Lady Bulldogs ready for it. 

Laylonna Applin scored 21 points with three 3-pointers to lead Stamford (27-0, 9-0 District 10-2A), in a workmanlike 55-45 win in Game 1 of a varsity doubleheader.  The Cisco boys took Game 2 with a 63-30 win in the nightcap. 

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Case made: What others are saying about longtime Clyde, Cooper basketball coach

Marc Case impacted hundreds of lives during his time as a high school basketball coach across several decades.

His decision Monday to step away from the Clyde boys basketball team due to health concerns left many of his former players and coaching colleagues from around the state stunned when the news came out on Tuesday afternoon.

Here’s what those that knew him are saying.

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UPDATED: Clyde’s Case stepping away from team due to health issues

In a stunning announcement, Clyde CISD announced on Tuesday afternoon that boys basketball coach Marc Case would be stepping down from his post effective immediately due to health issues.

The decision, which was made by the longtime coach on Monday, came as his squad is battling to remain in the District 6-3A playoff hunt with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season.

Clyde principal Don Heseman, who previously coached the Abilene High boys team, has been named the interim head coach and led the Bulldogs to a 58-52 win over Brady on Tuesday night.

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FEATURE: Seniors Smith, Terrazas fueling turnaround for Big Spring girls

At 16-10 with five district games remaining, the Big Spring girls basketball team is on pace for its first winning season since going 17-15 in 2018-19. With four more wins, the Lady Steers would secure their first 20-win campaign since 2011-12. 

Heading into Tuesday’s clash with No. 12 Levelland, the lone District 3-4A opponent to defeat Big Spring this season, Eric Tuttle’s squad is in the midst of a transformative season for the Big Spring program.

And at the heart of it, the second-year Lady Steers coach said, is a seven-player senior class led by standouts Tristan Smith and Ryen Terrazas.

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FEATURE: Parker’s faster tempo agreeing with 18-7 Lions so far

The Brownwood Lions’ basketball team has hit to court running – literally – this season under new head coach Will Parker.

Brownwood is 18-7 overall and 2-0 in District 6-4A after league wins over Gatesville, 91-66 on Tuesday, and at Stephenville, 67-59 on Friday. This week the road gets tougher as Brownwood plays at Tuesday at Glen Rose (17-5, 1-1) and hosts Lampasas (19-10, 2-0) on Friday.

“It should be a dog fight for the playoff seedings,” Parker said of the District 6-4A race. “We had a good battle with Stephenville and beat them by eight points. Gatesville beat Stephenville by two, and Lampasas beat Glen Rose by three.

“Our game at Stephenville was physical and loud. It was a rivalry game, and they had a big crowd. Our seniors stepped up. We knew we had to outrebound them to limit their second-chance points, and we outrebounded them 49-44. And we two fewer turnovers than they had.”

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Strawn’s Rigdon nabs honor with 54-point effort

More often than not, our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week has led a winning effort of some sort. But we do make exceptions, and this week’s accolade is an example of that. 

In last week’s 69-68 loss to Huckabay, Strawn freshman (yes, freshman) Grayson “Chaka” Rigdon put forth an absolutely show-stopping performance, dropping 54 points on HHS to go with 14 rebounds, two assists and three steals. This came on the heels of a 24-point, 10-rebound night he had in a 64-41 loss to Lingleville. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country girls basketball (Jan 24-30)

With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, we’ve hit the stretch run for area girls basketball teams.

Those in position to reach the postseason will be trying to solidify that standing, while teams just outside the playoff picture will be out to score that key upset that gets them back in it.

If you’re a fan of Big Country hoops, it’s a great time of year. With that said, let’s take a look at what the upcoming week holds.

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EVAN REN: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan. 24-30)

With one week left in January, you now what that means. 

From this point forward, many districts will be in the second half of their races, with multiple games having a direct impact on seeding.

This week offers several choices for area fans to choose from, both on Tuesday and Friday evening. So without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look at what’s going in area boys hoops. 

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FEATURE: Eula’s Fostel adjusting to new role as girls basketball coach

EULA — After an 18-year run as one of the most successful boys basketball coaches in the Big Country (including a Class 1A Division I state title in 2011), Eula’s Josh Fostel stepped away from his position following last season with the hopes of spending more time watching his twin daughters (Laney and Layla) play. 

As it turns out, he is now coaching them. 

With longtime EHS girls coach Jamie Masonheimer accepting the same position at Clyde during the offseason, Fostel decided to take the reins of the girls program. 

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GAME STORY: Reed’s big day fuels Cooper boys to blowout win over Coronado

Fueled by a career day by guard Colin Reed, the Cooper boys basketball team rode a near perfect start to a 67-46 win over Lubbock Coronado on Saturday afternoon, improving to 3-0 in District 4-5A play with their second home win in less than 24 hours.

Behind Reed, who scored 18 of his career-high 35 points in the first half, the Cougars raced out to a 25-7 first-quarter lead and stretched that advantage to 42-12 by halftime, ending the competitive phase of the game by the start of the third quarter.

Playing Coronado on Saturday after Tuesday’s scheduled matchup was postponed due to illness, Cooper scored the game’s first 16 points, carrying momentum over from Friday’s 54-41 win over Wylie.

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FEATURE: Brock’s Jones waiting out foot injury as playoffs approach

The last few weeks have been tough on Brock’s Nathan Jones.  

A competitive person at heart, Jones wants to be out on the court helping the Eagles. But the University of Minnesota football signee also knows the importance of letting his foot injury heal.  

The plan is for the All-Big Country Preps standout to return during the second half of district, which means fans will soon be seeing Brock’s 6-foot-6 post who averaged 19 points last season.  

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GAME STORY: Shorthanded Cooper boys, determined Wylie girls score big crosstown wins

Playing shorthanded after seeing its Tuesday game against Lubbock Coronado postponed due to illness, the Cooper boys basketball team put forth a gutsy effort Friday against crosstown rival Wylie, answering every challenge from the visiting Bulldogs on its way to a 54-41 win at Cougar Gym.

The Cougars, who practiced with just five players all week, had just six rotation players Friday. But they did enough without starting point guard Andrew Gonzalez to snap Wylie’s six-game winning streak and extend their own to five games.

Coach Bryan Conover’s squad, which improved to 15-7 overall and 2-0 in District 4-5A with the victory, saw a 30-19 halftime lead trimmed to four twice in the second half — once in the third quarter and again in the fourth. But the Coogs finished each of the final two periods on sizeable runs to put away the upset-minded Bulldogs.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville, Brownwood split varsity doubleheader

STEPHENVILLE — Just because the Stephenville boys basketball team is off to a slow start, first-year Brownwood coach Will Parker knew better heading into Friday’s district matchup with the Lions’ archrival. 

And true to form, a 6-18 SHS team put a scare into the Lions (18-7, 2-0)  who held on for a 67-59 win in a physical game played before an enthusiastic crowd  at the Stephenville gym.  The game served as the nightcap for a varsity doubleheader, with the Stephenville girls taking the first contest 51-28. 

Luke Moss scored 20 points and Bryson Monroe added 15 more to pace Brownwood (18-7, 2-0 District 6-4A), which maintained a 3-10 point lead from the 4:58 mark of the second quarter until the end of the game. 

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FEATURE: Wylie boys getting healthy, finding stride at just the right time

If you were to have watched the Wylie boys basketball team play at certain points of their nondistrict schedule, you might have had trouble believing that the Bulldogs would be 2-0 in District 4-5A play and hold a share of the district lead in the third week of January.

But taking a snapshot view of coach Gregg Ruffin’s squad at virtually any point in November or December would have left you with an incomplete picture of his team’s potential.

Rocked by injuries and illness for most of their pre-district season, Wylie is only just now putting the team it expected to have this season on the court. And riding a six-game winning streak into Friday’s road matchup with crosstown rival and defending district champion Cooper, the now-healthy Bulldogs are finding their stride at just the right time.

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FEATURE: Hard-working Merkel senior O’Malley looking to finish career off right

Alyssa O’Malley’s happy place is inside a basketball gym.

That’s where the Merkel senior spends most of her free time, honing her shot and working on her craft.

“A special coach once told me that there is always someone out there working harder than you,” O’Malley said. “There is a lot of pride taken into my work ethic as I know that the preparation side of the game is vital to the way I perform.”

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Big Country Boys Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 20)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

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 Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 20)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

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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