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The Chester Yellowjacket Cheerleaders have done a great job pumping up the crowd and supporting the basketball team during home district games this season. Pictured, left to right: Kyli Handley, Lauren Citrano, Emma Byrd, Lily Payne, Marae Pounds (mascot), Lily Read, Blakeney Whitworth, Josie Pecina, and Abby Grimes. Photo by Becki Byrd
By Jana Rayburn
CHESTER — The Yellowjackets played a couple of good games this week, defeating Burkeville and losing a close game to Spurger. The Jackets played Burkeville at home on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Not only was this senior night for Chester, but the Jackets had to win this game to have a chance of making the playoffs. The Jackets rose to the challenge and defeated the Mustangs 49-40. Jack Rayburn led the Jackets with 21 points. Other Yellowjackets scoring against Burkeville were Rick Carlton with 11 points, Jesse Bittick with eight points, Bradley Davison with five points, and Cutter Lowe and Kai Hilliard with two points apiece. The Jackets traveled later the same week to Spurger. The game was extremely close the first half, with only four points separating the teams after the second quarter. However, Spurger pulled ahead in the third quarter and maintained that lead the remainder of the game. The Jackets ended up losing the hard fought battle 44-68. Rayburn led the team again with 22 points. Davison had seven points, Bittick ended the night with six points, P.J. Purvis scored four points, Jaxon Gay and Carlton each scored two points, and Hiliard scored one point.
The Jackets will most likely end the regular season tied with Burkeville for the fourth place playoff spot. As of press time, no information has been released on game date or location. Look for information on the Chester Yellowjacket Buzz Link on Facebook.
The seniors were recognized prior to the game against Burkeville. Playing their last year of basketball as Chester Yellowjackets are Jack Rayburn, Rick Carlton, Kessler Romo, Chase Bertrand, Levi Barnhart, and Jaxson Hilliard.
Lady Jacket Basketball
The Lady Jackets defeated Burkeville in their last district game of the season by a score of 65-20. Lily Read led the team with 20 points. Also scoring for the Lady Jackets were Kyli Handley with 14 points, Blakeney Whitworth and Sydney Brock with eight points apiece, Lauren Citrano with six points, Emma Byrd with five points, Abby Grimes with three points, and Saydi Handley with one point.
This win put the Lady Jackets in a tie for second place with the Goodrich Lady Hornets, forcing a ‘play-in’ between the two schools. The Lady Jackets and the Lady Hornets met up at Leggett High School on Friday, February 10. The Lady Jackets trailed Goodrich the entire game, but were able to come back in the fourth quarter to defeat the Lady Hornets 28-27. Read and Brock each scored seven points, Abby Grimes scored six points, K. Handley scored four points, and Byrd and S. Handley each scored two points.
Junior High Basketball
Both the Chester Jr. High girls and boys teams brought home championship plaques from the High Island Basketball Tournament held on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The junior high girls team chalked up wins against High Island, Odyssey, and Crenshaw to take first place. The girls beat High Island 36-7. Carlen Sluga scored 12 points, Ty Cochran scored eight points, Kayla Glawson and Allie Ogden each scored six points, and Hailey Purvis scored four points.
The Lady Jackets defeated Odyssey 53-14. Cochran scored 24 points, Sluga and Purvis scores 10 points each, Ogden scored seven points, and Tanalyn Knox scored two points. The Jackets also got a big win over Crenshaw 43-5. Scoring for the Lady Jackets were Sluga with 12 points, Cochran with 11 points, Ogden with 10 points, Purvis with six points, and Glawson with four points. This tournament win was a total team effort, and there are big things to come for Chester basketball with this group of athletes.
The junior high boys also were undefeated during the tournament. The boys defeated High Island 36-13. Turner Johnson and Bryson Swanson scored 10 points each, Kasen Citrano scored nine points, Braysen Neal added four points, Jayse Gay scored two points, and Henry David added a free throw. The Yellowjackets beat Odyssey Charter 58-19. Citrano led the team with 18 points, Swanson scored 15 points, Johnson ended the game with 12 points, Neal scored seven points, Gay added five points, and David scored one point. The Jackets outscored Crenshaw 39-6. Neal led the team with 13 points, Citrano scored 10 points, Johnson added eight points, Swanson scored four points, and Gay and David each scored two points apiece. This boys team had a successful season of basketball. They have improved as a team this year.
Lady Jacket Softball
The Chester Lady Jacket softball team got to get a scrimmage in, thanks to Coach Hanks from Woodville High School. Because many of the softball players are still playing basketball, Coach Muncrief just didn’t have the numbers to play. Coach Hanks shared some players and worked together so the Lady Jackets could scrimmage Woodville on Friday, Feb. 10.
Coach Muncrief said the girls enjoyed it and the scrimmage was very helpful for the girls. Both Coach Muncrief and the Lady Jackets are looking forward to competing in the Jasper Tournament Thursday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 25. The Lady Jackets are scheduled to play at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Friday, and at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Coach Coleman Butter is ready to play ball. The Yellowjackets went deeper in the playoffs last year in Butters first year as head coach than Chester has gone in several years. Butter and his team have been working hard to go even farther this season. The Jackets will travel to Lindale to compete in the Highway 59 Classic, which is held Thursday through Saturday, February 23-25. The Jackets are scheduled to face Liberty Eylau on Thursday at 1:30pm and then Pewitt at 4 p.m. These seed games will determine the bracket for Saturday.