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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024

OLDER SPORTSMEN HAVE MORE FUN

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

Polk County Sports

Quick start secures first round

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Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec goes over strategy with the team in the fourth quarter.Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec goes over strategy with the team in the fourth quarter.

By Brian Besch
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The Big Sandy girls are bi-district hoops champions after a 57-45 victory over Iola Tuesday night at Conroe High School.

The Lady Cats took a 10-point lead in the first quarter, led by the shooting of Faith Geller and Yaheira Battise. The senior Geller collected 11 points in the period, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the top of the key. Battise had eight, going 4-for-4 at the line.

Iola did a better job of rebounding in the second quarter, cutting into the Lady Cat advantage. However, a few late buckets kept the difference at seven going into the break, 29-22.

“Any win at this point of the season makes us happy. The main thing is just to survive and advance,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said. “I thought we played well in spurts. We got off to a good start and knocked down some shots. We kind of went cold in the second quarter and I thought there were times defensively when we could have been better. We game planned into this trying to shade everything and move them more to the left side. From the scouting report we got and the film that we watched, they are right-hand dominant. We didn’t do that as well as I would like throughout the course of the game. We talked about rebounding, which is key against them, because they crashed the board so hard. We managed as well as we could. Offensively, we moved the ball well, but I don’t think we were looking to score at times on a lot of pick-and-roll looks. I thought those were open quite a bit and we missed those.”

Leading by as much as 15 in the third quarter, the ‘Cats got buckets from five different players.

Iola worked the boards to get back down to a five-point difference with just 3:41 in the game. They held Big Sandy without a field goal in the fourth quarter, but the ‘Cats made 12-of-17 at the free-throw line to clinch it.

“We made some adjustments in the second half and the very first time we executed our offense we had a layup. Execution is big at this point in the season. You have to be able to run your offense.”

Geller led the Lady Cats with 18 points, and Battise and Savanna Poncho had 14 each. Iola spread their scoring more, with four girls totaling eight points each.

Big Sandy has turned things around since the midway point in district play. A fringe playoff team after the first round of district, the Lady Cats defeated a few opponents they fell short against the first time. Alec believes the defense has been the key.

“Evadale in West Hardin both beat us in the first round, and we made some adjustments in the second round,” he said. “We thought that we had a chance to go undefeated in the second round, but our defense had to be better. We made some changes defensively and we went with a defensive lineup. I thought that picked us up quite a bit. I thought we played tremendous defense down the stretch. We were hoping that would transfer into the playoffs.”

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Lion soccer succeeding

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Lion soccer claimed a 6-0 victory over Hamshire-Fannett  Tuesday. Fredy Chica Luna led with two goals and an assist, while Brayden Vickery had a goal and two assists. Alexis Rosas, Jose Olivares, and Alessandro Lopez each added a goal. Chris Carreon had an assist, and goalkeeper Bon Vera did not allow anything past him. Livingston now carries 2-0-1 district mark, good for for place currently. They have an overall record of 8-3-2.

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Seven Lions sign with colleges

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National Signing Day IMG 8739

Livingston High School had seven athletes participate in National Signing Day by inking with the college of their choice.

In baseball, J.T. Smith and Copeland Bush will attend Arlington Baptist, and Jordan Bush heads to Incarnate Word. Softball players Jaycee Knighton signed with University of Texas at Arlington, and Allison Lytle with Navarro College. Golfer Brandon Munson will swing for Texas Lutheran University, and Jace Morris will play for Centenary College on the gridiron (athletes are pictured left to right as listed above).

The athletes were joined by their coaches on the back row, and include (L-R) baseball head coach David Miller, softball head coach Heather Mosser, golf head coach Frank Brister, and LISD athletic director Finis Vanover.

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Snatching victory from jaws of defeat

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Javen Criswell fights through the defense under the bucket.Javen Criswell fights through the defense under the bucket.

By Brian Besch
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Down by as much as 15 points Friday in Dallardsville, Big Sandy completed a frantic fourth-quarter comeback to take down district opponent Sabine Pass 55-50.

The contest started a little slow offensively, but would soon pick up. Sabine Pass was kept off the scoreboard for the first five minutes of the game. The only problem for the Wildcats was they scored just four themselves.

After an 8-8 first quarter, the visitors put up 14 and 19 in the second and third. Big Sandy kept pace with Tavian Battise, Jamesley Flowers and Javen Criswell doing the heavy lifting in the scoring column.

The Sharks would lead by as much as 15 in the final quarter, and that is when Big Sandy answered.

“We had to change something up,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said. “We are a man-to-man team, but we decided to go with a 1-2-2 three-quarters court pressure. What we try to do is just take the ball out of some guys’ hands and see if they will take quick shots. They were taking quick shots and they were missing them. Then, we changed our half-court defense to a 2-3 extended, trying to get out on the shooters and make them slow down. I thought they were executing their man stuff really good; it was just a change of pace. Them missing some shots and us making plays, the next thing you know, we are in the game and had the momentum. Basketball is a game of momentum, especially when you have two teams that are pretty good. We ended the game with the momentum.”

A 19-0 run in the fourth quarter took the ‘Cats from down 15 to ahead 51-47. They secured that lead with 1:20 to go in the game. Sabine Pass hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to bring the contest to within one with 30 seconds left.

Flowers went to the free throw line with 18 seconds to go and hit both to go back up by three. Sabine Pass called a timeout with 12 seconds, however a five-second violation on the following inbounds pass gave Big Sandy the ball back. The Wildcats would miss both free throws, but a steal would seal it.

Flowers and Criswell each scored 17, and Battise had 10 points. Criswell had 11 points in the fourth quarter, while Flowers added nine over those same eight minutes.

Other than for one day, Friday was the first time Big Sandy has had its entire team together since Nov. 30. After clinching a playoff berth Tuesday, there is an outside chance they could still tie for third place in the district, but help from others is needed to do so. If the Wildcats end the season in fourth place, they will take on a district champion, likely Mumford or Somerville.

Evadale is currently leading District 25-2A, followed by West Hardin and Sabine Pass.

Foster said his team needs some momentum going into the playoffs. They will have a tough district match and plan to schedule another challenge to get the group some time together on the court.

“It is obviously nice to have everybody back, but we’ve got some work to do,” the coach said. “We’ve got a short time to try to gel together and the main thing we want to do is get better each game. We are at Evadale on Tuesday and then we will play a warm-up game, then (the postseason) starts. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter, we just want to try to get better and start coming together like we did at the beginning of the year. We had a lot of people not playing their natural position, and when you are constantly shuffling your lineup around, it is tough. In the long run, maybe it will help us, because we’ve got a lot of guys that have a lot of experience now and have played a lot of minutes. That can’t do anything but help you.”

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Lady Lion soccer shutting out competition

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Kaytlynn Shirley (right) scored two goals in Friday’s winKaytlynn Shirley (right) scored two goals in Friday’s winLivingston girls soccer secured their second district win Friday night, with a final score of 3-0 over the Splendora Wildcats. Lady Lion senior Kaytlynn Shirley scored two goals, and sophomore Veronica Villanueva scored one and was named player of the game. 

Their first district game was also a shutout, blanking the Liberty Panthers with a convincing count of 10-0.

The varsity athletes honored their little Lady Lion fans by escorting them onto the field prior to Friday’s game during introductions.

“We appreciate all the students and parents that came out for our Little Lady Lion night,” Livingston head coach Sonya Chaka said. “We really enjoyed getting to have such a big turnout.”

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