Tag: Evan Ren

Evan Ren’s 2019 Big Country Gym Rat Team: The hardest workers in the area!

Following a basketball program on the surface can only provide one with so much insight. Behind the scenes, however, is where character is often measured. And it is with our Gym Rat Team that we wish to tip our caps to those individuals who exuded the most of it. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are, though some of the area’s top players did make 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 2018-19 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Superlatives: Lloyd, Gonzales, Garcia take top spots

Here are our superlative award winners for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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GAME STORY: Clyde girls solidify district lead with crucial win over C-City

CLYDE — It took the better part of six innings and some late Colorado City miscues, but the Clyde Lady Bulldogs cemented their status as the team to beat in District 5-3A with an 8-0 win on Tuesday. 

Kaitlyn Turner tossed a five-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and Peyton Lee was 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Clyde 16-4, 5-0, which took sole possession of first place with the win. 

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GAME STORY: Slidell tops Jayton to capture Class 1A state championship

 

SAN ANTONIO — A fast start and strong finish propelled Slidell to a 49-36 win over Jayton in the Class 1A state championship game Saturday, ending the Jaybirds’ best season ever one win shy of the ultimate prize.

Making their first state tournament appearance since 1955, the Greyhounds (33-8) used a 13-5 first quarter and an 18-9 fourth period to hold off a scrappy Jaybird squad.

Hunter Horner scored 12 points and Ben McCasland added 11 more to lead Slidell offensively. But it was tournament MVP Slayton Pruett who did most of the damage, hauling in 21 rebounds and blocking five Jayton shots to go with 10 points. 

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GAME STORY: Jayton advances with buzzer-beating upset of Nazareth

SAN ANTONIO — For most of the second quarter in Thursday’s Class 1A state semifinal with Nazareth, Jayton’s Tye Scogin sat on the bench with a bloody nose after catching an inadvertent elbow from NHS’ Jake Gerber. 

Scogin, however, would eventually get his chance, returning in the second half to deliver a game-winning shot in the lane as the buzzer sounded in a thrilling 38-37 win for the Jaybirds in the Alamodome. 

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REGIONAL SIDEBAR: Confidence, focus lift Jaybirds to state tournament (w/four videos)

After three close calls with the state tournament that had died on the regional vine, even Jayton coach Ryan Bleiker had begun to wonder if he would ever guide the Jaybirds to the final four. 

But somehow, someway, this weekend in Abilene, he saw it coming — a two-game regional sweep with consecutive wins over Eden (58-25) and Irion County (47-32) to send Jayton to its first-ever state tournament in boys basketball.

Something in the Jaybirds’ demeanor told Bleiker that his stretch of losing three regional semifinals in four years was over. 

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GAME STORY: Chapel Hill dodges a last-second bullet to eliminate Wall in overtime (box score and photo gallery w/29 images included)

SAN ANTONIO — With the game knotted at 48 in the final seconds of regulation, Wall’s Sawyer Lloyd canned a jumper as time expired to give the Lady Hawks a would-be 50-48 win over Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill in Thursday’s 3A state semifinal in the Alamodome. 

There was, however, a problem — did the ball leave her hands before time expired? 

After a few intense minutes of video replay study, game officials determined that Lloyd’s shot wasn’t released in time, forcing overtime where Chapel Hill eventually prevailed 53-49.

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GAME STORY: Nazareth eliminates Hermleigh girls 48-17 (Video, box score and photo gallery w/29 images included)

SAN ANTONIO — For the second straight year, the Hermleigh Lady Cardinals squared off with perennial power Nazareth in the Class 1A state semifinals. 

And for the second straight year, HHS had difficulty keeping pace with Swiftettes, falling 48-17 on Thursday in the Alamodome.

Held to just 18 percent shooting, Hermleigh didn’t score a field goal until the 7:20 mark of the second quarter when a Makia Gonzales layup broke the Lady Cardinals’ cold spell. By that point, Hermleigh trailed 14-3 and never managed to cut the lead under single digits. 

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STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Wall, Hermleigh carry Big Country torch to San Antonio

With the Texas High School equivalent to the Final Four kicking off in San Antonio with this week’s UIL state tournament, two Big Country representatives — Wall and Hermleigh — are among the survivors. 

And as one might suspect, any further advancement will be a major challenge for both. 

Ninth-ranked Hermleigh (30-5) will take the stage first, taking on top-ranked perennial power Nazareth (30-6) in a Class 1A state semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Alamodome.

Wall (32-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, will hit the floor at 1:30 p.m. against No. 2 Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill (35-0).

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GAME STORY: Pirate defense pushes Eula into regional semifinals (video, box score and photo gallery w/37 images included)

EASTLAND — The Eula Pirates may have been a bit streaky on the offensive side in Tuesday’s Region III-1A quarterfinal with Huckabay. But coach Josh Fostel’s crew made up for it with a wire-to-wire defensive effort in a 60-26 win at Eastland High School.

Cade Smith scored 17 points while Dakota Boles and Matthew Booth added 11 each to pace the 11th-ranked Pirates (28-6), who now push on to the Region III-1A tournament, where they will meet No. 6 Slidell at 5 p.m. Friday in Mansfield.

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GAME STORY: Lady Hawks punch their ticket to the Alamo City with win over Idalou (w/ two videos, box score)

PLAINVIEW —A slight edge in every major statistic added up to a convincing 52-36 win for the Wall Lady Hawks in Saturday’s Region I-3A championship game with Idalou.

Jayden Fiebiger scored 16 points and Samantha Rocha added a dozen more to lift Wall (32-1), which took control of the game shortly after the outset of the second half. 

 The Lady Hawks now advance to the UIL State Tournament in San Antonio on Feb. 28. Their opponent in the state semifinals should be announced on Sunday. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned falls to Idalou in overtime heartbreaker (box score, video & photo gallery w/35 images included)

PLAINVIEW — Missed opportunities. Missed free throws. Turnovers. 

It may take a while for the sting of Friday’s 41-36 overtime loss to Idalou in a Region I-3A semifinal to finally subside for the Jim Ned Lady Indians, who staged an improbable comeback at Wayland Baptist University, only to see their season slip away in the end. 

Shaylee Stovall scored game-high 22 points to pace Idalou (31-5), which squares off with Wall (31-1) in the Region I-3A title game at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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GAME STORY: Wall girls rally to eliminate Brock (w/ two videos, box score & photo gallery w/37 images included)

PLAINVIEW — In the end, it all came down to how many extra shots were taken. 

Pounding the glass for 14 offensive rebounds, the top-ranked Wall Lady Hawks got 16 extra shots in their 56-49 win over Brock in Friday’s Region I-3A semifinal at Wayland Baptist University. 

That, combined with a 15-7 disparity in turnovers, was a handicap that Brock had no answer for as Wall (31-1) advanced to Saturday’s regional title game. There, they will face third-ranked Idalou (31-5), which closed the semifinal doubleheader with a 41-36 overtime win over Jim Ned. 

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GAME STORY: Brock uses huge third quarter to eliminate Colorado City (w/ two videos, box score and photo gallery)

CISCO — For two full quarters, the unranked Colorado City Wolves played No. 1 Brock to a near standstill at Ray Saunders Gym, heading into the locker room trailing 27-24. 

The third quarter, however, brought a stark reminder of why Brock entered this week sitting atop the rankings, with a backbreaking 20-3 run to put the game out of reach in just eight minutes. 

Bradon Smith scored 19 points and Scott Thomas tossed in 18 more to lead Brock, which then cruised to a 60-47 win. 

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GAME STORY: Cisco pressure overwhelms Coahoma in 68-39 win (box score, video and photo gallery w/22 images included)

Perhaps it was a case of first-round nerves for Cisco, or perhaps Coahoma was simply better than some in the Big Country basketball community believed. 

Either way, the heavily favored Loboes (28-3) had to overcome a sluggish start before taking control of Tuesday’s 3A bi-district matchup at ACU’s Moody Coliseum, and eventually dominating it in a 68-39 win. 

Gibson Hearne tossed in 27 points and Izzy Adame added 11 more to lift Cisco, which advances to face Childress in the area round. 

The Loboes trailed twice in the early going, and as late as the 2:00 mark in the first quarter when a Bryson Cline layup gave the Bulldogs an 11-10 edge. From that moment forward, however, Cisco’s full-court defensive pressure was a game changer, leading to 17-0 run which spanned to the 5:12 mark of the second quarter. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned girls advance to regional tourney with win over Cisco (box score, video & photo gallery w/31 images included)

A few short runs, coupled with a heavy dose of consistent defense lifted the Jim Ned Lady Indians to a 46-31 win over Cisco in a Region I-3A quarterfinal on Tuesday. 

With a large contingent of fans backing both clubs at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum, Jim Ned (29-5) earned a trip to the regional quarterfinals behind 13 points from Libby Tutt and eight each from Claire Graham and Jenna Moore. 

Clinging to a 15-13 lead late in the second quarter, the Lady Indians gained a permanent upper hand with a 7-0 run to close the first half.  They gradually stretched their lead to 34-22 by the end of the third period, never allowing Cisco to score more than single digits in any quarter. 

Cisco closed its season at 30-4, led by Katelyn Bird with 10 points and Leigh Anne Montell with 8. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned escapes Early upset bid (box score, two videos & photo gallery included)

COLEMAN — Cruising along with a comfortable 37-25 lead after three quarters in Monday’s 3A bi-district game with Early, the Jim Ned Indians were poised to advance into the area round. 

There was just one problem: The Early Longhorns. 

Staging a furious rally through the final quarter, Early opened the period with a 10-0 run to cut the gap to 37-35 with 17 seconds to play, only to see Jim Ned escape the upset with a 39-35 win at Coleman High School.  

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EVAN REN: This week in Big Country girls basketball (Feb. 17-23)

With the regional semifinal round just one victory away, a dozen Big Country teams are still alive with hopes of reaching the Texas high school equivalent of the Sweet 16.  

This week’s regional quarterfinal round will be accompanied by two things: pure elation and pure devastation once the final horns blow. And not all of our area clubs will be among the survivors.  

Nonetheless, I’ll go out on a limb and say no fewer than six Big Country teams will retain a pulse after Tuesday night. 

That said, let’s have a look what’s on tap. 

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GAME STORY: Brock eliminates Colorado City 36-18 behind big defensive effort

BROWNWOOD — How good was Brock’s defense in Friday’s 36-18 area round win over Colorado City? 

Good enough for the Lady Eagles to score only 36 points, yet dominate the game from start to finish. 

Olivia Lewis, Kasaundra Boxell and Evan Roberts scored seven points apiece and Jessica Leek added six to lift Brock (31-8), which advances to face Nocona (31-3) in the Region I-3A quarterfinals next week. 

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FEATURE: Goldthwaite Lady Eagles a model of balance

Basketball coaches love to take away the opposition’s best player when mapping out a game plan. 

If one or two players are clearly better than the rest, they make for easy targets while studying game film. And more often than not, the aforementioned players can count on getting plenty of defensive attention after the tipoff. 

When scouting the Goldthwaite Lady Eagles, however, one may have difficulty deciding exactly where to employ this age-old tactic. Better-stated, they may have to pick their proverbial poison.

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FEATURE: Defense, experience propel Forsan girls into second round

FORSAN — They’ve labored through streaks of inconsistent scoring output throughout the season. But the Forsan Lady Buffaloes have had one key advantage all along to act as compensation — experience. 

Heading into Friday’s Class 2A area round matchup with Plains, Forsan has been held under 40 points no fewer than 10 times. Yet through combination of solid defense and the ability to adjust on the fly, the Lady Buffs enter this week at 22-6 while allowing only 30.8 points per game. 

The Lady Buffs may not shoot the lights out. But chances are, neither will you. 

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GAME STORY: Hico rally falls short in bi-district loss to Windthorst (video, box score & photo gallery w/14 images included)

MINERAL WELLS — A dash of early foul trouble led to a bad second quarter for the Hico Lady Tigers, and eventually, a 39-35 bi-district loss to Windthorst on Tuesday. 

Kora Pennartz scored 11 points and Mollie Kirk tossed in eight more to lead Windthorst (19-11), which advances to face Valley View in the 2A area round.  

Forced to sit starter Lauryl Stegall in the second quarter due to early foul trouble, Hico saw an 11-11 deadlock become a 27-19 halftime deficit which would prove costly by game’s end.

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GAME STORY: Nervous Goldthwaite settles down to dominate Electra (Video, box score and photo gallery w/22 images included)

MINERAL WELLS — It took them better part of two quarters to get over a case of the jitters. But after the 14th-ranked Goldthwaite Lady Eagles settled into a rhythm, a three-year postseason drought ended with a 56-36 win over Electra on Tuesday. 

Ally Hopper and Jordan Carr both scored eight points each to lead Goldthwaite, which had 11 different players score while improving to 27-6. 

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FEATURE: Merkel standout Pursley will likely choose track over hoops

MERKEL — The general consensus is she’s good enough to play basketball at the college level and is likely to get her share of attention from recruiters. 

But chances are you won’t see Merkel’s Kaydi Pursley suiting up for any collegiate hoops program at any level. 

It’s simply not in her plan.

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BCP Podcast No. 32: Cisco’s Kevin Hearne talks hoops with Evan, Daniel

Cisco boys basketball coach Kevin Hearne has his Loboes at 25-3 after clinching the District 6-3A championship with a win over Dublin on Tuesday. 

This week, he took some time chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the season his Cisco squad is having, growing up as a coach’s son and coaching his own sons for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the biggest developments and top matchups on the Big Country boys and girls basketball scene.

GAME STORY: Jayton, Paducah split consecutive thrillers

JAYTON — With Jayton’s gym packed to near capacity, Friday’s doubleheader between Paducah and JHS was expected by many to produce two games with playoff intensity.

It delivered, with the Jayton girls taking Game 1, 34-32 and the Paducah boys edging JHS in the nightcap, 45-43 in a pair of late-season nail-biters.  

Both games decided playoff seeding in District 15-1A, the latter of which iced the league title for Paducah, which holds a two-game lead and a tiebreaker over Jayton with two games to play.

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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: High-scoring Forsan guard hoping to get collegiate look

Kobe Richardson

FORSAN — He stands in at only 6-foot-0 and 160 pounds. And he plays Class 2A high school basketball on an 11-13 team in a place so isolated, that many Big Country residents can’t even tell you where it’s at. 

But despite some of the hurdles that Forsan’s Kobe Richardson faces in his goal of landing a collegiate roster spot, the senior guard does have several check marks in the plus column.   

This would include an uncanny ability to get the ball in the hole — as either a spot-up shooter, or by getting to the hoop off the dribble with either hand. 

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PHOTO GALLERY: Evan Ren’s Top 100 football photos for 2018

FEATURED SCHOOLS: Albany, Anson, Baird, Breckenridge, Brock, Brownwood, Clyde, Coahoma, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, Dublin, Eastland, Forsan, Hamlin, Haskell, Jim Ned, Merkel, Snyder, Stamford, Stephenville, Wall and Winters.

Photos may be purchased for $7 each by pushing the small shopping cart emblem below the lower right corner of the gallery.

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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