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Two titles for host school

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120822 bs basketball tourneySavanna Poncho dribbles past a Woden defender. Tra Thomas drives and draws the foul in the first half. Bulldog Kam Wyatt elevates for a field goal attempt in Saturday’s championship game. Photos by Albert Trevino

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Big Sandy Wildcat boys finished Saturday’s tournament with a 74-52 championship win over the Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs.

Although the Bulldogs had an aggressive gameplan on defense, Big Sandy took advantage and made the right plays in transition for breakaway points throughout the game.

“When teams press you like that, they want you to take a quick shot. At the same time, you want to be aggressive and take what they give you,” said Wildcat coach Kevin Foster. “For the most part, our decision making was good and we attacked when we needed to. Our two key points were not turning it over and getting those rebounds.”

With reportedly limited time on the court so far this season, Corrigan is still working on consistent success as they took the runner-up spot.

“They are learning how to win. Once they get their legs ready where we can full-court press for 32 minutes, I will give it about two to more weeks and I think we will be ready to go,” said Corrigan coach Greg Devers.

The Wildcats established an early lead, thanks in part to a foul-and-one by senior Elias Bullock. However, physical play by Corrigan was able to cut it to just a 12-10 lead for Big Sandy going into the second period.

Both defenses played tough in the second, but Wildcat senior Kaden Foster eventually helped extend the lead for Big Sandy with a corner 3-pointer.
Tra Thomas answered back with a step-up 3-pointer, then getting to the free-throw line to tie the game at 20.

Big Sandy took the lead back with some breakaway points, along with junior Tavian Battise knocking down a late 3-pointer to make it a 30-23 game at halftime.

The Wildcats began to open up a double-digit lead in the third period, which included an open look behind the arc for Bullock.

Despite some offensive breaks, things started to fall apart for the Bulldogs on defense, as Big Sandy put together a long string of breakaway points later in the third.

The Wildcats further extended their already dominant lead in the fourth period to finish the night with the tournament win.

The Big Sandy Lady Wildcats won first place in their home tournament with a 44-30 victory over the Woden Lady Eagles.

Big Sandy had a recipe for success in setting up long-distance shots for much of the tournament, including the championship match against Woden.

“In the springtime, we worked a lot on trying to drive and attack. Although, we do rely primarily on that [outside] shot,” said Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec.

“We try to do some small things. When we can get the defense to collapse on us, then we can move the ball around to our shooters.”

Senior Lady Cat Alexis Thompson was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points.

Sophomore Lady Cat Briana Miles shot the first 3-pointer, plus a Woden turnover helped take an early lead.

Woden was able to keep pace for most of the first period until Thompson found three-straight and unanswered 3-pointers for Big Sandy. This included a one from downtown at the buzzer and Big Sandy held a 15-6 lead after the first.

The Lady Eagles cut it closer early in the second period and tightened up its defense to limit any open space for Big Sandy.

However, senior Lady Cat Corynn Kaleh would receive an assist from junior Savannah Poncho for an open 3 to take back momentum. Woden also struggled with turnovers late in the second, so Big Sandy maintained control with a 25-14 halftime lead.

Two-straight 3-pointers by junior Lady Cat Faith Geller in the third period helped Big Sandy begin to open it up even further with a 42-28 lead going into the fourth. Big Sandy would maintain that comfortable lead in the final period to win the championship match.

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Up-tempo Lions making strides

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120822 lion basketballZiekus Garner led the Lions with 25 points Tuesday. Photo by Brian Besch

By Brian Besch
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The Livingston Lions picked up their third win of the season, defeating the Trojans of Coldspring 77-61 in San Jacinto County Tuesday night.

The Lions are a fast-paced team that gets up and down the floor, plays aggressive on the defensive end and attacks the rim on offense.

“Our goal is 80 points a ball game,” Livingston coach Frederic Camp said. “They were a little bit behind tonight, so they will have to pay for those three points they didn’t get. We run the floor and score. Last week, they scored 91, so I know they can get to 100 and I have to make them believe in that. That is what we have to do, we have to run the floor. This is my basketball. I don’t play that slow down, set up stuff. They’ve got speed, so I let them run.”

Coldspring took a 21-12 lead early in the second period, but Livingston would answer with a 10-0 run to move in front. There were several lead changes for the remainder of the half that ended on a 3-pointer from Ta McNeal at the buzzer, giving the Lions a 33-27 advantage.

Livingston would stay in front for the entire second half, scoring the first three buckets of the third quarter. They now hold a 3-6 record.

Freshman Ziekus Garner led the Lions with 25 points, while Ta McNeal had 14, sophomore Jatarius Randolph had 11, and Jonathan McNeal had 10.

The coach said he wants his team to work on rebounding and taking charges. There is plenty of effort on the boards, but positioning for loose balls could use some work.

“It is something we need to work on bad, because they are standing around there and like to look and not block out,” Camp said.

Lion basketball has plenty of potential and will look to improve on a trip to the bi-district round of the playoffs last season.

“It is iffy. If we play well, we win and if we don’t, we lose. I can never tell what they are going to do until they get on the floor. We have lost a few ball games because they get wrapped up in the crowd and don’t listen, and that is what happens instead of listening to us (coaches). If they will listen, they will be just fine.”

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Best in show

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111122 corrigan fb preview

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The (9-1, 4-1) Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs are set to play the (7-3, 4-2) Garrison Bulldogs in a bi-district playoff match Friday in Henderson.
Corrigan will look to bounce back from suffering a blowout loss against the Centerville Tigers in a district-title match to end the regular season.

The Bulldogs were undefeated until that point.

“If we wanted a wake-up call, that was the best time to have one against a really good football team in (Centerville),” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “We came away upset, but still hungry. We have something to prove now and bounce back. I know that we will.”

It has been several years since this specific battle of the Bulldogs, which has reportedly been a competitive series to date, according to Ratliff.

Corrigan did win the previous two matches.

Garrison had a three-game win streak in district until losing 44-38 against the Timpson Bears last week. Garrison’s offense will feature junior running back Omarion Rasberry and Isaac McCrumby.

“There have always been really good games between Corrigan and Garrison. They have a great football team,” Ratliff said. “Stylistically, they are similar to Centerville in how they are lining up. We are prepared now and excited to get to play these guys.”

Ratliff will look to execute their well-managed offense against what seems like familiar strengths from Garrison’ defense.

“We have seen those different fronts all year long. So we feel good about attacking them,” said Ratliff. “We just have to get back to securing the football and staying ahead of the sticks.”

Kickoff for Friday’s playoff game is set for 7 p.m. at Lion Stadium (Henderson High School).

DISTRICT 12-2A Division I

District Overall

School W-L W-L PF PA
Centerville 5-0 8-2 392 154
Corrigan-Camden 4-1 9-1 430 179
Leon 3-2 3-7 192 408
Groveton 2-3 3-7 180 223
West Hardin 1-4 3-7 172 327
Normangee 0-5 0-9 62 435

Leon 45, Normangee 20
Groveton 43, West Hardin 0
Centerville 56, Corrigan-Camden 21

Groveton vs Timpson, Jasper Bulldog Stadium, 7 p.m.
Leon vs Joaquin, Jacksonville Tomato Bowl, Stadium, 7 p.m.
Corrigan-Camden vs Garrison, Henderson MS, Lions Stadium, 7 p.m.
Centerville vs Shelbyville, Diboll, Lumberjacks Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

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Lions to host district leaders

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110322 lion football advance

By Brian Besch
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Livingston football has one game remaining in the regular season and it could be the biggest challenge yet. The Lumberton Raiders are 8-1 and 4-0 in district, with their only loss coming to a 9-0 St. Thomas Catholic program.

Lumberton has handily taken care of all other district opponents, with Vidor coming the closest in a 47-21 result. They have won district games by an average of 47-11 over the four contests.

“We will see the same thing that we saw last year, with the exception of one or two young sophomores they’ve got playing,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said of the Raiders. “The rest of them have been there since the eighth grade. They are big and strong, and have won a district championship in track twice with good speed. They are not fancy at all. They just line up and take four or five deep shots down the sideline each half. The rest of the time, it is every kind of bubble screen, hitch screen, slip screen and the tailback has a read option thing on the inside. They are really good at it, and they have a big offensive line. They very much resemble the two teams that we played at the beginning of the year with Needville and Episcopal. They have really fine 7-on-7 receivers. We have seen some great receivers this year, including the kids from Silsbee and Episcopal. They can get up and get the ball, and get down field fast.”

Lumberton comes into the game with the district’s best offense. They averaged 446 yards per game, with 2,204 passing yards and 1,807 rushing yards. Livingston is second on that list, averaging 357 total yards per game.

“They are as perfectly balanced as you can be,” Vanover said. “They are a well-oiled machine. Nothing is a surprise, we just have to bring our best game. We did a great job last week in eliminating most of our mistakes. We can’t mishandle kicks and have the special teams problems that we have had. We missed an onside the other night to start the game off and we swiped at a punt that was going 50 miles per hour about four feet high and shouldn’t have touched it. We just keep throwing hurdles in front of ourselves that we have to jump over or go around.”

Players across the board will be much better than what Livingston saw versus Splendora, but it may have been the perfect matchup to experience an extremely similar scheme a week before. Livingston held the Wildcats to just 33 total yards Friday. Lion defensive backs played their best football of the season and will need a repeat performance if the team is to keep pace with the best air attack in 10-4A.

“The coaches are doing a super job with those guys,” Vanover said of his defensive backfield. “They are just grinding with repetition every day. They are working on body position, footwork, their hips and their eyes. We are being aggressive and playing the ball on every down. We are going to keep playing man pressure defense and we are getting better every week. They are going to get tested this week and we won’t be surprised if the first two or three plays of the game they go deep. 

“We both know that we have to run the football. They know if they don’t stop us, it is going to be a long night for them too. We will throw off of (the run), and their (plan) is just the opposite.”

Junior quarterback Lucas Powell is the top passer in 10-4A. He has thrown for 2,183 yards, completing over 70% of his passes, with 35 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Trey Kersh is leading the district with 51 catches for 758 yards and 10 touchdowns. The only receiver in the district with more touchdowns (15) is teammate Brady Fuselier. Jaydon Ward, also a junior, has nearly 1,000 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Powell will also run the ball, with 418 yards on the season.

The Raider defense is also strong and second best statistically in the district. They have surrendered an average of 275 yards per game. They are led by Jared Morgan, Easton Stapleton, Broc Bonner, Carson Rea, Connor Smith, Kyle Marcantel and Brock Jackson. Jackson, a junior, already has several universities recruiting him to play at the next level. Smith, Marcantel and Bonner are all top three in passes defended, while Rea has three interceptions.

“Defensively, about three-quarters of the time they are in an even front. The other times, they are in a 3-4 defense, with two big outside linebackers who are fine players. Their two inside linebackers are really downhill, physical players. Every year they have played us, they have always been in an odd front.”
The game should provide a measuring stick of how far the team has come and what they can expect when the playoffs come the following week. There is a slight possibility of a three-way tie for third place in the district if Hargrave were to defeat Little Cypress-Mauriceville by more than 15 points Friday. If not, Livingston is in the postseason in fourth place. However, if the Lions were to win this week, none of that will matter.

“We know we had chances and opportunities and the desire to be playing for the championship this week, and we stubbed our toe. We still have everything in front of us. We know that it will either be Kilgore or Tyler Chapel Hill (in the opening round of the playoffs). There is no reason to be nervous or tense or tight. We just have to play fiercely and fast and smart and confident and just see what happens at the end.

“They (Lumberton) have been the pick all year, and rightfully so. What they are doing on that football field is a great job. They’ve got just about every one of those kids back next year. They’ve got a great thing going right now. Everybody’s chasing them and that’s where everybody wants to be.”

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Four consecutive shutouts

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103022 corrigan footballKadyn Burke makes a tackle in the Indian backfield. PHOTO BY BRIAN BESCH

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

Another commanding performance by the Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs on Thursday has set up a much-anticipated district title match to close the regular season.
The Bulldogs welcomed back their old rival Groveton Indians to Corrigan with a 45-0 shutout Thursday at homecoming. Corrigan’s varsity squad came out high-energy for the last home game and are prepared for the regular-season finale against the Centerville Tigers.

“You could see it all week that we had a tremendous amount of focus,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “This being a rivalry and the seniors’ last home game was special. What was even more special is that we knew this team stood in the way of what we ultimately want to accomplish. That is winning a district title and we get that opportunity against Centerville next week.”

The Indian offense failed to consistently move the chains against the recently bulletproof Corrigan defense, which allowed zero points for the fourth-straight game.

“We got that first [shutout.] They got hungry and wanted another one. Then, can we make it three and four?” Ratliff said. “Now, we go into the last game, one more shutout and we win a district title.”

Corrigan’s offense came out swinging in the spread-run game and also got comfortable airing it out during the second half.

“I thought Groveton’s defensive line was a little better than we had seen lately.” said Ratliff. “I wanted to get back to what we were doing the first four games, which was being able to hammer it when we needed to. But we have added that extra component and I think we are throwing it a lot better.”

Groveton suffered a quick three-and-out on the opening possession. The Bulldogs started from near midfield and senior back Ja’Varion Williams immediately struck with a huge run gain near the goal line.

Williams then punched in a short touchdown run to help take the early 7-0 lead.

A bad punt by the Indians later set up another short field for Corrigan. Bulldog senior quarterback Christian Guzman got a big run and pass to set himself up for a three-yard touchdown plunge to make it a two-score game.

Later in the first, Williams took a direct snap for a long run to inside the 10-yard line and would finish that drive with a short inside run to the end zone. That drive helped Corrigan establish a comfortable 21-0, still in the first.

The Bulldogs continued to mix it up on the ground early in the second and senior Anthony Harrell would cap off the next drive with a short touchdown run to further extend the lead.

Guzman kept it moving for the Bulldogs with the air attack, getting the ball inside the 5-yard line. This set up a chip-shot field goal by senior kicker Pablo Jimenez.

Later in the second, Guzman took a keeper all the way for a long touchdown to make it 38-0 by halftime.

A pass interference by Groveton’s defense set up another scoring opportunity for Corrigan to start the third quarter. Harrell immediately took an option pitch from Guzman for a 37-yard touchdown run.

Groveton got a short field with a good return on the following kickoff. A pass from Groveton senior quarterback Ean Utz to junior receiver Clifton Davis put them inside the 10-yard line.

However, the Bulldog defense made a huge fourth-down stop near the goal line to force a turnover late in the game.

This Friday’s regular-season finale will take place at Centerville, with kickoff set at 7 p.m.

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