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Leggett grinds out victory

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IMG 2522 BRIAN BESCH I PCE Jacoby Sells scored a game-high 21 points Friday in Leggett’s win over Big Sandy.

By Brian Besch

LEGGETT - The Leggett Pirates took an impressive 43-36 win over the Big Sandy Wildcats Friday night in Dudley Dickens Gymnasium.

Leggett secured an early lead in the match largely behind the first-quarter scoring of Chase Parrish, who had 11 points through the first eight minutes.

“We just came to play and we had a game plan,” Leggett coach Sean Edwards said. “We wanted to slow it down on them and I knew if we played good defense and controlled the tempo, we would win. We just had to run our half-court offense and grind it out.”

The Pirates showed plenty of hustle on defense, frustrating the ‘Cats offensively. At the half, the home team held a 21-14 advantage.

“Defense is always No. 1 and it's a tradition — it's always defense,” Edwards said. “We cut down our turnovers and that was a good thing, but we just have to learn how to finish games. It's the most perfect game we have played all year long.”

The Wildcats played a better second half, slowly chipping away at the deficit. They took their first lead in the game with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter at 32-31 just after Parrish fouled out. 

“I thought Leggett played great and played with a lot more intensity than we did,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said. “They executed better than we did, and offensively, we turned the ball over. When we got good looks, we couldn't make anything.”

Jacoby Sells scored 14 points in the second half to help put his team back on top. For the night, he had 21 points and Parrish had 19 points for the Pirates. The Wildcats were paced by Kaden Foster with 11 (nine in the second half) and Weston Mayer, who had eight points.

“Even with all of that with the turnovers and as bad as we played, if we make our free throws late, it's at least a one-possession game or maybe we even win it,” the Big Sandy coach said. “It was one of those nights where we didn't do anything to help ourselves win. In all honesty, and I just told the kids this, we didn't deserve to win that game. Even if we would have come back and won it, we didn't do enough. Every loose ball and every rebound, they seemed to get, and those are effort things.”

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Boyce completes goal of winning state

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                               JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Onalaska senior William Boyce was the first runner to cross the finish line in the Class 3A boys state cross country Meet on Monday, Nov. 23, in Round Rock. The new state champion finished the race with a season-best time of 15 minutes, 38 seconds.

By Jason Chlapek

ROUND ROCK – William Boyce had a trio of goals in mind going into the 2020 cross country season.

The first goal was to win a district championship – check. The second goal was to win a region championship – check.

The third goal was to win a state championship. Check.

Boyce ran a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 38.72 seconds to win the Class 3A boys state championship Monday afternoon at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock. The Onalaska senior completed his cross country career with four trips to the region meet, four trips to the state meet, three district championships, a district runner-up, two region championships, a third-place finish in state and a state championship.

“During the whole race, everyone was staying in a pack and I was a little scared to be honest because I know the guys here are just as fast as I am,” Boyce said. “But on that last corner, I was digging deep and I had all of these people here supporting me so I wanted to bring home a gold medal for them. I thought about my family during that last portion of the race and I didn’t want to disappoint them so I gave it my all. My legs were burning at the end, but it was worth it.”

Boyce defeated race runner-up Marco Rey of Presidio by 13 seconds (15:51.78). Despite missing gold by 13 seconds, Rey and his Presidio teammates claimed the team state championship.

Now that Boyce completed the triple crown of cross country – district, regional and state championships – he'll be gunning for a quadruple crown in track and field. He competes in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in track.

“I have to go do the same thing in track – win district, area, regionals and state in the mile and two-mile,” Boyce said. “I think it’s an amazing goal that I set this year and the fact that I accomplished it means a lot to me. I’ve been here four years and decided this was the year I could do something and win the gold.”

Boyce was not the only Onalaska runner who participated in Monday’s state meet. Fellow senior Brady Neuman completed the race with a personal-best time of 17:15.78.

“I was hoping to run a sub-17, but it didn’t quite happen,” Neuman said. “I’ll take what I can get. I felt good and this is a beautiful course. This was a lot of fun. This gives me good motivation going into track and field season.”

Like Boyce, Neuman also competes in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in track and field. He broke down how his times would be beneficial in track.

“My first mile was 5:10, which is close to my PR in the mile,” Neuman said. “I was about an 11-flat in the two-mile mark, which would be a PR. If I PR on a cross country course, I should do well on a flat track surface. My goal for every meet is to PR, but this was my last cross country meet so I was definitely swinging for the fences. I’m satisfied with what I did.”

In addition to qualifying for state, Boyce and Neuman led the Onalaska boys cross country team to its seventh consecutive district championship on Oct. 29 in Anderson. Neuman also participated in his second straight state meet on Monday.

Goodrich senior Joacxi Garzon competed in the Class A boys meet Monday morning and finished 23rd with a personal-best time of 17:23.32. He competed in his third consecutive state meet.

“I felt like I ran my best,” Garzon said. “I had a pretty good race and left it all out there.”

Garzon also had some motivation Monday morning. His older brother, Isaiah Garzon, was there to cheer him on.

“Isaiah told me that it wasn’t my first time running out here and I know what to expect, so focus and give it all I have,” Garzon said. “My main focus was to stay up with the pack when I ran and keep a good pace.”

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Lady Cats off to fast start in December

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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.

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Big Sandy stings Hornets

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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.”

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Onalaska duo aims for top spots

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Onalaska Duo LARRY LAMB I HCC Onalaska seniors Brady Neuman (left) and William Boyce will compete in the Class 3A cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock. Boyce is aiming for the state championship, while Neuman, the front-runner for OHS’s Class of 2021 Valedictorian, is aiming for his personal-best time.

By Jason Chlapek

ONALASKA – William Boyce and Brady Neuman have a few things in common.

They’re both members of Onalaska High School’s Class of 2021, the OHS cross country program, OHS track and field program, and OHS FFA, to name a few. Speaking of cross country, both Boyce and Neuman will represent OHS at the state cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock.

Boyce and Neuman each want to be at the top of their field, but this is where things begin to differ. Boyce wants to be the top male runner in Class 3A and has plans on winning Monday’s race, but Neuman wants to be the top student in OHS’s 2021 senior class.

“I’m currently ranked in the top of the class,” Neuman said.

Neuman plans to go to Texas A&M and major in biomedical and become a physician. During district FFA competition on Nov. 12, Neuman and his ag issues team finished first and his public relations team finished second.

Boyce also finished third in job interview at the district FFA competition. Onalaska finished second overall in district FFA, and the top two finishers in each category advanced to the area competition which took place Thursday.

Neuman also won the FFA wildfire competition last month for the third year in a row. He earned a belt buckle and scholarship money.

Neuman qualified for the state cross country meet by finishing as the eighth competitor not attached to a top-3 finishing team. The top three teams and top 10 individuals not attached to a top-3 team qualified for state.

“This is my second trip to state,” Neuman said. “Last year we went as a team. If we hadn’t qualified as a team, I actually wouldn’t have advanced. I knew I had to run for my life this year if I was going to make it to state.”

The Onalaska boys cross country team won its seventh consecutive district championship in October as well. Boyce and Neuman were the top finishers for the Wildcats in both the region and district meets.

“The state course is my favorite course that I’ve run on,” Neuman said. “I’m going to show up and run my best race. I don’t go in there to race everybody else, I go in there to race myself. I worry about myself instead of the people around me or the people in front of me.”

Boyce has one goal in mind Monday afternoon – first place. He is a three-time district champion and two-time region champion individually, and won both titles this year.

“When I look at the Round Rock course, I think of Texas as a whole,” Boyce said. “There’s all sorts of terrain on that course. Each region has different soil textures. With Austin being smack-dab in the middle of Texas, I feel like you have all of Texas in one spot. The course itself has hills, sand, rocks, holes, ditches, everything. It’s definitely an all-terrain course and it represents Texas terrain.”

Boyce plans to attend college on a track and field or cross country scholarship. He wants to become a teacher and coach with plans to enter into administration.

Boyce believes the courses he and his teammates ran on in district (Anderson) and regional (Huntsville) will have him ready for Old Settler’s Park’s course in Round Rock. He also has it in his mind that he will be the first one to cross the finish line.

“I have to have self-motivation and go in there like I know I’m going to win,” Boyce said. “If I go in there thinking I’m going to lose, I’ve already beaten myself. I feel like cross country as a whole is a mindset game. You have to push yourself to your limits.”

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