Mister Burkhart’s Brain: Radiosurgery targets tumor, spares crucial tissue

Mister Burkhart’s Brain: Radiosurgery targets tumor, spares crucial tissue

It was the mid-1960s.

Robert Burkhart and 164 other young men were on their way to Vietnam in a C-130 cargo plane, strapped down with all their gear.

Halfway between Hawaii and Midway, the hatch in the middle of the airplane blew off, creating an instant vacuum and dropping temperatures to near freezing.

“Somebody had to get up there and close that off,” he said. “I was a young whippersnapper …”

Battling Back

BATTLING BACK – Robert Burkhart was the first patient to undergo stereotactic radiosurgery at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. The surgery was to treat a brain tumor and took place in four treatments spread over 10 days. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Burkhart climbed atop a pile of equipment and pried the plywood lid off a toolbox. Using the lid, someone’s jacket and tie-wire he found in the toolbox, he fashioned a makeshift hatch that sealed the opening and allowed them to continue their seven-hour trip.

It wasn’t a comfortable flight – the C-130 isn’t a luxury liner on its best day – but “we didn’t freeze to death,” he laughs.

You could say Burkhart, now a burly, stately 75-year-old with big glasses and bushy black eyebrows, has a tolerance for discomfort.

He’s a survivor of prostate cancer. He has an artificial knee and hip. He’s a civil engineer who spent more than 27 years in the U.S. Navy Seabees and managed the office of the State Architect for the state of California for 21 years.

Lately, he has bounced around between Florida, California, Washington and Decatur, staying with his children and battling a succession of ailments.

“I’ve had some setbacks over the last 10 years,” he said.

Last Veterans Day, he was all set to go out to Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur and enjoy the ceremony. Instead, he found himself in the hospital, where a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed from beneath his right arm.

“With God’s help and the doctors’ expertise, they got it,” he said. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’m not afraid to reference who my maker or my curator is.

“I’m a museum, and I have a great curator. He takes great care of me.”

The tumor was a melanoma – one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, and among the most likely to metastasize and pop up elsewhere in the body.

Recently, Burkhart’s melanoma showed up again, this time as a small tumor in his brain, close to the spot where the optic nerves come together.

It’s an extremely difficult place to operate.

But the doctors at Choice Cancer Care at Wise Regional have a new tool – the Varian Trilogy radiation therapy system – that gives them another option.

Using stereotactic radiosurgery, the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist, working together with a physicist and radiation therapists, can pinpoint a location deep inside the brain for high doses of photon-beam radiation.

The goal is to kill the tumor while sparing the sensitive tissue and structures surrounding it.

Procedure Prep

PROCEDURE PREP – A mask is put over Robert Burkhart’s head to hold it in place during a procedure at Choice Cancer Care at Wise Regional Health System. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


The room where the radiosurgery takes place is called the “vault” because its walls, floor and ceiling are concrete, feet thick in most places. It took months to build the room, then about a month to assemble the machine and another month to calibrate it – making sure dosages of radiation are actually being delivered exactly as measured.

It has been in use since last November, but Burk-hart’s surgery – four treatments spread over 10 days in late February – represents the first time it has been used in Decatur for stereotactic radiosurgery.

Dr. Shelaine Mabanta, radiologic oncologist, said Burkhart’s case is a perfect fit for this technology.

“He’s got one metastatic lesion,” she said. “Sometimes patients present with multiple lesions, and you would treat the whole brain. The problem with that is, in treating the whole brain, you can’t give a lot of doses.

“This gentleman has come in with a small lesion. We feel like if we can give it one big pop in that area, we can spare the whole brain.”

The goal, she said, is to maximize his quality of life, treat the tumor and spare the other areas.

Because of the depth and location of the lesion, she brought in a neurosurgeon to consult.

“The neurosurgeon reviewed this with me, and he’s actually involved in our treatment planning,” she said. “He felt that because of the location, we’d be better served to do stereotactic. It’s very close to the middle part of the brain, close to the optic apparatus.”

She said this is all new to Mr. Burkhart – “but he’s a fantastic patient.”

Burkhart’s radiation was broken into four parts, each delivered a few days apart.

“Typically, stereotactic to the brain is one treatment – one big dose,” Dr. Mabanta said. “But sometimes when it’s close to critical structures you have to make sure you avoid the tolerance doses. By fractionating it and separating the dose, you’re allowing it to recover before you give another big dose.”

When radiation therapists Daniel Law Eh and Larissa Contreras come to get Burkhart, they joke and visit while leading him into the vault. They position him on the table, slide a cushion under his knees and bring out a mask to immobilize his head on the table.

It looks like something from a science-fiction movie as the lights go down and lasers line him up to make sure radiation goes exactly where it’s needed.

Physicist Chapple Musslewhite was on hand for the Feb. 20 treatment and explained the procedure.

A Scientific Mind

A SCIENTIFIC MIND – Physicist Chapple Musslewhite explains the procedure being used to treat Robert Burkhart’s brain tumor. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


After getting Burkhart on the table and screwing the mask into place, the radiation therapists leave the room, seal the big steel door, and do a rotation cone-beam CT scan.

“It’s like a CT scanner except that, instead of doing slice-by-slice, it does a volume of information all at once,” Musslewhite says. The ability to both image the patient and treat him with the same machine is one of the huge advances of the Varian Trilogy.

Through the whole process, the patient is always visible on multiple cameras, and can signal any discomfort with a wave of his hand. Mr. Burkhart doesn’t move a muscle.

“Now we’re waiting on it to do the reconstruction of that image,” Musslewhite says, while Eh and Contreras call out coordinates and an image pops up on computer screens in the control room.

“Through the computers, we can move it where we know we’re targeting where we want to be,” he says. “All this is predicated on not letting the patient move, so we have the mask frame around the patient. This is the final positioning.”

On this day, that “final positioning” takes about 30 minutes. The actual treatment takes less than 10 minutes.

They end up sending Contreras back into the vault a couple of times to adjust Burkhart’s position. It takes several scans and x-rays before Dr. Mabanta is fully satisfied with the patient’s alignment.

Musslewhite narrates as the process unfolds.

“So there’s still a misalignment, and it’s great enough – they want to be right, so they’re not going to allow the computer to make the decision on this,” he says. “Now, instead of doing the cone beam CT, they’re going to just take some plain films, like an x-ray, just to make sure we’re in the ballpark.

“Alignment is really everything, especially in this where we’re giving such a high dose over such a quick period,” he says. “Here, you have to be very precise.”

The four “fractions” Burkhart is receiving total 2,000 centigray – the unit of measure for this type of radiation. They’re delivered 500 centigray at a time – four treatments over about 12 days. Each treatment is about two-and-a-half times what other patients would get in a single session.

During treatment, beams come in at numerous angles, always entering from a different spot. No part of the brain gets more than one beam, but every beam passes through the tumor.

“The sum of all those beams coming in will be that tumor,” Musslewhite says. “One at a time, it’s not much, but once they all add up together, that’s where we’re looking for the full effect.”

Burkhart said the first treatment went relatively well.

“The table was hard,” he said. “It was cold. Other than that, it wasn’t too uncomfortable.”

When Eh comes to get him for the second treatment, he asks him how he’s doing. Getting up with his long walking stick and moving at a stately pace toward the vault, the patient replies.

“I’m a lot better than I was yesterday.”

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Powerlifting: Losing, gaining – Trimmer Williams aims for state

Last spring, 249-pound Dakota Williams lifted 1,375 pounds at the Region 6 Division 2 meet to bring home fifth place in the 275-pound class.

Right Fit

RIGHT FIT – After dropping 35 pounds, Dakota Williams is at the top of the 220-pound class heading into the Region 6 Division 3 meet. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Giving up as much as 25 pounds in the class, he held his own with his 560-pound squat, 305 pounds on bench press and 510 pounds on deadlift.

When he steps under the bar to squat Saturday morning at the 2015 regional meet, Williams will be in a much different class. Thirty-five pounds lighter at 214, Williams enters the meet as the top-ranked lifter in the 220-pound division with his total of 1,395.

The trimmer Decatur senior hopes this is his chance to punch his ticket to the state meet.

“I’m proud of where I am, thinking of how far I’ve come since my freshman year,” Williams said. “I’m hoping this is my year to get first and go to state.”

Williams dropped the weight over the summer and fall with no real concerted effort.

“It was just from football and working out,” Williams claimed. “Last powerlifting season, I was up to 255. Over the summer, I maintained that.”

He didn’t realize the weight he had shed until he injured the medial collateral ligament and stepped on the scales at the doctor office.

“I weighed 220,” he recalled. “My dad asked me, ‘Are you eating?'”

Williams missed two weeks of the football season.

“I braced it and did some conditioning,” he said.

After football, he returned to the weight room to prepare for powerlifting.

“At the start of the season, I had lost a bit [of strength],” Williams said.

But it didn’t take long to not only regain it but increase his maxes in squat and deadlift. He improved his squat to 565 and deadlift to 535. His total increased by 20 pounds.

“Normally if a kid loses that much weight, they would lose some strength,” said Decatur coach Scott Warner. “That just shows how hard he works. He’s a hard-working kid.”

Warner said he’s part of a group with Rickey Roberts and Jacob Hartsell lives in the weight room.

“I’m excited to see what they can do. They deserve all that they get,” Warner said.

Mineral Wells’ Johnny Morales is 40 pounds behind Williams heading into Saturday’s meet.

Williams, who owns the school record in the 275-pound class with his squat of 560, hopes to establish a new high mark in the 220 class at 580.

But winning to move on to state is his main goal this weekend.

“That would mean everything,” Williams said. “If I get first and on the podium, I might cry. It’s what I’ve been working toward since my freshman year.”

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Soccer: Burk boots in four late goals in win

For 65 minutes, the Decatur Lady Eagles played the Burkburnett Lady Bulldogs to a draw Tuesday night.

But over the final 15 minutes, the Lady Eagles stayed a step behind as Burkburnett punched home four goals in a 5-1 victory at Eagle Stadium.

Giving It a Boot

GIVING IT A BOOT – Decatur’s Jacey Loflin kicks the ball past a Burkburnett defender. Loflin scored the Lady Eagles’ lone goal in a 5-1 loss Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The second half we got down,” said Decatur’s Jacey Loflin. “We came out the first half and started strong. But once we gave up the second [goal] we got down on each other.”

Decatur remains winless in District 3-4A as they try to earn a better playoff seed. All four of the league teams will advance to the postseason.

The Lady Eagles have three district games remaining, including the game with Wichita Falls Hirschi Friday. Their rescheduled game against Springtown was forced to moved again Wednesday because of the ice and snow.

Burkburnett outshot Decatur 11-4.

But it was Decatur who struck first in the 20th minute on a goal from Loflin. The Lady Eagles held the lead for nearly 10 minutes before Burkburnett’s Katie Alfred scored the equalizer.

Decatur held off a pair of Burkburnett scoring chances in the final two minutes of the first half.

“We played with confidence in the first half,” said Decatur coach Wes Campbell.

That confidence looked to carry into the second half as the Lady Eagles managed three of their first four shots on goal after halftime. But after the three Decatur shots were turned away, Emiliea Peoples put Burkburnett on top, booting in a loose ball in front of the net with 15:07 remaining.

A little more than two minutes later, Peoples added her second goal to make it 3-1.

Meredith Goins and Meredith Cooke scored goals in the final 10 minutes for Burkburnett.

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Softball: Lady Eagles use walks to crush Argyle

The Decatur Lady Eagles stayed aggressive at the plate Tuesday and took advantage of free passes in their 20-8 win over Argyle.

Decatur walked 18 times. Brittany Roberts and Ashley Johnson the Lady Eagles helped capitalize on the walks. Roberts went 2-for-4 with a triple, driving in four runs. Johnson added three RBIs, going 3-for-5.

Braelynn Haynes added a triple and two RBIs. Kelsie Roberts and Taylor Butler drove in a run each with hits.

Decatur jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first inning and added seven runs in the fifth.

Kelsie Roberts earned the win in three and two-thirds innings in the circle.

Caitlin Butler worked an inning and one-third in relief.

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Araceli Gregory

Araceli Gregory

Araceli Gregory, 40, of Decatur died Monday, March 2, 2015, surrounded by her loving family.

Funeral was March 6 at Greenwood Chapel with burial at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth.

Araceli was born Nov. 4, 1974, in El Paso to Manuel and Esperanza Chavarria. She was the first-born and big sister to Manuel “Shoo Shoo” Chavarria Jr.

Araceli showed all who knew her that there was no excuse for not succeeding. She attended Crowley High School and afterward began work as a collections caller for Transouth bank in Fort Worth, where she met her friend and mentor, Diane Whatley.

Araceli showed that through hard work, dedication and kindness, you can achieve anything and eventually became vice president of bankruptcy for Bank of America. She worked equally hard at fulfilling the roles of mother, wife and homemaker, at which she had the most success.

Araceli is survived by her husband, Michael Gregory and daughter Sarah Gregory, of Decatur; brother Manuel Jr. and wife, Vanessa; nieces Arabella and Catalina Chavarria of Mansfield; her parents of Fort Worth; and many cousins in the Sanchez and Chavarria families, all of whom now celebrate her life and the end of her pain and suffering.

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Patsy Marie Hornberger

Patsy Marie Hornberger, 72, of Decatur died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Decatur.

No services will be held.

Patsy was born May 20, 1942, in Sweetwater to Harvey and Ethel (Green) Blailock.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Patsy is survived by her sons, Michael Hornberger of Cordova, Tenn., and Roger Hornberger and wife, Katherine, of Prattville, Ala.; daughters Debra Hornberger of Cordova and Sherry Tatum and husband, Ken, of Prattville; brother George Blailock of Palestine; sister Carolyn Tidwell and husband, Don, of Decatur; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Clyde and Mavis Spain

Clyde and Mavis Spain of Decatur will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with a reception 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Decatur Civic Center.


Clyde and Mavis Spain

Clyde married Mavis Hammon March 11, 1945, in Arcadia, La. He is a retired minister who served five different churches in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas during his 40-year career.

Upon his retirement, he and Mavis traveled the country for 25 years doing evangelistic work. During this time, 22 of their summers were spent at Silver State Baptist Youth Camp in Sedalia, Colo.

They have three sons and daughters-in-law: Ed and Vicki Spain of Decatur; Glen and Phyllis Spain of Sachse; and Curtis and Sharolyn Spain of Mesquite.

The Spains have 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

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Kaci Nichole Fuller and Eric ‘Brent’ Scott Vincent

Kaci Nichole Fuller, daughter of Robert and Cindy Fuller, all of Runaway Bay, will marry Eric “Brent” Scott Vincent of Cottondale, son of Eric and Sherri Vincent of Decatur, April 11, 2015, at Decatur Church of Christ.

Fuller Vincent

Kaci Nichole Fuller and Eric ‘Brent’ Scott Vincent

The bride-elect is a 2008 graduate of Bridgeport High School, and she has an associate’s degree in business management from Weatherford College. She is a personal banker at Wells Fargo.

The prospective groom is a 2006 graduate of Decatur High and is works for Targa Resources.

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Public invited to participate in video tribute to teacher

Carson Elementary teacher Denise Joseph has taught students for nearly four decades.

She’s now retiring, and a couple of her former students want to let her know how much she has meant to generations of Decatur students.

Praise for a Teacher

PRAISE FOR A TEACHER – Brothers Carson and Caylen Wicker record a video tribute under the watchful eye of Jennifer Terrell, who is helping organize the project honoring retiring teacher Denise Jospeh. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Jennifer Terrell said she and Carson Principal Stephanie Quarles tried to come up with a way to honor Joseph by giving people the chance to tell her how much she meant to them on video.

“Our ideal was to get someone from every year – that would be ideal so she could have a compilation of remembrances from every year she had here in Decatur,” said Terrell, ESL coordinator at Carson.

They haven’t met that goal yet, but they are hoping for more people to contribute prior to this Friday’s deadline.

A station has been set up in the Carson office for people to record their video, or they can record their own video and send it in.

Terrell said these types of tributes are usually seen when an educator passes away.

“That’s when you would see former students and co-workers stand up and talk about the impact she had on them, and I thought it would be neat to do that now so she could hear what an impact she had and really see the impact she had on the students and education,” she said.

Terrell will be making her own video soon. She will be joined by her husband and two boys – all former students of Ms. Joseph.

More than just former students or co-workers may contribute to the project.

“It’s for anybody in the community who has had any interaction with her or she’s had an impact on or left an impression,” Terrell said.

On Monday, fifth-grader Carson Wicker left a quick message for his former teacher.

“Ms. Joseph was always a great teacher. She was astonishing,” he said.

For those who might not be comfortable in front of the camera, Terrell said they could send written comments as well.

In order to have the video ready before a retirement reception March 26, the deadline for video, comments or photos is this Friday (March 6). Stop by Carson Elementary, 2100 S. Business U.S. 81/287, in Decatur to record a video message, or send a video message to Jennifer.terrell@decatur.esc11.net. Call 940-393-7500 for information.

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Decatur ag students win at San Antonio Stock Show

Decatur agriculture science students brought home several awards from the San Antonio Stock Show last weekend.

The ag mechanics classes received blue ribbons for two of their projects: a 24-foot gooseneck lowboy trailer and a restored 1962 John Deere 4010 tractor. Students have worked on both projects since the beginning of the school year.

During the competition, students were judged not only on their work but also on their ability to explain their knowledge of the projects. Judges, who are experts in their respective fields, evaluated each project and interviewed the students.

The students who restored the tractor are Scott Gogniat, Jake Cobb and Cody Reed. The trailer team includes Garrett Blevins, Carsen Medlin, Marcos Morales, Tanner Burks, Addison Nation, Zachary Groom and Trevor Rhoades.

Seth Byers, a junior, won reserve champion Simbrah with his steer. He received a $10,000 scholarship and showed his steer in the Grand Drive, which took place inside the AT&T Center during the rodeo performance.

Trailer Construction

TRAILER CONSTRUCTION – Members of the ag mechanics team who earned a blue ribbon for their gooseneck lowboy trailer are Garrett Blevins, Carsen Medlin, Marcos Morales, Tanner Burks, Addison Nation, Zachary Groom and (not pictured) Trevor Rhoades. Also pictured is ag teacher Joey Brooke. Submitted photo

Tractor Restoration

TRACTOR RESTORATION – Members of the tractor restoration team include Scott Gogniat, Jake Cobb and Cody Reed. Submitted photo

Reserve Champ

RESERVE CHAMP – Seth Byers won reserve champion Simbrah and received a $10,000 scholarship. Submitted photo

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Track: Ready for next hurdle – Kevetter eyes return trip to Austin

Track: Ready for next hurdle – Kevetter eyes return trip to Austin

Out in the lead in the 300 hurdles last April at the 3A 9/10 Area meet, Decatur’s Jacob Kevetter stumbled over the seventh hurdle and tripped.

But that didn’t stop the then-junior, who got up off the track to rally and earn a third-place finish and a spot at regionals.

Up and Over

UP AND OVER – Decatur’s Jason Kevetter ran in the 2014 regional track meet where he earned a trip to the state meet. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It didn’t bother me. I just got up and kept running,” Kevetter said.

“That was the race I got to go to state in.”

Now a senior and as Decatur’s lone returner from the Class 3A state runner-up three-man squad, Kevetter is looking to return to Austin and end his career with a medal.

“My goal is to go back to state and break the school record,” Kevetter said.

Last year, Kevetter narrowly missed joining teammates Taylor Clayton and Brandon Rivera on the medal stand, finishing fourth in the 3A 300 finals at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships. Kevetter ran 39.43 with Caldwell’s J.J. Jackson edging him out for the bronze medal with a 39.4.

“It was really close. He got me with a lean at the end,” Kevetter said.

“I could’ve done better. I was really nervous. I’d never felt that before. It was really fun.”

Kevetter started running hurdles in junior high.

“It just came natural to me,” he said. “In seventh grade, I was one of the few that could jump them.”

As a freshman, Kevetter finished fourth at district in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 300s. The following year, he qualified for regionals in both events, coming a stumble over the ninth hurdle in the 110s from earning a state bid.

At the regional meet last spring, Kevetter again came up short of advancing to state in the 110s after a late-race fall. He quickly regained his composure to earn a regional silver in the 300s.

Kevetter knows the risks with hurdles and that a fall is only a slight misstep from happening. But it doesn’t deter him.

“It’s not really something I think about,” Kevetter said.

Heading into his senior year, Kevetter will be busy aside from his two hurdle events. He will also run on the mile relay and long jump.

“He’s our returning veteran leader,” said Decatur boys track coach Jim Cain. “We’re going to get points out of him in a lot of events.”

Kevetter’s season is off to a slow start as he is battling an ankle injury. Cain expects him to be strong by the championship portion of the season, beginning with the 8-4A meet April 15.

“He won’t peak too early,” Cain pointed out.

And the peak Kevetter wants to climb at the end of the year is the medal stand at state.

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Basketball: Huskies chase down Eagles for area title

Holt Garner’s 3-pointer from the wing to beat the third-quarter buzzer gave the Decatur Eagles a nine-point lead going into the final frame. But that lead and Decatur momentum soon disappeared.

STRONG DRIVE – Hirschi’s Sayon Rhodes takes the ball to the hoop, splitting Decatur defenders Mason Hix and Parker Hicks during the Eagles’ loss Monday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Wichita Falls Hirschi Huskies increased the defensive pressure, forcing seven turnovers and limiting Decatur to just three field goals in the final eight minutes to rally for the 51-48 victory in the 4A Region I area round game at Bowie High School gym.

“I’ve been proud of this bunch all year but I’ve never been more proud of them,” said Hirschi coach Donald Hedge. “They gave all they had at the end. In the fourth quarter with a nine-point deficit and [Decatur] with all the momentum, for us to show the heart of a champion is impressive.”

Hirschi advances to face Abilene Wylie in the region quarterfinal, tentatively set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Graham.

The loss ends Decatur’s season at 24-11.

“I told them people put a lot of emphasis on the last game as an indicator of how your season went,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “But overall, I thought the season was a success. A lot of people doubted how we’d do replacing seven seniors. But they stepped up and carried on our tradition.”

The loss ended the careers of four Decatur seniors – Garner, Aaron Shetter, Adrian Berube and Mike Ramos. The other 10 players will return.

“We improved a lot,” said Decatur sophomore Parker Hicks. “I’m looking forward to coming back next year and seeing what we can do.”

Through three quarters, it looked as if Decatur’s season would continue because of its work on the glass and clutch free-throw shooting.

Decatur outrebounded Hirschi 21-15 through three frames and 28-21 for the game. The Eagles also hit nine of their 11 free throws building the 39-30 lead.

“The first three quarters we did the things we needed to win the game,” Coffman said. “Give them credit. They made the shots, and they stepped up and made the plays in the fourth quarter.”

Hirschi forced Decatur turnovers on its first four possessions of the final frame, going on a 13-1 run and taking a 42-40 lead with 4:10 left.

“We had to go to a little zone in the fourth quarter to respond to the different things they were doing offensively,” Hedge said. “It gave us an opportunity to pressure up.”

Decatur managed only two shot attempts in the first four minutes of the final quarter.

“We fell apart at the end. Their ball pressure hurt us,” Coffman said. “It was the difference in the game.”

Aaron Shetter’s 3-pointer followed by Parker Hicks’ layup gave Decatur a lead at 45-44.

Hicks finished with 15 points. He had a personal 6-0 run to end the first half to put Decatur up 27-23. He had only two shots in the final frame.

“We had a problem getting the ball up the floor,” Hicks said. “We lost our concentration. They started a run and we couldn’t get it back.”

Shetter had 12 points along with Cade Lamirand.

Cedric Battle drained a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Huskies the lead with 2:20 left.

“I told [coach] I wanted the ball,” Battle said.

“It was a big fourth quarter. We had to go out, box out and make shots. We’ve been down before. Coach told us to keep playing Husky basketball.”

Battle hit a pair of treys in the fourth quarter on the way to a game-high 18 points. He added five steals and four assists.

“That’s just Cedric being Cedric. He does that,” Hedge said. “He was calling for the ball. He came up and hit some big shots.”

Hirschi, which went 3-for-7 at the line in the first three quarters, hit 10 of its final 17. Micheal Norris’ two free throws with 15.2 left put Hirschi up five.

Decatur pulled within two with seven seconds left on Shetter’s 3-pointer. Decatur looked to get a steal for a chance at the tying shot but freshman Dane Fitzgerald couldn’t come up with the ball cleanly. Sharif Muhammed came away with the ball and Hirschi the win.

Reaching the End

REACHING THE END – Decatur’s Aaron Shetter walks off the floor with fellow senior Adrian Berube at the end of the loss to Hirschi Monday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


Hirschi … 12 … 11 … 7 … 21 … – … 51
Decatur … 16 … 11 … 12 … 9 … – … 48

Hirschi (13-18) – Cedric Battle 18, Shariff Muhammed 6, Sayon Rhodes 4, Trae Jones 6, Micheal Norris 6, Javen Banks 4, Sheldon Carter 4, Ezekiel Holmes 3.

Decatur (24-11) – Parker Hicks 15, Holt Garner 3, Cade Lamirand 12, Aaron Shetter 12, Mason Hix 6.

Rebounding: Hirschi 21 (Battle 5); Decatur 28 (Hix 10). Free throws: Hirschi 13-24; Decatur 10-13. 3-pointers: Hirschi 6-19 (Battle 3, Jones 2, Muhammed 1); Decatur 4-13 (Shetter 2, Garner 1, Lamirand 1). Turnovers: Hirschi 10, Decatur 18.

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Powerlifting: Lifters earn top-10 at regionals

Decatur’s Madison Kyle and Marissia Bias competed at the 4A regional powerlifting meet at Wylie High School Monday.

Kyle finished 10th in the 181 class, while Bias was sixth in the 220-plus classification.

Coach Scott Warner said he was very proud of the way his girls competed all year.

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Shirley J. Briggs

Shirley J. Briggs

Shirley J. Briggs, 80, of Decatur, died Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

No services are planned at this time.

Shirley was born June 1, 1934, in Calais, Maine to Virginia (McKay) and Willard Babb. She was an accountant who enjoyed shopping and spending time with her grandchildren. She was a very gracious and social person.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her son Scott Briggs and wife Lori of Fort Worth, and grandchildren Christian and Zachary.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2630 W. Freeway, Fort Worth 76102, 817-336-4949.

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Doyle Wayne Dickerson

Doyle Wayne Dickerson

Doyle Wayne Dickerson, 76, a restaurant owner, died Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Decatur.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at First Baptist Church of Alvord with burial in Alvord Cemetery. Family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Monday at Coker-Hawkins funeral home.

Rev. Bill Cleveland will officiate. Pallbearers include Pat Garrett, Bobby Flanagan, Elbert Graham, Russell Kidd, Junior Hall, and Richard Blazek.

Doyle was born on Feb. 12, 1939 to O.L. and Macie (Hutchens) Dickerson in Coppell. He was united in marriage to Arlene Faglie on July 28, 1961, in Grapevine. Doyle was an owner and operator of the restaurant Waffle Way for 14 years and Dickerson Gulf Station for 22 years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Alvord. Doyle proudly served his country in the U.S. Army.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Arlene Dickerson of Alvord; his sons, Monty Dickerson of Austin, Clint Dickerson and wife Julie Ann of Providence, TX, and Kyle Dickerson and wife Julie of Alvord; his granddaughter, Macie Dickerson; his grandsons, Lakyn Dickerson, Wyatt Dickerson, Isaac Dickerson, and Ben and Alex Huddleston; and his sister Emogene Allred of Grapevine.

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Dorothy Louise Durham

Dorothy Louise Durham

Dorothy Louise Durham, 92, a retired registered nurse, died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Decatur.

Funeral is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel with private burial in DFW National Cemetery. No visitation.

Rev. Gary Sessions will officiate.

Dorothy was born on Dec. 28, 1922, to Thomas H. and Hazel (Hampton) McSpedden in Whitewright. She was united in marriage to Robert Durham on Jan. 27, 1960, in Denton.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and her husband, Robert Durham.

She is survived by her son, Kenneth Durham and Theresa of Bridgeport; her grandson, Robert Durham of Salem, Oregon; her granddaughter, Natasha Durham of Salem, Oregon; four great-grandchildren; one brother; five sisters; other family members and a host of friends.

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Bobby Clifton Greer, Sr.

Bobby Clifton Greer, Sr.

Bobby Clifton Greer, Sr., 79, a General Contractor, died March 2, 2015, in Decatur.

Funeral is 10 a.m. Friday, March 6, 2015 at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel. Family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Pastor Donald McMaster will officiate.

Bobby was born on Dec. 27, 1935, to William and Ella (Steely) Greer in Fort Worth.

He was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers.

He is survived by his daughters, Loretta West of Kingsland, Cheryl Howard and husband Joe of Ponder, Pamila Washburn of Runaway Bay, and Teresa Wright and husband Bruce of Millsap; his son, Cliff Greer and wife Pam of Decatur; 11 grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; his sisters, Mattie Sermons, Beverly Jernigan, Jenny Mullane, Betty Greer, and Debra Fite; his brothers, Wesley, Raymond, and Ricky Greer; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.

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Ellen Ann Jolley

Ellen Ann Jolley

Ellen Ann Jolley, 74, a retired teacher, died Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Decatur.

Memorial service is 11 a.m. Saturday, March 7, 2015, at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. Family will receive friends 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at the church.

Father Thomas Dsouza will officiate.

Ann was born on Dec. 12, 1940, to James and Mary (Burroughs) Robson in Shreveport, La. She was a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 48 years, Ed Jolley; and her son, Joseph Jolley.

She is survived by her sons, Edward Jolley and wife Cindy of Marlborough, Massachusetts and John Jolley and wife Teri of Marlborough, Mass.; her daughter, Mary Jolley of Decatur; her grandchildren, Megan O’Flaherty, Brett Jolley, Joseph Jolley, Charlotte Jolley, Vincent Jolley, and Amelia Jolley; her sister, Judy West of Tomball; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.

Family wishes that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Raquel’s Wings for Life or Relay for Life.

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Larry B. McBride

Larry B. McBride

Larry B. McBride, 70, a retired truck driver, died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Decatur.

Memorial is 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport.

Larry was born on June 2, 1944, to Parker and Rosa Lee (Nunn) McBride in Plainview. He proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers, Gary McBride, Dale McBride, and Gale McBride.

He is survived by his partner, Vertreesa Rutherford of Paradise; his sons, Weston McBride and wife Kassanera of San Antonio, and Dustin McBride; his granddaughters, Rachael and Jennalyn; his brothers, Bart McBride and wife Karen of Tulia and Lamar McBride of Vigo Park; other family members and a host of friends.

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George Ray Steele

George Ray Steele

George Ray Steele, 65, died Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Decatur.

Memorial services to be held at a later date.

George was born on April 19, 1949, to Ray Augustus and Georgia May (Fisher) Steele in Mexia. He was united in marriage to Faith DeAnn Fawkes on Nov. 18, 2006 in Las Animas, Colorado. George proudly served his country in the U.S. Army.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife Faith DeAnn Steele of Decatur; his sons, Javier Wayne Steele of Decatur, Daniel Augustus Steele of Decatur, Phillipe Martin Steele of Corsicana, and Trevor Steele of Corsicana; his daughter, Emily Contrerez Steele of Progresso; his sisters, Debra Hays of Mexia, and Sue of Mexia; his parents-in-law, Gary and Pearl Fawkes of Pueblo, Colorado; his aunt and uncle, Marvin and Betty Wilson of Fort Worth; and a host of friends.

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