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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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Final quarter decides afternoon tip

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John Byrd puts up a finger roll.John Byrd puts up a finger roll.By Brian Besch

Onalaska dropped a close contest Tuesday afternoon, as Pollok Central captured a 48-43 road win over the Wildcats.

Onalaska had a lead early in the game, holding the Bulldogs to eight points in both the first and second quarters. However, the Wildcats’ 13-8 lead after a quarter evaporated when they were held to three points in the second period.

“They are a good ball club and they play a unique defense in the point zone, which not many teams around here run,” Tyerman said of Central.

“It is a new thing to where we have to make sure we take care of the ball. We just made some mistakes and had some turnovers in the second half that we can’t have. It is something that we can control and something we will work on to try to get ready for the next game.”

Those turnovers would prove to be costly, as each possession in the second half was valuable. Both teams scored at a higher rate after making a few halftime adjustments. With the game tied after three periods, it was a 19-point fourth quarter that lifted the Bulldogs to victory.

One player led the way for each school, with Travis Murray pouring in 27 points for Central to top all and Redden scoring 20 for the ‘Cats.

“I tell the kids all the time that it comes down to rebounding and turnovers,” Tyerman said. “We have to take care of those roles and responsibilities in order to make sure we keep ourselves in a position to win. It is stuff that we have to do a better job of, which we will.

We work on it in practice and it is part of that inexperience with the young kids that haven’t played too many varsity games. That takes time for them, but they will get used to the speed of it.”

Other Wildcats contributing on the scoreboard was Bryan Wyatt with eight points and John Byrd with six. Lucas Jackson, Brady Smith and

Gauge Moseley each hit a 3-pointer, showing off the shooting depth of the team.

“They are putting in the time and it shows and pays off for them,” the coach said of his shooters. “They put up a ton of shots in the summer and all season. It is something that we take pride in and it is part of the way the game is officiated now. You don’t get too many calls when you drive in when you are smaller, so you have to take what they are going to give us.”

The Wildcats will next travel to Corrigan-Camden Tuesday, then enter tournament play two days later.

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On fire after halftime

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Gavin Nichols was injured in the game, but expected to make a quick recovery. PHOTOS BY BRIAN BESCH | PCEGavin Nichols was injured in the game, but expected to make a quick recovery. PHOTOS BY BRIAN BESCH | PCEBy Brian Besch
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The Leggett Pirates led much of Monday’s non-district contest versus Hull-Daisetta, claiming a 69-27 win over the Bobcats. A big third
quarter would distance the two teams and decide the game.

It took a few minutes for the Pirate offense to begin operating, as turnovers, missed free throws and jumpers kept Hull-Daisetta competitive. New coach Ra’Shod Jefferson was disappointed in how the team began the match.

“It was a rough start and we didn’t play up to our capability in the first quarter,” he said. “We came back playing in the second quarter. We lost our freshman post in the second quarter (to injury); he’s doing well now. by the time district comes around, we will be there and we will be tough.

However, Leggett still held a slim 11-7 lead after eight minutes.

The defense continued to perform well into the second quarter, again holding the Bobcats to seven points. Jesse Calderas began to knock
down long-range shots, with four 3-pointers in the first half. He finished with six and led all scores with 32 points.

“Starting in the beginning of the season, the guys wouldn’t shoot and wouldn’t play defense,” Jefferson said. “After some sprints, I guess they got tired of conditioning. We started playing defense and all I want to play is man and full-court press the whole game. For our shooting, our senior player, (Jesse Calderas), is a great shooter.

We are finally getting him to come out of his shell. If I can get my junior, (Brian Calderas), to come out of his shell and shoot the ball more, I think we will be good outside shooting the ball.”

The Pirates came out of halftime on fire and reeled off 35 points, with Jesse Calderas and Joshua Perkins leading the charge. Perkins had 18 points in the third quarter alone, and had 24 total in the win.

The coach said his team needs to crash the boards a little more, but likes the way that his team plays together and finds the open man. his
team should be well prepared after playing schools anywhere from class 2A to 5A in non-district.

Leggett will visit Richards and then enter tournament play following the Thanksgiving break.

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Big Sandy takes Polk County (Wild)cat fight

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BigSandyTakesPolkCountyBigSandyTakesPolkCountyBy Brian Besch

Big Sandy was able to pick up a home win Friday with defense leading the way, taking a 55-34 decision over Onalaska.

Onalaska had been impressive on offense coming into the game, averaging 72 points in two wins to start the season. However, the Big Sandy defense that was smothering throughout last season’s playoff run was up to the challenge.

“In the first half, you saw how we tried to play a little slower because we know how great their defense is as a team,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “They play amazing team defense; I saw it on film. I knew it was going to be extremely tough to go against, so we were trying to slow the pace down to try to get them to extend a little bit. You are going to have games like that, but you can’t start out that slow. They do such a good job of taking things away that you have to pick and choose your moments. It makes it really hard when you let them get some kind of double-digit lead, because then you have to start picking up the tempo to try to get something.”

The visiting Wildcats were able to knock down just three shots in the first half, limited to seven points through 16 minutes of play. The score at the break was 22-7 in favor of the home team.

“The first half, I thought our defense was outstanding,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “In the second half, I thought we lost our focus and intensity a little bit. That, and Onalaska stepped up their’s. They started pressing us, and we got a little careless and lazy with the ball. They started making some shots and we knew they could shoot the ball coming in. Our goal was not to give any of them open looks. We gave them way too many and they made some of them in the second half.”

That second half had a much different look, as both schools picked up the pace in more of a fast-break game. Onalaska more than doubled their first-half output in just one quarter, picking up 16 points.

Lucas Jackson had a couple of baskets and Brady Smith scored seven in the period. Big Sandy nearly kept pace and led 36-23 with the game still in doubt heading into the final quarter.

“That is what I love about these kids. They want to play hard and they want to do their best. It is a great group to coach. It is super early and this will help us get ready for district, which is what it is all about. When we had some shots not fall, we had to make some adjustments and try to speed it up in the second half,” Tyerman said. “I like the physicality that we had in the second half, but again, we just have to be able to make shots. I am proud of the kids. We scrapped and we fought, and it is a good game experience for us. We have to get ready, because we have the No. 4-ranked 2A team in the state on Monday, Douglass, at home. Then, we have Central on Tuesday to help us get better experience.”

Big Sandy saved its best for last, adding on 19 points in the fourth.

Adrian Thompson had 10 points and four others contributed a bucket.

 For the game, Thompson led all scores with 19, while Javen Criswellhad nine, Jorden Martinez had eight and Seth Beene-Williams six.

Onalaska was topped by Smith with 13, Jackson had seven and Kevin Redden added five.

“Early in the season, we haven’t been shooting the ball like we’re capable of. We had a lot of clean looks tonight, but we just couldn’t hardly buy any,” Foster said. “We just haven’t quite hit that stride yet. From an offensive standpoint, I thought we executed OK, but I felt like we left a lot of pints on the floor. I think we have a chance to be good. Starting out, we haven’t really been all together yet. I have a couple of kids that are out.”

Both schools are now 2-1 on the season, with Big Sandy also defeating Warren and dropping a game to Orangefield. Onalaska has beaten Goodrich and Spurger.

The next few games for Big Sandy will also be challenging, traveling to Splendora Monday and returning home Tuesday for a tip with Bridge City.

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Bulldogs to share field with state champs

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Bulldogs to share

By Albert Trevino

The 3-2 Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs will finish the regular season on the road to face the 5-0 Newton Eagles this Friday.

The playoff-bound Bulldogs clinched their postseason spot last week against Warren and expect their toughest challenge this Friday against the Eagles.

Second-year head coach Brett Ratliff has helped lead Corrigan to a bounceback  year after missing the playoffs last season.

“It means a lot to this town and community.” said Ratliff. “Obviously, we have a tradition of winning here and I have been a part of that tradition. It took us a year to get going like we wanted. The kids have done everything I have asked them to do and we have played as a team. We have had a lot of fun and now we are in the tournament.”

The Eagles are also looking to improve from last year’s effort, being eliminated by Pewitt in the second playoff round.

Newton is coming off a 52-22 win last week at Hemphill and will finish undefeated in district with a win over Corrigan. Last year’s matchup resulted in 61-0 shutout loss for the Bulldogs.

Ratliff expects to utilize his entire playbook and offensive weapons to better compete with Newton and finesse some big plays this time around.

“We have to play as hard as we can and worry about ourselves, not the other team.” Ratliff said. “I think our style of play can keep them off balance if we are doing it well. We have to use our entire toolbox ...We hopefully can find some weak spots. There are very few, but if we can ever find something to exploit, we will.”

Newton’s signature power-run offense will be led by returning senior running back Deanthony Gatson. Other offensive playmakers include senior back Trinis Wash, junior back Tyler Porter and senior receiver Maliek Woods.

“[Gatson] is one of the better running backs in the state of Texas.” said Ratliff. “We have to stop him before he ever gets started. If he ever gets a head of steam, he is big, strong and fast.”

Regardless of the result in this matchup, the Bulldogs hope to keep enough of their winning momentum from the season to make a run in the playoffs.

“I say ‘Let us get to the tournament.’ If we can get to the tournament, great things can happen. I have seen fourth-seed teams do some amazing things.” said Ratliff.

Kickoff for Friday’s match is set for 7 p.m. at Curtis Barbay Field (Newton High School.)


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