Author: Daniel Youngblood

GAME STORY: Williams, fast start fuel Abilene High boys to 46-38 win over Wylie

A near-perfect first half was enough for the Abilene High boys basketball team to overcome a rocky final two quarters in a 46-38 nondistrict win over Wylie on Tuesday at Eagle Gym.

The Eagles were outscored by 15 points over the final two quarters, but a 32-9 halftime lead kept coach Justin Reese’s squad from ever being threatened after the break.

The win, AHS’ fifth in its last seven games, improved the Eagles to 6-8 heading into Friday’s rematch with crosstown rival Cooper.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High girls can’t find rhythm in district-opening loss to Permian

The Abilene High girls basketball team put forth a strong defensive effort in its District 2-6A opener against Odessa Permian on Tuesday, but struggles on the other end kept the Lady Eagles from capitalizing in a 40-32 loss at Eagle Gym.

Bothered by the Lady Panthers’ ball pressure, AHS had trouble with turnovers all game. And when the Lady Eagles were able to get into their offense, they had a hard time getting open shots, finishing with just eight made field goals as a team.

Those offensive woes allowed Permian to stretch an 18-15 halftime lead to double digits by the midway point of the fourth quarter, supplying the Lady Panthers with the cushion they’d need to hold for the road victory.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 17)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 17)”

GAME STORY: Albany meets its match in 35-14 state semifinals loss to Stratford

LUBBOCK — Through their first 13 games, the Albany Lions built and unblemished record by being the most physical team on the field.

On Thursday, in its Class 2A Division II state semifinal matchup against Stratford, coach Denney Faith’s squad finally ran into a team it couldn’t move.

SHS controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, outrushing Albany 299-32, and the Lions couldn’t generate enough in the passing game to compensate, allowing the final 25 points in a 35-14 loss at Lowrey Field.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 16)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 16)”

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Wylie set to host six-team field for round-robin Catclaw Classic

A week after playing in Abilene ISD’s Raising Cane’s Key City Classic, Wylie will host five schools — including Abilene High and Cooper — for its annual boys basketball tournament, the Catclaw Classic.

In addition to the Abilene’s three local schools, Canutillo, Fort Worth Chisholm Trail and Midland Christian will be in action at the Classic, which will have a round-robin format this year.

Here is the schedule for the tournament. Check back throughout the weekend for scores, game recaps and photos from the event.

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GAME STORY: Wylie boys, girls fall at home to San Angelo Central

It’s not often you leave a 15-point loss feeling better about yourself, but such was the case for coach Gregg Ruffin and his Wylie Bulldogs on Tuesday in their nondistrict matchup with San Angelo Central.

When clock hit zeros and the final buzzer sounded at Bulldog Gym, the scoreboard showed the home team on the wrong end of a 64-49 tally. 

But after watching his young squad push the 10-1 Bobcats to the limit for the better part of three quarters, Ruffin was upbeat about the Bulldogs’ effort and what it might mean going forward.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: North Crowley tops Eaton for Cane’s Key City Classic title, Wylie drops finale

The North Crowley Panthers completed a perfect run through the Cane’s Key City Classic on Saturday, topping Northwest Eaton 49-41 in the title game to add a championship to the third-place finish they earned in the tournament’s first year back in 2019.

That matchup closed the books on the local tournament, which also saw Lewisville the Colony top McKinney Boyd 46-41 in the third-place game, Round Rock defeat defending Classic champion Fort Worth Wyatt 72-55 in the fifth-place game and San Antonio Harlan take the consolation championship with a 64-49 win over Peaster.

Wylie, the only local team in action on the Classic’s final day, fell to Justin Northwest 50-41 in a consolation game to close out the event at 2-2. Abilene High and Cooper were slated on the bracket to meet in the championship bracket seventh-place game, but the coaches chose not to play that game since the teams have two matchups forthcoming.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Abilene High, Cooper go winless on Day 2 of Cane’s Key City Classic

The second day of the Raising Cane’s Key City Classic was a rough one for the two host schools, as Abilene High and Cooper both went 0-2 on Friday after winning on Thursday to earn a spot in the championship bracket.

Abilene High dropped its quarterfinal game to Lewisville The Colony 54-29 before falling in the fifth-place semifinals to Fort Worth Wyatt 82-41, while Cooper lost in those same rounds to McKinney Boyd (63-41) and Round Rock (55-52), respectively. The Eagles and Cougars were slated to play in the seventh-place game Saturday, but the coaches elected not to play that game since the two teams are already scheduled to play each other twice in the coming weeks.

Wylie, which dropped a play-in game to Fort Worth Nolan Catholic on Thursday to fall out of bracket play, rebounded with a pair of wins on the Classic’s second day, routing Abilene High’s JV 75-34 before topping Borger 56-46.

In action not involving Abilene teams, Northwest Eaton advanced to Saturday’s title game with a 47-44 win over The Colony. They’ll take on North Crowley, which defeated Boyd 38-37 in its semifinal to advance to the tournament championship.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: AHS, Cooper earn spots in championship bracket at Cane’s Key City Classic

The Abilene High and Cooper boys basketball teams both opened the Raising Cane’s Key City Classic with victories on Thursday to earn spots in the tournament’s championship bracket, while Wylie dropped its opener and will be playing consolations games for the remainder of the three-day event.

Abilene High bounced back from a slow start to top Borger 58-45, and Cooper used a late bucket to escape its first-round matchup against Keller Timber Creek with a 52-51 win to ensure that both of the Classic’s host schools will be playing in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals when play resumes on Friday.

The Eagles (1-4) and Cougars (5-0) will be joined in the championship bracket by McKinney Boyd, Round Rock, North Crowley, Northwest Eaton, Fort Worth Wyatt and Lewisville The Colony, which also earned wins on Thursday. Plainview, Borger, San Antonio Harlan, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic, Justin Northwest, Timber Creek, Midland Christian and Peaster will make up the consolation bracket field.

Wylie, which fell 41-38 to Nolan in a hard-fought play-in game, was eliminated from title contention in both brackets but will close out the tournament with games against other teams eliminated from consolation title consideration.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 15)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 15)”

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Local boys basketball teams gear up for Cane’s Key City Classic

The Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie boys basketball teams will all be in action this week at the Raising Cane’s Key City Classic, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday on the campuses of AHS and CHS.

This will be the second playing of the local tournament since it was resurrected in 2019. All pre-district tournaments were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Here is the bracket for the 2021 Key City Classic. Check back throughout the weekend for scores, game recaps and photos from each of the tournament’s three days.

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GAME STORY: Cooper boys ‘find a way’ against No. 3 Estacado, rally for 57-53 win

On the back of each member of the Cooper boys basketball team’s jersey, you’ll find a simple phrase: “Find a way.”

That rallying cry proved more than a trite directive Tuesday, when the Cougars rallied for an unlikely 57-53 victory over Class 4A No. 3 Lubbock Estacado in a nondistrict matchup at Cougar Gym.

Trailing 51-41 with less than 4½ minutes remaining in the game and struggling to handle the Matadors intense pressure defense, the Coogs found a way — first to take better care of the basketball and then to put it through the net enough to stun their talented visitors.

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GAME STORY: Cooper girls pull away from crosstown rival Abilene High for 53-39 victory

The Cooper girls basketball team overcame an early challenge from a hot-shooting Abilene High squad Tuesday to earn a 53-39 win over its crosstown rival at Cougar Gym.

The Lady Cougars trailed on three occasions in the first quarter as the Lady Eagles knocked down three of their eight 3-pointers in the opening period. But coach Arsenio Geter’s squad closed the first half on a 15-7 run to go to halftime with a seven-point lead and held off one last push by AHS in the third quarter before finally putting the Lady Eagles away in the fourth.

Guards Karrigan Parrott and Kyla Speights fueled the effort for the Lady Coogs, scoring 16 and 13 points, respectively, to put their team back above .500 at 5-4.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville overcomes slow start to edge Argyle, advances to region title game

MANSFIELD — During its 12-0 run to the Region II-4A semifinals, the Stephenville football team didn’t have to play from behind very often.

But facing a tough Argyle squad Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium, the Yellow Jackets proved they’re more than capable of rallying if need be.

Trailing 14-0 less than 10 minutes into the game and 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter, SHS came from behind on a pair of occasions to score a 21-17 win over the Eagles and earn a date with top-ranked Melissa in the Region I-4A championship game next week.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 14)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 14)”

TOURNAMENT RECAP: Jim Ned girls blaze through Pug Parris Classic to remain unbeaten

The Jim Ned girls basketball team topped El Paso Mountain View 58-42 on Saturday at McMurry University’s Kimbrel Arena to complete a perfect run through the inaugural Pug Parris Classic and claim the tournament championship.

The No. 13 Lady Indians, who earned their spot in the title game with impressive wins over El Paso Ysleta (70-26), Lubbock Trinity Christian (69-32) and Wylie (47-36), raced out to a 17-8 first-quarter lead on Mountain View and were never threatened after in improving to 7-0 on the season.

Jim Ned’s run to the title completed a successful first run for the Pug Parris Classic, which was started by McMurry this year when the Hardin-Simmons University-hosted Polk-Key City Classic — believed to be the longest-running girls basketball tournament in the state — was not resumed.

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GAME STORY: Brady comes through in clutch to top Stanton in area-round dog fight

WALL — The Brady Bulldogs bent at times, but they refused to break in their Region I-3A Division II area-round clash with Stanton on Friday at Hawk Stadium.

The BHS defense came up with a pair of red zone stops in the first half and two huge turnovers in the second, while the offense scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a dramatic 21-13 win over the Buffaloes.

The hard-fought victory pushes the Bulldogs into the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009, earning coach Shay Easterwood’s team a region semifinal matchup with unbeaten Lubbock Roosevelt next week at a time and location to be determined.

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GAME STORY: Santo runs away from Roscoe in second half, earns trip to third round

CISCO — The Santo football team used a familiar formula to overcome a sluggish start Thursday, rushing for 318 yards to wear down and eventually pull away from Roscoe for a 33-12 area-round win at Chesley Field.

Trailing 6-0 less than three minutes into the game and in danger of falling farther behind after fumbling the ball away on their first possession, the Wildcats used a red zone stop, a touchdown drive and a scoop-and-score to take a 14-6 lead into halftime.

And after the Plowboys pulled within two with a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, Santo (11-1) controlled the ball, the clock and the game the rest of the way to advance to the third round of the playoffs for just the third time in program history.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 13)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 13)”

GAME REPORT: Colleyville Heritage too much for Cooper in 63-21 bi-district rout

GRAPEVINE — The Cooper football team could never find its footing in its bi-district matchup with Colleyville Heritage on Friday, mustering just 111 yards of total offense in a 63-21 loss at Mustang-Panther Stadium.

The Cougars, who finished their season at 6-5, found themselves down 28-7 after a quarter, and they never got closer than two scores the rest of the way.

A 19-yard touchdown pass from Keegan Anderson to Cameron Herring pulled the Coogs within 28-14 with 9:55 remaining in the second quarter, but the Panthers scored just before halftime to go back up 21 and added the first touchdown of the second half to put the gam out of reach.

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GAME STORY: Mistakes, missed opportunities cost Abilene High in bi-district loss to Eastwood

Missed opportunities and bad bounces were the story of the night for Abilene High on Friday at Shotwell Stadium, where the Eagles saw a promising season come to an end earlier than expected with an upset loss to El Paso Eastwood.

Despite two empty red zone trips and a pair of costly fumbles, AHS rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to take its first lead of the game with 2:44 to play. But at the end of the night, it was the Troopers celebrating a 31-27 victory on the Eagles’ home field, thanks to a clutch 75-yard touchdown drive, a late interception near midfield and an intentional safety that drained the final 12 seconds of game time. 

Eastwood’s win avenged a 42-35 loss to the Eagles in the bi-district round last year in a game that helped propel coach Mike Fullen’s team to a run to the regional quarterfinals. AHS was hoping a win Friday would help kickstart a similar run, but a slow start and a fair number of uncharacteristic mistakes left the Eagles on the wrong side of a playoff thriller. 

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