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Plenty of buzz

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Jesus Salazar drives to the bucket.Brian Besch

Tournament hosts Goodrich fell in the opening round of their tournament 77-12 to the Hardin Hornets in a contest that was never close.

The visiting Hornets took a 19-1 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Hardin led 37-3 at the half.

“It got a little better in the second half; we’re still trying to get there,” Goodrich coach Lester King said of his young group. “The kids our freshman and still getting in shape and this is new to them. They’ve never played any varsity basketball. We’re getting better every time we play. We’re playing good competition. We have played Hardin and Shepherd, Colmesneil and Onalaska. By the time we get into district none of them (schools much larger in size) are going to be there.”

Going through the growing pains combined with playing the larger schools, like Class 3A Hardin, will serve Goodrich well once they reach district play. A better effort in the second half showed plenty of fight in the team.

Tilde Guzman scored six points for the home team, while A’mareion Bookman added five.

“We are just trying to get there. They were better in the second half at getting to the rim. It was one of those deer in headlights look, like they were scared to go to the rim. I want them to see if their man can guard them. If they can, maybe they will back off and you can get a shot. But, we are getting experience.”

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Defeating larger schools

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Alexis Thompson finds an opening for the shot.Alexis Thompson finds an opening for the shot.By Brian Besch

The Big Sandy girls came from behind in the second half to gain an opening-round 40-36 win over Jasper in their tournament Thursday.

“They looked pretty good,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said of Jasper. “They're very athletic and very quick. We’ve set this tournament up to where we are able to see teams like that. We want to play against teams that do that to us. Hopefully, if we get into district and into the playoffs, we're probably going to see some of that. They are a very good team and I was proud of our kids.”

Having a bit of trouble in the half-court offense, the Lady Cats utilized improved shooting in the third and fourth quarters to overcome an 18-14 deficit at the half. They had fallen behind with a poor performance at the free throw line, going 1-for-6 in the second quarter alone. For the game, Big Sandy carried a 40 percent success rate at the charity stripe.

However, the game was put out of reach by shooting free throws when Savanna Poncho sank a couple with five seconds remaining. She would also be the game’s leading scorer with 18 points. Alexis Thompson added a dozen, while Briana Miles, Faith Geller, Corynn Kaleh and Lauren Hulin also contributed.

“We moved the ball like we are supposed to. I think a few times, turnovers hurt us a little bit and our inability to make some free throws down the stretch,” Alec said. “Overall, we got down and we bounced back in, so there was a lot of factors in the game where we gave them chances to pull it out. We fought back into it and grinded and won the game. it is hard for us, because we can't match up with their athleticism at times. We have to be able to move the ball. We have to take care of the basketball with our guards up front and be able to see the floor. I thought our guards did a really good job of finding open people underneath the basket. It is a testament of them being able to see the floor well.”

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Coldspring edges Big Sandy

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Kaden Foster lunges for the layup.Kaden Foster lunges for the layup.By Brian Besch

The marquee game of the Big Sandy tournament did not disappoint, as Coldspring and the tournament hosts battled to a 53-51 finish Thursday in the opening round.

The Trojans used their length and quickness to press the Wildcats and cause several turnovers. Big Sandy countered with tough defense and timely passing to keep pace.

“Coach (Kevin Foster, Big Sandy) and I talked about how this was the championship game of the tournament,” Coldspring coach Greg Devers said. “My kids came out disorganized. My freshman, Bryan Douglas hit the two big 3’s (one with a free throw) for seven points. With three freshmen and a sophomore out of eight players, I thought we did pretty good. Big Sandy -- we have been averaging 89 points a game and they held us to 53. That is unusual.

“Like I said, I think that it was the championship game. I hope it was. Our quickness and our defense got us there at the end. We’ve got to do a better job blocking out, but we will get there. We are going to learn. We are 4-0 right now. Tomorrow we play Groveton and we have already beaten them 86-22. I knew this was going to be our first real test of a game. The first three games I knew were games that we should have won. I was hoping to play Big Sandy on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (championship game).”

The Wildcats and Trojans traded leads and the game was tied at 51 until Luke Monroe got a defender in the air and dumped a pass to Chris Harden, who hit a five-foot jumper with just 10 seconds to go. Coldspring was able to force a difficult shot at the elbow in the final seconds to preserve the win.

“We didn’t deserve to win. I am pretty much brutally honest with the kids,” Foster said. “Sometimes you don’t do enough. We turned the ball over too much, we couldn’t get stops when we needed to and we had a lot of opportunities. We battled back and kind of got ourselves into a hole. I was proud of the kids for how we fought back, but we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot with mistakes that we shouldn’t be making.”

Monroe led the Trojans with 17 points and Cam Shaw-Rucker had 13. The ‘Cats Seth Beene-Williams had 17 points as well, Thompson had 13, Criswell had 11 and Kaden Foster had eight.

“This was a tough one,” Foster said. “We’re trying to figure some things out position-wise with who can play what. When you play those pressing teams, you find out a lot about your team. It is good to play teams like that, because it gets you better and prepares you for what you’re going to see down the road. We definitely have a lot of room for improvement.”

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By a bucket

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byabucketbyabucketBy Brian Besch
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The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs picked up their second win of the season Tuesday, defeating Onalaska 56-54 on the northern end of Polk County.

The Wildcats had to come back from down double digits to make it a game at the end and had their chances, but Corrigan was strong enough to get the victory in just their third game.

Going 5-for-10 at the free throw line would hurt the ‘Cats later in the contest, as did not taking care of the basketball on several occasions. The Bulldogs had the some of the same problems holding on to the ball.

“Those missed free throws ended up being crucial and there were just simple turnovers for no reason,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “They weren't really pressuring us to where we needed to turn it over, we just needed to make better decisions. That is stuff that we will work on in practice tomorrow. You don't want to be a team that is peaking in November; you want to be a team that is peaking in February. I'm proud that we battled back when we could have laid down.”

The ‘Dogs hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter, on their way to 17 points over that span. They went to halftime with a slim 27-26 advantage, but the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.

“We are OK,” Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkindoff said. “I think we're still growing and they're still getting out of that football mode and getting into basketball shape. I told them that we just have to continue to get better day by day. We're trying to have some success in the playoffs. I was kind of disappointed in the turnovers at the end, because we have to be better if we are to be successful. But, a win is a win, and I am happy with that.”

Kirkindoff said there has been an emphasis placed on ball control and slowing the pace. The coach believes his squad having the same system and creating some consistency has helped them get off to a good start.

After dropping a game to Tarkington early, they have recovered to defeat Groveton and get the win Tuesday.

For Onalaska, Bryan Wyatt led the team with 19 points and was followed by another sophomore in John Byrd, who had 15 points with four makes from long range. Corrigan-Camden’s Tra Thomas was the high scorer with 22 points, Tony Cooper had 12, Javarion Williams added nine points, Anthony Harrell had seven and Morgan Rayborn had six.

The Big Sandy tournament is up next for the Onalaska girls and boys Thursday, where a competitive group will provide a challenge. Corrigan will head to West Sabine and take on Newton in the first round of those brackets.

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Down to final possession

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DowntofinalAlora Pinkert turns for a jumper in the lane.By Brian Besch

The game was in doubt until the end, but the Lady Wildcats of Onalaska pulled out a 42-41 win Tuesday over the Groveton Lady Indians.

The Onalaska press provided plenty of points for the home team, but Groveton found a way to remain in it until the final buzzer. 

“Coach (Rogelyn) Andrews does a great job at Groveton,” Onalaska coach Ashley Sustaita said. “She has been there since I have been here in Onalaska and those kids work hard for her. The post is a good kid and she will compete at the 2A level for sure. It is always fun to play them, and they do a really good job hustling and moving the ball and outworking us sometimes.”

The Lady Indians had two players with 13 points each, but Onalaska had an answer with Kylie Sisk, who had 25 points and was perfect from the free throw line in nine attempts.

In the last possession, Groveton was down three and could not find an open shot. They worked the ball into the post, but could not get a jumper to go down until the last second.

“We are 4-3 right now and we have played Jasper and Big Sandy, who are both really good programs,” Sustaita said. “We’ve got a lot to figure out internally. We work on the basics and fundamentals every day and we do a lot of the little things right. We are very undersized this year, so we are figuring out stuff like blocking out. We still have to figure out the offensive side a little bit. We tend to struggle knowing what to do with the ball in easy situations, so it is just breaking down the game of basketball for them as much as we can.”

Alora Pinkert added nine points for the Lady ‘Cats, while Kenadi Houser had a bucket and Mary Joy Cariaga hit a free throw.

The coach said she likes what she sees in the hustle of her team and the press is creating offense for now.

“We’ve got some speed and we have been adjusting to different press breaks that we are seeing. For the most part, we do a decent job and they listen for who to cover and where to cover. We do get a lot of turnovers, but we have to make sure that we execute when we get those turnovers and not turn it over again.”

Onalaska will travel to Cushing for a game Tuesday before returning home the next week to host New Waverly.

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