Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Houston County Sports

Crockett knocks off unbeaten Malakoff

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 1146LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett senior Ty White glides to the basket during the Bulldogs’ 60-57 area round victory over Malakoff.

By Larry Lamb

Malakoff came into the area round unbeaten and ranked No. 9 in the state but the Crockett Bulldogs weren’t intimidated.

Coach Jordan Caldwell’s squad toppled the Tigers 60-57 Thursday night in Palestine and advanced to the third round for a clash with No. 14 Lorena at noon Saturday in College Station.

Closing out the first quarter with an 8-0 run, the Bulldogs took a 15-5 lead.

Malakoff got within seven in the second quarter but trailed 27-16 at halftime.

The Tigers started the third quarter by rattling off six unanswered points to make it a five-point game. Crockett answered with its own 6-0 spurt to push the lead back to 11, however, Malakoff got within six on two other occasions.

Falling behind 41-33 with 2:36 left, the Tigers staged an 8-1 run to make it a one-point game with :42 left.

Crockett scored with :25 left in the third to go up 44-41.

The Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth with an 11-2 run that stretched their lead to 55-43 with 3:44 left.

Senior Ty White splashed in a three-pointer and a deuce while senior Chris Purvis canned a bucket for a nine-point lead with 4:17 left.

The Tigers called a timeout and then heaved up a three-pointer that rolled around the rim several times before falling out.

After Purvis grabbed the rebound, White was fouled with 3:44 left and went to the line for two technical shots and two free throws. He nailed three of four, putting Crockett up by 12.

Baskets by Tayshawn Simon and D.J. Walker kept the Bulldogs in front by 11 with 1:20 left, but Malakoff finished strong with a 9-1 run that included a pair of buckets and five-of-six free throw shooting to close the gap to three with 11.4 seconds left.

The Bulldogs, who only made one of seven at the line down the stretch, missed an opportunity for two insurance free throws with 3.6 seconds left.

But their three-point lead was enough to punch their ticket to the third round.

White, seven of 11 at the line, led the scoring with 16 points. Walker tossed in 11 and Jadyn Collins rounded out double figures with 10.

Courtney Byrd finished with nine, all in the first half. Purvis had six and Keshun Easterling had four while Simon and Ja’Lyne Carruthers chipped in two apiece.

The Bulldogs made 13 of 27 free throws for 48 percent and Malakoff hit 17 of 32 for 53 percent.

Nathan Jones led Malakoff with 16 and Jay Mosley had 14. Klayton Copeland, nine of 13 at the line, followed with 13. Karter Fuller, who fouled out with 3:41 left, scored seven.

“We knew 24 (Copeland) and 4 (Fuller) were their best players. I’ll take losing but I’m not going to let just one or two players beat me. I know both are a heck of a player but I’ve got 13 guys on my team,” said coach Caldwell. “We mainly focused on 24 defensively. They had several people in foul trouble early and that helped us a lot.”

“We came out slow in the second half and Malakoff went on that run. We had some guys that were making mistakes and getting down on themselves. I told the guys at this point it’s win or go home, so they rallied together and we got the W as a team. That’s what matters,” added Caldwell.

  • Hits: 1713

Crockett nips Rogers in bi-district

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 1055LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett sophomore Jadyn Collins (2) celebrates with teammate Courtney Byrd after a go-ahead bucket by Collins with six seconds left. The Bulldogs won the bi-district game 49-47.

By Larry Lamb

The Crockett Bulldogs dug themselves an early 12-0 hole, climbed all the way out and squeezed past Rogers 49-47 in bi-district basketball action Tuesday, Feb. 23 in Bryan.

With the game tied at 47-all, sophomore Jadyn Collins converted an offensive rebound and putback with :06 left to give Crockett a two-point cushion.

A deflection by Collins on a last-second trey by Rogers sealed the victory.

“Rogers is a tough team. They played hard all the way down the stretch. I was telling my guys that we don’t need a repeat of the Franklin game,” coach Jordan Caldwell said in reference to a buzzer shot that lifted district champion Franklin to a 52-51 victory over the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs trailed 14-4 after a quarter but dominated the second 16-5 to slip in front 20-19 at intermission.

Caldwell’s crew opened up a five-point lead late in the third only to see Rogers drain a three-pointer in the waning seconds to make it 34-32 heading into the final period.

Early in the fourth Rogers wrestled its way in front 35-34 on a three-point play but Crockett answered with its own to regain the lead with 6:05 left.

The rest of the game was a back-and-forth battle. Crockett never trailed, but Rogers tied the score four times.

Crockett took its biggest lead of 45-40 on a putback by “big man” Chris Purvis and a three-point play by Collins at the 3:34 mark.

Rogers hit a trey on its next possession and tied it at 45-all with 2:18 left.

After a travelling call on Crockett gave Rogers possession, the Eagles put up an errant shot. Ja’Lyne Carruthers grabbed the rebound, took it down the floor and sank a shot off the glass to put the Dogs up 47-43 with 1:20 left.

When Rogers tied it back up at 47-all with 55 seconds left it appeared the battle would go into overtime.

Crockett ran down the clock to :14 before Carruthers drove the lane and put up a shot that rolled around the rim and out.

But luckily, Collins collected the rebound and put the ball in for the game-winning bucket with six seconds left.

This was only Crockett’s third game with its roster back at full-strength after playing half of its district schedule with a skeleton crew.

The rust was evident early as the Dogs, plagued by turnovers and missed shots, didn’t dent the scoreboard until the 1:45 mark in the first quarter. Sophomore Courtney Byrd broke the scoring drought and junior D.J. Walker converted a steal into a layup with 10 seconds left, but the Bulldogs still faced a 14-4 deficit at the end of the quarter.

Rogers seemingly couldn’t miss a shot in the first quarter but then couldn’t hit the mark in the second as the momentum shifted to Crockett.

After being held scoreless in the first half, Collins booked 12 points after halftime to lead the offense.

Walker finished with nine, followed by Carruthers with seven, Ty White and Purvis with six apiece, Byrd with five, and Tayshawn Simon and Keshun Easterling with two each.

Senior Ben Hutka and junior Kade Sebek led Rogers with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

The Bulldogs made seven of 11 free throws while Rogers hit seven of nine. Most of Rogers’ free throws were by senior Ty Sebek, who knocked down six of seven.

Caldwell was encouraged by the resiliency his team exhibited.

“For the most part my guys never gave up but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Caldwell. “We started off horrible and got down 12-0. Then we went on a 20-7 run to take the lead at halftime.

“We started playing our style of basketball and pushing the ball. I told the guys if you make a mistake just be sure you’re moving fast. I think that was the difference late in the game. We kept pushing the ball and then we started getting some rebounds at the bottom too.

“We’ll be okay. We just have to keep playing hard and fighting hard,” said Caldwell, whose team faced undefeated No. 9 Malakoff in the area round Thursday.

  • Hits: 1526

Grapeland boys win playoff opener

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 0874LARRY LAMB | HCC Besides putting on a three-point clinic, senior B. J. Lamb dazzled fans when he slammed the ball home during the Sandies’ 87-68 bi-district win over Frankston.

By Larry Lamb

“Lose-the-flip-win-the game.”

That hashtag posted on social media became the battle cry for the Grapeland Sandies going into their bi-district game against Frankston on Saturday, Feb. 20.

After plans to play the game at Rusk fell through due to weather-related issues, the two schools agreed on flipping for home-and-home.

Frankston won the coin toss but home court advantage was not enough for the Indians to overcome the No. 3 ranked Sandies, who prevailed 87-68.

The Sandies jumped out to an 11-2 lead but after Frankston cut the lead to two, the Sandies closed out the quarter with a 13-6 run.

Led by senior B.J. Lamb’s five-of-five trey barrage, the Sandies pulled away to lead 29-20 at the end of the first.

The Trinity Valley Community College football recruit dazzled fans when he stole the ball and raced down the floor for a slam dunk.

Then Lamb drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to boost his first quarter total to 17 points and give the Sandies a nine-point lead.

Although his family’s home was destroyed by fire earlier in the week, Lamb was able to overcome adversity and focus on the game.

Lamb, who finished the night with seven treys, booked a game-high 33 points and 11 assists to attain double-double status.

Frankston stayed close early in the second period but saw the Sandies rattle off a 21-5 run in the final five minutes of the half to pull away 54-32.

After Grapeland took its biggest lead of 30 points early in the third, Frankston answered with a 13-2 flurry to get within 19.

The Sandies answered with a big run, however, to push their lead out to 73-49 heading into the final period.

The Indians stayed alive with another 13-2 run that whittled the gap down to 75-62 with 3:40 left.

But Frankston’s hopes of a miracle finish evaporated with a 12-6 run by the Sandies down the stretch.

Two other Sandies joined Lamb with double-doubles.

Cadarian Wiley was right behind him with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

Wiley scored six in the first quarter, 10 in the second and eight in each of the last two frames.

Keizion Ashford buried three treys and tallied 12 points along with 10 assists.

Riley Murchison contributed six points on a pair of treys, Omarian Wiley chipped in four and Michael Dancer had two.

In an earlier bi-district game in the Frankston gym, top-ranked Martin’s Mill defeated Lovelady 90-41.

Fans were already speculating about a possible third round clash pitting the Sandies and Martin’s Mill.

Grapeland defeated Mart 74-44 in the area round and Martin’s Mill edged Rosebud-Lott 59-42 to set up a showdown in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 27 in Frankston.

  • Hits: 1045

New homeschool hoops team building for the future

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 1312LARRY LAMB | HCC East Texas Archers head coach Detrick Watts talks to players during a time-out against Crockett.

By Larry Lamb

Homeschool students in the Houston County area now have an opportunity to play on a basketball team close to home.

The East Texas Archers, based in Lovelady, have already played 21 games during their inaugural season.

“We’re a first-year homeschool boys team with all freshman and sophomore players. These are young kids ranging from age 13 to 16,” explained Jeff Rollo, who co-organized the program with Archers head coach Detrick Watts.

“There’s nothing really in Deep East Texas for homeschool athletes,” said Rollo, noting that his children played for the Aggieland HomeSchool Panthers in College Station several years ago when they were homeschooled. “There are several homeschool teams in the Houston area but we wanted to provide an opportunity for homeschool kids in this area to play basketball without having to travel so far just to practice.”

Playing a mixture of high school varsity teams, private schools and homeschool teams, the Archers have compiled a 10-11 record.

The Archers haven’t backed away from playing powerhouse teams.

The Archers took on the Crockett Bulldogs (6-2), a class 3A UIL squad, on Dec. 31 in the Hopkins Activity Center in Crockett. Although the Archers fell 76-44, Rollo says playing high-caliber teams like Crockett is going to pay off down the road. Two of the Archers’ earlier losses were to defending UIL Class 1A state champion LaPoynor and TAPPS 2A champion Alpha Omega Academy of Huntsville.

After the Crockett game, the Archers fell to class 2A Normangee, 73-48, and then posted back-to-back wins over Aggieland HomeSchool, 67-53, and Still Creek Christian (Bryan), 48-30 .

Earlier this season, the Archers notched impressive tournament wins over two private schools. They knocked off Rosehill Christian (Tomball), the sixth-ranked private school team, 54-46, and Bay Area Christian, 68-55, in back-to-back games. “Those were the two best games that we’ve played but since then we’ve lost about five in a row,” said Rollo.

The Archers’ roster includes Jaedin Watts, Brycen Watts, Kaven Rollo, A.J. Frizzell, Ethan Jones, Trent Goodall, John Sullivan, Shayne Cox, Braden Kovar, Josh Nutt and Levi Smith. Players are from Lovelady as well as Latexo, College Station, Willis, Huntsville, Palestine and Trinity.

“We have some varsity-caliber kids and then we have some that had never played. We have some with one or two years of experience,” said Rollo. “When we first started this we had three players and now we have a total of 11. Most of these kids did not know each other. Now they’re developing team chemistry and camaraderie.”

Rollo explained that National Homeschool Basketball rules specify that students can play on a team if they live within a 100-mile radius, but they must be “true homeschool students” not enrolled in a public or private school.

When the homeschool playoffs begin the Archers will compete in the 16-under division. Playoffs start with the district tournament in Houston, followed by regional in Duncanville, state in Round Rock and nationals in Springfield, Mo.
Without the luxury of a home gym, the Archers are true road warriors.

“We’re always the underdog, the away team. You’re not going to get any calls. You’re not going to get any love. Nobody knows who you are,” said Rollo. “I like to say that we’re homeschooled, but we’re homeless without a home gym.”

Lack of consistency has been the main issue so far.

“We see spurts. We’ve played pretty good basketball at times but it’s about consistency. We don’t have a lot of skilled players that you could put in and out, so you get worn down during a game. It’s all about trying to get better for the future,” he said.

Homeschool teams are not restricted in the number of games they can play so the Archers are planning 45 to 50 games.

“We still have a lot of basketball to be played. These are great kids, very respectful and we’re learning and growing. I explain it as a big brother-little brother situation. Little brother is going to take his licks early but then little brother is going to grow and get stronger. We schedule tough teams because we want a gauging stick. We want to play games that are tough and difficult. It’s only going to make us better,” Rollo said.

Rollo, who coached the Lovelady High School girls program four years, said plans call for the addition of a girls program next year, eventually expanding to more age groups. Rollo will be the girls team head coach and Watts will assist.

“We’re all in it together. We try to bring our knowledge, our passion and our love of the game,” he said.

  • Hits: 2037

Lamar Cardinals sign Lovelady lineman

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 0907COURTESY PHOTO Lovelady senior Carter Murray signs a National Letter of Intent to play football with Lamar University in Beaumont during a ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the LHS gym.

By Larry Lamb

Lamar University landed a big man to bolster its offensive line with the signing of Lovelady senior Carter Murray during a ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the LHS gym.

Murray was one of five offensive linemen Lamar signed to National Letters of Intent on Early Signing Day.

The 6-3, 290-pound tackle was a four-year starter for the Lions on both sides of the ball.

Kilgore College, Sam Houston State and Rice University also had their eyes on Murray. “None were as interested in me as Lamar. They kept in contact with me, their coaches are really good and the facilities are nice. I just liked everything about it,” he explained.

“A whole new coaching staff came in last December. Coach (Dane) Morgan was previously at San Diego State and always had a good record there, so I feel like it’s going to be a good ride,” said the future Cardinal. “I’m excited about what’s next.”

Carter, son of David and Michelle Murray, hasn’t decided on a major. “I plan to get the basics done first and then decide on what I’ll major in,” he said.

Murray’s senior football season was cut short by meniscus surgery which sidelined him after the regular season. “I missed the two playoff games because if I had waited and not had the surgery I wouldn’t have been ready for baseball,” said Murray, who is a standout player for the Lions baseball team. “I’m ready for baseball.”

“I really grew up playing baseball but football kind of just fell into me. I knew I could go to the next level and play football, so I started to take that seriously and work hard at it,” he continued.

Murray said the most memorable football game was his during freshman season when the Lions defeated Alto 22-20 in bi-district. “Being a freshman starter in my first playoff game made it special and it was probably the best game that we’ve ever played as a team. The atmosphere was amazing. There’s no other feeling like that.”

Lovelady athletic director/head football coach Will Kirchhoff said, “He’s an exceptional young man, a great football player and an even better person.”

The coach continued, “I’ve watched him grow from freshman year all the way to where he is now so I feel like he’s one of my own. He’s going to carry all the things I’ve seen him grow into and keep growing in the next level, so we’re really excited about seeing where he’s going.”

In addition to Murray’s obvious physical changes, Kirchhoff noted, “His biggest change has been the mentality and the leadership that he brings to the table. Every single play is important to him on both sides of the football. He’s had such an impact on our program in changing the way that we play football, which is physical hard-nose offense running the football down your throat. He’s been a big piece of that puzzle. Basing your offense around a right tackle is rare but when you’ve got one as good as Carter it’s something that you can do.”

As a junior Murray received honorable mention All-East Texas and All-State. At the Texas Top 100 combine last year, Murray was named as the top five offensive linemen in Classes 1A through 6A.

Murray was District 11-2A DII Lineman of the Year this past season and is a likely to be a repeat as All-State honoree when the 2020 selections are announced.

“Carter was one of those kids that everyone in the district always asked me whether he’s graduated yet because he’s dominated this district for the last four years on both sides of the ball. I hate to see him go but I’m excited to see where he’s going. If he carries that Lovelady work ethic to the next level he’ll do just fine,” said Kirchhoff.

“To be as successful as he has been is just a testament to his character and all the work that he’s put in because year after year he just keeps getting better,” added Kirchhoff.

Murray has played every position on the offensive line.

“That’s a testament to how high his football IQ is and that’s his big attribute. No matter where you plug him in he understands the big picture and can handle those jobs. That’s a huge thing that Lamar’s going to get out of him. No matter where they put him he’s going to be able to execute at a high level and he’s going to understand exactly what’s going on,” said Kirchhoff.

“Lamar noticed on film how he picks up different schemes, no matter what defenses throw at him. He not only can get his job done but he can make sure everyone on the O-line is in their right place and he does a great job directing those guys. But for football IQ and physicality, Lamar got a gem I assure you,” summed up Kirchhoff.

  • Hits: 2067