SPORTS HEADLINES

Decatur heads back to region quarterfinal, beating Hirschi

By Richard Greene | Published Friday, February 22, 2019
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Midway through the third quarter, the young, upstart Wichita Falls Hirschi Huskies had whittled Decatur’s lead to seven and appeared on its way to getting even closer after an Eagles’ turnover.

Just outside the 3-point line, Decatur senior Wilson Hicks made a steal of his own and threw the ball up ahead to Gage Rieger for the first of three straight buckets in transition for the Eagles. Decatur forced four turnovers during a 6-0 run that allowed it to finally pull away for the 43-26 victory in the 4A Region I area round game at Jacksboro High School.

“It really starts on the defensive end for us, whenever we can get out on the break,” said Hicks, who finished with six points. “That’s where we want to be, and we’re special whenever we can do that.”
Decatur (34-3) established a new high-water mark for victories and moves on to the region quarterfinal for the third time in four years. The Eagles will play Burkburnett for a spot in the regional tournament.
“It’s four times in my seven [years at Decatur], but I’m not counting or anything,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman about reaching the third round. “This is the hurdle we have to get over. We’ve been trying to get over it. I think 2003 was the last time Decatur was in the regional tournament. So, it’s definitely something we’re chasing after.”

The Eagles took a 10-point lead in the first quarter and built the lead to 16 midway through the second quarter. Hirschi closed the half with a 6-0 run to pull with 10, 20-10, at the break.

“Momentum changed right there before half,” Coffman said. “Luckily we played well enough in the third quarter to

Messenger photos by Joe Duty

overcome that.”
Decatur managed only two fields in the second quarter and had only two points in the first three minutes of the third quarter.

“There was definitely a lid on the bucket for us,” Coffman said. “Getting some transition baskets definitely helped us. It goes back to some toughness we’ve shown. We definitely struggled offensively. Give Hirschi a lot of credit. They had a lot to do with it. But our defense was able to create some offense for us and that got us going.”

Decatur held Hirschi scoreless for more than five minutes between the end of the third and start of fourth quarters. The Eagles pulled away, going up by 17 in the final two minutes on Izek Chavana’s basket in transition.

Ethan Southard led the Eagles with 13 points, including seven in the final frame. Noah Young added 10.

With this hurdle cleared, the Eagles now set their sights on the prize that has eluded the program for so long and more.

“It’s familiar. This will be the third time in four years for me to be back in the third round,” Hicks said. “I haven’t made it past the third round. It’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to. We’re looking forward to the challenge and are ready to go.

“We don’t want to just reach the regional tournament. We want to make the state tournament. We have a chip on our shoulder going forward. We think we can beat anyone we play against.”

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