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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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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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