The Nocona Indians opened their season against Saint Jo at home on Friday night.
The Indians pulled out a close win 53-46 against their 1A neighbor Panthers, a rare matchup between the two schools.
Nocona came into the game following its third fourth-place-finish in the district that resulted in a tough loss against state-ranked Peaster in the first round of the playoffs. The team returns only two starters, but several players with varsity experience that will be looked at to contribute in bigger ways this year.
Saint Jo is coming off a season where it finished third place in district and had a disappointing first round exit in the playoffs against Perrin-Whitt. Unlike the Indians, the Panthers return all but one player from last year’s team.
The thing these teams have in common is that both have new head coaches, Brody Wilson at Nocona and Ryan Bruce at Saint Jo.
The game started off fast, frantic and sloppy for both sides with neither wanting to give an inch. Combined with few fouls being called early on, every point felt it was earned with bruises.
Nocona opened with some full court pressing, but outside of a couple turnovers it did not drum up much chaos in Saint Jo’s offense though it did keep the game up-tempo.
The Panthers led 12-8 after the first quarter as both teams missed several chances around the rim, but the physical play and first game rustiness meant few went in.
The second quarter saw Saint Jo extend its lead up to 19-13 and led for most of the quarter. Brice Durham made two 3-pointers during the quarter, making three in the first half and scoring 10 points to lead the Panthers in scoring.
Nocona was outhustling Saint Jo on the glass, getting offensive rebounds from Conley Kleinhans that resulted in multiple extra looks, but still not much was going in.
Down 22-17 with two minutes before halftime, the Indians went on a 7-0 run to close the quarter and led 24-22 heading into the second half.
The second half saw Nocona start to knock down some perimeter shots. Michael Wetmore made three 3-pointers in the quarter, some off the dribble, to help the Indians extend their first real lead of the game to 40-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Saint Jo tried to make up the difference, but the Indians started to stall on offense which eventually led to free throws. The Panthers were never too far behind, but could never get closer than six points.
With Kleinhans scoring seven of his team’s 13 points in the final period, Nocona was able to close out the win 53-46 to earn the first win of the season.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.
Nocona girls win Bowie tournament
The Nocona Lady Indians won the Bowie hosted Gayno Shelton Hoopin’ into the Holidays tournament on Tuesday.
The Lady Indians won all four of their games to finish first overall.
Nocona made it look easy with one-sided wins against Ponder (66-34), Burkburnett (71-25) and Childress (61-40) to reach the championship game.
There the Lady Indians took on a Windthorst team they will see again during district play that is ranked in the pre-season top 25 in the state.
The Lady Trojans came in with little practice time with their volleyball team winning the state title the previous week, but Nocona also was down a starter with its tallest post player Sydnee Mowry out. Not a super tall team anyway, this hurt the Lady Indians a bit but after some defensive adjustments they pulled away in the end to win 64-44.
Megyn Meekins was named the tournament’s most valuable player. She scored 31 against Ponder, 20 against Burkburnett, 26 against Childress and 27 against Windthorst.
Skyler Smith and Reagan Phipps also were honored with making the all-tournament team. Smith averaged 22 points a game in the tournament and Phipps was a lock down defender who made big shots.
Coach Kyle Spitzer had little to complain about and despite making it look easy, he felt his team got challenged in ways that will make them better down the line.
“I think we were able to take steps in the right direction as a team as we continue to build our team chemistry,” Spitzer said. “Both Meg and Sky had a big scoring tournament and our supporting cast came up big when they needed to. I believe that everyone got better this tournament.”
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.
Bowie boys get tested in losses to Lipan and Krum
The Bowie Jackrabbits had tough back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday that tested them in new ways early this season.
The Jackrabbits came up short against state-ranked 2A Lipan 64-55 and against 4A Krum 50-42.
Bowie’s home opener on Monday was coming against the state-runner-up Indians from last year. Despite being the bigger school, the Jackrabbits were outsized in the post and would have been even if one of their starters wasn’t out with an injury.
Bowie started off the game competing well, getting two big corner 3-pointers from Bayler Swint to start the game. However, the offense had trouble scoring the rest of the quarter as Lipan was aggressively denying and trying to jump all the passing angles.
The Indians on offense were using their size to have players come off screens around the basket and score in sweet spots where half a second late was too late.
The Indians led 19-10 after the first quarter.
Bowie did not have time to adjust to Lipan’s defense as it changed to a half-court trap, zoning scheme that threw the team off guard for the first half of the second quarter.
Several steals led to easy baskets in transition for the Indians who went up 33-13 with 3:50 left before halftime.
Bowie closed the quarter well offensively. Swint and Dave Brightwell each had five points in the quarter to try and keep the lead within reach, but it was looking dire at halftime with the Jackrabbits down 39-22.
Bowie came out of halftime looking like a different team. It handled the ball better and had only one turnover for the rest of the game.
That combined with some players getting their offensive groove in isolation situations allowed Bowie to get back into the game.
Andrew Sandhoff led the team with seven points in the quarter. Players also got to the free throw line more.
After only one trip in the first half, the team went 5-8 in the third quarter alone.
With the offense taking care of the ball, transition opportunities were not as many for Lipan and the team had to scrape for every basket.
Bowie cut the lead to down to five points at one point, but trailed only 49-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Indians flipped all of the momentum of the third quarter on its head. They started the fourth on a 9-1 run to extend the lead back up to comfortable 58-43 with less than four minutes to play.
Bowie would not go away, scoring 12 points the rest of the way and making the final minutes a game within.
The defensive stops and miracle shot making the Jackrabbits would have needed to have a chance to win in the end did not happen at the Indians won 64-55.
The Jackrabbits did not have long to stew about the game because they traveled to Krum on Tuesday.
The first quarter was competitive as both teams were making some baskets despite the physical nature of the game. The Bobcats led 14-12.
Bowie had trouble offensively in the second half, scoring only seven points. This allowed Krum to build a lead 27-19 at halftime.
The Jackrabbits had another good third quarter, taking the lead initially before the Bobcats came back to grab a five-point lead 38-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
Bowie hung around to stay within range, but could not make the shots down the stretch to pry the lead away.
Krum made its free throws to extend its lead to 50-42 to end the game.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.
Lady Rabbits finish third at hosted tournament
The Bowie Lady Rabbits went 2-2 and finished third at their hosted Gayno Shelton Hoopin’ into the Holidays tournament on Tuesday.
It did not start off well on Monday. The Lady Rabbits fell to Childress 40-28, with the team wearing down from the Lady Cats full court press in the second half. Maddie Mandela and Ziba Robbins combined to score 22 points for the team.
Bowie bounced back with a good win against Graham in the second game 45-31. The team was able to limit the Lady Blues tall post and not let anyone else hurt them offensively while the Lady Rabbits scored the ball better and more balanced than the first game.
Mandela led the team with 18 points while Kayleigh Crow was second with 12 and Robbins added 10.
Bowie then played a state-ranked Windthorst team for a chance to play in the championship game. The Lady Rabbits came back from a 28-16 halftime defecit to make it close in the final seconds. Mandela scored 10 of her team high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Despite the Lady Trojans missing 50% of their free throws, they made enough in the late stretches to secure the win 45-41.
Crow was second with eight points while Robbins and Maycie Metzler each added seven points.
The loss set up a rematch against Childress for the third place prize. After playing the Lady Cats once already and watching their other games in the tournament, Bowie was more ready to face the full-court press.
It was a close three quarters with leads not growing too much for either team. The score was tied at 34-34 heading into the final period.
The Lady Rabbits received a big blow when Mandela fouled out of the game with four minutes left to play. It looked like Childress would pull ahead and initially it did.
Bowie battled to get back into the game and through some good fortune and grit, found itself with the ball under the Lady Cats basket with seven seconds left to play.
After at time out to draw up a play, Emily Cueva found Crow cutting to the basket for a quick hitting layup that went in with four seconds left to play to put the team up by one point. The desperate heave from Childress had no chance and the Lady Rabbits won 46-45.
Mandela again led the team with 19 points despite not playing the final four minutes. She earned all-tournament honors.
Robbins was second with nine points and Metzler scored seven.
Coach Matthew Miller was most proud his team played better over the course of the tournament.
“Our girls competed hard, yesterday especially,” Miller said. “We got put in a situation where Maddie fouled out with more than four minutes left in the game. It would have been real easy for us to fold up tent, but dug down deep and found a way to get it done.”
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News
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