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Leggett tackles state-ranked Kennard

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By Brian Besch

The bi-district round of the playoffs was not easy, but the Leggett Pirates outlasted state-ranked Kennard 39-36 in Huntington Tuesday.

Down 30-26 in the fourth, Kennard received contributions from five different players and outscored Leggett 10-9. However, a heave from behind the arc in the final second did not fall and allowed the Pirates and their fans to celebrate.

Leggett coach Sean Edwards felt that Tuesday's performance over the No. 17 team in 1A was the most complete of the year.

"I told the kids that you have to think about 10 years down the road -- any regrets or what you should've, could've, would've (done)," he said. "It is just representing your school, your family and everybody that was at Leggett before you. It is starting to jell and they know it is playoff time. I see serious on their face."

The game was the first competition in over a week for Kennard.

"We were very rusty," Tiger coach Cory Carden said. "We came off of almost a week and a half of no basketball. It really kind of put a dent in what we're doing. They got to play on Saturday and we could say excuses for all of that, but it came down to who wanted it more. I think they got more loose balls and they were scrapping too. They came out and won the first couple of minutes and I think that's kind of what kept their momentum the rest of the game."

Leggett established an early lead, but the Tigers would quickly recover. Hitting a 3-pointer to close the first quarter, Kennard held an 8-7 advantage.

Down 20-15 at the half, the Pirates went to work in the third. They began a 15-3 run to go up 12 until a Tiger 3-pointer from Dylan Cole ended the period.

"We got in foul trouble and we had to slow it down and play a half-court game," Leggett coach Sean Edwards said. (Our plan) was to press and run them. They broke it and they were banging us inside and they were physical at first. We had to change some stuff up in the second half and come with it."

Edwards agreed that the offense was able to relax a bit after ditching the full-court press.

"We play different types and different styles. We can play slow or fast, but we have to go with what gets us the win that night."

Leggett's JaColby Sells finished with 18 points, tops on the night. Teammate Chase Parrish added eight and Garrett Francois hit an important bucket and free throws in the final quarter. Kennard's Cole led the Tigers with eight points, while Jacob Catoe and Okoye Smotherman each had seven.

The Tigers finish the 2020-21 season with a district championship and plenty of individual accolades.

"We had a great year and I hate that it went down this way," Carden said. "We've played a lot better than this. We came out tonight, I think a little overconfident and rusty, but we had a great season. We topped at 17th in the state and I'm going to have an all-district MVP and I'm going to have first team all-district players. We had a great year, it is just that tonight was not our night. Games like this when it is playoff time, that one night is going to cost you. The playoffs are not forgiving at all."

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Livingston Lions trending in right direction

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Lead Photo

by Brian Besch

Lion basketball kept playoff hopes alive Friday, downing the Wildcats of Splendora 66-49 Friday in Livingston.

The home team led throughout the match and was never really challenged after going up 17-7 after the first quarter.  

Assistant coach Stephen Seaback has taken over much of the coaching load the past two weeks, as head coach Calvin Phillips took time away with a death in the family. 

“The kids are playing real well,” Phillips said following the win. “We had a big win over Shepherd in overtime and it has transitioned over into tonight. If we can put those two games together as one against Hardin-Jefferson, we've got a chance. Coach (Seaback) has done a good job with them since I have been out.”

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Seaback said he is humbled by the opportunity Phillips has given to lead the team. That stretch includes a double-overtime victory versus Shepherd earlier in the week. Coming back from down 19 points and a buzzer beater to force the game into overtime were the highlights in that district contest.

“They could have rolled over on me really quick, but they didn't,” Seaback said. “They just stayed with me and kept believing and we came back. I think we were down 19 and we came back and won in double-overtime in spectacular fashion with multiple buzzer beaters in the game. That was big time. It gives us a glimmer of hope. If we win out and get (Hardin-Jefferson) and Liberty, we have an opportunity to get in.”

The coach said the team has struggled to maintain large leads. He felt that Friday was one of their better showings with an advantage. At the half, the Lions were up by 18, which increased by a point after three periods.

Chris Washington led the team with 15 points and Jeston Kowis had 12. Izzy Enard scored 11 and Jamari Green added 10.

The Lions must collect wins in the last two contests to have a shot at postseason play. A home game with the state’s No. 11 team Tuesday promises to be a steep challenge, but Seaback believes his group will provide plenty of competition. 

“I'm going to always believe in my kids. Basketball is a wonky sport and you can beat anybody on any given night. Who is to say that we can't go out there and win? They have to believe and I think they are believing. We are definitely trending in the right direction. Maybe we are peaking at the right time.”

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Coming back to win

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By Brian Besch

The Goodrich Lady Hornets staged a fourth-quarter comeback to pull off a 49-41 upset over rival Leggett Tuesday night. 

Leggett had an impressive shooting performance in the third quarter. The visiting Lady Pirates hit five shots from behind the arc to take a 34-25 advantage going into the final period. 

"We had to go man because we were letting them shoot too many threes," Goodrich coach Khadijah Carter said. "I told them that we have to play tight defense. Once we get the ball on offense, get the ball inside and just go."

They Lady Hornets did just that. The defense never let up, and the team used a size advantage to rebound and collect points near the rim.

"Size made a huge difference," Carter said. "I told them if we could get the ball inside, they cannot stop us. No team can really stop us inside, but we've got to get the ball inside first."

Goodrich went on a 12-1 run to open the fourth quarter and take their first lead of the contest at 37-35 with 3:55 remaining. 

"In the second half, we got too relaxed and there was a big swing," Lady Pirate coach Terri Barlow said. "Goodrich wanted it more than us. We had too many turnovers and we really weren't in it.

"Rebounding killed us, it gets us every time with the inside game. We really can't stop the inside game."

Goodrich was led by Brionna Passmore, who was tops in the game with 24 points. Latrina Morgan had 11. Erika Hansen was the high point for Leggett, scoring 20. Kylie Valderez had nine points on three long-range jumpers.

This marks the third district win for Goodrich, with the first two coming over Burkeville. The first-year coach said it is the biggest win of her young career to this point.

The loss knocks Leggett down to fourth place in district. The Lady pirates we'll need to win their in their final three games over Chester, Burkeville and High Island to have a shot at the postseason.

"When we got down going into the fourth, that kind of made me nervous," Carter said. "Even though we missed a lot of free throws and a few careless passes, I feel like this may be our best game."

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Completing series sweep (VIDEO)

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By Brian Besch

The Leggett Pirates scratched out an early lead and maintained an advantage in their annual road game at Goodrich, winning 53-39 Tuesday. 

Behind a 29-point performance from Chase Parrish, the Pirates played well on both ends of the court. The Hornets struggled to consistently score, ultimately failing to keep pace with the defending district champs.

"We played good, I am proud of our team and we played good team ball," Leggett coach Sean Edwards said. "We played fundamentally sound and we are blocking out a little more to get rebounds. We kind of let up a little bit and gave up some cheap fouls later.

"We are playing more team ball and limiting our turnovers a little bit more. We're going inside and drawing some more fouls. It is the second half of district, so we will be alright."

Pirate Garrett Francois had 10 first-half points and 11 for the game, while Varian Flournoy added six. For Goodrich, Joacxi Garzon had 19 points and Isaiah Sapio had eight.

After a lone 3-pointer in the first period, Parrish filled the stat book over the next three frames.

For Goodrich, the year has been a struggle. There has been inconsistencies in team chemistry and a lack of experience. 

They did improve as the game progressed. Totaling just 13 points in the first half, they scored 10 and 16 points in the third and fourth quarter, respectively.

"You've got to rebound and play defense," Goodrich coach Lester King said. "We have had a hard time all year long scoring. The game was kind of good at the beginning, but they just out-hustled us and they wanted it more than we did. We didn't want it.

"The only difference between them and us tonight was they played defense and hustled when we didn't play any. You can't win like that."

If the Pirates win their remaining games, it could cause a three-way tie with Chirino and Zavala.

Edwards said he believes his team can run through the rest of the district schedule unscathed.

"I think we can. I believe in my guys and they are helping me out. I always get feedback from the kids and they always know what's going on when they are on the court. They tell me what we need to do. I think we can win the next five games. We are finally improving and we are peaking. We are getting better and better."

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Coldspring Trojans defeat Onalaska 90-44

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Onalaska Coldspring 01 29 21


The Trojans of Coldspring used a late kick to handily defeat Onalaska 90-44 Tuesday in San Jacinto County.

Onalaska managed to remain within striking distance of the defending state semifinalists for part of the third quarter, but Coldspring found another gear.

The Trojan press was successful more times than not late in the contest, allowing for a 39-point final period.

"I thought we were a little rusty through the first three quarters," Coldspring coach Greg Devers said. "We haven't played since last Tuesday and I had some kids out, so we didn't get a chance to practice yesterday. We were wide open and we had threes and we had layups. Our defense was there and our quickness was there, but we just couldn't go."

Through four minutes in the fourth quarter, Coldspring scored 27 points and ended with 39 for the eight-minute span.

Duke Lawniczak led all scores with 32, freshman Luke Monroe had 14 -- all in the fourth quarter --and Jared Curry scored 12.

"I hope that kind of carries over, Devers said of his team's fourth-quarter performance. We are trying to get our rotation going and get ready for the playoffs.

"I thought Coach (Nicholas) Tyerman did a great job and I told him not to show that press break to anybody, because at the end of the third quarter, it was an 11-point game. He did a great job of preparing his kids for tonight."

It has been a while since Coldspring has been challenged within district, but New Waverly put a stop to the Trojans 39-game winning streak a few weeks ago.

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"New Waverly is one of the top teams in this region. They are 18-1 and ranked No. 7 and we are 13-1 and ranked No. 12. The big showdown is going to be next Friday at New Waverly. Kind of like us last year, I think they are going to be the team to beat. We are not going to just let them have our district title. I hope we will have a couple of tricks up our sleeves when we play next Friday."

Devers said his team lacks the depth that they possessed during last year's run to the state tournament in San Antonio. He is looking for a few athletes to step into larger roles once the postseason begins. He also wants the team to work on its half-court defense.

Onalaska has struggled in the 20-21 season, but Tyerman sees improvement in his group. There were flashes of potential throughout the first three quarters of Tuesday.

"We were within 11 there in the third quarter, but we just have to take care of the ball better and it is some simple mistakes," the Wildcat coach said. "When we get fatigued, we start struggling sometimes to stay focused. We have to stay calm no matter what happens.

Freshman Bryan Wyatt led the 'Cats with 14 points, Kevin Redden had a dozen and Chase Fletcher had 10.

"We have a lot youth, so we are gaining some valuable experience and starting to play teams a lot tougher," Tyerman said. "We are taking better care of the ball and this tonight was a lot better than the first time we played them. That is what we are looking for, to keep getting better and keep growing. We're just trying to play as hard as we can. We've got five games left."

Covid has flipped the Wildcats' schedule on its side, as they will have a bye on Friday and play four games in five days next week.

"I think when you compare our youth to their youth -- really outside of New Waverly, we return the most," Tyerman said of the program's future. "That is a good sign and we have been competitive on the JV level, so that is what we are looking forward to. We need to work and advance to that next level next year."

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