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Wildcat defense stops Shepherd

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KD Bookman lays-up a 2-point basket against the Orangefield Bobcats. Photo by Charles BallardKD Bookman lays-up a 2-point basket against the Orangefield Bobcats. Photo by Charles BallardBy Brian Besch
Polk County Enterprise

DALLARDSVILLE — Both Big Sandy and Shepherd had problems getting their offense started Monday in Dallardsville, but the Wildcats were able to pull away late in the game for a 58-35 victory.

Not only were shots not falling, but the Pirates and ‘Cats played excellent defense early on, playing to a 5-3 first-quarter score, as well as an 18-13 Big Sandy advantage at the half.

“I thought we came out and played well at the beginning. As the game progressed, it was just the little things,” Shepherd coach Jeremy Bennett said. “We haven’t had all of our players together all year long and we’re young, so those little things start catching up with us later on. There were too many mental mistakes there at the end.”

The Shepherd coach said he hopes to improve on the offensive side once players are comfortable with each other and his system.
Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said his team has been streaky so far in the 2021-22 season.

“In all honesty, that has kind of been our deal all year,” Foster said. “We’ve had quarters this year where we will score two and then turn around in the next quarter and scored 22. You feel like really getting mad at the kids in the first half, but the thing is, we are getting good shots, we were just missing everything. It didn’t matter what we got really, we just weren’t putting the ball in the basket. It wasn’t our best game by any stretch of the imagination.” 

Where the offense lacked early on Monday, the defense more than made up, keeping Shepherd scoring at a minimum. Foster said his team looked different Friday, playing their best game of the season in a win over talented Grapeland by 25. 

The Wildcats picked up the pace in each period, with 5, 13, 15 and 25 scored by quarter. The Pirates also scored in double digits in each after the first quarter. 

“The defense looked really good when we were tuned in and doing what exactly what we were supposed to do,” Bennett said. “We started getting — for whatever reason — a little out of place. That is when they start making a run and increased the lead on us. Passing has been off all season long. We just throw the ball away and make too many dumb mistakes.” 

Kaden Foster led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Seth Beene-Williams had 11 points, Jorden Martinez had nine, Javen Criswell eight and Elias Bullock seven. Shepherd was topped by Jessie Valerie with nine, Tristen Cullum eight, Lucas Moore with seven and Tre Patterson with six.

The next home game for Shepherd will be in the new year, on Jan. 7, versus a tough Hardin-Jefferson squad. 

Coldspring falls

By Charles Ballard
SJNT correspondent

COLDSPRING — Coldspring hosted the Orangefield Bobcats and found a tough offense to defend against, losing 73-55 on Dec. 20.

Seems that Orangefield came to the court expecting the high-octane offense of the Trojans and were prepared.

The scoring sequence for the Trojans was 15, 10 11 and 19 for a total of 55, but it was not good enough to stop the Bobcats. They were close up until the third quarter and then the Bobcats just took over the momentum of the game.

Cam Shaw-Rucker popped 16 points with two 3-point shots. Luke Monroe had 21 points, and K.D. Bookman had 7 points.

On Dec. 21, the Trojans outpaced the Normangee Panthers 85-53.

Top scorers were Shaw-Rucker with 30, Monroe with 25 and Harden with 10. Monroe also pulled down 10 boards.

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Coldspring-Oakhurst goes 3-2 in tourney

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The Shepherd Lady Pirates went 4-0 in the recent West Hardin Christmas Tourney.  Courtesy photoThe Shepherd Lady Pirates went 4-0 in the recent West Hardin Christmas Tourney. Courtesy photo

HUNTINGTON — Coldspring-Oakhurst defeated Huntington 52-47 in the final day of the Huntington Varsity Tournament.

On Dec. 10, the Trojans split, losing to Chireno 58-45 but winning against Pineywoods Community Academy 72-55.

Luke Monroe chipped in 38 points on the day, followed by Cam Shaw-Rucker with 24, K.D. Bookman with 20 and Xzavien Major with 11.

On the opening day of the tournament Dec. 9, Coldspring-Oakhurst lost to Dayton 52-37; and defeated Huntington 63-61.

Cam Shaw-Rucker contributed 26 points in the split effort, followed by Luke Monroe with 25.

On Dec. 7 in Livingston, the Lions built a large lead of more than 20 points in a non-district tip at Lion Gym and cruised to a 73-61 over the previously unbeaten Trojans.

Coldspring coach Greg Devers was also impressed with the performance.

Coldspring Oakhurst goes 32Luke Monroe (3) led the Trojans and all scores with 31 points. Photo by Brian Besch“(William Dault) just shot the lights out tonight,” Devers said. “(Dault and Jordan Bush) — they hit some big threes. I think in those first seven games, we only allowed seven threes. We are going to be successful with up-tempo and the press. We did in the second half, but I needed about eight more minutes.”

The Trojans did not throw in the towel in the final period, and instead amassed 27 points. Most of the damage was caused by Luke Monroe, who poured in 18 points in the quarter. He led all scorers in the contest with 31. Helping him was Chris Harden with 14 and K.D. Bookman with nine.    

Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said Tuesday was the best game his squad has played this year. The Lions broke the menacing Coldspring press enough to get several advantageous breaks to the bucket and shot the ball well all night. 

Leading the attack was William Dault, who scored 30 points, with 22 of them before halftime. Dault moved to Polk County and has added help, but had something extra versus the Trojans.

“The kid from Austin, Dault, he hasn’t been on fire like that. I didn’t realize he had that many points,” Phillips said. “Hopefully, he is out of his slump, because the first four or five games we played, he wasn’t even shooting like that. He was getting frustrated because he knew he was a better shooter.”

“I have a couple of guys out right now and have been playing with eight all year,” Devers said. “We just played four games over three days, but Livingston did a great job today. Calvin had his team ready for our press. I think it came down to them making threes and free throws, and we didn’t. We didn’t start hitting threes until the fourth quarter. 

“Sometimes it is good to have a loss like this and maybe we can rebound from it,” Devers said. “With this team being so young and inexperienced, it is a good time for them to learn. They have to understand that they have to get up for everybody; they can’t just pick their opponents.”

Devers said his team played well in the recent Big Sandy tournament, taking the championship over Splendora Saturday. He is hopeful to get a couple of starters back soon to offer some depth for the long season.

Shepherd

ARANSAS PASS — The Pirates lost a tournament bid against host Aransas Pass 76-38 on Dec. 11.

Top scorer was Jesse Valerie with 11.

On Dec. 10, Shepherd lost to Kelly Catholic 82-63, and to Port Arthur Memorial 99-36, during the tournament.

Tristen Cullum led scorers with 35 on the day, followed by Lucas Moore with 27, and Payton Burton had 19.

On Dec. 9, the Pirates lost to Lufkin 75-23 and to Vidor 68-39 on the tournament’s opening day.

Tristen Cullum topped the day with 26 points, followed by Lucas Moore with 15.

On Dec. 7, Shepherd lost to Jasper 73-48.

Tristen Cullum put up 21 points, followed by Dillon Coker with 10. Cullum also added 14 boards.

Coldspring | Girls

The Lady Trojans lost 76-56 to Hardin on Dec. 7.

Head Coach Thaddeus Gordon said Coldspring had 17 fouls in the first half. 

Top scorers were Ella Phillips, who had 22 rebounds and 6 points; A’Lyvia Jackson with 16; and Shanyia Goffney with 11 points. Briana Shaw-Rucker had 10 points and 5 steals.

Shepherd

The Shepherd Lady Pirates competed in the West Hardin Christmas Tourney this past weekend, finishing 4-0.  

They defeated Beaumont Kelly, Bob Hope 51-14, West Hardin, and Leggett.  

Head Coach Eldridge McAdams said all girls played well.  

Grace Ramos and McKayden Nelson led the way along with Tangela Yates who avg double digits in rebounds all weekend. 

On Dec. 7, the Lady Pirates lost to Hamshire-Fannett 39-27. Lady Pirates continue district play Tuesday vs Huffman.

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Coldspring edges Big Sandy

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Trojan Cam Shaw-Rucker (No. 2) drives the lane. Photos by Brian BeschTrojan Cam Shaw-Rucker (No. 2) drives the lane. Photos by Brian BeschBy Brian Besch

Polk County Publishing

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.”

On Saturday, the Trojans downed Splendora 67-53; and on Friday, Coldspring downed Groveton 99-13 and then Trinity 73-56.

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Trojans overpower Indians

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Trojan Cayden Barton pulls down a board during the 86-22 home win over Groveton on Nov. 23. Photo by Tony FarkasTrojan Cayden Barton pulls down a board during the 86-22 home win over Groveton on Nov. 23. Photo by Tony FarkasSpecial to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst dominated Groveton 86-22 on Nov. 23.

The Trojans have posted 80-plus points in each of its pre-district games — Buffalo and Groveton — starting the season in good fashion. 

Coach Greg Devers said that even with the scoring gaps, his team still is working all the kinks out. 

“We have two hurt players that are on the sidelines and have not been able to play and get ready for the season,” Devers said. “When we get all healthy, we will be able to fine tune the offense and defense for the coming season.”

Cam Shaw-Rucker and Luke Monroe tied for high points with 23, followed by Chris Hardin with 13. 

Shaw-Rucker, Monroe, T.C. Chambers and Tiber Parker each contributed three-point shots. K.D. Bookman pulled in 9 rebounds on the day, and Monroe bagged 11 steals.

Groveton Coach Kale Dudding gave props to the Trojans for being one of the better 3A teams in the state. 

“If they aren’t ranked yet, they will be soon,” Dudding said. 

He said it was great practice for the Indians to work on breaking the press, and that facing tough competition in the preseason should get them ready for district in a couple of weeks. 

Jarrett Loftin has been a standout on both sides of the ball, and Johnny Facio has helped greatly coming off of the bench and offering a spark when he goes in the game, Dudding said.

Cleveland 72, Shepherd 22

CLEVELAND — The Shepherd Pirates dropped an away game 72-22 to a more experienced Cleveland Indians team on Nov. 23.

Top scorer for the Pirates was Tristen Cullum with 18. Cullum also led the team in rebounds, blocked shots and steals.

Girls

SHEPHERD — The Shepherd Lady Pirates split a pair of games over Thanksgiving Break. 

The Lady Pirates defeated Trinity 43-24 on Nov. 22 and lost to New Waverly 46-29 the next day.

Grace Ramos and McKayden Nelson led the way in scoring.

The Lady Pirates will travel to Corrigan for a varsity game on Tuesday.

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Lady Trojans sting Goodrich

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ladytrojansstinggoodrichBy Brian Besch
Polk County Enterprise

GOODRICH — The Coldspring Lady Trojans left the south end of Polk County Tuesday night with a 60-32 victory over the Goodrich Lady Hornets.

Behind a game-leading 19 points from Brianna Shaw-Rucker, the Lady Trojans spread the wealth amongst seven players, who scored at least four points each.

However, it was the Lady Trojan defense that made the difference in the game.

“I am confident in the defense right now and we were able to go in and out of half-court and full-court presses with ease,” Coldspring coach Thaddeus Gordon said. “They are young, but we are growing. Right now, we are 2-0, and in our scrimmages, I felt like we went up against some big schools like Caney Creek and Shepherd. We beat all of those schools in the scrimmages.”

The different types of press Coldspring applied kept pressure on Lady Hornet ball handlers, forcing many turnovers.

“Our strength is our defense,” Gordon said. “We go at it all day long. We change it up on defense and we’ll go from a 1-3-1, to a 2-3, and to a man. We are feeling confident. One of our weaknesses is getting in our half-court offense and setting it up. We know we can score off of setting up the press and stealing the ball, so what we are really working on right now and doubling down on is getting in our offense and running it.”

Defenses are generally ahead of the offense early in the season, and it is no different in Goodrich. The Lady Hornets showed well in slowing the larger Class 3A school.

“We did a good job on defense,” Goodrich coach Pinellafie Johnson said. “In the last period, we started giving up set shots. We got tired and worn out. They saw those girls shooting the ball and we didn’t go out there and meet the ball. Other than that, I was pleased with what we did.”

Goodrich was led by Aralyn Angel with 15 points and supported with 11 points from Breya Passmore, four by Latrina Morgan and Jamya Garrett had three. For Coldspring, A’lyvia Jackson had a dozen points, Alexis Moore added seven and Ella Phillips had six.

Goodrich dropped a close one 27-24 last week versus another larger school in Shepherd.

“We are doing really well,” Johnson said. “I told them that these games are just getting us ready for district. It counts when district starts. We’ve just got to do our best to work hard on defense, to rebound and make those little layups. Then, we will be in good shape. We need to work on boxing out, because we are giving up too many offensive rebounds.”

The Lady Trojans lost to the Navasota Rattlers 54-40 during a weekend tournament in Crockett.

Shepherd | Girls

CANEY CREEK — The Lady Pirates defeated the Lady Panthers 29-22 on Nov. 12.

Shepherd | Boys

LUMBERTON — The Shepherd Pirates were outclassed by the Lumberton Raiders 102-40 on Friday in their season opener.

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