EastTexasNewsWebsite BannerAd

Log in
  • Big Sandy bids farewell to board members

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Trustees Glen Goodwin (second from left) and Lee Ann Cain (second from right) receive a round of applause for their service with the Big Sandy ISD school board.Both Cain and Goodwin served their final meetings as trustees for the district. Neither one sought reelection for their terms, which expire Nov. 3.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POLK COUNTY — Monday night’s Big Sandy ISD school board meeting was the finalone as trustees for Lee Ann Cain and Glen Goodwin.

    Both trustees’ terms expire on Nov. 3, and neither one sought reelection. Goodwin was with the school board for 15 years, while Cain served four.

    “They really helped the district grow,” Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter said. “They had good insight, good knowledge and worked well together. It’s a good board.”

    Four trustee positions are up for elections with newcomer Darrell Murphy and current trustees Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews running unopposed for Positions 2, 5 and 6, respectively. William Handy Jr. and Kabe Murphy are running for Position 4. Carpenter announced to the board that the Texas Education Agency approved the district’s Asynchronous Learning Plan. The TEA approved it on the first try.

    “It’s a compliment to our principals,” Carpenter said. “The Asynchronous Plan is how you’re going to utilize a learning management system, which for us is Google Classroom and how you’re going to instruct students virtually. The TEA had a template to work from and we received some good guidance from Region VI in Huntsville, who helped the administration develop it and even proofed it and gave it back to us and we made some adjustments before we submitted it.”

    The school board also approved Native American Policies and Procedures for the 2020-21 school year. The Big Sandy ISD student body is approximately 25% Native American.

    “We receive federal funds and have policies in place,” he said. “After meeting with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, particularly their Education Department, we developed those policies and procedures. We usually do this in October.”

    The board also approved retrofit lighting to be installed in the gymnasium and a study on property values from 2012. Carpenter likes to perform retroactive property value studies.“You can do property value studies from past years to try to recoup money,” he said. “We use our tax attorneys to go and look at the data from our property values to try and garner additional funding.”

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

  • Big Sandy ends season in regional tournament

    IMG 5256BRIAN BESCH | PCE Elias Bullock shoots from 15 feet out.

    By Brian Besch

    One of the state’s top teams needed every minute Tuesday to defeat Big Sandy, as LaPoynor escaped Central Heights High School with a 53-50 win in the regional semifinals.

    With just 15 seconds to play and a tie score at 50 each, LaPoynor worked the ball into the post, where the bucket was made with a foul. The free throw was good and the Wildcats had one last chance.

    Inbounding at half court with 12 seconds to go, a Flyer steal sealed the contest.

    “I'm really proud of the kids and how we competed tonight,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “You know that you're playing the fourth ranked team in the state and the kids came out and played really hard. I think that probably the biggest factor in the game was we defended well, but the thing that hurt us the entire game was turnovers.

    We had some very uncharacteristic turnovers and I give them credit for that.

    “Our decision-making was poor and it is tough to win games like that when you turn the ball over and we still had a chance. I told them in the locker room that the first three playoff games could have gone either way for the most part. We were able to make plays down the stretch and tonight they made plays. That's what those close games come down to.” 

    The Wildcats led after one quarter and were down just a field goal at halftime. They held leads in the fourth quarter, when momentum shifted often.

    A big factor keeping the ‘Cats in the game was excellent free throw shooting. They were 17-for-20 at the charity stripe. Adrian Thompson led Big Sandy with 14 points, Kaden Foster had 10 and Dante Williams had nine in his final high school game.

    Williams, Josiah Celestine and Weston Mayer will move on after finishing their senior year of high school.

    “(They are) just a tremendous group of kids, first of all. Not even talking about basketball,” Foster said of his seniors.

    “They are just a good group of kids that are very dependable. They are going to go on and do good things in life. At the end of the day, I think that is the most important thing. I'm very proud of the seniors and I am going to miss them. They were just a lot of fun to be around.” 

    IMG 5250BRIAN BESCH | PCE Seth Beene-Williams shoots over and around defenders.

    A team that did not have all of its players until the final seven games of the season, the Wildcats peaked at the right time to become one of the better 2A teams in Texas. They were able to defeat the No. 10 team in the state and were a bucket away from the state’s No. 4 team.

    “If you would have told me that this team would be in the regional semifinals and not only make it here, but play the fourth-ranked team in the state and have a chance to win in under a minute, I would have said you were crazy. But these kids keep battling and fighting and they played together. They are just the true definition of a team. If you can do that, you can accomplish a lot.”

  • Big Sandy ISD swears in trustees and reorganizes board

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Standing from left, Big Sandy ISD trustees Quentin Matthews, Mark Duff and Kabe Murphy take their oaths into four-year terms from Kelly Hardy during last Monday’s meeting.

    By Jason Chlapek

    DALLARDSVILLE – Four trustees took oaths for four-year terms during Big Sandy ISD’s monthly meeting last Monday.

    Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews were re-elected, while Darrell Murphy and Kabe Murphy were elected to new four-year terms. Duff, Matthews and Darrell Murphy all ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election, while Kabe Murphy defeated William Handy for his seat.

    The officers on the school board were chosen as well. Darrell Murphy will serve as board president, while Sheila Neal will be the board vice-president, and Matthews is the secretary.

    During the meeting, Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter gave a financial report during his report. He also talked about Title I funds that the district receives.

    “Covid has been our biggest expense to the tune of $200-250,000,” Carpenter said. “Getting ready for class, cleaning buses, cleaning supplies, etc. It’s just part of it. The amount of Title I funds a school receives is based on the number of kids you have on free or reduced lunch. That’s about 50% of our students.”

    Last month, Big Sandy ISD decided to go back to onsite learning for all students with the exception of those students who have preexisting medical conditions or have immediate family members with preexisting medical conditions. Carpenter believes onsite learning is more beneficial.

    “One of the biggest reasons why we went back to onsite learning was we had a high percentage of distance learners who were failing,” he said. “It’s easier for students to get the one-to-one help they need when they’re in school. If they’re not checking in, you can’t help them at all.”

    Carpenter also commended Senator Robert Nichols for everything he’s done for his district and other rural districts in East Texas. He’s not only a fan of Nichols, but also House Bill 3.

    “With House Bill 3, Sen. Nichols helped rural schools get the funding they needed,” Carpenter said.

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

  • Big Sandy moves to third round (VIDEO)

    IMG 5025BRIAN BESCH | PCE Big Sandy takes on Woden.

    By Brain Besch

    Big Sandy is now area champions after defeating Woden 59-53 Thursday at Hudson High School.

    The Eagles posed many problems, with an athletic group that shoots well. The game would come down to a battle of free throws. The Wildcats were up to the challenge, hitting 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.

    "Honestly, I thought the game was going to be a little more up and down than it was," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. "Woden really presses a lot and likes to get out and run. They did that early, then they got out of it and really didn't go back to it until they had to.

    "It really turned into kind of a half-court type of game. Those types of games can go either way. We just had one run where we were able to get the lead and hold on to it a little bit."

    Leading the way for Big Sandy was Adrian Thompson with 14 points and Kaden Foster with 13. Also scoring 13 was Josiah Celestine, who came off the bench to provide a deep shooting threat with four 3-pointers.

    "We need Josiah because he can really shoot the ball," Foster said. "Last game, it was a man and full-court pressure type of game. I had to have my better ball handlers out there, so he didn't really see a lot of action. I knew tonight that he was going to get more minutes. He made some big shots for us."

    The Eagles spread their points amongst eight players, with Chance Lawson scoring 15 on five 3-pointers and Chandler Britton had 13 points.

    "It is kind of a different guy for them every night," Foster said of preparing for Woden. "You really couldn't focus on one. They can shoot the ball really well and we knew that coming in."

    Outscoring Woden 15-5 in the second quarter would have an impact on the outcome. With each squad in the bonus during the fourth period, free throw shooting was also key. The 'Cats were 12-for-16 at the line in the fourth. Woden was 7-for-11 in that same span, to keep the contest close.

    "We've had times this year where we have struggled and we have lost games because we would go 7-for-21 from the line. Then we would have games where we were 16-for-19," the coach said. "I feel like lately our free throw shooting has gotten more consistent, which this is the time of year that you want it to be. I knew it was going to be a very physical game and both teams got in the double bonus in the second half."

    The Wildcats will move on to play Garrison in the regional quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs are champions of District 22-2A and nabbed a win over Tenaha Thursday.

  • Big Sandy stings Hornets

    IMG 2267PHOTO BY BRIAN BESCH I PCE Weston Mayer puts up two of his game-leading 17 points for the Big Sandy Wildcats.

    By Brian Besch

    The Big Sandy Wildcats had no trouble disposing of Goodrich Tuesday with a 79-4 win.

    The ‘Cats were dominant from the beginning, establishing a 40-0 advantage before Goodrich could get on the board late in the second quarter. It was the Hornets’ first game of the year and a tough draw against a team that has a running start and has played a few large schools.

    “I told our kids it was going to be like this,” Goodrich coach Lester King said. “You have to play hard and I just wanted to see some hustle. They are young and they are freshmen.”

    King's lone senior went down in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, leaving five inexperienced Hornets on the floor to fend for themselves. With Garzon down, Goodrich had four freshmen and a sophomore that did not play last year on the floor without a bench.

    “Garzon is the only senior and we have to get ready for January,” King said. “Some kids have to learn the hard way and they think they are ready to play and really good, but it is all about defense and hustle. We didn't have any defense out there tonight and we didn't have any hustle. We are going to get better at that. This is just embarrassing, but we are going to get better at defense and hustle. You got to work at this game. This is good for them. Now they see.”

    For Big Sandy, they have played up in classification versus southeast Texas schools in Orangefield and, most recently, Bridge City.

    “It was our first game back since a loss on Tuesday and coming off of Thanksgiving, so it was good to knock off the rust a little bit,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “With Covid, I've kind of broken everything into small seasons. We had five games before Thanksgiving, this is our first of seven before christmas, so we are trying to break everything down into small seasons.”

    All nine Wildcats put up points Tuesday, led by Weston Mayer with 17, Dante Williams with 14 and Kaden Foster with 10. For Goodrich, Exavier Henderson had both buckets.

    Big Sandy as a group looked polished after a more uneven performance in Onalaska a few weeks before. Jumpers were falling, passes were crisp and the defense fought hard to keep the Hornets off the scoreboard.

    “In the second half, we really try to focus on the execution side of things. I thought we did some of that,” Foster said. “We will keep practicing and getting better and we’ve got a lot of improvement to make.”

  • Defense, defense, defense (VIDEO)

    IMG 5123BRIAN BESCH | PCE Dante Williams drives to the bucket.

    Big Sandy defeats state-ranked Garrison, advances to regional semifinals

    Watch the video here:

    By Brian Besch

    "I don't even know where to begin with this game," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said after the win over Garrison. "If we play them 10 times, we maybe beat them once. I told the kids we don't have to be better than them, we just have to be better than them tonight."

    By playing incredible defense and taking care of the basketball, Big Sandy was better than Garrison Saturday night, winning by a score of 32-28.

    Rarely turning the ball over, blocking out on every shot and constantly harassing the Bulldog offense, Big Sandy had just enough to defeat the No. 10 2A team in Texas.

    Two field goals and four free throws were all the Bulldog offense could muster in the first half. However, Garrison also played well on the defensive end, leading to a 13-8 score at halftime.

    IMG 5148BRIAN BESCH | PCE Josiah Celestine shoots a baseline jumper.

    "Fortunately, they didn't shoot the ball well, because they normally shoot it very well," Foster said. "Our kids stuck to our game plan.

    "We lost the lead and I'm so proud of them because we kept our composure and were able to hang on and make a play late. That's what these games come down to, whoever can make a play late. We were able to do it and I can't believe we are in the regional semifinals."

    Garrison trailed for much of the game and was down a bucket at 40-38 to begin the fourth quarter.

    Within a minute, they took the lead in what would be in a nail-biting final period.

    "We knew we needed to cover (Dayton Dewberry) and (Risten Cook), because they can shoot it," Foster said. "The rest of the guys can shoot, but we were going to take our chances with that and really try to crowd the paint. (Freddy Christopher) is so explosive and quick, we didn't want to let him get to where he needed to be. We did that for the most part. Coach (Darren) Cook is a great coach and he adjusted in the second half. He ran some hi-low stuff and was able to get it to them.

    IMG 5151BRIAN BESCH | PCE Adrian Thompson puts up a 3-pointer from the corner.

    With 20 seconds left to play, the Wildcats were clinging to a 30-28 advantage. Adrian Thompson knocked down two free throws, making it a two-possession contest.

    It would be all the stingy Wildcat defense would need to move on to the regional semifinals.

    Elias Bullock and Adrian Thompson led Big Sandy with eight points each. Risten Cook led Garrison with 10 points and Brad Reynolds had eight.

    LaPoynor will be the next opponent, as the two teams will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Central Heights High School.

  • Grapeland reaches Elite 8

     MG 5027MARSHA COOK PHOTO Grapeland’s Cadarian Wiley shoots over Gary defender Landon Woodfin during a regional semifinals matchup Tuesday night in Lufkin.

    By Larry Lamb

    After toppling No. 1 Martin’s Mill, the Grapeland Sandies added another notch on their belt by taking down No. 9 Gary 48-46 in the regional semifinals Tuesday in Lufkin.

    Grapeland’s win sets up a showdown between the No. 3 Sandies (27-1) and No. 4 LaPoynor (26-5) in the regional final Friday night at Fairfield High School.

    LaPoynor, which edged Big Sandy 53-50 in the regional semifinals, handed the Sandies their only loss, 61-56, back on Dec.12.

    The winner of the Grapeland-LaPoynor matchup advances to the state semifinal round March 8-9 with a ticket to the Class 2A State Championship in San Antonio on Saturday, March 13 up for grabs.

    Grapeland led by six three times in the final five minutes but could not put Gary away.

    The Sandies had a six-point lead with 1:50 left after Cadarian Wiley hit his third straight bucket.

    Gary answered with a deep trey and then hit one of two free throws to make it 47-45 with 46.8 seconds left.

    Grapeland’s B.J. Lamb went to the line for a one-and-one situation with 10.9 seconds left. He sank the front end but the second would not fall, holding the Sandies’ lead at 48-45.

    Trailing by three, Gary inbounded the ball and a foul on Cadarian Wiley sent the Bobcats to the line for two shots with 1.8 seconds left.

    Needing a miracle, the Bobcats’ only hope was to make the first free throw, intentionally miss the second, get the rebound and score.

    Landon Woodfin’s first attempt was good to make it 48-46. His second shot hit the rim and the Sandies collected the rebound as the buzzer sounded, setting off Grapeland’s victory celebration.

    Playing their preferred brand of run-and-gun style of basketball, the Sandies raced out to a 6-0 lead.

    After Gary slowed the tempo, the Bobcats were able to match Grapeland’s six points the rest of the first quarter but still trailed 12-6.

    Gary was within a point with 4:45 left in the second when the Sandies pulled away 21-15 on three unanswered buckets.

    The Bobcats drained a trey in the closing seconds of the half, capping a 10-2 run that put them on top 25-23 at the break.

    Seizing momentum in the third quarter, the Sandies went on a 10-2 run to take a 33-27 lead at the 4:00 mark.

    Gary scored back-to-back buckets to make it a two-point game with :25 left. In the closing seconds Mike Dancer heaved an errant trey but a rebound and put-back by Keizion Ashford at the buzzer pushed the Sandies’ lead to 35-31.

    Lamb went to the bench with four fouls at the 1:08 mark in the third and returned early in the fourth after Gary nailed a pair of free throws to get within two.

    Held to their lowest offensive output this season, the Sandies were led by Cadarian Wiley’s 18 points. Wiley scored eight of Grapeland’s 11 points in the second quarter and made three consecutive baskets in the fourth.

    Lamb, who scored his team’s only three-pointer of the night, recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds

    Keizion Ashford scored nine, Mike Dancer and Omarian Wiley chipped in two apiece, and Riley Murchison had one.

    Gary’s Ryan Ecker led a trio of double-digit scorers with 15. Landon Woodfin had 13 and Dakota Beckham finished with 11.

    Grapeland made 5 of 10 free throws and Gary hit 10 of 13.

    The Sandies came into the game riding momentum from an 81-75 upset of top-ranked Martin’s Mill Saturday afternoon in Frankston.

    The match-up featuring two of the state’s premier class 2A teams lived up to all the pre-game hype.

    Grapeland led by three after a quarter and outscored the Mustangs 26-18 in the second to open up an 11-point halftime lead.

    After Lamb hit two straight buckets to put the Sandies up 41-30, Mustang Carter Jones drilled a trey to make it an eight-point game with :10 left in the half.

    Lamb had an answer, however, when he heaved a 3-point buzzer-beater from half court to stretch the Sandies’ lead back to 44-33 at the break.

    Martin’s Mill came out sizzling in the third, hitting three treys in an 11-2 run to cut the lead to two, 46-44.

    A 9-2 run put Grapeland up 55-46 but the Mustangs tied it 61-61 on a deep trey in the waning seconds of the third.

    The game was tied at 67 early in the fourth when a put-back by Murchison ignited a 6-0 run that put the Sandies up 73-67.

    After their lead was cut to two, 77-75, the Sandies hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

    Lamb, a Trinity Valley Community College football signee, led the Sandies with a triple-double of 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

    Wiley booked 22 points and nine rebounds while Ashford rounded out double figures with 16 and led with five steals.

     

  • Lady Cats off to fast start in December

    IMG 2195PHOTO BY BRIAN BESCH I PCE Jamya Garrett shoots a jumper in the first half Tuesday.

    By Brian Besch

    The Big Sandy Lady Cats came back from their turkey-day break by defeating intra-county foe Goodrich 71-15 Tuesday night in Dallardsville.

    The game was never in doubt, as the Lady Cats scored just a few seconds after the tip and held the lead throughout the competition. Big Sandy was led by sophomore Alexis Thompson, who scored 13 points in the first quarter, on her way to 28 for the game.

    Despite the large difference, Lady Cat head coach Ryan Alec sees room for improvement from his bunch.

    “We didn't shoot the ball very well tonight as much as I would like for us to,” he said. “Offensively, I thought we executed as best we could. We had good ball movement around the perimeter, but I thought we missed our post players on the inside a little bit. In the second half, we tried to fix that a little more and go inside. I thought we did a better job going to our bigs and trying to score down low. Early in the first half, I thought we were trying to settle for too many 3-pointers on the outside. We weren't making them, so we have to figure out something else to do.”

    The home team outscored the Lady Hornets 21-2 in the first quarter and led 37-4 at the half. Savannah Hoffman had 13 points for the Lady Cats and Faith Geller added a dozen. For Goodrich, Aralyn Angel led with seven points, Latrina Morgan had five and Jamya Garrett ended with three.

    The Big Sandy boss liked what he saw on the defensive end, holding the Lady Hornets to minimal success.

    “We played our zone defense and we tried to be aggressive out of it,” Alec said. “In the second half, we played a little bit of man. We are trying to figure out who we are and figure out our identity and what type of defense we are better at. I thought our first half defense was much better than our second half, but we still have a lot of work that we have to do in order for us to run both defenses to perfection. It's one of those things that we have to work on every day.”

    For Goodrich, the Lady Hornets are coming off a hard-fought win just before the Thanksgiving holidays.

    “I feel like the last game they played a lot better,” Goodrich coach Khadijah Carter said. “We played the Livingston game against the freshmen. We've just got to get more competitive.”

    In the game with Livingston, Goodrich played with only four on the court for the entire fourth quarter. Carter said the team was up 10 or 15 points to begin the period and Livingston closed the gap to four points before the Lady Hornets took the win.

    “(Versus Livingston,) we actually moved the ball around and we were getting open shots,” Carter said. “Most of our points came from in the paint. It was a lot of high-low and stuff like that. We had a girl foul out, so we just had to get in a box set. We managed with that for a little bit and our sophomore stepped up, bringing the ball down the court, because they doubled our point guard.”

    The coach believes that confidence is a factor with her team and she wants to build in that area during non-district before heading into league play, which begins next week.

  • Ready for the challenge (VIDEO)

    IMG 3389BRIAN BESCH | PCE Corynn Kaleh had six points in the first quarter and eight for the game.

    Lady Cats prepare for two games that will determine district lead

    By Brian Besch

    Tuesday’s game in Dallardsville seemed more of a formality than competition, as Big Sandy easily outscored Spurger 69-14.

    The home team overpowered the Lady Pirates 42-3 in the first half and never allowed more than six points (fourth) in any quarter.

    “We have battled a little bit of injury since the Christmas break, but overall, I have been pleased with the way we have been playing,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said of his group. “We've beaten some quality teams over the break and we also lost to a quality team in Central Pollok at their place. They were a good, solid team. We got a chance to see what a really great team looks like.”

    Alexis Thompson led the way on the scoreboard, with 28 points in just three quarters. The sophomore point guard hit eight 3-pointers. Faith Geller had 19 points, connecting three times from behind the arc, and Kalyssa Dickens collected 10 points.

    The Lady Cats are undefeated going into an important two-game stint of district contests. Both could prove to be pivotal in determining District 24-2A seeding for the postseason.

    “In my opinion, it is going to come down to us, West Sabine and Broaddus,” Alec said of the title race. “I think all of us will battle it out for the top spot. With West Sabine, we are going to have to match their intensity and we will have to play well. We play at their place on Friday and that is always a tough place to play.

    “You always tried to take games one game at a time and our focus is on West Sabine now. We have Broaddus at home on Tuesday, which will be another tough battle. They are very aggressive and play extremely hard. That will be another tough game.”

    The challenges are something the coach believes his team is prepared to face.

    “We're ready and I think the kids are excited for Friday night. They know how big of a game Friday night is going to be in West Sabine.”

     

  • Survive and advance

    IMG 4868BRIAN BESCH | PCE Adrian Thompson (3) of Big Sandy shoots a jumper in the lane.

    By Brian Besch

    The Big Sandy Wildcats left Kirbyville Monday night with the promise of another game, after holding on to beat Shelbyville 55-53 in the bi-district round of the UIL playoffs. 

    Down for much of the first half, the pace of the game appeared too quick in for the 'Cats in the opening period. Down 19-12 after the opening eight minutes, they settled in and took better care of the ball. 

    "Obviously, we got off to a shaky start and the pressure hurt us especially," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. "I don't know if it was playoff jitters or what. (Shelbyville is) real athletic, but I felt like if we could ever really settle down, we would be OK. Right before the half, we took the lead, but we had a few mistakes that weren't real smart on our part."

    With 2:18 to go in the second quarter, Big Sandy pulled ahead at 26-25. The Dragons ended the half with a few buckets to go back up, 31-28.

    "Every team out there is in the same boat," Foster said. "We haven't played in nine days. We practiced a little bit last week. Their district was very tough and there are a lot of good teams in it. That helps a team like them coming in."

    A turning point in the contest was a six-point swing, as Adrian Thompson hit a shot under the hoop and received two technical shots after he was shoved to the floor. The Wildcats inbounded after and Thompson hit a jumper in the lane.
     


    The Dragons were held to eight points in the third and fourth quarters. Big Sandy forced Shelbyville to settle for many outside shots over the final three periods, outscoring the Dragons in each.

    "They stretched it out again and we just kept telling the kids to chip away at it the best you can," the Wildcat coach said. "We didn't do great down the stretch, but we did just enough and made just enough free throws. We turned it over too much and they made some big shots late."

    Seth Beene-Williams led with 15 points, Kaden Foster scored 14 and Thompson had 13. Brayden Hand led the Dragons with a dozen and Jakivian Calhoun had 10. 

    Big Sandy moves on to challenge the victor of the Mount Union/Woden contest. Foster believes his team's next game will occur Thursday.
  • Wildcats play for district lead Friday (VIDEO)

    IMG 3417BRIAN BESCH | PCE Michael Hamilton led all scores with 14 Tuesday night.

    By Brian Besch

    A stifling defense made for easy offense as Big Sandy breezed past Spurger 83-13 Tuesday. Turnovers gave the game the look of a layup drill at times, as the Wildcats led by 17 after the first quarter and 33 at the half.

    Nearly at full strength, the Wildcats were too much for Spurger. The Pirates’ best quarter was in the first, scoring five points. Meanwhile the Big Sandy attack never amassed fewer than 19 points in a period.

    “We’ve got nearly everybody back,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said with a bit of relief. “We went on a stretch from Thanksgiving until Dec. 28 where we constantly had two or three guys out. We've played a lot of bigger schools, so it has been tough on us. I kept telling the kids that it will prepare us for the long run, even though we are taking our lumps now.”

    The ‘Cats spread the wealth, with each of the eight players scoring at least four points. Michael Hamilton was tops amongst them with 14. Elias Bullock scored 13, Kaden Foster and Josi Celestine both had a dozen, and Adrian Thompson had 10.

    “The last few games we have really worked on getting the ball up and we go through stretches where we struggle to score,” Foster said. “We need to get into our offense quicker and really transition and fast-breaking. We have done a better job of that as of late. I feel like the one thing that we've done well for the past couple of games is defend. We’ve also rebounded well all year long.”

    Much the same as the girls, Foster believes Friday's game at West Sabine will be in an important one for his Wildcats. The two schools were projected by many to finish first and second in the district.

    “It is going to be a challenging and difficult game, but that's what makes it fun,” the coach said. “I told the kids that we will be focused these next two days in practice to get ready to play. They probably have the best individual player in the district. He has started for them since he was a freshman and is a junior now. They have some good athletes and we are looking forward to it.”

  • Winter weather slams through Polk County

                                   PHOTOS BY JASON CHLAPEK AND PAM NOBLES I PCE Winter weather made driving conditions treacherous for a Toyota pickup truck and an 18-wheeler earlier this week.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Like the majority of the state of Texas, Polk County was not spared by Mother Nature this week.

    A winter storm came through most of the state Sunday night and Polk County was one of the storm’s destinations. The storm left snow on the ground, which prompted schools and some businesses to close its doors because of adverse travel conditions.

    Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy called a declaration of disaster from Sunday to Wednesday. The northern portion of the county received 4-6 inches of snow, while Livingston received 3-4 and the southern portion received 1-2.

    Temperatures did not go above freezing (37 degrees) and are not projected to until Friday when the high is supposed to be 43. Temperatures dropped to as low as 4 Tuesday morning.

    Truck 1

    As of press time, the Polk County Office of Emergency Management reported that approximately 2,600 homes were without water and 292 were without electricity. A second cold front was projected to sweep through the county Wednesday afternoon, which would make driving conditions treacherous again.

    All six county school districts – Big Sandy, Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich, Leggett, Livingston and Onalaska – either closed or performed virtual learning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. C-CISD is closed for the remainder of the week, Goodrich is closed today and the other districts didn’t make a decision about today or Friday as of press time.

    The Polk County Office of Emergency Management can be reached at 936-327-6826, or visit the website at http://www.PolkCountyOEM.com/ . Other agencies that can be reached during winter storm emergencies are the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (936-327-6810), Department of Public Safety (936-327-6806), Livingston Police Department (936-327-3117), Onalaska Police Department (936-646-5676), Corrigan Police Department (936-398-2551) and the Alabama-Coushatta Police Department (936-563-1200).