WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Filing begins for May Election http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/filing-begins-for-may-election/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/filing-begins-for-may-election/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:27:18 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86316 The filing period for the May 9 city council and school board elections opens Wednesday, Jan. 28, and runs through Friday, Feb. 27.

The following places are on this year’s ballot. Also listed are the people currently in those positions.

ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Roy King
Place 1 – Gaylynn Wheelis
Place 2 – Clint Mercer

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Kevin Wood
Place 2 – John Schedcik

BOYD CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Rodney Scroggins
Place 2 – Tim Hammonds
Place 3 – Vince Estel
Place 4 – Mark Culpepper

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 4 – Bill Childress
Place 5 – Trae Luttrell

BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

Place 3 – Jimmy Myers
Place 4 – Bobby Brazier
Place 5 – Billy Fred Walker

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Tom Talley
Place 2 – Charles Mauldin
Place 3 – Lee Snodgrass

CHICO CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – The mayor seat is open after J.D. Clark was elected county judge last November.
Two at-large seats – Fletta Barrett and Gary Fatheree

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – James “Pancho” Redwine
Place 2 – Mark Tate
Place 4 – The election is to fill the one-year unexpired term previously held by Donald Joe Clark. Clark’s wife, Lori Clark, was appointed to the seat last year following his death.

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

Place 2 – Susan Cocanougher
Place 4 – Jason Wren
Place 6 (at-large) – Randy Bowker

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

Place 5 – Diana Mosley
Place 6 – Kevin Haney
Place 7 – Marsha Hafer

NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

Not available by deadline

NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Josh Wright
Place 2 – Mark Schluter

RHOME CITY COUNCIL

Not available by deadline

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

Three at-large seats – Barry White, Dan Ticer and Jerry St. John

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New ag center provides upgrades for growing program http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/new-ag-center-provides-upgrades-for-growing-program/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/new-ag-center-provides-upgrades-for-growing-program/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:26:42 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86314 Decatur High School agriculture students may have a new place to house their animals, but calling it an ag barn would be selling it short.

Ready for the Show

READY FOR THE SHOW – Ridge Reynolds exercises his pig in the enclosed arena inside the Decatur FFA agricultural science project center. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The new Decatur FFA agricultural science project center has already become a source of pride among not only the ag teachers at the school but also the students.

“Every time I come up here, people are sweeping up and trying to take care of it,” said ag student Ridge Reynolds. “People are coming up here with their friends who have pigs also because they enjoy it up here. It’s one of the nicest facilities I’ve seen.”

The need for the facility was evident more than a year ago as a growing student population in the ag department naturally led to more animal projects. Many of those animals needed to be housed at the school’s ag barn, but it was full. To make room, many pens held two animals rather than one.

“That’s hard on the exhibitor and on the animal, too,” said ag teacher Meghan Woodall.

Last year, the school board approved building a new, larger facility. Construction began last summer, and pigs moved into the new building Jan. 9.

And not a moment too soon, because the facility hosted a pig camp the next day. Once the show was over, students were hard at work moving even more pigs into the facility. As of Wednesday, 48 pigs were enjoying their new home.

While that might sound like a lot, the building can house even more and still not feel crowded, ag teachers say.

Pigs may be the current occupants, but other kinds of animals could also be housed in the new facility.

In addition to the extra space, the facility features a show arena that is totally enclosed, meaning students can work with their animals in any weather condition.

“What I like the most about being in this facility, the kids want to be up here more, and I’m able to see them in action,” Woodall said. “Before, sometimes they were coming at times when I wasn’t here at school. … They are all out here together, and that’s important for these pigs, too, because in a show environment, they are going to be walking in the arena with several different pigs, so I think it will be good for them to work on their showmanship skills.”

Other improved features include a ventilation system and a watering system that creates far less mess for the students to clean up in their animals’ pens.

The facility also includes a room to store feed, another room where students can bathe and clip their animals, a room that will soon house lockers where students can keep their “barn clothes,” a storage area for stock show material and a classroom that can be used for meetings and could eventually be used by a fourth ag teacher if the program continues to grow as it has in recent years. That portion of the building is still being finished, but Woodall said she hopes the building is totally complete within a couple of weeks.

The pig camp held earlier this month was the first opportunity for the public to see the new facility, and Woodall said the reaction was positive.

“I had a few parents ask me, ‘How do you get something like this?'” she said. “I told them you have to have the community support, and you have to have the administrative support. And when you are working together for the common goal for these kids, that’s when it fits, and it fit for us,” she said.

—–

The public’s next chance to see the new facility as well as the students and animals in the Decatur ag program is at the Decatur FFA Chapter Show Saturday, Feb. 7. The show will include heifers, lambs, goats, steers and pigs and is open to all members of Decatur FFA.

Registration is 9 to 9:30 a.m. (weight cards due by 9:30), and the show starts at 10. Cost is $10 per entry. Showmanship will be followed by the respective species show, as well as a celebrity showmanship contest.

Call Jim Allsup, 940-393-7286; Joey Brooke, 940-393-7297; or Woodall, 940-393-7285, for information.

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Former Alvord school board member airs grievances http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/former-alvord-school-board-member-airs-grievances/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/former-alvord-school-board-member-airs-grievances/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:25:39 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86311 A former Alvord school board member argued for more transparency during the group’s meeting Thursday night.

Jeannette Ward, who served two terms on the board and lost a re-election bid last May to Charlie Matthews, spoke in open forum about what she believed to be “examples of wrongdoing” by board members.

Ward filed several open records requests last May for electronic communication between board members from Jan. 1, 2014, to May 22, 2014. She expressed her frustration that she had not received all of the requested information, and that it was rumored that a school board member instructed an administrator to no longer use her photography business because she was “costing the district money by filing open records requests.”

Ward said there is a cost associated with open records requests, and she will pay for the information she has requested, as soon as she receives an invoice.

Ward also expressed concern about the board’s would-be hearing of an employee grievance that was originally on Thursday’s agenda but was removed before the meeting started.

Ward said that because the employee met previously with board members, the board would not be able to make an unbiased decision about the grievance.

“Because of these and other possible documented violations, I am requesting that this board conduct a public hearing to examine examples of wrongdoing by a few of your fellow board members,” she said. “I think the public deserves the right to know the documented truth. I have requested to be put on the next available agenda so that I can present the information I have found.

“I want to give you an opportunity to police your own before the authorities are involved,” she said.

She also suggested that they reorganize the board to ensure they have a “strong, educated leader” in place.

The board is not allowed to take action on items discussed in open forum.

Later in the meeting the board heard an annual financial audit report, which was unanimously approved.

The only other action that came during the meeting was when the board unanimously approved a recommendation to hire Megan Morett of San Antonio to be a physical education teacher and coach at the elementary school.

The board tabled a motion to consider a TASB policy update until its next meeting to give the members more time to study the update.

The board’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at 100 Mosley Lane.

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Bridgeport Middle School Problem Solvers plan ‘shred day’ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-middle-school-problem-solvers-plan-shred-day/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-middle-school-problem-solvers-plan-shred-day/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:24:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86309 The Bridgeport Middle School Problem Solvers group is making progress in their effort to combat identity theft in Wise County.

Shredding Away Indetity Theft

SHREDDING AWAY IDENTITY THEFT – Members of Paula Shepherd’s Problem Solvers group pose with a paper shredder in front of Bridgeport Middle School. The group is planning a countywide “shred day” in March in an effort to raise awareness about identity theft. Participants at the event will be able to shred documents that contain sensitive information. Messenger photo by Jake Harris

They have scheduled a countywide shred day at Brookshire’s on March 28 where people can safely dispose of important documents that contain sensitive or personal information.

“We’re going to have one big shred truck, and you can toss all of your old papers, credit cards and debit cards into it, and then you get to watch it get shredded,” student Cassady Craddock said. “We’re very excited to help the people of Wise County.”

The Problem Solvers group plans to submit the results of the shred day at the Future Problem Solving Program International Conference beginning in February. They won third place in the middle school division of the civic/cultural category at the conference last year for their plan to resolve traffic flow problems at their campus.

They hope this project will start an annual tradition and raise awareness about identity theft in Texas.

“We’re looking for a business to take over the shred bin so that it can be an annual thing,” said student Christian Hand.

Members of the group also said one of the biggest things they learned while researching the project was the importance of protecting their information online, too. Many of them said they take more precautions online as a result of the project, and they cited recent events like the Sony Pictures email hack and the Target debit card theft incident in November as real-world examples of things that could have been prevented if people were more vigilant about protecting their data.

“People can steal your identity with the simplest things, like on Facebook or social media, and then they’ve got your life in the palm of their hands,” student Camden Hand said.

The shred day, which will be sponsored by Brookshire’s, Edward Jones, Devon Energy, The Community Bank, First Financial Bank, First State Bank and Simpson and Boyd and Powers and Williamson, will last for three hours – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Magic Shred of Denton will take the scraps they collect and recycle them.

After the project is finished, some students say they want their next problem solving project to have an impact that impacts more than just Wise County.

“Our last problem just focused on Bridgeport, and this one is for the whole county, so maybe our next one will try to be for the whole state,” student Kyler Holley said.

Some tips from the Problem solvers on how to protect your identity:

  • Have a strong password and change it frequently.
  • Frequently check credit card statements.
  • Shred important documents that contain sensitive information.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the Internet.
  • Don’t check your credit card account on public wi-fi networks.
  • Try to only use a credit card instead of a debit card so identity thieves cannot directly access money.
  • Set up a separate email address for online shopping and only shop on secure websites (any sites that begin with https://).
  • Always log out of banking websites.
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Meeting Agendas for Saturday, January 24, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/meeting-agendas-for-saturday-january-24-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/meeting-agendas-for-saturday-january-24-2015/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:23:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86306 COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – Wise County commissioners next week will discuss a resolution in support of voter choice for Wise County Water Control and Improvement Districts. They will also consider a resolution in opposition to removing the county fireworks regulation authority and another in opposition to unfunded mandates. The agenda also includes the recognition of a Wise County dispatcher and a closed session for property deliberations. The meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur. It is open to the public.

HOSPITAL BOARD – The Decatur Hospital Authority Board of Directors will consider and take action Monday, Jan. 26, to appoint Todd Scroggins chief financial officer as treasurer of Wise Regional Health System. The board will also consider appointing Chris Forbis to place 3 on the board and Carey Williams to place 1 for two year terms beginning January 2015. The board will also consider purchasing an upgrade to the existing patient coding system. The meeting is 6 p.m. in the Wise Regional Health System board room. It is open to the public.

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Retired PBR champs to ride in local event http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/retired-pbr-champs-to-ride-in-local-event/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/retired-pbr-champs-to-ride-in-local-event/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:23:09 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86304 J.W. Hart and PBR have announced that the 2015 J.W. Hart PBR Challenge on May 30 in Decatur will feature PBR world champions from the past three decades competing in a special pay-per-view event. So far four riders – Hart, two-time world champion Justin McBride, 1997 world champion Michael Gaffney and Ross Coleman – have been announced as participants in the Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business showdown that will award $160,000 to the victor of the winner-take-all challenge. According to Hart, the idea first came about from Calvin Jackson with WC Challenger Charities that organizes the event.

“I know for a fact that none of us guys would hold together for a full season on the BFTS, but I do truly believe we all have one great one left,” said Hart, in a PBR press release. “I can’t speak for them, but I will be prepared and am coming to win.”

PBR will add up to four additional Ring of Honor members if they accept the challenge. Fans can vote for which legends they would like to see at wcmess.com/retiredchamps.

The pay-per-view event will include three different competitions – the regular and championship rounds of the Hart Challenge, the Unfinished Business showdown and a $20,000 winner-take-all challenge between currently competing PBR world champions.

The PBR World Champion Challenge has been offered to current competing PBR world champions, five of which have already accepted – three-time reigning PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (2011, 2012, 2014), J.B. Mauney (2013), Renato Nunes (2010), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004).

In this segment of the competition, each champion will ride one bull with the highest-scoring rider claiming a $20,000 prize. He will then face a PBR bounty bull. If the world champion who advances successfully rides the bounty bull, he will receive an additional $20,000 bonus.

The PBR will announce the bounty bull in the coming weeks.

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Bridgeport City Council waits to award bid http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-city-council-waits-to-award-bid/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-city-council-waits-to-award-bid/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:22:02 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86302 More development is coming to Bridgeport’s downtown area – just not as soon as council members hoped.

In its meeting Tuesday night, the city council heard presentations from Halff Associates and the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. on the Halsell Street Sidewalk Improvement Project and the 2014 Curb Improvement Project.

EDC Executive Director Sterling Flynn advised the council to not award a bid for the project until they had a more accurate cost estimate. They discussed the issue for about an hour but in the end decided to follow Flynn’s advice and wait.

The council will likely award a bid for the project during its March 17 meeting.

Plans to renovate downtown include an area for a farmers’ market and strip mall designed to draw more tourists to Halsell Street. Several council members voiced their support for the project, including David Correll, who owns a State Farm agency downtown.

“I’m all for it,” he said. “It’s almost an embarrassment how bad our downtown is.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The council also had two public hearings to amend the city’s zoning ordinance to allow manufactured homes to be placed on land zoned for single-family property. No action was taken due to lack of a motion.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at City Hall, 900 Thompson St.

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Green and growing: Greenhouse to stimulate Alvord’s roots http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/green-and-growing-greenhouse-to-stimulate-alvords-roots/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/green-and-growing-greenhouse-to-stimulate-alvords-roots/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:21:10 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86300 The history of the Alvord area includes rich soil, big gardens and a thriving farmer’s market – even commercial vegetable production.

That era may never return, but students in Alvord ISD will get more than a glimpse of how a horticultural operation works when they begin hands-on study in the new greenhouse being constructed at Alvord High School.

Raedy to Grow

READY TO GROW – Alvord High School ag teacher Sharon Sackett and her students are looking forward to the day when they can begin using their new greenhouse. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The school board approved $40,000 for the greenhouse back in June, hoping to get the facility delivered, installed and functioning by the time classes started last August.

It hasn’t exactly hit that timeline – but it is going up now behind the high school. Students should be using it within a few weeks.

For ag teacher Sharon Sackett, it can’t come soon enough.

“Last year we started all of our seeds in the classroom,” she said. “I got a bunch of propagating mats, and Mr. [fellow ag teacher Jeremiah] Green built me a grow-light stand. You can do it, and it’s great, but everything’s not controlled. Temperature is not controlled. Water is not controlled.”

Nevertheless, her horticulture students started a few hundred pepper and tomato plants in the classroom. They gave them away “to kind of get the kids started.”

This spring, look for them to be selling seedlings as a fundraiser for the up-and-coming program.

Sackett, a native of Missouri, is in her third year at Alvord. She also teaches landscape design, two classes of ninth grade principles of agriculture, two wildlife management classes – which will incorporate the school’s new archery program – and floral design.

She’s been researching greenhouses for a couple of years.

Going Up

GOING UP – Work continues on the new greenhouse, which should be completed within a few weeks. The school board approved the $40,000 project last June. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I took a greenhouse management class through North Central Texas College (in Gainesville) last year to learn more about it,” she said. “I looked at several brands, then started going around to different schools to look at their greenhouses.

“I really liked Bowie’s because it wasn’t too small, but it wasn’t too big for the number of kids we have,” she said. “Everything is easily accessible.”

Bowie put in their own irrigation system. Alvord is having the company install theirs – one of the things that delayed installation. The water system is zoned and automated, so all the plants get watered by various delivery methods when they need it. It can even be pre-set to water during holidays.

School maintenance personnel will extend gas and water lines to the greenhouse, which will have a pea-gravel floor with one sidewalk down the middle to make it wheelchair-accessible. Green’s welding students will build the benches, and landscape design kids will help with the layout.

Sackett said a surprising number of schools have greenhouses as a teaching tool.

“There’s a lot of money in the green industry, and these kids can learn so many life skills from it,” she said. “Not only can I use it, biology can use the greenhouse, our foods and nutrition class – I want to get them out there so they can grow their own herbs for the kitchen. I want to incorporate a lot of different classes to use it, not just horticulture.”

She plans to start seedlings in there as soon as she can. Plans also include container-grown plants, hanging baskets – even a community garden – with an emphasis on organics and heirloom seeds.

“We’ve put in a couple of raised-bed boxes, but I would like to elaborate on that once we get our greenhouse in,” she said. “We started an outdoor habitat for the wildlife class. We’ve got a pond, bird houses, bird feeders, squirrel feeders. We’re going to try and get that started.

“We’ve come a long way, but there’s a lot of work yet to do.”

Sackett secured a $700 grant from the Wise County Soil & Water Conservation District to help purchase some live oak trees and other plants, as well as rain barrels – and she knows there’s more grant money out there.

“We’re going to try to get certified as a backyard habitat through Texas Parks and Wildlife,” she said. “Hopefully I can kind of gear toward an outdoor classroom, bring the elementary kids over, utilize biology and kind of do some micro-climate type things.”

A future curriculum may even include a greenhouse management class.

Her 60 or 70 students like to get outside and work, she said. They’ve done quite a bit of landscaping around the school building and plan to do more.

“They do a whole lot better with hands-on than they do with paperwork,” she said. “They show more interest in school when they can actually say, ‘Hey, I grew that!'”

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Sharing Science http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/photo-features/sharing-science/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/photo-features/sharing-science/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:19:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86296
Sharing Science 1

Nonfiction author Seymour Simon speaks to third through fifth grade students in Slidell Friday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Sharing Science 2

Simon, a former middle school science teacher, has written close to 300 books and works from his home in Columbia County, N.Y. According to his website, he’s been called “the dean of [children’s science] writers” by the New York Times. While in Slidell, Seymour also signed books and gave a presentation to Slidell’s sixth through eighth graders. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Basketball: High-flying stampede – Bulls run away from Eagles http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-high-flying-stampede-bulls-run-away-from-eagles/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-high-flying-stampede-bulls-run-away-from-eagles/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:18:34 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86292 Bridgeport guard Jacob Delangel threw a big wrinkle in the Decatur Eagles’ game plan Tuesday night.

SMOOTH SAILING – Bridgeport’s Caleb Smith glides to the basket for a layup during the Bulls’ victory over Decatur Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

After seeing defenders help off him in the first quarter, Delangel stepped up to hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the second frame, helping the Bulls out to a double-digit lead. Delangel drained four treys in the game, finishing with 18 points in the Bulls’ 78-55 victory before a standing-room only crowd at Bridgeport High School gym.

“They left me open, and everyone was telling me to take the shot,” Delangel said. “That opened it up for my teammates.

“This is a nice win. Hopefully we can build on it. We can play great basketball as long as we play together. Teamwork wins championships.”

Bridgeport, ranked No. 6 in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 4A poll, moved to 20-4 with the victory over the 15th-ranked Eagles.

“We’ll enjoy this one tonight and prepare to see them again in three weeks,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green.

“This was a program win for us. Our JV gave us two good days of scout team. Everyone had a hand in this one.

The Eagles fell to 1-1 in district and looked to rebound Friday against Springtown.

“We’ve got to bounce back. It’ll be an important game Friday,” said Decatur senior guard Holt Garner. “We have a responsibility to our fans and community to put forth our best effort.

“We came in with a game plan (against Bridgeport) and got off to a rocky start and didn’t respond the way we should have.”

After Bridgeport got out of the gate with the game’s first nine points, Decatur fought back to within six, 20-14, by the end of the first quarter. Garner hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening frame and finished with 10 points.

Losing a Handle

LOSING A HANDLE – Decatur’s Cade Lamirand loses the ball while driving to the basket during the Eagles’ loss to Bridgeport Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Nineteen seconds into the second quarter, Delangel knocked down the first of his two treys in the frame to ignite an 11-0 run that put the Bulls up 17, 31-14.

“We’ve told Delangel that he was going to hit big shots,” Green said. “He’s one of our hardest workers. He doesn’t need to be surprised by success.”

After Delangel’s treys loosened up Decatur’s defense, Caleb Smith and Devonte Patterson started attacking the rim and getting the free-throw line. Bridgeport went 12-for-17 from the line in the second quarter, building a 46-25 halftime lead.

Patterson went 6-for-10 from the line in the frame on the way to scoring 17. Smith had eight of game-high 22 points in the second frame.

“We had a plan and it didn’t work to our advantage,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “We had an idea to focus more on others, but when a guy steps up and hits shots that he hasn’t all year you have to alter it.”

The Eagles also struggled to find offensive looks against the Bulls. Decatur had only six shot attempts in the second quarter with eight turnovers. Decatur followed that with an eight-point third quarter as it fell behind 67-33.

“We didn’t handle their pressure,” Coffman said. “We’ll see this from other people so we’ll have to adjust and get better.”

Parker Hicks led Decatur with 17 points. He scored 12 in the fourth quarter, going 8-for-8 from the line.

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Basketball: Guard shines for Bulls http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-guard-shines-for-bulls/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-guard-shines-for-bulls/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:16:37 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86287 Heading into Tuesday’s frenzied, top-15 showdown, the spotlight was centered on the Bridgeport Bulls’ newcomers – Caleb Smith, Devonte Patterson, Keenan Holdman and Ethan Chapman – who have turned them into the No. 6 team in 4A.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

The foursome delivered in Bridgeport’s 78-55 victory. Smith’s quick hands on defense and silky smooth moves around the basket made for a long night for Decatur as he finished with 22 points.

Patterson electrified a standing-room only crowd with his third-quarter ending drive through the lane for an emphatic dunk.

Chapman showed his range on the perimeter, splashing down a 3-pointer from 25 feet out while Holdman gave Decatur guards no breathing room with his tight defense.

But it was the lone Bull in the starting lineup Tuesday who was also on the floor last spring when Bridgeport fell to Frisco Lone Star in bi-district that truly changed the game. Guard Jacob Delangel made the Eagles pay for leaving him open to concentrate on Bridgeport’s version of the fantastic four with four 3-pointers and 18 points. He hit two in the second quarter as the Bulls put the game away with an 11-0 run.

“They left me open and everyone was telling me to take the shot,” Delangel said. “That opened it up for my teammates.”

On the biggest night of the season for the Bulls against their long-time rival and a top-15 team, Delangel’s performance was huge. But it will certainly pay dividends later in the spring as the Bulls hit the playoffs.

When playoff opponents begin scouting the Bulls, they will look at the film of the Decatur game. They will now have to account for an additional scoring threat instead of dedicating resources to Patterson and Smith.

Also, like Tuesday when Holdman and Chapman were called for early fouls, the entire Bulls roster know they can look to Delangel to help carry the load with confidence. Even more important Delangel himself will know he can get the job done.

“We’ve told Delangel that he was going to hit big shots,” Green said. “He’s one of our hardest workers. He doesn’t need to be surprised by success.”

As the Bulls move forward, Patterson, Smith and company will dazzle fans and opponents. But to get where they want and possibly could get in March – the Alamo City – it will take the efforts of everyone on the Bridgeport roster. It’s something Delangel showed Tuesday and pointed out on his biggest night.

“This is a nice win. Hopefully we can build on it,” he said. “We can play great basketball as long as we play together. Teamwork wins championships.”

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Basketball: Nothing to Ponder – Lady Bulldog refuses to let injury stop her http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-nothing-to-ponder-lady-bulldog-refuses-to-let-injury-stop-her/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-nothing-to-ponder-lady-bulldog-refuses-to-let-injury-stop-her/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:15:25 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86285 Brianna Ponder doesn’t need to look far for memories of her 18th birthday – only down to her left leg.

On the final day of the Granbury Tournament, the Alvord senior’s left leg buckled when she tried to chase down a loose ball.

Still Standing

STILL STANDING – Alvord senior Brianna Ponder has missed only two games after tearing her ACL in her left knee in mid-December. Ponder plans to finish the basketball season and run track in the spring. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I had lost control of the ball, stepped wrong and it folded on me,” Ponder recalled. “I tried to go back in the game and when I tried to block out it completely folded on me again.

“I sat there on the on bench the rest of the game hoping it was not a big deal. I never thought I would tear my ACL. I was praying it was just the MCL and that I would be able to rest it and not miss any time.”

The injury turned out to be the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament tear along with a torn meniscus. However, the senior refused to let the injury sideline her in her final campaign with the Lady Bulldogs.

Wearing a brace, Ponder continues to be one of Alvord’s top players as they battle for a playoff spot and possible District 11-2A title.

No Sitting Out

NO SITTING OUT – Alvord senior Brianna Ponder refused to stay sidelined after suffering a knee injury earlier this season. She is averaging 9.3 points per game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Ponder, who missed just two games after the injury, headed into the Lady Bulldogs’ game against Valley View averaging 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 steals.

“It’s amazing. You wouldn’t know [her ACL] was torn unless I told you,” said Alvord coach John Shelton. “She walks with a limp and may have lost a step or two, but it’s not enough to make a difference. She’s still the best defender we have on the ball.”

Shelton said he’s had one other player during his coaching career play with a torn ACL, but it was a post player.

“She played inside and wasn’t the up-and-down-the-floor player that Bri is,” he said.

After suffering the injury, Ponder continued to practice before going to the doctor.

“I waited a week. I didn’t want the doctor to tell me I couldn’t play,” Ponder said.

She was advised against playing but Ponder refused to listen and rejoined her teammates.

“It’s my senior year. I’m still going to play,” Ponder said.

Ponder points to fellow senior Katie Claborn as her motivation to stay on the floor.

“She moved here in sixth grade and there was an instant connection,” Ponder explained. “If I stopped playing, I’d feel like I’m letting Katie down.”

Since the injury, Ponder said practices are the toughest to get through.

“It hurts more in practice. During a game, you have the adrenaline going,” she said.

Shelton keeps Ponder out of some of the practice drills that require a lot of horizontal cutting.

“She’s working as hard as she did before the injury,” Shelton said. “She still gives full effort.”

Ponder does spend extra time with the trainer icing and working to build strength in the leg. She’s found only a few limitations.

“I still have a lot of strength in the leg. It’s a little weird because I can’t jump as high,” Ponder explained. “I can keep up with [opponents] well.”

The one frustration is her inability to step around defenders on drives to the basket.

After basketball season, Ponder intends to run track and compete in the long jump. She made it to regionals last year in the high jump, triple jump and long jump.

She doesn’t believe she will be able to defend her district title in the high jump.

“This is the leg I jump off of,” Ponder said pointing to her left leg. “I definitely will long jump and try to get on the sprint relay.”

Even with the injured leg, Ponder believes she’s capable of doing anything she sets her mind to.

“It’s definitely mind over matter at this point,” Ponder said.

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Born to lead – Garner finds way to front, no matter arena http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/saturday-sports-buffet-born-to-lead-garner-finds-way-to-front-no-matter-arena/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/saturday-sports-buffet-born-to-lead-garner-finds-way-to-front-no-matter-arena/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:09:07 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86281 Holt Garner is not one to follow.

No matter if he’s in the classroom, on the basketball court or marching with the band, he’s usually the one leading the pack.

“He’s a rare breed,” said Decatur basketball coach Drew Coffman. “You name it, he leads it in our school. He’s just a natural leader.”

Conducting Bust Schedule

CONDUCTING BUSY SCHEDULE – After leading the band as the drum major in the fall, Holt Garner is a starting guard for the Eagles on the basketball court this spring. He is also ranked No. 1 in his senior class. Messenger Photo by Richard Greene

As a senior, Garner is in his fourth year as his class president. In the fall, he finished his second year as the Decatur drum major. Now, he is a starting guard on the Decatur Eagles basketball team. Oh, and he’s ranked No. 1 in his class and Saturday is heading to the George W. Bush Presidential Library for a reunion for the prestigious Camp 43 he participated in last summer.

“I’m hoping the president (Bush) is there. We got to meet with him for an hour last summer,” Garner explained about the leadership conference with 20 other students.

Garner doesn’t deny his plate’s full. But doesn’t see himself slowing down.

“It’s pretty tough to balance,” he said. “I have one rule: Saturday is my day off. I don’t even get my bag out with my books. If I have homework, it can wait until Sunday.”

But on that day off, he usually officiates youth basketball games.

“I love showing up at the gym at 7:30 and watching them before the stress and long hours of the sport,” Garner said.

Garner’s hectic schedule started in July with leadership training for band.

As the drum major, he explains his job is not only to conduct but to “make his band director’s life easier.”

Decatur Band Director Eric McNeil said Garner was successful at that task over the past two years.

“He’s helped me out so much,” he said. “He’s been a great drum major. He’s the most driven kid I’ve had. Anything he sets his mind to he’s going to do.”

Under Garner’s direction, the Decatur band earned a superior rating at regionals and advanced to area.

Friday nights leading the band onto the field at halftime of Eagle games, Garner admits it’s an adrenaline rush that make the 10-plus hours of rehearsals during the week worth it.

“There’s a certain rush about Friday Nights Lights in Texas and being part of it,” Garner said. “It’s nice when it all goes well.”

As the temperatures cool and the calendar turns to October and November, Garner’s schedule gets even more hectic as he goes from marching rehearsals to basketball practice. Garner said he was fortunate this year there weren’t as many conflicts with basketball season backed up.

On the basketball court, Garner has earned a starting spot after waiting his turn the past three years behind upperclassmen.

As the son of a basketball coach, he explains basketball has always been part of his life and he’s relishing this opportunity.

“The gym means a lot to my family with all the years spent in there,” Garner said.

He said he actually is less nervous on the basketball court than when he is conducting.

“I feel more weight when I’m conducting,” Garner said. “I don’t have as much control. If something messes up, I have to just go with what happens and get through the performance.”

This basketball season, Garner has fought through leg injuries. He’s taking treatment regularly. But he’s also shown he is able to knock down big shots on the perimeter. He hit seven 3-pointers against St. Mark’s Jan. 12.

But Coffman said his greatest strength on the floor is his intelligence.

“He may not possess the natural ability of some people but he makes up for it by being smarter than his opponent,” Coffman said. “He’s usually in the right spot.”

Ranked No. 1 in his class, Garner said he’s motivated to follow his sister Kelsey’s footsteps. He has been accepted at SMU and Texas A&M but is waiting to hear if he will be accepted at Stanford or Vanderbilt. But he does admit he has yet to pick a major or career.

“That’s the one question I can’t answer,” Garner said.

No doubt, he’ll find a way to be in charge.

SIDEDISHES

  • Neither showdown Tuesday lived up to the billing as the Decatur Lady Eagles and Bridgeport Bulls each pulled off double-digit victories. But the atmosphere was perfect and all four teams will benefit from playing before a standing-room only crowdmoving forward
  • By the way, there were some great, creative signs Tuesday in Bridgeport
  • As nearly every girls team in Wise County is in the second half of league play, seven of the eight are currently holding playoff spots. That has to be a record. Also five – Decatur, Bridgeport, Alvord, Slidell and Paradise – still have legitimate shots to win district titles in their respective leagues
  • Slidell could be the first to wrap up a girls district title. The Lady Greyhounds could seal the crown by Tuesday with a win over Forestburg
  • The All-Wise County Football team will be announced Saturday. The offensive selections were the toughest in my six years here
  • The super matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks has taken a backseat to the controversy on whether or not the Patriots purposely deflated 11 of the 12 footballs that were used in the AFC title game. My question, why not deflate all 12? Don’t worry, the NFL is investigating. Hope they don’t need a video tape
  • Happy for George Dunham but I hated to hear he was leaving the Mean Green radio booth. I will never forget his call against Texas Tech, “Do you believe in the Mean Green?” He was also kind in driving me around Utah while covering a North Texas and Utah State game, while I peppered him with questions about his radio show.
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Basketball: Panthers continue streak http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-panthers-continue-streak/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-panthers-continue-streak/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:08:02 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86278 After starting District 9-3A with three straight losses, the Paradise Panthers have responded with a three-game win streak to get into the playoff hunt.

The Panthers made the Jacksboro Tigers their latest victim Tuesday in a 58-28 victory.

Point guard Landry Norwood led a balanced scoring attack for the Panthers with 16 points. Brayden Ford added 11 points and seven rebounds. Caiden Berry finished with eight points. Hayden Barkley scored seven and grabbed eight boards. John Bridgeman chipped in seven points. Cash Preather had five points and seven assists.

Paradise took control of the game with a 15-4 run in the second quarter to take a 25-16 halftime lead. The Panthers continued to pull away with a 22-7 spurt in the third quarter.

Paradise outscored Jacksboro 33-12 after halftime.

Paradise looked to continue its roll Friday in the final game of the first half of league play against City View. The Panthers open the second half Tuesday against Nocona.

BOWIE 80, BOYD 39

The Boyd Yellowjackets dropped a fourth straight game in District 9-3A with an 80-39 loss to Bowie.

The Yellowjackets fell to 2-5 in 9-3A. Boyd looked to rebound Friday at Holliday. The Yellowjackets take on Henrietta at home Tuesday.

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Basketball: Texans even 5-6A mark http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-texans-even-5-6a-mark/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-texans-even-5-6a-mark/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:07:25 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86276 Elijah Christman led a quartet of Texans in double figures with 17 points as Northwest picked up a big win in the District 5-6A race against Fossil Ridge Tuesday.

Northwest (10-12, 3-3) handled Fossil Ridge 76-53. The victory moved the Texans into a tie for fourth place in 5-6A with Byron Nelson, who they meet Tuesday. Denton Guyer, Timber Creek and Keller shared the league lead at 5-1 going into Friday.

Northwest jumped on Fossil Ridge 21-9 in the first quarter and built the lead to 47-19 at halftime.

Darrel Simpson finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Jesse DeVries had 11 points and Darril Eyaa 10.

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Basketball: Hounds stay unbeaten http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-hounds-stay-unbeaten/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-hounds-stay-unbeaten/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:06:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86274 The Slidell Greyhounds picked up some added momentum heading into Friday’s showdown for the District 21-A lead with a 56-47 win over Saint Jo Tuesday.

Khristian Talamantes tossed in 18 points with eight rebounds, four assists and six steals. Tyler Maynard added 12 points and four boards.

Slidell moved to 19-4 and 6-0 in 21-A. The Greyhounds took on Bellevue, who was also unbeaten in the league, Friday.

Against Saint Jo, the Greyhounds jumped out to a 16-10 lead in the first quarter and built their advantage to 30-18 at halftime.

Slidell led 46-30 going into the final frame before Saint Jo ended the game on a 17-10 run.

Mason Maynard grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points and three blocked shots. Colton Crane chipped in seven points and three assists.

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Basketball: Decatur shuts down Sissies – Lady Eagles hold Bridgeport to 31 percent shooting http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-decatur-shuts-down-sissies-lady-eagles-hold-bridgeport-to-31-percent-shooting/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-decatur-shuts-down-sissies-lady-eagles-hold-bridgeport-to-31-percent-shooting/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:06:17 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86272 Decatur senior Jasmyne Tate’s top priority Tuesday was keeping Bridgeport’s Bailey Thompson from getting open looks on the perimeter.

“I promised my teammates I’d hold her and not allow any 3s,” Tate said.

IN A TIGHT SPOT – Decatur’s Hannah Dunning and Macen Stripling surround Bridgeport’s Bailey Thompson during the Decatur win Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

She nearly held the Sissies’ leading scorer without a field goal in the Lady Eagles’ 54-41 victory at Bridgeport High School gym.

Thompson, who entered the game averaging 15 points, recorded her lone field goal on a layup with eight seconds left and finished with five points.

“We went in saying we were not going to let her get any good looks,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner. “They executed, and the defensive plan went accordingly.”

Decatur took over sole possession of first place in District 8-4A with the victory, moving to 3-0.

“This was a big win. It’ll make us confident in whatever we do,” Tate said.

Bridgeport fell to 1-2 in the league and 21-4 overall.

The Sissies had a tough shooting night against Decatur, finishing 15-for-47 (31 percent) from the field. Bridgeport was 1-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“It was just a lack of putting the ball in the basket,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “It was not just Bailey but the whole group. It was just a poor shooting night.

“It was an off night. You have those. That’s why you play people twice in district.”

Landrie Walsh hit Bridgeport’s lone 3-pointer and finished with a team-best 14 points.

Makayla Mayfield led the Lady Eagles with 15 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Mayfield and Macen Stripling took over on the boards with post Hannah Dunning seeing limited action due to foul trouble. Stripling grabbed eight rebounds with her 12 points.

“Makayla and Macen did a great job on the boards,” Garner said. “Savannah [Thompson] and Raena Slate also came in and did a great job after we got in foul trouble.”

Decatur couldn’t take advantage of Bridgeport’s shooting woes in the first half (6-for-23) because of missed free throws (1-for-7) and 10 turnovers. The Lady Eagles led 21-17 at halftime.

Walsh’s 10 points in the third kept Bridgeport within six, 37-31, going into the fourth.

Diana Garcia’s steal and layup in the opening minute of the fourth pulled Bridgeport within four.

Decatur quickly mounted a response with a 12-0 run, building a 49-33 lead with 3:37 left on the layup-and-one from Drews. Mayfield and Drews put in five each during the spurt.

“That broke it open. We got out and ran a bit,” Garner said.

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Basketball: Slidell races past Saint Jo http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-slidell-races-past-saint-jo/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-slidell-races-past-saint-jo/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:04:54 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86269 The Slidell Lady Greyhounds used a second-quarter surge to build a lead and run their unbeaten run in 21-A to 8-0.

The Lady Greyhounds went on a 17-6 run in the second frame on the way to a 45-25 victory over Saint Jo.

Slidell (20-3) maintained a one-game lead on Forestburg (7-1) with the victory. The Lady Greyhounds took on third-place Bellevue (6-2) Friday. Slidell will face Forestburg Tuesday.

Slidell led Saint Jo 8-7 after the first quarter and after its big run in the second took a 25-13 halftime advantage. Slidell outscored Saint Jo 12-6 in the third to build the lead to 37-19.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well with the exception of the free-throw line,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “Saint Jo did a nice job defensively and really didn’t ever let us get into rhythm. Our next two games, we will have to play better than we did to survive.”

Caitlin Pruett led the Lady Greyhounds with 24 points to go along with three rebounds and nine steals.

Kylie Franklin chipped in nine points with three rebounds and two steals.

Kayler Talamantes had six points, six rebounds and three steals.

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Basketball: Northwest wins in OT http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-northwest-wins-in-ot/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-northwest-wins-in-ot/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:04:22 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86267 For the second time in District 5-6A play, the Northwest Lady Texans held an opponent scoreless in overtime to pick up a victory Tuesday.

Northwest outscored Fossil Ridge 7-0 in the extra frame to record the 52-45 win and take over third place in the league.

The Lady Texans (15-7) improved to 5-3 in district before Friday’s showdown with second-place Denton Guyer. Keller leads the district at 8-0.

Northwest led Fossil Ridge 28-24 at halftime. Fossil Ridge pulled even at 40 after the third quarter. Each team scored five in the fourth to keep the game level at 45 at the end of the regulation.

Alexus Brigham led the Lady Texans with 20 points. Maddie Dodgen added eight points and seven rebounds. Equalya Smith and Tara Crumpton finished with seven points each. Bre Hardin had six points and nine boards.

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Basketball: Paradise routs Lady Tigers http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-paradise-routs-lady-tigers/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-paradise-routs-lady-tigers/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:03:43 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86265 The Paradise Lady Panthers won their fourth straight game and continued their hold on second-place in District 9-3A Tuesday.

The Lady Panthers completed the season sweep of Jacksboro with a 51-33 victory, moving to 7-1 in the league and 22-5 overall.

Jett Preather hurt the Lady Tigers inside with 15 points. Courtney Kerr added 10. Madi Horne finished with seven, Kaylee McConnell six and Taylor Richards five.

Paradise looked to continue its roll Friday at home against City View – its third straight home game. The Lady Panthers hit the road Tuesday, going to Nocona.

BOWIE 68, BOYD 21

District 9-3A leader Bowie completed the season sweep of Boyd Tuesday with a 68-21 win.

Boyd struggled to generate offense against the Bowie defense in the first half, scoring just nine points.

Lindsey Thorpe led Boyd with nine points. Alissa Gordon added eight.

Boyd (18-4) fell to 5-3 in 9-3A. The Lady Yellowjackets remained in third place in the league, heading into Friday’s game at Holliday. Boyd plays Henrietta at home Tuesday.

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