Tag: Boys basketball

Evan Ren’s 2020 Gym Rat Team: The hardest workers in the Big Country

Scoring and rebounding is only part of the story when it comes to basketball. Behind the scenes and beyond the view of the public, is where character is often measured. And it is with our Big Country Preps Gym Rat Team that we salute the individuals who exude the most of it. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are, though some of the area’s top players are on this list. 

The Gym Rat team is about effort, discipline, toughness, coachability and selflessness — traits that coaches love above all else and that championship foundations are built upon.

It is for that reason that our Gym Rat team is selected entirely by area coaches, described in their own words. And Big Country Preps is absolutely honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2019-20 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 

Enjoy.

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FEATURE: Marc Case — A Basketball Love Story … Former McMurry player, Cooper coach has Clyde in playoffs

Marc Case is at it again, taking over a high school basketball team in urgent need of a coach and turning it into a winner.

This time it’s at Clyde — the second season of his second stint as the Bulldogs’ head coach. The passionate, fiery, old-school fundamentals coach who began his career in the 1970s has guided the Bulldogs back into the playoffs with a 19-14 record. Clyde will face Early (also 19-14) in a Class 3A boys’ bidistrict game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Brownwood Coliseum.

“I always loved playing in the Coliseum,” the seemingly ageless 68-year-old Case said the other day. “I know it’s only five miles for Early to travel and 70 miles for us, but it’s a great place to play with a great atmosphere.”

Some might suggest Tuesday’s game will bring Case’s basketball career full circle, considering he played multiple times in Brownwood Coliseum from 1969-1973 as a McMurry guard going against the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets when both colleges were Lone Star Conference members.

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FEATURE: Pied Pipers’ football momentum carries into basketball

Barely losing to Mart in the Class A Division II football championship game unquestionably stung.

But the Hamlin athletes who assembled eight days later for the team’s first basketball practice on Dec. 27 had a forward-thinking mindset.

“They were still kind of disappointed, but we had a good practice,” coach Joe Thomasson recalled. “For the most part, we played as hard as we could (against Mart). Kids are more resilient than we are as grownups. They were like, ‘We lost, let’s move on.’”

The Pied Pipers have certainly done just that, transferring their gridiron dominance over to the hardwood. After sweeping District 14-A, they enter the playoffs with a 12-1 record and a first-round bye.

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FEATURE: Reynolds, O’Shields giving basketball touch to football-heavy Hawley

HAWLEY — It could be argued that the Hawley basketball team is more a collection of highly athletic football players than a refined group of hoopsters.

That point has been made, and in some circles, it’s even agreed upon. 

But there are two undeniable facts about this Hawley club that may push it deep into postseason play. Firstly, the Bearcats, regardless of style, are good — entering Friday’s game at Haskell with a 12-7 overall record and a 6-2 mark in District 8-2A. 

Secondly, the backcourt tandem of Jaron Reynolds and Kason O’Shields has enough basketball polish to compensate for any lack of finesse Hawley’s bruising frontcourt may have. But they are not carrying as much of the load as one may think.

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Feb. 7)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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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FEATURE: Anson getting its money’s worth out of Dollar in dual hoops resurgence

ANSON — Between teaching class, doing the laundry, grading papers, meeting with parents, studying video, running tournaments and in some cases, driving the team bus, a basketball coach’s life is arduous to begin with.

Now try doubling it. 

While it may be common for a handful of individuals to accept the challenge of coaching a boys and girls program simultaneously, only a precious few succeed at both over the long haul. 

Anson’s Ryan Dollar, however, is currently making a strong argument that it can be done — leading a dual AHS hoops resurgence that has both the boys and girls programs challenging for playoff spots.   

Continue reading “FEATURE: Anson getting its money’s worth out of Dollar in dual hoops resurgence”

BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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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EVAN REN: Big Country Preps Top 10 Stories for 2019

It’s never easy picking the top 10 stories of the year for the Big Country Preps coverage area. 

Stretching from Forsan in the west to Brock in the east and from San Saba in the south to Munday in the north, there are literally thousands of athletes producing countless stories to choose from. 

Pairing all of that down to just 10 examples forces one to leave out several notable options on a yearly basis. The upside of all this is that the area is never short on quality stories to reflect on. 

So as we say goodbye to the year 2019, we salute those local athletes and coaches who produced yet another memorable year for the entire area. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top stories from last year, in descending order:

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BCP Podcast No. 74: Evan, Daniel talk state football semifinals and area hoops

In this episode, Daniel and partner Evan Ren discuss last week’s playoff football results, this week’s state semifinal matchups involving area squads and some Big Country hoops. 

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

FEATURE: Top-ranked Brock heads to state on a mission

For most high school basketball programs, a trip to a state tournament is a historic achievement. For the Brock boys team, it’s almost an expectation.

That’s what happens when you’ve made 12 state appearances in your program’s history, including 11 since 1992 and five since 2012.

But don’t let the Eagles’ businesslike demeanor or tempered reaction to a dominant regional run fool you: There’s nothing easy about what they’ve done this season. And though they are a confident bunch, their sky-high expectations come with a matching drive and work ethic.

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FEATURE: Stamford’s Edwards isn’t about the numbers

STAMFORD — At age 47, Stamford boys basketball coach Dean Edwards has already reached a coaching milestone that most people his profession never approach.

With last week’s 79-35 win over Cross Plains, Edwards notched his 400th career victory, giving him an average of 20 victories per season over a 20-year career.

To put those numbers into perspective, if Edwards were to continue winning at his present pace until age 67, he would top the ultra-rare 800-win plateau, putting him in elite company.

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FEATURE: Cisco boys motivated by football disappointment

CISCO — Had things evolved the way many expected, the Cisco Loboes would have been playing for a state football championship this week. Or at the very least, only be a week or two removed from dragging the basketballs out of the equipment room. 

It didn’t work out that way. 

Entering the football playoffs with a 9-0 record and perhaps its best team in four years, Brent West’s perennial powerhouse fell as a 24-point favorite to a 6-4 Spearman team in the bi-district round. 

A minus-six turnover ratio and an injury to standout running back Stanley Callahan were the primary culprits in the 33-29 upset, which sent shock waves throughout the Big Country. 

It also put Cisco in a situation in which it seldom finds itself: preparing for basketball in mid-November.

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FEATURE: Hard work, growth mark rise for versatile Cooper forward Bailey

Watching Deven Bailey play, one might conclude he’s a natural forward.

The 6-foot-5 Cooper senior plays with a fluidity and skill-level in the high and low post that would take many players a lifetime of work to achieve.

But the apparent ease with which Bailey can take over a game belies a unique and arduous developmental track. In fact, just two years ago, he was a 5-10 guard playing a far different game than the one he dominates with today.

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Talley’s late 3-pointer lifts Abilene High over Wylie

Abilene High senior Landon Talley was relatively quiet for most the Eagles’ game Tuesday at Wylie. But his go-head 3-pointer with 32.9 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in a thrilling 52-49 win over the Bulldogs on their home floor.

Talley’s shot, just his second field goal of the game, capped the second of two two-possession rallies for AHS, which sealed the victory on the defensive end and at the free-throw line.

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Midland Christian shoots way past Wylie in Catclaw final

The Midland Christian Mustangs spoiled Wylie’s perfect run at the Catclaw Classic, knocking down 14 3-pointers in a 68-42 win in Saturday’s title game at Bulldog Gym.

The loss forced coach Gregg Ruffin’s squad to settle for the runner-up spot in the Bulldogs’ annual tournament.

Cooper also was in action Saturday, outlasting Bullard Brook Hill 73-68 in a meeting of No. 3 seeds out of their respective pools. That improved the Cougars to 2-2 at the tournament and 8-5 on the year.

Abilene High, which went 0-3 through pool play, was originally scheduled to play San Angelo Lake View on Saturday, but that game was canceled due to Abilene’s wintry weather.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Montes shoots AHS girls past Odessa High in OT thriller

Georgia Montes hit eight 3-pointers Tuesday, and the Abilene High Lady Eagles needed every one of them to escape Eagle Gym with a 57-56 overtime win over Odessa High.

Montes finished with a game-high 24 points to pace AHS, which outscored the Lady Bronchos 8-7 over the extra period to improve to 8-8 on the season.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Coogs top Estacado; AHS, Cooper girls fall to area foes

LUBBOCK — The Cooper boys basketball team continued its strong start to the season Tuesday, rallying from seven points down at halftime to knock off Lubbock Estacado 70-65.

The Cougars took the lead with a 27-17 third-quarter run and held off the Matadors in the fourth to improve to 4-1 on the year.

Deven Bailey once again led the Coogs, scoring a team-high 21 points for the second straight game, while Ben Thompson added 13, Josh Henry and Noah Garcia both scored nine, and Kaden Davis pitched in eight.

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Abilene High boys dominate Mineral Wells 61-31

The Abilene High boys basketball team outscored Mineral Wells 17-1 in the second quarter Tuesday to stretch a six-point lead to 22 points by halftime in routing the Rams 61-31 in a nondistrict matchup at Eagle Gym.

Post Devyan Wilkins came off the bench to score 14 points to lead AHS, which held Mineral Wells to single-digit point totals in every quarter but the fourth.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Abilene High, Wylie boys fall on road

WOLFFORTH — The Abilene High boys basketball team led Wolfforth Frenship 16-13 after a quarter Monday, but the Eagles were outscored by 26 points the rest of the way in a 74-51 loss.

AHS, which trailed 33-29 at halftime, saw a 22-10 third-quarter disadvantage sink its efforts in falling to 2-2 on the season.

Landon Talley led the Eagles with 12 points, followed by Jalen McGee and Brian Patton with nine points apiece.

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AHS boys blast Odessa High on coach’s birthday (w/ video interview of senior Brian Patton)

The Abilene High boys basketball team gave first-year coach Justin Reese the best present they could on Tuesday night at Eagle Gym, celebrating his 41st birthday with a 65-42 win over Odessa High in the Eagles’ first game of the season on the court that Reese called home as a player in the 1990s.

AHS never trailed, racing out to a 15-6 first-quarter lead and controlling the game from there in improving to 1-1 on the young season.

“It’s the best birthday present,” said Reese of the win — his first at his alma mater after spending the past nine years as the head boys basketball coach at Richardson.

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Local boys basketball teams young but talented in 2018-19

Graduation did a number on Abilene’s three boys basketball teams, which return just four starters and 15 lettermen among them for the 2018-19 season. But if you think that’s changed the expectations on the Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie campuses, you would be wrong.

With AHS grad Justin Reese taking over the Eagle program from Don Heseman, who left after five seasons to become assistant principal at AISD’s Woodson Center for Excellence, a playoff return is the goal on Abilene’s north side. And with their program’s established on the other side of the tracks, Cooper’s Bryan Conover and Wylie’s Gregg Ruffin are shooting for the Class 5A postseason.

While all three coaches are expecting some growing pains early as their young teams jell, each feels good about his roster and the ability of the players on it to compete.

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