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Nocona season ends to Tolar 53-36

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All five Nocona players swarm in the paint to try and make up for the lack of height out on the court. (Photo by Tracy Oswald)

The magical Nocona Indians’ season came to an end on Tuesday against Tolar in the regional quarterfinals.
The Rattlers won 53-36 against the Indians to put an end to Nocona’s pursuit of a regional tournament appearance.
Nocona came in hoping a lot of things would go right so it could continue to make school history, with the last team to even win a playoff game back in 2017 making it to the regional tournament for the first time in decades.
This year’s team was already the first district title winner since 1988 and with the success of the girl’s team, it was the first time both teams won the district title since the 1950s.
The Indians came in with some close and toughly played wins against Stamford (57-48) and Poolville (46-41) in the playoffs so far, while also riding an 11 game winning streak dating back to the beginning of district play.
Tolar was tough though, finishing second in a district that is ruled by top ranked Lipan and finishing the regular season 26-7.
The first half was a defensive slug fest. The Rattlers led 8-2 after the first quarter, but Nocona bounced back to cut the lead to 14-11 at halftime, with the game still anyone’s ready to control.
It was not the first low scoring game for an Indians team that runs on how well its aggressive man-to-man press defense does.
Unfortunately, when one team started to make shots, it was Tolar. The Rattlers scored 19 points in the third quarter and extended the lead to 33-23 heading into the fourth quarter.
Down by 10 points, Nocona had to start to gamble on defense to try and force steals, but unfortunately Tolar countered with smart passes which enabled the lead to continue to grow.
The Indians could not keep up with the high scoring pace in the second half as the Rattlers ran away with the win 53-36.

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

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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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