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Nocona volleyball loses opening game

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The Nocona Lady Indians started the season off traveling to former district foe Henrietta on Tuesday night.
The Lady Indians lost a frustrating five-set match against the Lady Cats, losing momentum after winning the first two sets.
Both teams have a lot of history playing the other in recent years being in each other’s district, but with Nocona moving down a classification it seemed like a good game to start off the season.
Both teams also brought different energy into Tuesday’s game. Henrietta lost several key players to graduation that helped the program finish second in district the previous two years. The Lady Indians also lost several players to graduation and it was also the first game for new coach Kara Lucherk.
The first set quickly went Nocona’s way as everything was working. The Lady Indians led 11-4 and was ahead by double-digits at one point 18-7 before the Lady Cats started to settle down.
Henrietta went on a 15-5 run and cut the lead down to one near the end of the set with Nocona up only 23-22. Thankfully the Lady Indians were able to close things out and get the win 25-22, but the fun loving momentum that was most of set one had shifted.
Henrietta was riding that momentum early in the second set as it was up 8-2. Nocona clawed its way back to tie the score at 14-14. It was back and forth until the Lady Indians got a bit of a lead 21-19 heading into the final stretch. From there Nocona closed out the set, winning the final four points to win set two 25-19 and go up 2-0.
If it felt like the Lady Indians had stolen a set they probably should have lost, that was exacerbated by how the third set went.
Nocona never had a chance as the Lady Cats went up 13-1. Only same late set rallying to try and build some momentum for the upcoming set four allowed the Lady Indians to reach double-digits. Henrietta won the set 25-13 to cut the lead to 2-1.
Nocona had to shake off the ugliness of set three, but there was a lingering feeling the Lady Cats were in control unless something changed in the Lady Indians favor.
The beginning set four was competitive with the score tied at 5-5. Henrietta then went on a 9-1 run and looked to break the set open leading 14-6.
Nocona made a run of itself cutting the lead to 15-10. The Lady Indians battled back to within two points trailing 21-19 heading into the final stretch. Unfortunately, the Lady Cats closed out the set strong, winning four of the next five points to win 25-20 and force set five.
With the set played only to 15, any lead feels that much more meaningful in the winner-take-all set.
Nocona early on had a 3-1 lead and there was hope that despite how messy the match had gone for them the Lady Indians could maybe still escape with a win when it mattered the most.
It was not meant to be that night. Henrietta won the next six points to lead 7-3. Nocona cut the lead to two 7-5, but that would be as close as it would get. The Lady Cats lead grew and grew until they closed out the set winning 15-9 and the match 3-2.

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

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SPORTS

Nocona, Saint Jo finish in top 25 of Lone Star Cup

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On the Thursday the final Lone Star Cup standings were released for the 2023-2024 school year.
Montague County had two schools that finished among the top 25 in their classification.
Nocona finished tied for 13th place in 2A while Saint Jo was tied for 24th place in 1A.
It is the highest finish for Nocona ever since the Lone Star Cup started up in the late 1990s. While it is associated with and measures the overall success of a school’s athletic program, it also takes into account the school’s success in academic and other programs like band, one-act-play, robotics, etc.
Nocona scored points in volleyball, football, cheerleading, girls and boys basketball and baseball. Unfortunately, its state appearance in film did not count towards the total. It all added up to 41 points, which is the most in program history
For Saint Jo, the success of its volleyball, football, softball, baseball, girl’s and boy’s basketball teams led to 32 points.

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

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UIL changes playoff format

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The University Interscholastic League announced on Tuesday changes for the upcoming school year when it comes to playoff formatting.
For 2A-5A schools, playoff formatting for volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball and soccer will now be split up into two divisions that will model itself like the 6A football playoffs. For 1A schools, this will only be applied for basketball. In all, there will be 12 state champions in those sports now.
This means there will be two playoff divisions within every classification. Districts will stay the same and not be affected. Four teams from every district will still make the playoffs, but now the two biggest schools of the four will play in the bracket with the other bigger schools while the two smaller schools will play in the other bracket.
This will not be like 1A-5A football, where divisions are hard cut by enrollment numbers and district alignments are set up with this in mind. Some districts that feature schools with low enrollment numbers within a classification will have to send two schools to compete in the big school bracket.
At lower levels, it might still set up a scenario where a team faces a school with twice the enrollment numbers. The thought process is it should happen less.
With fewer teams in the playoff bracket, certain parts of the playoffs like the area round and the regional tournament will not be featured as there will be less games to play on the way to the state tournament.
While the announcement was surprising to some, other coaches said they first heard about it at the basketball state tournament. UIL polled coaches, who were reportedly all for the change according to Nocona athletic director Blake Crutsinger.
For some schools, the changes will not mean much besides fewer games. Bowie is in that spot. With an enrollment number of 493, only Vernon and Iowa Park are the schools in its district that are bigger and would have to finish at the top two spots in the standings in order for Bowie teams to play in the smaller bracket.
For other schools, the change could be a big deal. Nocona’s enrollment of 234 is only 20 short of the 2A limit. The Indians will most likely play in the bigger bracket in every sport.
The Lady Indians basketball team finished as runners-up at state this year and will return four of their five starters. The teams that have beaten them the last two years, Martin’s Mill and Lipan along with several other 2A basketball powers have low enrollment numbers and would probably be in the smaller school bracket.
For 1A schools, the change is welcome but the fact volleyball was not included was sad to see for some coaches. From a numbers perspective, there are almost twice as many schools that offer basketball (213) than volleyball (123) in 1A.

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

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4H Horse Club winners announced

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These girls were all around winners at the June 8 Montague County 4H Horse Club show. High Point buckle winners were Emersyn Denoon and Laney Dyer, reserve all around halter winners were Kenzi McEwen and Audrey DeMore.

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