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Third-quarter push propels Academy past Lady Bulldogs

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Crockett's La'Kyriah Hamilton (5) pushes the ball down the court against Little River-Academy in the bi-district playoff game Monday night at College Station High School.  LARRY LAMB |  HCCCrockett's La'Kyriah Hamilton (5) pushes the ball down the court against Little River-Academy in the bi-district playoff game Monday night at College Station High School. LARRY LAMB | HCC

By Larry Lamb
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COLLEGE STATION – The Little River-Academy Lady Bees swarmed the Crockett Lady Bulldogs with a 22-5 run in the third quarter to propel themselves to a 62-36 bi-district win Monday night.

Academy (26-7), ranked No. 22 in this week's TABC state poll, grabbed a 17-9 first quarter lead.

Crockett junior Tocarra Johnson got into early foul trouble, picking up her fourth at the 6:30 mark in the second quarter. Johnson sat out most of the second and third quarters before returning in the final period.

"Tocarra already had two fouls and then she got two more back-to-back, boom-boom. I saw the first two but my back was turned on the last two and, of course, we couldn't afford it. When you're the leading scorer, you can't into foul trouble," said Lady Dogs coach TaNesiah Johnson.

The Lady Bulldogs continued to hang tough early in the second half until a 10-0 run shifted momentum to Little River.

The Lady Bees carried a 48-24 lead into the final period and widened the gap to 32 points late in the game.

Coach Johnson cited cold free throw shooting and untimely turnovers as key factors in the loss.

"I thought our start should have been way better than it was. We went into the half trailing by seven but we only made 5 of 14 at the free throw line. We make those shots and we're ahead at halftime," said Johnson.

Crockett finished the night only 11 of 30 at the charity stripe. "That's horrible. You can't do that in the playoffs. We got to the free throw line; we just didn't take care of business," added the coach, noting the Lady Bees were 7 of 14 on free throws.

Johnson said another factor was that none of the Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures. "I always say you need at least three in double figures or you can't win. We didn't have any and Little River had three," the coach noted.

Sophomore A'Nayah Wooten and freshman Tania Davis led with 9 points apiece. Senior Chelsea Walker followed with 8 and Tocarra Johnson, who hit Crockett's only trey, had 7. Freshman Ty'Reyanna Beasley picked up three points at the line.

The Lady Bees were led with 22 points by senior Ellie Erwin, who was joined in the double figures by junior Payten Conde with 14 and sophomore Aislinn Chaffin with 13.

"I told the girls it's win or go home at this point. You can't say I should have blocked out or I should have done this. In our scenario missed free throws and untimely turnovers that we couldn't afford killed us tonight," said Johnson.

Little River entered the playoffs as District 19-3A undefeated champion and Crockett finished fourth in District 20-3A.

Little River's area round opponent is Troy, which beat Scurry-Rosser 59-46 in bi-district.

"Coming into the game I felt real good about our chances of winning. Sometimes that first seed versus fourth seed doesn't mean anything in the playoffs," said Johnson.

Looking back on the season, the coach said she was proud to have reached her 100-win milestone and that the Lady Bulldogs made their first playoff appearance in three years.

This was the final CHS hoops game for the senior trio of Keaton Crabtree, JaKayla Faulk and Chelsea Walker. "I coached Keaton and Chelsea all four years, and JaKayla was a move-in so I only had her this year. All three were key factors, but the great part is we're coming back stronger. We're moving to a new district next year so we're be where we want to be."

Crockett's new basketball district for the next two seasons will include Anderson-Shiro, Cleveland Tarkington, Coldspring-Oakhurst, New Waverly, Onalaska, Shepherd and Trinity.

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Sandies clinch district crown

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The Grapeland Sandies pose with their trophy after beating Centerville on Saturday to lock up the District 20-2A basketball championship.The Grapeland Sandies pose with their trophy after beating Centerville on Saturday to lock up the District 20-2A basketball championship.

By Larry Lamb
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GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies checked off  two more items on their to-do list as they prepare for the state basketball playoffs.

The Sandies honored six senior team members before their final home game Saturday and then defeated Centerville, 52-41, to lock up the District 20-2A championship.

Playing their final game in the GHS gym were Cadarian Wiley, Kionte Willis, Landon Jackson, Lakerina Smith, Trey Davision and Jason DeCluette

Boasting a 10-0 record with two games left, the last item on Grapeland's list is to complete a district sweep.

The No. 17-ranked Sandies will play their two remaining games on the road. After a Tuesday night game at Lovelady, the Sandies will have a bye before heading to Groveton next Tuesday.

Centerville and Lovelady are tied for second with 6-3 records. Slocum is next at 6-4, and Groveton is 4-5.

The Sandies led Centerville 16-7 after a quarter, 29-17 at the half and 37-24 heading into the fourth.

Lakerian Smith led with 20 points  and 7 boards. Johnny Lamb had 10 (2 treys), followed by Omarian Wiley with 8, Cole Goolsby 6 and Zandric Anderson 3.

Kionte Willis and Trey Davison chipped in 2 apiece and Nate Ivey had 1.

Playing on the road last Tuesday, the Sandies blasted Jewett Leon, 70-28.

Grapeland came out full throttle to grab a 27-6 first quarter lead. It was 44-17 at the break and 55-28 after three.

Lamb drained three treys and finished with 21 points.

Smith had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, along with booking 5 blocks and 2 deflections.

Omarian Wiley rounded out double figures with 11. Willis had 8 while Goolsby and Ivey had 6 apiece. 

Cadarian Wiley helped out on the boards by grabbing 10 rebounds.

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Crockett soccer sweeps Westwood

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Crockett goalie Antonio Cruz makes a save in Friday night’s win over Westwood. LARRY LAMB | HCCCrockett goalie Antonio Cruz makes a save in Friday night’s win over Westwood. LARRY LAMB | HCC

CROCKETT -- Crockett varsity boys and girls soccer teams both posted district wins over Palestine Westwood in Friday night matches at Driskell Stadium.

The Bulldogs started the twin bill with a 4-3 win and improved their district record to 2-1.

Crockett led 2-1 at halftime but both teams exchanged goals in the second half.

“It was back-to-back goals and we shouldn’t have even allowed them to score. This should have been a shutout for us,” said Bulldogs coach Natalie Tapia.

With the score tied 3-3, Crockett junior Ryan Arvizu scored the game-winning goal.

The Bulldogs won their District 16-4A opener over Trinity, 8-0, and then fell to state-ranked Palestine, 5-0.

In the night cap, Crockett girls prevailed over Westwood, 2-1, after a tense penalty kick shootout.

Since this was a district match and the score was tied at the end of regulation, a shootout was required.

This was the Lady Bulldogs’ first district win after falling to Palestine (9-0-0), which is ranked No. 2 in the state by Texas Girls Coaches Association. Palestine, which beat Crockett 11-0, has allowed just two goals all season.

Both CHS varsity teams will travel to Diboll on Friday.

Next week, the Lady Bulldogs have a bye Tuesday and will host Livingston on Friday.

The Bulldogs will host Madisonville on Tuesday and travel to Livingston on Friday.

Crockett is also fielding a junior varsity boys team this year. The JV Dogs will also be in action preceding the varsity boys games against Madisonville and Livingston. 

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Lovelady girls cruise to 10-0 record

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Lovelady's Shelby Pugh shoots in Friday night's district game against Leon. LAWANNA MONK PHOTOLovelady's Shelby Pugh shoots in Friday night's district game against Leon. LAWANNA MONK PHOTO

LOVELADY – Lovelady girls maintained an undefeated district record with blowout wins over Slocum and Leon.

The Lady Lions beat Slocum, 68-24, last Tuesday and then handled Leon, 83-28, on Friday.

Lovelady (28-4, 10-0) continued district play Tuesday at Centerville and hosts a non-district game with Neches on Friday. The Lady Lions wrap up the regular season at home next Tuesday with Grapeland.

Playing in Slocum, the No. 2-ranked Lady Lions trailed 11-9 after a quarter but took control in the second with a 31-5 run. Lovelady dominated the second half, 28-8.

Aaliyah Jones paced the Lady Lions with 17 points, followed by Shyanne Pipkin with 15, Mihyia Davis with 13 and Lexi Price with 11.

Pipkin and Jones each drained a pair of treys.

Haley Davidson and Haley Shupak (1 trey) had 4 apiece while Macie LaRue and Arris LeMaire chipped in 2 apiece.

Hosting Leon on Friday, Lovelady set the tone early with a 28-2 first quarter lead and took a 51-8 halftime lead. It was 71-19 after three quarters.

Jones led a quintet of double-figure scorers with 17 (2  treys), Price had 16 (1 trey), Chelsea Butler 15, Davis 10 and Pipkin 10.

LaRue tossed in 9, Davidson 4 and Jada Johnson 2.

The Lady Lions shot well at line in both games. Pipkin went 4 of 4 and Price was 3 of 4 in the Slocum game.

Against Leon, Butler shot 5 of 6, Davis was 4 of 5 and Pipkin 2 of 2 at the stripe.

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Lady Dogs lock up playoff spot

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Lady Bulldog La'Kyriah Hamilton (5) looks to pass from the floor in Friday night's victory over Groesbeck.LARRY LAMB  | HCCLady Bulldog La'Kyriah Hamilton (5) looks to pass from the floor in Friday night's victory over Groesbeck.LARRY LAMB | HCC

By Larry Lamb
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CROCKETT -- The Crockett Lady Bulldogs can breathe a little easier after clinching fourth place in District 20-3A.

Coach TaNesiah Johnson's crew beat Elkhart, 66-31, on Tuesday and upended Groesbeck, 65-46, on Friday in back-to-back home games.

"We're officially in the playoffs," said a relieved coach Johnson after the win over Groesbeck.

The Lady Dogs played Buffalo on Tuesday and will host Westwood on Friday, which is their Senior Night game. They wrap up the regular season next Tuesday at Fairfield.

Leading Groesbeck just 27-24 at halftime, the Lady Bulldogs staged an impressive 21-7 third quarter run to break the game open.

"Of course, we started off sluggish and weren't where we were supposed to be," said Johnson, pointing out the Lady Dogs only scored 11 in the first quarter and 16 in the second.

"My leading scorer only had nine points at halftime. We were just struggling to get started," said Johnson. "We've got to find a way to get our tempo and our mojo going early in games."

Fortunately, Crockett came to life in the third.

Junior Tocarra Johnson came out sizzling and scored 15 points to spark a 21-7 run that put Crockett up 49-31.

The Lady Dogs only outscored the guests 17-14 in the final period. “They almost matched our points in the fourth, so we won the game in third,” said the coach.

Johnson finished the night with 29 points and was joined in double figures by La’Kyriah Hamilton with a career-high 14 and A’Nayah Wooten with 10.

Chelsea Walker scored 6, Tania Davis 4, and Keaton Crabtree 2.

Johnson said the Lady Dogs, who only made 7 of 18 at the line, still need to improve on free throw shooing. Groesbeck was 10 of 15.

The Lady Bulldogs had 26 turnovers to Groesbeck’s 24. “That’s a lot for us but we average 30 to 40, so I’ll take it,” said Johnson. “We actually scored off of their turnovers. In the past we’d turn it over, blow it or turn it back over.”

Last Tuesday, the Lady Bulldogs found the Elkhart Lady Elks to be feistier than when they played the first time.

When Crockett and Elkhart played on Dec. 17, the Lady Elks trailed 25-6 early but they came into the rematch determined to make the Lady Bulldogs earn every point.

Elkhart held Crockett to a 12-11 first quarter lead and was still in the game at halftime when Crockett led 24-18.

Picking up the pace in the second half, Crockett outscored Elkhart by 12 in the third quarter to take a 41-23 lead and capped it with a 25-8 run in the fourth.

“I warned the girls that we couldn’t afford to start off flat. Elkhart has nothing to lose with only two wins and would like nothing better than to gain back bragging rights,” said coach Johnson. “So, what did we do? Coming out flat is an understatement. We came out dead. It was horrible.”

“We didn’t come ready to play. We think because we’re playing Elkhart we don’t have to work. We’ve still got to work. That was the difference between us and Franklin last Friday. They played all four quarters from the beginning to the end. We turned it on in spurts. We have to turn it on at the beginning until the clock runs out,” said the coach.

Johnson has been harping all season long on the need to have at least three scorers in double figures and the Lady Bulldogs had four.

Tocarra Johnson led with 24, followed by Wooten with 13, Davis with 11 and Hamilton with 10.

Ty’Shonda Bell chipped in 5, Katelyn Shepherd 2 and Chelsea Walker 1.

Crockett only shot 12 of 31 at the line for 34 percent and Elkhart was 7 of 14.

Shooting from the field was horrendous. “We missed 60 shots and probably 40 of those were layups. That’s 80 points,” pointed out Johnson

“Our problem is we turn it on and off when we want to instead of playing 100 percent the whole game. That’s literally how we lose, playing in spurts,” she added.

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