Author: Daniel Youngblood

GAME STORY: Wylie girls pick up much-needed win over LHS to kick off doubleheader sweep

Off to an 0-3 start to District 4-5A play and hosting a quality Lubbock High squad, the Wylie girls basketball team found itself in a near must-win situation Tuesday at Bulldog Gym.

And with their backs against the wall, the Lady Bulldogs responded exactly the way coach Amy Powell had hoped they would.

Following a 16-9 second-quarter run to build a 26-17 halftime lead, WHS used a strong defensive effort to keep the Lady Westerners at arm’s length the rest of the night, scoring a 50-38 win to set the stage for a doubleheader sweep of LHS.

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan 17-23)

With all of the area’s boys teams now in district play, we’ve hit the most fun stretch of the high school basketball season. From here on, every game matters as squads battle it out in an effort to make — and later, advance in — the playoffs.

With the season heating up, it’s time to start taking a deeper look at the what our area’s boys teams are up to, and that’s just what we’ll be doing until season’s end in this weekly column. In highlighting the top matchups of the coming week and the top results of the previous one, we’ll let you know the games and teams we’re keeping an eye on — and some you might want to as well.

We hope you enjoy our first installment of This Week in Boys Basketball.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cooper, Wylie boys open District 4-5A play with victories

LUBBOCK — Led by forward Jaelyn Rivera, who dropped a career-high 28 points on Tuesday, the Cooper boys basketball team opened District 4-5A play with a 63-51 over Lubbock High, improving to 14-7 with the victory.

Rivera accounted for 12 of the Cougars’ 25 field goals and went 4 of 5 from the free-throw line to lead a list of three Cooper players in double figures. Jalen Cherry hit four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points while Colin Reed finished with 10.

Continue reading “LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cooper, Wylie boys open District 4-5A play with victories”

GAME STORY: Greathouse’s late bucket fuels Big Spring boys to thrilling win at Snyder

SNYDER — Tied with Snyder after his technical foul allowed the Tigers to even things up with just over 40 seconds remaining Tuesday, Big Spring guard Gavin Greathouse could have allowed that momentary lapse to be his final impression on the game. 

Instead, the senior followed the miscue with one of the biggest shots of his career. 

With the game still deadlocked more than 30 seconds later, Greathouse dribbled himself free for a 17-foot jumper that hit nothing but net on the way down, giving the Steers a 46-44 lead with 4.4 seconds remaining. And after a series of timeouts, the Big Spring defense did the rest, securing a win by the same score to complete a doubleheader sweep at Tiger Gym.

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GAME STORY: Hot-shooting Eagles, sharp-dressed coaches pick up much-needed win over MHS

With his team coming off back-to-back losses to open District 2-6A play, Abilene High boys basketball coach Justin Reese felt he needed to shake things up heading into Tuesday’s home matchup against Midland High.

So naturally, as a superstitious former athlete, he chose to focus on the area most likely to impact the Eagles’ play in a positive manner — coaching staff wardrobe.

Trading in their khakis and polo shirts for suits, Reese and his assistants got just the results they were looking for as Abilene High knocked down 15 3-pointers in a 65-40 wire-to-wire win over the Bulldogs.

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All-Big Country Preps Football Team: Rising Stars Team

Here are our selections for the 2021 All-Big Country Preps Rising Stars Team — an honor reserved for the area’s top freshman and sophomore football players. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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GAME STORY: Assistant Carroll coaches Wylie boys to come-from-behind win over Aledo

Playing without head coach Gregg Ruffin and assistant Jody Harvey, who were unavailable for Friday’s nondistrict game against Aledo, the Wylie boys basketball team still managed to outlast the Bearcats for a 42-33 victory at Bulldog Gym.

With assistant Seth Carroll stepping in as acting head coach, the Bulldogs overcame a nine-point first half to take control of the game in third quarter, before holding off a late challenge in the fourth to improve to 12-11 on the season.

Wylie, which was was also without guards Dylan Jennings and Kazion Brown, outscored Aledo 19-2 in the the first eight minutes out of halftime to turn a 17-9 deficit at the break into a 28-19 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cooper, Wylie girls fall in District 4-5A openers

The Cooper and Wylie girls basketball teams both opened District 4-5A play with losses Friday, as the Lady Cougars fell 66-50 to No. 8 Lubbock Cooper and the Lady Bulldogs were beaten 58-40 by Lubbock Monterey.

Those results put district favorites Lubbock Cooper and Monterey in a first-place tie with Lubbock High, which downed Lubbock Coronado 49-42 Friday night, while Abilene Cooper, Wylie and Coronado are a game behind in a tough six-team district.

Cooper will travel to Monterey for a difficult road test and Wylie will play at Coronado when league play resumes on Tuesday.

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GAME STORY: Late rally lifts Cooper girls over Stephenville in nondistrict thriller

Trailing Stephenville 49-44 with less than 40 seconds remaining, the Cooper girls basketball team appeared to be headed for a hard-luck loss to the No. 21 team in Class 4A on Tuesday at Cougar Gym.

But in a game chock full of extended runs and wild momentum swings, the Lady Cougars had one more rally left in them.

CHS closed the game with six consecutive points — the final four on pressure-packed free throws by Karrigan Parrott — to claim a thrilling 50-49 win in its final nondistrict game before opening District 4-5A play against eighth-ranked Lubbock Cooper on Friday.

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GAME STORY: Cooper boys pull away for nondistrict road win at Sweetwater

SWEETWATER — The Cooper boys basketball team outscored Sweetwater 40-20 over the middle two quarters Friday to overcome a slow start and pull away for a 70-49 nondistrict win over the Mustangs.

Playing an SHS team that was coming off a tournament championship in Anson, the Cougars led their Class 4A foe by just two points (15-13) after one quarter. But coach Bryan Conover’s squad used a 24-6 run through the second period to take a 20-point lead into halftime and was never threatened after that.

The victory moved Cooper to 11-7 on the year and improved the Coogs to 3-1 since returning from the Christmas break. CHS went 2-1 at the Snyder tournament earlier this week, defeating Snyder (45-36) and Fabens (59-32) before falling by seven to Amarillo Caprock.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Stamford girls rally past Holliday to claim title at Eula Holiday Classic

EULA — Trailing Holliday 46-37 with about 2½ minutes remaining on Wednesday, it looked as though the Stamford girls basketball team’s run at the Eula Holiday Classic would end one win shy of the tournament championship.

But having already won tournament titles at Ballinger and Merkel this season, the Lady Bulldogs had no intention of letting a chance at a third championship slip past them without a fight.

Despite struggling on both ends for most of the night, coach Joe Crabb’s squad closed regulation on a 9-0 run, getting a trio of clutch free throws from Tylee Jo Bevel with just over four seconds remaining to force overtime before pulling away in the extra period for a thrilling 58-52 victory.

The Lady Bulldogs’ dramatic win closed out an action-packed Holiday Classic, which also saw Hermleigh win the girls third-place game, the Jim Ned boys finish fourth and Eula and Early win consolation titles on the girls and boys side, respectively.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Stamford girls advance to title game at Eula Holiday Classic

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.

Continue reading “TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Stamford girls advance to title game at Eula Holiday Classic”

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Jim Ned boys, Hermleigh girls advance to semis on Day 1 of Eula Holiday Classic

The Jim Ned boys and Hermleigh girls both advanced to the semifinals of the Eula Holiday Classic on Monday, headlining a list of six Big Country teams still vying for a championship at the annual tournament.

Eula will try to join Jim Ned in the boys semifinals when play resumes Tuesday, while Eastland, Lingleville and Stamford all remain alive in the girls quarterfinals.

Eula is set to take on Bells in boys quarterfinals action at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Eula Middle School. The girls bracket, meanwhile, will feature quarterfinals matchups between Eastland and Tolar at 9:30 Tuesday and Lingleville and Stamford at 10:40 — both at Eula High School’s Mary Mosley Gymnasium.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned girls, boys pull away from Ballinger for doubleheader sweep

TUSCOLA — For a quarter Tuesday, the Ballinger Ladycats gave third-ranked and undefeated Jim Ned all it could handle in the opening game of a District 6-3A basketball doubleheader at Bill Thornton Arena. But the Lady Indians countered with a 17-4 run through the second period and were never threatened again in a 62-37 victory.

Facing a zone look from the Ladycats, it took Jim Ned a little time to find its footing offensively. But after Ballinger rallied from an early 8-2 deficit to take a brief lead at 11-10, coach Hunter Cooley’s squad finished the first quarter on a 5-2 run before hitting six of its eight 3-pointers over the next two periods to pull take an 18-point lead into the final quarter.

From there, it was academic as the Lady Indians improved to 16-0 overall and 3-0 in league play with the comfortable win.

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GAME STORY: Playmaker Eakin, opportunistic defense fuel Stephenville to sixth state title

ARLINGTON — After grinding out a trio of one-score wins to earn their way to the Class 4A Division I state championship game, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets spared their fans any unnecessary suspense Friday against top-ranked Austin LBJ.

The No. 2 Yellow Jackets rode a picture perfect start to a 24-0 second-quarter lead and held off the Jaguars from there to claim their sixth state championship with a 38-21 win.

SHS, which finished undefeated at 16-0, recovered fumbles on each of LBJ’s first four possessions and followed those with a goal-line stand and a punt to keep an explosive Jaguar offense off the board until the waning minutes of the first half. And senior receiver Coy Eakin fueled a strong offensive start, sandwiching a pair of first-half touchdown catches around a scoring run and a Corbin Poston field goal to put the Jackets in control by halftime.

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Brock ran into under-the-radar buzzsaw in Lorena

ARLINGTON — During a 15-0 run to the state championship in which they outscored their opponents by an average margin of 51-13, the Brock Eagles looked nearly invincible.

Ranked No. 2 for most of the season behind defending state champion Jim Ned, the Eagles cruised through Region I, routing the top-ranked Indians 70-25 in the third round before finally being tested in a 35-28 overtime win over Mount Vernon in the state semifinals.

It wasn’t until the state title game, however, that Brock finally met its match. And after Thursday’s 35-18 loss to Lorena, no other explanation’s really necessary.

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