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Nocona football loses to De Leon in the playoffs

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The Nocona Indians finished their season 8-2 and won the district title for the first time in 11 years.

The Nocona Indians’ season ended Friday night in the bi-district round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
De Leon won a high-scoring game 70-41 against the Indians at Weatherford.
Nocona was coming into the game after suffering its first loss of the season in the regular season finale against Alvord. While it did not affect the Indians seeding or their district title, more importantly they lost several starters for Friday’s game.
Still, Nocona was a first seed playing a fourth seed in De Leon with a 6-4 record and a 3-3 record in district that was coming off three straight losses.
While most bi-district match-ups between a first and fourth seed are one-sided towards the first seed, the Indians knew that would not be the case.
Last year’s one-sided playoff loss to Bangs along with every other team in the district losing its bi-district games showed the teams from district five were a lot tougher from front to back than district six.
The Bearcats showed that to start the game. Featuring a balanced running attack with a big bruising running back or a quick quarterback who also liked to throw the ball down the field to his speedy receivers all while running an up-tempo offense, it was a tough group to stop all night.
After De Leon opened the game with a quick touchdown march, Nocona answered on its second play when Brady McCasland rescued a low snap and found Charlie Fuller wide open near the sideline where he ran the rest of the way for a 67-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7.
It would be as close as the game would stay.
After the Bearcats took the lead, the Indians drew up a trick play where Jose Gomez threw a pass down the field. Unfortunately, the open receiver behind the defense dropped the pass.
Later after Nocona threw an interception De Leon connected on a long touchdown pass to lead 21-7 heading into the second quarter.
The Indians cut the score back to one touchdown as McCasland scored on an 11-yard run on fourth down to make it 21-14.
The Bearcats scored fast after a long pass completion set up a short run. Nocona faced a fourth down and turned the ball over again on an interception that more or less served as a punt. De Leon scored again to make it 35-14 with less than a minute before halftime.
Nocona still moved the ball within scoring range thanks to some personal foul calls on defense. Unfortunately, what would have been McCasland’s second touchdown pass to Fuller was called back due to holding and the Indians went into halftime frustrated and behind by three touchdowns.
The Indians answered the call to start the second half as they drove down the field and scored on a Johnny Stone nine-yard run to make it 35-21.
Unfortunately, the Bearcats answered fast. Another long pass set up another short touchdown run to make it 42-21.
To make matters worse, Nocona fumbled the ball away during the kick-off return and De Leon went down to score and go up 49-21.
The Indians special teams got the touchdown back as Caden Gaston took the kick-off back for a 78-yard touchdown.
Still, Nocona could not keep the Bearcats off the board as they scored on a 30-yard run up the middle.
The Indians did not give up though as the offense answered with a successful drive that ended with McCasland scoring on a short run. Nocona trailed 56-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Indian offense faltered for the rest of the game as they tried desperately to score fast, but the players were wearing down with many also playing on defense.
De Leon also limited the chances by slowing down the tempo and scoring on two more time-consuming touchdown drives.
Nocona’s final score came on special teams again as the Bearcats decided to kick deep after avoiding Gaston since his last return. He took advantage and scored in almost the exact same way on an 85-yard kick-off return.
The Indians tried to score one more in the final minutes on a deep pass following a fleaflicker that was intercepted to ice the game.
De Leon won 70-41.

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

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Bowie, Nocona has 11 athletes earn academic awards

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With the fall sports season officially in the books for Montague County schools, more individual pre-season awards like Academic All-State have been announced.
Awarded by the Texas High School Coaches Association, Bowie had two athletes while Nocona had nine.
For the Jackrabbits, both members were from the boys cross country team. Alex Castro and Kaz Williams were named to the second team.
The Indian football team had four players. Jackson Nunneley was named to the first team while Wesley Murphey, Matthew Page and Brady McCasland were named to the second team.
The Nocona volleyball team had three members as Ava Storey and Skyler Smith were named to the second team while Bailey Waters was honorable mention.
The Lady Indians’ cross country team had two members as Melissa Segura was named to the first team and Jayce Rose was honorable mention.

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

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Coaches react to new basketball rule

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New rules involving free throws going forward has coaches thinking many different things about them.

A month into basketball season and with district games about to start in the next two weeks, I am sure some fans have noticed something different about how games have been run.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Basketball Rules Committee put into effect this school year a rule that deals with free throw shooting.
The old rule was after a team committed its fifth foul in a half of play, a team would be in the bonus and go to the free throw line for any foul even if it was a non-shooting foul.
The free throw attempt was called a one-and-one which meant if the player made the first attempt they would get a chance to make a second one. If they missed the first attempt they would not get a second attempt.
Only if the opposing team got to 10 fouls or more in a half of play would teams then be in the double-bonus and then get two free throw attempts on any foul instead of the one-and-one attempts.
The new rule this year eliminates the one-and-one attempts from the game all together. To go along with that, the bonus starts after a team has committed five fouls. However, the fouls reset every quarter instead of every half.
“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” said Lindsey Atkinson, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the basketball rules committee. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and four.”
The new rules have taken some getting used to for officials, scorekeepers and coaches meaning some free throw attempts have been missed in some early season games when no one realized it.
“When the refs and scorekeepers figure it out it will be okay I guess,” Gold-Burg girl’s Coach Cheryl Cromleigh said.
While the rule change seems like it is might have big sweeping effects on games this season, fans might still be unaware of much different unless they are really paying attention.
Area coaches have some varying opinions on the new rules.

To read the full story that includes local coaches reactions, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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Basketball Roundup

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Forestburg girls
The Forestburg Lady Horns got showed how much growth they have had this season with a big win against Perrin-Whitt at home on Tuesday night.
The Lady Horns won with little trouble as they beat the Lady Pirates 43-25.
It was a rematch of a game earlier in the season when Forestburg played at Perrin-Whitt’s tournament on Nov. 16. In the tournament setting, it was a close game in which the Lady Horns only won 43-42 thanks to a last second shot.
The young Forestburg team has a lot more depth this season thanks to an influx of freshman, with several playing big roles on a team that struggled mightily at times last year.
The first quarter saw the Lady Horns come out with their hair on fire, pressing the Lady Pirates ball handlers with their full-court press and handsy zone defense.
Early on, Forestburg forced several turnovers and capitalized in transition to build a 6-0 lead.
The Lady Horns could not carry that momentum for the rest of the quarter. Perrin-Whitt settled down and started to break the press and create scoring chances while Forestburg struggled to have shots go down in its half-court possessions.
The Lady Horns led by one basket 11-9 heading into the second quarter and it looked like it was about to be another close game between the two teams.
Then Forestburg upped its play even more while the defense played lights out and the game was over. The Lady Horns did not let the Lady Pirates score a point again until more than midway through the third quarter.
By then Forestburg’s offense started to execute better as the team pulled away, leading 22-9 at halftime and 37-15 after three quarters.
Coach Cori Hayes felt comfortable emptying his bench for long stretches to get experience to every player with the game so in hand in the second half.
That may have led to Perrin-Whitt outscoring the Lady Horns in the fourth quarter 10-6, but Forestburg had a comfortable lead.
In the end the Lady Horns won 43-25, but it felt like it could have been by 30 points.
Jocelyn Rich led the team with eight points off the bench while Brenna and Braylee Briles each had seven points. Brenna also led the team with 10 rebounds and six assists while Braylee had two blocks. Lili Cisneros had a team high five steals.

Bowie girls
The Bowie Lady Rabbits traveled to Mineral Wells on Tuesday to play the Lady Rams.
The Lady Rabbits lost a low-scoring game to Mineral Wells 38-22 as Bowie continues to struggle to score the ball.
The Lady Rabbits were coming off a tough tournament at Breckenridge. The first quarter saw the teams be competitive as the Lady Rams led 12-8.
If Bowie could stop giving up free throw attempts, Mineral Wells shot six, and the team could get anyone besides Ziba Robbins, who scored all of the Lady Rabbits points in the quarter, going Bowie could take control.
Unfortunately, the Lady Rabbits scored only four points in the second quarter while the Lady Rams made three 3-pointers and scored a game high 17 points.
Mineral Wells led 29-12 at halftime and Bowie needed a big shift in the play to happen to dig itself out of the hole.
The Lady Rabbits got one ingredient that got going in the second half. After giving up double-digit points in both of the first half quarters, for the rest of the game Bowie allowed only nine points.
Unfortunately, the Lady Rabbits were not able to take advantage and score enough to turn the game around.
Bowie only added 10 more points in the second half and ended the game with no free throw attempts.
Mineral Wells won 38-22.

Nocona
The Nocona Lady Indians won against Pottsboro at home on Tuesday night to stay undefeated while the Indians lost at Wichita Falls.
The Lady Indians won with little trouble 57-23 while the Indians lost 56-44.
Nocona was coming into the game confident against the Lady Cardinals. While last year’s game between the two state-ranked teams was one of the Lady Indians toughest games of the season, this year it was not the same.
Some of Pottsboro’s top players from last year either graduated or moved schools and Nocona ended up playing just another 3A school it dominated.
The Lady Indians defense stifled the Cardinals to single-digit quarter totals throughout the game. Nocona could have shot the ball better, but there was never any doubt who would win.
Leading scorer Skyler Smith’s 27 points was more than Pottsboro’s team total as she also grabbed a team high 10 rebounds for a double-double. Meg Meekins was second with 20 points.
For the Indians, the offense just could not keep up with the relative scoring pace of the Coyotes team.
While Nocona was competitive, each quarter the team was outscored by a little more as it built up throughout the game to make it double-digits by the end.
Javier Gaytan led the team with 25 points. Jose Gomez Jr. and Karson Kleinhans were second with five points each.

Bellevue girls
The Bellevue Lady Eagles won at home on Tuesday night at home against 3A Boyd.
The Lady Eagles won 65-51 against the Lady Jackets.
Callie Martin led the team with 27 points while Cirstin Allen was second with 17 points as she made four 3-pointers.
Coach John McGee was proud of how his played and thought they fought with a lot of grit as his team readies to start district.

Prairie Valley
Both Prairie Valley basketball teams won their games at Wichita Christian on Tuesday night.
The Lady Bulldogs won in a blowout 49-19 while the Bulldogs won a closer game 53-40.
The Prairie Valley girls shot the best it has all season as the team made eight 3-pointers. Despite single-digit totals in the first and third quarters, high scoring second and fourth quarters carried the Lady Bulldogs offensively.
More so it was the defense that limited the Lady Stars to single-digits in every quarter.
Makaylee Gomez outscored Wichita Christian by herself with 28 points as she made five 3-pointers. Linzie Priddy joined her in double-figures with 10 points.
The Bulldogs had to recover from a bad first quarter initially. Prairie Valley scored only four points and was down nine points. The team had a huge second quarter to take the lead 20-17 at halftime.
Both teams scored well in the second half, totaling double-figures in each of the quarters though Prairie Valley scored more.
The Bulldogs won comfortable 53-40, but Stephens felt like his team had a chance to put the game away earlier if not for self-induced errors.
Tyson Easterling led the team with 18 points while James Wells was second with 12 points.

Missing scores
The Bowie and Forestburg boy’s teams and Gold-Burg girl’s team did not play a game earlier this week. Missing scores from both Saint Jo coaches, Gold-Burg boys coach and Bellevue boys coach.

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

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