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CORRIGAN-CAMDEN FALLS TO ELKHART (VIDEO)

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IMG 2722BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs playing Elkhart on Friday December 11, 2020 on the north end of Polk County.

COSTLY MISTAKES

BY BRIAN BESCH

CORRIGAN — The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs lost a fourth-quarter lead to Elkhart and eventually the game 46-41 Friday on the north end of Polk County.

Trailing for much of the contest, the ‘Dogs slowly narrowed the gap in each quarter after the first.

“I thought we played well enough to win. We just didn't execute late in the game, which caused us to lose,” Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkindoff said. “I think it is kind of the same story. We play well enough, but in crunch time, we end up turning the ball over, making mistakes that cost us. I tell them all the time that it is our mistakes that is causing us to lose games. We are playing well enough, we just have to fix us.”

Corrigan-Camden versus Elkhart video

The Bulldogs looked a bit hurried on possessions early on, falling behind on the scoreboard.

Corrigan-Camden then seemed to run its offense well in the fourth quarter, patiently passing the ball and looking for open attempts. They took the lead and held it for nearly half the period. A quick run by Elkhart frustrated the Bulldogs, causing them to again settle for outside shots.

“I think that is just that we are young and starting a freshman. Most of the other ones are sophomores and a junior. Most of them are young and played JV last year, so it is just experience. I knew that there were going to be some Growing Pains early, but hopefully we can get this out of the way now and when we get to District we will be able to overcome them.

Tony Cooper led the Bulldogs with 15 points, Braylan Harrell had nine and Tra Thomas had eight. For Elkhart, R.J. Moore was tops on the night with 21 points, Cale Starr had nine and Josh Davis added eight.

The Bulldogs now sit at 2-4, with both wins coming in the last week. They defeated the Oilers of West Hardin (57-47) and Chireno (53-51).

The next game for Corrigan-Camden will come on the road Tuesday, as they face Alpha Omega Academy in Huntsville.

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Growing pains

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IMG 2622BRIAN BESCH | PCE Central Heights winning over the Lady Dogs of Corrigan-Camden on Friday 11 Decmber, 2020.

By Brian Besch

Central Heights started quickly and had Friday’s district matchup decided in a quarter, winning over the Lady Dogs of Corrigan-Camden 72-8.

Holding the Lady Dogs without a field goal until the second quarter, Central Heights converted turnovers into layup, running up the first-half difference.

“We have four freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and a senior. It is going to be rough at times this year,” Corrigan-Camden coach Ryan Hall said. “The ones that were the team leaders last year didn't come out and they left it on the young ones. This group works their tails off in practice and does everything I ask them to. They will get better; it is just going to take time. We are not in a developmental district, but we have a developmental team. We're going to have to develop and get better and it is just going to be trial by fire this year.

“This is probably one of the toughest districts in the area and maybe the state. It is not because we have state-title contenders, but we have four or five teams in our district that, if the playoff bracket allowed them to, they could go to the regional tournament. They are very good and very high IQ basketball teams top to bottom.”

The Lady Devils led 41-4 at halftime, as most who suited up scored at least two points. Nakalyn Wells and Kamryn Moore led the game by scoring 14 points each, while Hannah Shugart had 11. For Corrigan, Amiyah Jones had three points, Jonaisha Love and Paige Standley both had a bucket, and Kalyn Smith knocked down a free throw.

The coach said Huntington, Central, Central Heights and Diboll would be favorites for the playoffs, along with Pineywoods Christian Academy.

IMG 2617BRIAN BESCH | PCE players defending the net

“That is the most athletic Central Heights team that we have played,” Hall said. “They always have good basketball IQ and good basketball teams, but now they are bringing athletes to it too. Huntington has dropped down (in classification) and they've got a D1 track recruit at point guard. She is all gas and no brakes, and she doesn't slow down even when she has the ball. She can go. I would say that they are probably the favorite to win district as long as she plays.”

Hall said his squad's attitude is what he enjoys most.

“Everything we asked them to do, they do. Everybody gets along, we have zero drama, and they play to the best of their ability. They are a fun group to be around. They are not the strongest basketball players right now, but if they keep that attitude and keep playing, they can learn basketball.”

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Too little too late (VIDEO)

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IMG 2610BRIAN BESCH | PCE Livingston’s Jon’Toyrian McNeal scored a game-high 27 points Tuesday.

Liberty versus Livingston Lady Lions

By Brian Besch

The Livingston Lady Lions suffered their second district loss in as many games Tuesday, as the Liberty Lady Panthers escaped Polk County with a 45-42 win.

“It was rough,” Livingston coach Brittany Jefferson said. “I at least expected the girls to come out here and do what they were supposed to do. They came out and, just to be honest, they had no energy whatsoever. We wouldn't box out, we didn't get rebounds, the turnovers with the guards that I had — we were just giving the ball straight to Liberty. They just didn't do what they were supposed to do.”

The game Tuesday was a case of too little too late. The defending district champions seemingly picked up their intensity and focus in spots, but could not sustain a high level of play. A fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.

Leading 9-4 in the first quarter, Liberty went on a 12-3 run and eventually took a 22-19 advantage into the break at the half. The Lady Panthers came out of the locker room and put another eight points up before Livingston answered.

“The last two minutes of the game, they wanted to pick it up and tried to pick it up, but it's too late,” Jefferson said. “You are supposed to do that at the beginning. When you are trying to do that in the last two minutes of the game and you are down by six or eight points, it's too late. You should have just picked it up at the beginning. If they would have played like they did in the last two minutes, then it probably would have been an easy win. Since they didn't do that, it just didn't happen.”

Liberty’s Madyson Goudeau led the Lady Panthers with 15 points, Drelyn Willis had 13, and Reese Evans added eight. For Livingston, Jon’Toyrian McNeal had 27 points, Z Garner finished with eight and Natavia Davis had seven.

Livingston is now winless in two district games, dropping the first to district favorite Hardin-Jefferson in a lopsided 103-10 blowout.

“I would have assumed that, hopefully, we would have been 1-1 now,” the coach said. “We just have to take it as it is and, hopefully, they'll learn from it. If not, it is going to be a long, long, long season.”

Jefferson most wants her team to be able to take care of the ball. The team had problems setting up and executing an offense because of an inability to control the basketball.

The Lady Lions’ next opportunity to get in the district win column will be Dec. 18 on the road at Hamshire-Fannett.

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Pirates take defensive struggle

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IMG 2403 BRIAN BESCH I PCE Freshman Josh Perkins shoots for two of his 20 points Wednesday.

By Brian Besch

LEGGETT - Leggett hosted their neighbors to the north Wednesday, defeating Corrigan-Camden 50-38.

Josh Perkins led all scores with 20 and Chase Parrish had 19 to pace the Pirates. The freshman Perkins was lethal in the second half, pouring in 18 points in just two periods.

“He is going to be a scorer,” Pirate coach Sean Edwards said of Perkins. “He was a little nervous the first couple of games, but he has gotten better. When we played (Hull-) Daisetta, he did real good and he is stepping up his game. It's going to be completely different this season because we have to live and die by defense, but we have to play more half-court offense as well. “We have to be patient with everybody sharing the ball more too this year.”

The Pirates have put together back-to-back victories after beginning the season 0-3, while playing up in classification.

The first quarter of Wednesday’s game began a little slow at 4-2 in favor of the ‘Dogs, as both offenses needed time gain traction.

“We started off slow and a little sluggish. With (a first-quarter score of) 4-2, I thought we were at a little dribblers game,” Edwards said. “I think it was more of nerves than anything, but we'll be fine. I am happy with how we are tough and running help more half-court offense. We need to work on taking care of the ball. We had 22 turnovers again, and we can't go far with that.”

A 12-point run in the second quarter allowed the Pirates to take an 18-13 lead into the half. Leggett would score 17 and 15 in the final quarters to further distance themselves and take the game.

For Corrigan, Tra Thomas had a dozen points and Tony Cooper had nine.

“Tonight wasn't one of our better games,” new Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkendoff said. “I thought we could have handled the ball better. There are a lot of things that we have to work on, but I think coming to a program that really never had a focus on basketball, we're just trying to build a program. It is a day-by-day process and I think by district we’ll be ready.”

The Bulldogs are currently 0-3 on the young season, with a loss to Palestine Westwood by seven and Groveton by four.

“I think we are small, so we have to work together,” Kirkendoff said. “As you can see, we had trouble rebounding. I've got a couple of guards that can play and I think when they understand the game better and understand what I'm trying to do in the system, I think will be a whole lot better.”

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Fast start, press lifts Big Sandy

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IMG 2454BRIAN BESCH I PCE Alexis Thompson of Big Sandy drives to the basket. She had 22 points Friday.

By Brian Besch

LEGGETT - The Big Sandy Lady Cats established a large early lead and coasted to a road victory Friday night, beating the Lady Pirates of Leggett, 83-15.

The Wildcats grabbed a 33-0 lead before Leggett was able to connect on a free throw late in the opening period. The first quarter was a festival of layups off of turnovers. The Big Sandy press smothered Leggett, robbing them of most possessions before the Lady Pirates could set up an offense.



“We get in a rush when they start pressing,” Leggett coach Terri Barlow said. “We get in a rush and just throw the ball away. It is just simple little mistakes that we keep making over and over. I feel like we are going to be OK during district. These are tough teams that we are losing to like this.”

Leggett has scheduled non-district games versus schools as big as Class 4A to prepare for district. They are currently 1-5, but have yet to play a school from Class 1A.

To this point, Barlow said she likes the speed that her team possesses, but says they struggle with turnovers.

“I told them to hold their heads up and not to worry about it and keep playing hard,” Barlow said. “It is an important game, but the most important games are the district games. I don't mind getting beat, but I just told them to not give up and keep working. When you quit on me, that is when you are a loser. If you keep playing hard, you are still a winner.”

Erika Hansen led the Lady Pirates with seven points. For Big Sandy, sophomore Alexis Thompson had 22 points and freshman Faith Geller had 20. Savanna Poncho added 14 points, Baili Mitchell had 12 and Savannah Hoffman scored 11.

“I thought early in the game we came out and played well,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said. “We tell the kids when the ball is tipped, you have to play well early. You have to set a precedent in the beginning of the game. Our press had a lot to do with that. As the course of the game progressed, I thought our decision making wasn't as good. I think a lot of that was probably from fatigue. In the first half we did a good job of executing on offense and finding open people. We got turnovers and capitalized on those turnovers and was able to get some layups out of it.”

Big Sandy has performed well of late, though fighting to keep a consistent roster for various reasons. The Lady Cats were only able to suit up seven girls Friday.

“Defensively, I felt like we could have done a better job of keeping their best player in front of us,” Alec said. “We had a plan of trying to get the ball out of her hands and I thought at times we were successful in doing that. Other times, we let her split us and get to the basket. It was good preparation for us because once we get into district, we have Broaddus that has good guards and West Sabine.”

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