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Lady Indians fall in the regional final to Crawford

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The Nocona players fall to the ground in tears following the final point of the match.

The Nocona Lady Indians ride stopped one game short of the state tournament as they lost to Crawford in the regional tournament final at Princeton.
The Lady Indians first beat Rosebud-Lott on Friday in straight sets 3-0 before losing to the Lady Pirates 3-1 in the regional final on Saturday.
Nocona was making its first appearance at the regional tournament since 2013 and was hoping to also make it back to state after a long program absence in that as well.
The Lady Indians first match in the regional tournament was against a Rosebud-Lott team with 30 wins. Still Nocona was favored heading into the match, ranked among the top five teams in the state in 2A while the Lady Cougars were less heralded.
The Lady Indians played like it on Friday night. After the last two playoff matches against Como-Pickton and Lindsay had pushed Nocona and tested its resolve in five and four-set matches, the Lady Indians won with relatively little trouble.
Nocona won in straight sets with set scores being 25-12, 25-13 and 25-19. Skyler Smith led the team with 15 kills and 19 assists. Meg Meekins was second with 14 kills and 17 assists.
Bren Fenoglio had a team high three blocks while Grace Brown led the team with 14 digs.
The win set up a match against a Crawford program that was looking to get back to the state tournament for the seventh time in the last 10 years and had two state titles in that time.
The teams looked evenly matched on paper and it would come down to which team performed better that day.
Nocona played great in the first set, breaking out of an even 20 points to take control up 14-11. While the Lady Pirates were always close enough to try and steal the lead back, they never did as the Lady Indians closed the set well, winning 25-21 and playing with a lot of fire up 1-0 early.
The second set saw Nocona carry that momentum into the start of the second set, up 9-6 and looking in control in a competitive set.
Then Crawford came back to tie the set up at 10-10 and it was one or two-point leads for the next 20 points.
Some bad signs started to come up for Nocona. Double-hit errors and other hitting errors the team had avoided in the first set seemed to come up more in the second set and it seemed to take any of the momentum away.
Still, the Lady Indians looked like they might close out the set again up 21-19. Crawford tied the score at 22-22 and it was back-and-forth for the next 10 points.
Nocona fought back from set-point once and then had a chance to put it away up one point 26-25 and needing to win one more to win. The Lady Pirates came back to win the next three points to take set two 28-26 and tie the score at 1-1.
Mistakes seemed to pile up in the third set for the Lady Indians as Crawford took the early lead and control. Down 12-8, Nocona got itself back into the set and tied the score up at 17-17 and 20-20 before taking the lead for the first time late 21-20 and later 23-22.
The Lady Pirates tied the score on a block/kill, the Lady Indians lost the lead on the next point when they had a hitting error and then lost the set when another double-hit set was called. Crawford won 25-23 and now led the match 2-1.
With two close winnable sets slipping away from Nocona, the emotional toll seemed to catch up with the team in the fourth set.
While every set in the match up to that point had been close, no team had fallen behind by more than four points at any time.
Crawford improved its early 9-6 lead to 13-7 and it looked like it was only a matter of time before the match would end.
Nocona was trying, but the sharpness it was playing with earlier in the match was gone while the Lady Pirates seemed to have everything cooking. The Lady Indians were still giving great effort as the lead grew and grew.
Even with the match looking hopeless, the team was not giving up and no girls showed premature tears in their eyes. Still, it never turned around as Crawford closed out the set strong to win 25-14 and the match 3-1.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.

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Saint Jo hires new boy’s basketball coach

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Jacob Nocktonick brings his new wife, Adrianna, and his fur baby to Saint Jo. (Courtesy photo)

Saint Jo will have a new boy’s basketball coach this school year.
Jacob Nocktonick is coming to the district after spending the last two years at Bland as an assistant coach. It is his first head coaching job in basketball.
Nocktonick graduated from Princeton High School in 2015 where he played and loved basektball. He graduated in 2019 from Tarleton State University and despite playing basketball up until he graduated, he did not see coaching in his future. He worked for most of three years after college at a landscape supply company, but something was missing from his life.
“I realized after being out of it for three or four years, something was missing from my life that I really loved,” Nocktonick said. “That was playing the game I love and being around people that really love to be there.”
Nocktonick did not have much experience coaching before then, but through his experience at Bland, he knows he has found his true purpose.
“I missed that passion,” Nocktonick said. “I love it and love the kids I have been working with.”
Nocktonick is especially excited in his role in shaping young men for the future through basketball.
“At the end of the day, people aren’t going to remember me for my records,” Nocktonick said. “I get to touch lives in this role. It’s a lot different than other jobs because I have a lot of kids that look up to me. Even past players from Bland still hit me up, asking for life advice and it’s just different.”
He describes himself as the type of teacher who likes to climb up on his desk and get everyone involved more than just lecture through power point presentations. That extends to his coaching as well.
“I am extremely passionate and enthusiastic,” Nocktonick said. “I want kids to know when the time is to be serious, but know we are going to have fun, bond and become like family. I am not in this for the business. I am in this for the relationships.”

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.

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Bowie cheer earn camp awards

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The Bowie cheerleading squad attended cheer camp at Texas Women’s University on July 13-16 and earned a lot of awards. (Courtesy photo)

The Bowie cheerleading team went to cheer camp on July 13-16 at Texas Women’s University.
It was a good opportunity for the team to learn new things to take into the school year, according to cheer sponsor Destanie Curry.
“They learn their job is not to just lead the crowds in cheers, but they are ambassadors of their school and community and how to fulfill that role to the best of their ability,” Curry said. “Of course, they also learn stunt safety, new stunts, new cheer material and how to incorporate all this into pep rallies, routines and games.”
It can be intense, with campers expected to eat, sleep and breathe cheerleading from morning until night, staying positive and spiritful in everything they do since councilors are always watching and looking to see who will earn extra awards.
At the end of the four days, the Lady Rabbits cheerleading team took home several team and individual awards.
The team won one spirit stick daily and one on the final day. They were awarded each night to teams who demonstrated leadership, positive attitudes, excellent class participation and who respect and encourage one another, their coaches and staff.
Bowie earned its National Federation of State High School Association’s squad credential. The group earned Stunt SAFE, which was presented to teams that displayed excellent skills in spotting and stunt technique.
The final team award was in the Game Day Championship trophy. The competition included crowd involvement with a game day chant and cheer learned at the camp.
They were judged on crowd leading effectiveness, use of props, incorporation of stunts, technique and execution of skills.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.

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Nocona new press box put into place

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(Courtesy photo)

Nocona got its new press box into place this week at Jack Crane Stadium. The old press box, which was in place for more than 60 years, was taken out in early June and moved to Indian Valley Raceway. The new press box was by the Southern Bleacher Company out of Graham. Athletic Director Black Crutsinger said they looked at a lot of press boxes and decided they liked the one at Lindsay High School and went with that model. Sean Hutson operated the crane from the Hurd Crane Service that put the press box up for Nocona.

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