Month: February 2022

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cisco’s Hearne takes the award after leading Loboes to regional

  

Clutch players are at their best in clutch moments, and Cisco senior Dawson Hearne has fit squarely into that category throughout his memorable high school career. 

His latest effort saw him drop a game-winning jumper with 0:03 left in a 43-42 area round win over eighth-ranked Tolar, during which he posted a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds. 

Earlier in the week our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the week had also charted a double-double of 19 points, 11 boards and five assists as Cisco eliminated Windthorst, 58-33, in the bi-district round.  

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GAME STORY: Robert Lee girls earn first trip to state in 45 years with come-from-behind win over Hermleigh

SNYDER — As her team climbed a ladder to cut down the nets in the wake of a 53-50 win over Hermleigh at Invenergy Court, Robert Lee coach Brandye Wilson struggled to keep the tears from flowing. 

She lost that battle. 

With the Lady Steers having won the Region II-1A title to earn their first trip to the state tournament in 45 years, the wave of emotion she felt as her players celebrated was too big to hold back. 

Overcoming an early 12-4 deficit, a jittery Robert Lee club rallied with a big second quarter and outlasted Hermleigh in a seesaw second half to get the win. 

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GAME STORY: Stamford girls down defending champ Lipan to claim first state berth

McKINNEY — Facing the defending state champion Lipan Lady Indians with a trip to the Class 2A state tournament on the line, the Stamford Lady Bulldogs looked like anything but a team playing in its first region title game Saturday at McKinney North High School.

Having already achieved the program’s deepest playoff run ever with Friday’s 59-49 region semifinal win over Muenster, SHS led the Lipan wire to wire, building a double-digit lead in the third quarter before pulling away in the fourth for a 49-33 victory.

The victory, which extended the Lady Bulldogs’ streak of double-digit playoff wins to five, improved Stamford’s record to 34-2 and earned coach Joe Crabb’s squad a trip to San Antonio next week for the state tournament.

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GAME STORY: Stamford girls take care of No. 6 Muenster to earn first region final appearance

McKINNEY — The Stamford girls basketball team made a little history Friday night at McKinney North High School, rolling through No. 6 Muenster 59-49 in the Region II-2A semifinals to cement the 2021-22 campaign as their greatest season ever.

The Lady Bulldogs never trailed after the 1:27 mark of the first quarter, increasing their lead to 20 points in the fourth before the Lady Hornets got hot from 3-point range late to pull back within 10 by the final buzzer.

The victory improved SHS to 32-2 on the year, earning the Lady Bulldogs their first region championship appearance in program history. They’ll now take on defending state champion Lipan (31-5) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with a spot at the Class 2A state tournament on the line.

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GAME STORY: Canadian tops Jim Ned in regional thriller

WOLFFORTH — Trailing Canadian by three with six seconds to play, the Jim Ned Lady Indians had the shot they wanted and the player they wanted taking it — senior guard Claire Graham. 

As fate would have it, however, Graham’s shot went in, bounced out, went in again and then bounced out again to leave Jim Ned on the short end of an eventual 37-32 loss in the Region I-3A semifinals on Friday.

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GAME STORY: Jones, Brock dominate Merkel in area-round win

CISCO — Brock senior Nathan Jones missed the first 31 games of the Eagles basketball season as he recovered from a broken foot suffered during football season.

That hasn’t stopped the Big Ten-bound star from dominating on the basketball court the last two weeks in his first four games of the year.

The latest example came Friday night, when Jones put up 32 points and 18 rebounds to lead Brock past Merkel 83-36 in a Region I-3A area-round game at Cisco’s Ray Saunders Gymnasium.

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS TRACK: Top area prospects for the 2022 season

With the track season getting underway, it is time for Big Country Preps to take a look at the area’s top girls track and field athletes returning for 2022. 

Below, we list our top three returnees for each individual event along with additional regional and state threats in each classification.  Top relay times from last year are listed at the bottom. 

We’ll see you at the track!

Enjoy! 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS TRACK: Top area prospects for the 2022 season

With the track season getting underway, it is time for Big Country Preps to take a look at the area’s top boys track and field athletes returning for 2022. 

Below, we list our Top Three returnees for each individual event along with additional regional and state threats in each classification.  Top relay times from last year are listed at the bottom. 

We’ll see you at the track!

Enjoy! 

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BREAKING: Ballinger’s Lipsey looks back on his career and announces his retirement

After a lengthy career spanning multiple decades, Chuck Lipsey has decided to hang up his whistle and retire from coaching, he announced on Friday.

In 21 years as a head coach, Lipsey compiled a record of 157-88 with stops at five schools: Winters, Whitewright, Bangs, Brady and Ballinger.

Lipsey led 20 of his 21 squads to the postseason, making it as deep as the state semifinals in 2002 with Winters, regional finals in 2003 with Whitewright and the regional semifinals during his time at Bangs (2012, 2013) and Ballinger (2020).

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GAME RECAP: Amarillo Tascosa pulls away late for 56-47 bi-district win over Wylie boys

CHILDRESS — Amarillo Tascosa outscored the Wylie boys basketball team 22-14 over the final eight minutes Tuesday to turn a one-point lead after three quarters into a 56-47 win in a Region I-5A bi-district matchup at the Childress High School gym.

The Rebels, who trailed by two at halftime, held just a three-point lead with two minutes remaining. But Tascosa closed the game on a 10-4 run to secure the win and end the Bulldogs’ season at 18-16.

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GAME STORY: Canyon Randall hits late 3 to rally past Cooper, end Coogs’ season

POST — Leading Canyon Randall by four points in the final minute after rallying from a 10-point second-quarter deficit, the Cooper boys basketball team looked poised to earn its first playoff victory since 2017 on Tuesday at Antelope Arena.

But hope turned to heartbreak as a series of unfortunate events resulted in a painful reversal of fortunes in a 46-45 bi-district loss.

After Randall scored to trim the deficit to 45-43 with just under 21 seconds remaining, a Cooper turnover gave the Raiders the ball right back with a chance to tie or take the lead. The Cougars forced a missed runner on the ensuing possession, but Colin Reed collided with a teammate on the rebound, resulting in a traveling call.

This gave Randall yet another chance, and KJ Thomas cashed in this time, nailing a high-arching jumper from well beyond the 3-point line to put the Raiders up with 7.4 seconds remaining. That proved to be the game-winner when Reed’s coast-to-coast drive ended with a miss and Cooper couldn’t secure the offensive rebound for a putback opportunity.

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GAME STORY: Hermleigh girls take down Eula in regional quarterfinals

For Duane Hopper, there truly is no place like home.

The former Wylie standout guard returned to his former gym on Tuesday night as the coach of the Hermleigh girls, and after a 54-39 win over Eula, Hopper has the Lady Cardinals in the regional tournament for the fifth consecutive year.

Having also starred for Hardin-Simmons University, having the chance to lead a team in front of his hometown crowd is something that he relishes, especially when Hermleigh was the only school to give him an opportunity coming out of HSU.

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GAME STORY: Stamford rallies to eliminate Haskell as Crabb earns career win No. 700

HASKELL — There are much easier places in the Big Country to secure a road win than Haskell’s “TeePee”. So when Stamford girls coach Joe Crabb lost a coin flip which forced his Lady Bulldogs to face the Maidens there in a Region II-2A quarterfinal on Tuesday, he knew he had a difficult task at hand. 

Crabb got exactly what he expected: A fired-up Haskell team and a raucous crowd which forced Stamford to rally in the fourth quarter for a 57-46 win — the 700th victory in Crabb’s lengthy career. 

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GAME STORY: No. 5 Jim Ned girls ride fast start to blowout win over Brock, advance to I-3A semis

CISCO — After getting off to a slow start in its area-round win over Holliday on Friday, the Jim Ned girls basketball team took a distinctly different path Monday against Brock.

The fifth-ranked Lady Indians raced out to a 19-5 first-quarter lead and never let the Lady Eagles recover in a 61-34 win in a region quarterfinal matchup at Ray Saunders Gym.

Jim Ned frustrated Brock with its pressure defense and made shot after shot on the other end to cruise into the Region I-3A tournament later this week at Wolfforth Frenship High School.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stamford’s Gutierrez claims this week’s award

Stamford softball ace Citlaly Gutierrez is no stranger to the Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column, having made multiple appearances in its top 10 since her freshman year three years ago. 

Having helped SHS to a Class 2A state title last spring, the senior right-hander picked up right where she left off last week, posting a 3-0 record against three straight larger schools at the Brock tournament. 

Earning wins over Wichita Falls City View (4-0), Brock (1-0) and Mansfield Legacy (4-1), Gutierrez finished with 41 strikeouts and only one run allowed in three starts. This included 15 Ks in the win over Legacy. 

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Big Country Preps Preseason Baseball Position Rankings: Utility Players

After recognizing the Big Country’s top pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders, we wrap up our baseball position rankings series with the area’s multi-position standouts.

For the final installment in our five-part series, we take a look at the top utility players, ranking our top-10 with others to watch in 2022.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through these lists and are as excited as we are that baseball season is underway.

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FEATURE: An Unusual Mix — Senior-laden Eagles are led by a freshman

The Goldthwaite boys’ basketball team lists seven seniors on its roster, yet the Eagles’ leading scorer is freshman Luke Sanderson.

A 5-foot-10 guard, Sanderson leads Goldthwaite in scoring at 16.6 points per game, assists at 2.9 per game, steals at 2.1 per game, and free-throw shooting at 74 percent. He also ranks second on the team in rebounds at 6.1 per game and in field goal shooting at 48 percent.

This on a playoff-bound team that has seven seniors in guards Jackson Patrick, Seth Gardner and Saul Vaquera; forwards Cason Guthrie, Bryson Keel and Cole Hermesmeyer; and center Kody Roberts.

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FEATURE: Early’s 6-5 Vic Cooper learns to deal with collapsing defenses

Photos by Mike Jones of MJ Photography and Shayla Kirby

Early High School’s Vic Cooper was a good basketball player last season, when he averaged 16.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a junior. But second-year Early coach Eric Davis said Cooper is even better this season as a senior.

“The biggest improvements are in his strength and toughness,” Davis said of the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Cooper. “He’s also improved his ball-handling skills, shooting touch and court vision to make himself a more versatile player. He’s not as raw as he was last year, and he was pretty good last year.”

Another big difference in Cooper this season is his handling of opposing defenses that collapse on him in the paint.

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FEATURE: Jaybirds heading into the playoffs simply wanting to enjoy the experience

When the UIL boys basketball playoffs start this week, Jayton will enter as one of several highly ranked favorites to capture Region I-A.  

A third trip to state in four years would be quite an accomplishment for Ryan Bleiker’s program. However, that’s not on the mind of the longtime Jaybirds coach right now.  

“We really do just try to enjoy the process, enjoy each win,” Bleiker said. “What I never want to happen is that we take things for granted, that winning a bi-district game doesn’t mean as much. I really want us to try and enjoy each moment while also having goals, but those goals will come if we enjoy the process.”  

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Big Country Preps Preseason Baseball Position Rankings: Outfielders

For the fourth installment of our five-part baseball position rankings series, we shift our focus from the infield dirt to the outfield grass.

After highlighting the Big Country’s top pitchers, catchers and infielders earlier this week, we now do the same with the area’s best outfielders, ranking our top 10 with others to watch in 2022.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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Big Country Preps Preseason Baseball Position Rankings: Infielders

After ranking  the top pitchers and catchers on the Big Country baseball scene the past two nights, we now turn our attention to the infield.

For the third installment in our five-part position rankings series, we list our top-10 infielders in the area with a list of others to watch in 2022.

We hope you enjoy reading through our rankings.

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GAME STORY: Brock girls advance to regional quarterfinals with 53-26 win over Coahoma

CLYDE — A combination of Brock’s defense and foul trouble ended the Coahoma girl’s season on Saturday in a 53-26 area round win for the Lady Eagles. 

Hallie McPherson scored 17 points and Halli Hyatt added 14 more to lead Brock, which advances to face Jim Ned in the Region I-3A quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on Monday in Cisco.  

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GAME STORY: No. 13 Stamford girls overwhelm Tolar in 70-28 area-round win

EASTLAND — Playing a Tolar team that had amassed 26 wins coming into Friday’s Region II-2A area-round matchup at Marshall Gym, the 13th-ranked Stamford girls basketball team didn’t want to give the Lady Rattlers any opportunity to get momentum on their side. 

So the Lady Bulldogs didn’t.

Instead, coach Joe Crabb’s squad opened the game on a 17-2 run and cruised from there to a dominating 70-28 win to advance to the Region II-2A quarterfinals where they’ll face district mate Haskell next week at a time, date and place to be determined.

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GAME STORY: Peaster hits Lady Hawks with two big runs, eliminates Wall 70-41

ABILENE — Locked in a half-court battle with heavily favored Peaster on Friday, the Wall Lady Hawks had the look of a team capable of pulling off a titanic upset at Abilene Christian’s Teague Center. 

That is, until Peaster turned the Region I-3A area round matchup into a full-court game, and literally pressured its way to a 70-41 win. 

Brooklyn Bosher and Payton Hull both scored 24 points with three 3-pointers apiece to lift Peaster (33-4) which advances to face Nocona in the regional quarterfinals next week. 

Leading 27-23 at the break, Peaster used the second of two lengthy runs to put Wall on the ropes, ripping through the third quarter with a 22-5 margin for a 49-28 lead heading into the final period. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned girls turn slow start into big win over Holliday

STAMFORD — Heading into Friday’s Region I-3A area-round matchup with Holliday, the fifth-ranked Jim Ned girls basketball team had won 31 games by 1,100 points, an average of 35.5 points per game.

While it wasn’t as comfortable as most of their games this year, just eight of which were decided by 15 points or less, the Lady Indians were able to move on in their pursuit of their third state championship with a 59-36 win over the Lady Eagles at Bulldog Gymnasium.

Jim Ned has made the state tournament three times in school history, winning the title in the 1993-94 and 2007-08 seasons and falling in the semifinals in 2011-12 to Brock, which went on to win the title. To get back to state this year, the Lady Indians will first need to survive a brutal Region I-3A field.

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Big Country Preps Preseason Baseball Position Rankings: Catchers

After opening our baseball position rankings series with the pitchers on Thursday, it’s time to shift our attention to their battery mates.

For the second installment in our five-part series, we celebrate the Big Country’s top catchers, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch in 2022.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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GAME STORY: Goldthwaite girls see their season end in 38-34 loss to Three Rivers

DRIPPING SPRINGS – The Three Rivers Lady Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter and beat the Goldthwaite Lady Eagles 38-34 Thursday night in a Class 2A girls’ area playoff basketball game.

Guard Andrea Valdez made a 3-point shot that gave Three Rivers a 36-34 lead with 34 seconds left to play. After a Goldthwaite turnover, Three Rivers missed two free throws, but Amie Valdez grabbed the rebound. The Lady Eagles were forced to foul, and Mayah Brogdon made two free throws that extended the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 38-34 with 18 seconds left.

Three Rivers (26-8) advanced to play the winner of Friday’s Mason-Port Aransas game. Goldthwaite (22-13) finished fourth in District 29-2A this season and was hoping for a rematch with Mason in the regional quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.

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Big Country Preps Preseason Baseball Position Rankings: Pitchers

After kicking off the spring sports season with our softball position rankings last week, it’s time to turn our attention to the the baseball field and the players you’ll be reading about throughout the 2022 campaign.

For the first installment in a five-part series that will cover all position groups on the area baseball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the Big Country’s best pitchers, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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