The Lady Tigers played their way back into the District 16-4A race Tuesday, playing their best basketball of the season in the second half of a 39-35 victory over Jacksonville.
The Tiger boys, who lost by 23 points to No. 12 Jacksonville, can be encouraged even in defeat.
The Lady Tigers showed that you can grow up as a basketball team even after an 0-3 start in district as they moved into a fourth-place tie in 16-4A with a single huge win. The boys, who dropped to 0-2 in district Tuesday, should follow their lead.
Art Prevost’s Lady Tigers turned a disappointing and disjointed second half of Friday’s 56-40 loss at Whitehouse into a positive. The girls were outscored by the Lady Wildcats 45-20 from the midway point of the second quarter to the final horn, as their confidence sagged and their search to play together hit bottom.
Offensively, they looked lost. Defensively, they didn’t defend the paint. At all. As a team, they didn’t play together.
Fast forward to the boys against Jacksonville. Coach Don Newton came up with a game plan to break Jacksonville’s torturous full-court zone press, and his players didn’t follow it. Instead there were what Newton defined as “selfish plays” that led to turnovers and fouls. A 10-2 first-quarter lead quickly resulted in a 50-27 loss.
Newton did the only thing he could do — sit out the players who weren’t buying into the team philosophy, whether it was his leading scorer or his 11th man. The team concept is the only way you can win in any sport, but maybe more so in basketball.
ESPN SportsCenter’s nightly “Top 10 plays” lulls us into thinking that basketball games are won and lost by great individual plays. Lebron James dominates the highlights with acrobatic dunks. But sit back the next time the Miami Heat are on TV and watch how no player in the NBA lives and breathes the team concept more than Lebron.
Playing as five players. Starters or bench players. It’s a philosophy Prevost and Newton refuse to compromise on with their players.
Prevost had four days to get his team ready for Jacksonville. He called the Whitehouse loss “a wakeup call for coaching.” He said he stuck too long to his man-to-man defense when Whitehouse’s best player, Ashton Ates, scored 11 points in the second half to put the game away.
“We were up nine points (against Whitehouse),” Prevost said. “They were getting ready to crumble. If I go to a zone, it stops (Ates) from getting her 16 points.
“Here against Jacksonville we went to the zone defense and it slowed the game down.”
Prevost still needed his players to buy into playing a zone against Jacksonville, gearing the defense to stop Chancii Scott. She still scored 19 points, but could have been even more of a factor.
The Lady Tigers also had to stick to the plan of slowing the game down. Corsicana’s guards like to run. So Wilson and Shamara Taylor, two of the quickest players in 16-4A, had to pick their spots.
“Last night we bonded as a team,” Prevost said. “We bought into the game plan and that was to take the air out of the ball and control the pace. It was a great team effort. I loved how hard we fought.”
Newton found himself at the other extreme Tuesday night. After a great first quarter, his team struggled to get the ball across halfcourt. The result — the Tigers weren’t explosive on offense, especially behind the 3-point arc.
Newton takes his losses as hard as any coach I know. He saw Tuesday night as opportunity with the best crowd of the season in Tiger Gym, people who had been reading about an 18-5 start but hadn’t been there to see it.
The Tigers shut out the state’s only Class 4A unbeaten. It took Jacksonville 7 minutes, 15 seconds to score its first hoop.
Then the Tigers couldn’t break the Indians’ press, turned it over 31 times and a 10-point lead turned into a 23-point loss.
“Same old Tigers,” is what Newton said the fans probably left the gym thinking after 50-27.
His players can change that. They can work and prepare as hard as ever for Friday night against John Tyler.
They can grow up in a few days, just like the girls did. But they have to buy into what their coach is telling them.
“Winning helps build confidence,” Prevost said. “After last night, we’re one of the teams riding the elevator up. Our best basketball is ahead of us.”
CHS boys can learn from girls win over Jacksonville
Navarro County Pro Rodeo set to hit town next week
It’s almost rodeo time in Navarro County. The Navarro County Pro Rodeo is coming to town next weekend at the Navarro County Youth Exposition Center. Gates will open at 6 p.m. both Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, with the rodeo beginning about 8 p.m.
Melton collects two more hits, but Aggies fall to Miss. St., 6-4
Adam Frazier went 4 for 5 with an RBI and Mississippi State beat Texas A&M 6-4 Thursday night in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Hunter Melton was 2 for 4 with an RBI single in the first.
GC Baseball: Unbelievable - Windthorst plates 6 in seventh to stun Dawson
Bo Moore lives by the run. He likes to put pressure on the opponent. A three-run seventh looked like just enough cushion in a five-run game. But it wasn’t. Windthorst scored six runs, five with two outs, to steal a 7-6 win from Dawson in Game 1 of the Region II-1A seminfinals at Weatherford College.
NC Baseball: Bloodlines run deep for top hurler
Lukas Schiraldi will likely be drafted in the first five to six rounds in June’s Major League Baseball draft. Navarro’s right-hander already has signed with the University of Texas. His baseball career will continue at the next level after the JUCO World Series.
Melton homers again as A&M tops Vanderbilt, 5-0
Parker Ray pitched eight-plus innings to lead Texas A&M to a 5-0 victory over top-seeded Vanderbilt on Wednesday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament. Hunter Melton of Corsicana homered for the second straight day.
GC Softball: Single focus - Hubbard has sights set on steady Sam Rayburn
When Tuesday’s rains blew through Hubbard, blowing up the last half of practice, the Lady Jags loaded up, and went home. They can only hope to be loading up and going south next week. Hubbard (24-6-1) has a chance to set GPS devices for Austin if the Lady Jags can get past Sam Rayburn (28-2) Friday in the Region II-1A championship.
Area Schedule: Updated to correct Navarro's game time Saturday
Here is an updated schedule for this week's three remaining Golden Circle sports teams: Navarro baseball, Dawson baseball and Hubbard softball. It corrects the game time for Navarro, which is playing in the JUCO World Series in Colorado, on Mountain Time.
Melton powers Texas A&M past Florida, 6-3
Hunter Melton hit a three-run homer and had an RBI single to help Texas A&M defeat Florida 6-3 on Tuesday in the Aggies' first appearance in the SEC baseball tournament.
GC Baseball: ’Dogs want more - Windthorst next up for surging Dawson
At this point, it might be easy to classify the rest of the baseball season for Dawson as gravy. But hold on a minute, coach Bo Moore said. The Bulldogs (20-7) are in the Region II-1A semifinals, the club’s deepest trek in many, many moons. To do that, they beat a Dodd City team that ousted them last year in the area round.
NC Baseball: Multi-tooled, Reeves has brought offense, defense
Navarro catcher John Clay Reeves is back in the World Series. Only this year it’s the JUCO World Series and Grand Junction, Colo., and not the NCAA Division I College World Series and famed Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. like it was in 2012.
- More Sports Headlines
- Navarro County Pro Rodeo set to hit town next week