Tag: Wall Hawks

FEATURE: Dominant pitching a big reason for Wall’s No. 1 ranking

By MIKE LEE (Special to Big Country Preps) photos courtesy of Stephanie Weishuhn

Most Class 3A baseball teams hope to have one or two starting pitchers who can consistently shut down opponents.

Wall has five pitchers with earned run averages of 0.60 or less, and it’s not like the undefeated Hawks have played a weak schedule. Their nondistrict victims include Class 6A Odessa High and 4A opponents Pecos, Andrews, Seminole, Dumas, Lubbock Estacado, Lamesa and Snyder.

It’s no wonder Wall is 31-0 and has been ranked No. 1 in 3A in the Texas Association of Baseball Coaches poll since the first week of April. Wall will face Alpine in the regional quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday in a best-of-three series scheduled for Christensen Stadium in Midland.

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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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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: 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: 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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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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Evan Ren’s Area Round Forecast (released early for Thanksgiving)

LAST WEEK: 31-6, .837   

SEASON TOTAL: 415-91, .820 

Normally our playoff forecast is released on Thursdays. But, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re pushing it out a day early. 

I don’t mind saying, it has been a good year for the column, picking at nearly 84 percent in Week 12 and holding at 82 percent on the year.

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Wall holds off Wylie in early-season girls basketball thriller

The Wylie girls basketball team rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to have a chance to pull even with Wall in the waning seconds Saturday, but some clutch plays by guard Sawyer Lloyd and some struggles at the free-throw line by the Lady Bulldogs allowed the Lady Hawks to get out of Abilene with a hard-fought 50-47 win.

Wylie (1-2) outscored Wall 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but an 11-of-20 effort from the line in the final period kept the the Lady Bulldogs from ever overtaking the visiting Lady Hawks.

Using an aggressive press that Wall struggled with down the stretch, Wylie had a chance to tie the game with about two seconds remaining, but Karis Christian’s first of two free throws rimmed out and the intentional miss that followed missed the rim, allowing Wall to seal the game on the other end.

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Wall’s flexbone a key to Hawks’ success

One could say the Wall Hawks have made a living by being very good at something seldom seen anymore.

The triple option, once a staple at both the collegiate and high school levels, has given way to more up-tempo spread attacks over the past two decades.

At Wall, however, not only are option principles still alive, but they’re are executed with an uncommon precision among those high school teams still running the offense.

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Wall Hawks reload to make a run at district title

If one were going to make a case for perennial power Wall ever slowing down, it might be in 2018.

After all, the Hawks return only one offensive and three defensive starters from last year’s 12-1 team. They bring back a modest 13 lettermen after graduating 22.

There are, however, compelling reasons to believe the Hawks will take the proverbial “reloading” route, rather than rebuilding.

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BCP Podcast No. 7: Evan, Dan talk football with Wichita Falls’ Zach Duncan

Zach Duncan

Like Big Country Preps co-founders Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood, Wichita Falls Time Record News area writer Zach Duncan has been covering high school sports in his market for a long time.

Entering his 15th football season with the Wichita Falls newspaper, Duncan has seen more great games than he can count and worked with some outstanding coaches and players. This week, he took some time to share some his favorite football stories and talk shop with Evan and Daniel.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss District 3-3A Division I and District 7-2A Division II — two all-area leagues that should be competitive from top to bottom.

BCP Podcast No. 5: Craig Slaughter talks coaching past, present, future

Wall defensive coordinator Craig Slaughter.

After spending 16 years as a head football coach, making stops at Hearne, Clyde, Sweetwater and Llano, Craig Slaughter transitioned back into an assistant role last year as Wall’s defensive coordinator.

This week, Slaughter, who’s entering Year 2 on coach Buddy Guy’s staff, took some time to talk to Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the biggest highlights and regrets of his time as a head coach, how he’s enjoying Wall and what his coaching future holds, among other topics.

In this episode of the BCP Podcast, Evan and Daniel also debate the viability of the wishbone offense as a vehicle for winning a championship at high school and college football’s highest levels.