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Saint Jo girls beat Forestburg for first district title in a decade

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The Saint Jo Lady Panthers beat rival Forestburg on Friday 53-30 to secure their first district title in 10 years on senior night.

The Saint Jo Lady Panthers secured their first district title in 10 years with a win against Forestburg at home on Friday night.
The Lady Panthers won 53-30 against the Lady Horns in a game where whoever won would have wrapped up the district title.
Both teams came into the game with only one loss in district.
Saint Jo had beaten Forestburg the first game between the teams nearly a month ago 45-41. The Lady Panthers only loss in district came in their second game against Slidell.
It was packed inside Saint Jo’s Dome Gym as the Forestburg faithful traveled the 13 miles down the road to support the Lady Horns in the team’s first chance at a district title since possibly the 80s.
The first quarter started and neither team could get settled in offensively. Only two baskets were scored combined and the Lady Panthers led only 4-2 thanks to some made free throws.
The most important thing that happened occurred in the final minute of the quarter. Forestburg’s do everything ball handler Brenna Briles picked up her third foul. She sat not only the rest of that quarter but the full second quarter.
During that time Saint Jo’s offense picked up thanks in large part to its defense. With one of the Lady Horns ball handlers out, the Lady Panthers, who didn’t start the game with a full-court press, switched into it and really started to change the game.
Besides scoring on a three-point play at the beginning of the second quarter, Forestburg failed to score for the rest of it.
Saint Jo created turnovers and sped the game up to its preferred pace and shots finally started to fall for the Lady Panthers.
Payzlie Cervantes made three 3-pointers and scored 11 of the team’s 19 points in the quarter to break away from the Lady Horns.
Saint Jo led 23-5 heading into halftime and had all of the momentum.
Forestburg could only play better offensively going forward and started the third quarter making two 3-pointers early on to surpass its first half total. Unfortunately for the Lady Horns, Briles picked up foul four after three minutes and sat the rest of the quarter.
Despite her missing, Forestburg did a better job of taking care of the ball and scored two more baskets.
The Lady Horns also started employing a full-court press as well after not really having a chance to set it up with the lack of scoring.
It did not seem to slow down the Lady Panthers much. Four different players scored at least one basket as Saint Jo built its lead by outscoring Forestburg 14-11. The Lady Panthers led 37-16 heading into the fourth quarter.
It was a similar story even if both teams drew way more free throws in the final period than either had all game. Even when Saint Jo at times tried to slow the game down, the Lady Panthers still ended with the highest scoring quarter of the game for them.
Saint Jo outscored the Lady Horns 16-14 in the final period to win the game 53-30.

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

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SPORTS

Oil Bowl 2024 Interviews

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There were 16 athletes from our coverage area who competed in the 87th Annual Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl on June 14-15. The first video is an interview with the athletes who played in the girls basketball game (L-R) Skyler Smith, Ziba Robbins, Cirstin Allen and Makaylee Gomez. The second interview was the athletes who played in the boys basketball game (L-R) Tyson Easterling and Javier Gaytan. The third interview was athletes who played in the small school volleyball game (L-R) Jimena Garcia, Kasi Phillips and Bren Fenoglio. The fourth interview was the athlete who played in the big school volleyball game Olivia Gill. The fifth interview was with the athletes who played in the football game (L-R) Troy Kesey, Johnny Stone, Cooper Waldrip, Brady McCasland, Charlie Fuller and Seth Mann.
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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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