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Nocona Lady Indians have high expecations

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The Nocona Lady Indians opened their season Tuesday with a comfortable win against former district opponent City View.
The Lady Indians won 54-39 against the Lady Mustangs as they begin another season with sky-high expectations, ranked sixth overall in the state in the preseason Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
The first quarter was competitive with Nocona leading only 13-11, but some defensive adjustments allowed the Lady Indians to pull away as the game went on.
Despite it being the first game of the season, Coach Kyle Spitzer thought the offense shot the ball well and the team moved the ball how he likes it to be.
Nocona was led by its two returning starters Megyn Meekins and Skyler Smith. Meekins scored 23 points and Smith finished with 20 points. One of the few returning varsity players and seniors Sydnee Mowry was third with five points. Reagan Phipps is the only other player who returns with varsity experience.
Last year’s senior heavy team showed the program could continue to flourish post-Averee Kleinhans. Even with those important players now graduated, the two young ball handlers and offensive creators for last year’s team were Smith and Meekins despite both being underclassmen. They are part of the reason this team’s expectations are still sky high.
The other of course is the Lady Indians dropping down from 3A to 2A. Nocona has won four straight district titles in a tough 3A district, but had not been able to advance past Brock or Peaster in the regional quarterfinals during those seasons.
The new district does not seem to be a cakewalk. Windthorst is ranked 15th in the preseason state polls. That along with the unfamiliarity and youth could surprise the team if they do not come to play every game.
Spitzer has led the previous four seasons as the team won district titles. Last year proved his up-tempo offensive system could adapt. He also has been around long enough to build a culture in the program that is used to winning and hopes to breakthrough in the playoffs now that Peaster and Brock aren’t there.
He already saw in the fall how one of his successful teams benefitted from the move down. The cross country team he also coaches has qualified for regionals every year as well, but this year in 2A the team was able to breakthrough and qualify for the state meet.
Whether the team is be able to will come down to its new faces who are mostly young. Avery Thompson is a senior, but Avery Crutsinger, Aubree Kleinhans and Jolie Rose are all underclassmen.
The good news is all of them were involved at the varsity level and contributors to the volleyball and cross country teams that competed on big stages in the playoffs and at the state meet, so they should be used to dealing with high expectations despite their youth.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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SPORTS

Nocona girls win Bowie tournament

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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.

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Bowie boys get tested in losses to Lipan and Krum

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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.

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SPORTS

Lady Rabbits finish third at hosted tournament

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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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