Northwest education foundation awards grant money

The Northwest Education Foundation gave out 32 grants totaling $99,856.27 during its Grant Brigade Feb. 20.

Here are the grants given to Wise County schools within the district:

  • Northwest High School – Jacqueline DeLong, Bridge and Tower Breakers, $1,538.20; Frank Gonzalez, Pump Up The Volume!, $4,973.84; Nick Kougias, Moving from Edison to LED, $4,400; Nick Kougias, The Finishing Touch, $3,616.90
  • Seven Hills Elementary – Jovanne Kiser, Let’s Get Moving!, $1,668.02; Missy Woods, Play is Serious Learning, $999.82
  • Prairie View Elementary – Cindy Ford, Raspberry Pi, $4,799.50; Cindy Ford, Making Learning Unique, $2,499.50; Sarah Thomasson, #2ndGrade Innovate, $4,991.84
  • Chisholm Trail Middle School – Jennifer Allen, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens Book Study, $664.80; Sheila Green, Fueling the Future, $2,878.20; Sheila Green, i-H2GO – Students Explore Energy, $4,782.15; Sheila Green, Building STEM Students, One Robot at a Time, $4,199.40; Sheila Green, The Real Stuff: Hands-on Learning in Earth Science, $4,814.25

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Students show off tech skills

Students show off tech skills

After pressing the button on the top of his robot, Aidan Crimin describes its motion as it starts to spin.

“It’s sort of like a victory dance,” he explains.

Robotic Action

ROBOTIC ACTION – Prairie View fourth-graders Kaleb Collins and Aiden Crimin give a demonstration with their robot during Northwest ISD’s Techno Expo Thursday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Crimin and fellow Prairie View Elementary fourth-grader Kaleb Collins made their presentation with the Lego robot Thursday night at Northwest High School during the district’s fifth annual Techno Expo. More than 1,100 students filled classrooms at the high school to make 400 presentation in breakout sessions.

The multimedia presentations by students from kindergarten through 12th grade were in a variety of subjects, including science, history and literature. The event gives students the opportunity to show off their technology skills to parents, community members, teachers and peers.

Crimin and Collins are members of Prairie View’s Lego Robotics Club. Teacher Samantha Bonnette is the sponsor.

“I don’t know a lot about robots or Legos,” Bonnette joked.

“They get really excited when they figure something out,” she said. “It’s fun to see the kids teach me about programming. It’s cool to see their faces light up when they learn something new.”

Bonnette said the school’s club includes students from third through fifth grades.

“The goal is to next year go to competition. There’s a regional competition,” Bonnette said. “This year they are getting accustomed to programming.

“It teaches them basic programming, problem solving and teamwork,” she said. “It’s the basic foundation for kids wanting to go into the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) program.”

Crimin and classmates had been working with the Lego Mindstorms EV3 software to program their robot for Thursday’s presentation. Crimin said he had to switch robots after running into issues.

“We put little tweaks to it,” Collins said.

The duo points out how the robot says “All Good” on top.

After getting a few last instructions from Bonnette, the fourth-graders entered the filled classroom for their presentation.

Crimin explained the changes in design they made and the process of building the robot.

“It’s hard to make but easy at the same time,” he said.

Collins handled the slides, detailing the programming process using the software. He showed the different functions from sound to movements that could be added.

“We tried to add a touch sensor, but we didn’t have enough time,” Collins said.

For their grand finale, Crimin put their robot on the floor to show off its spin and other movements.

After their successful presentation, Crimin and Collins resisted doing their own victory dance.

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Education foundation awards almost $100K

Wearing a tuxedo and accompanied with oversized checks, David Hester couldn’t deny he felt a little like Ed McMahon Friday as he made his way to different Northwest ISD campuses on the Grant Brigade bus.

“It’s nice,” said Hester, the executive director of the Northwest Education Foundation. “This year, we’re giving out $99,856 in 32 grants. It’s a good day.”

Major Awards

MAJOR AWARDS – The Northwest Education Foundation awarded Chisholm Trail Middle School science teachers Sheila Green, Jill Harris and Jennifer Reynolds with four grants Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Northwest Education Foundation surprised teachers with the innovative teaching grants on 12 campuses.

“We’re helping a lot of teachers with the innovative teaching grants and helping our students become future ready,” Hester said.

“The grants will help get that equipment that was in the budget already.”

Among the many grant recipients were the sixth-grade science teachers Sheila Greene, Jill Harris and Jennifer Reynolds at Chisholm Trail Middle School. The group received four grants, including its Fueling the Future proposal worth $2,878. The money will be used to buy kits for students to create their own model race car and learn about the future of renewable energy.

The group also received grants for a hydrogen refilling station, rock cycle set and for new robots. The latter had Greene screaming, “We’ve got new robots.”

“It’s all for equipment for the kids to learn,” Greene said. “At the sixth-grade level, we need a lot of hands-on projects.”

Chisholm Trail Principal Todd Rodgers thanked the education foundation for their contributions.

“The grants have such a huge impact on instruction,” he explained. “We’re very fortunate to have an incredible staff. Our teachers are always looking for ways to add to the classroom and get students more excited. We couldn’t do this without the Northwest Education Foundation.”

With this year’s awards, the foundation has now awarded $1.4 million to teachers since 1999.

It also gave out $44,000 in scholarships to students last year, according to Hester.

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Softball: Northwest rallies for win

The Northwest Lady Texans beat Little Elm 6-5 in dramatic comeback fashion last week.

After giving up three runs in the opening inning, the Lady Texans scored a run in the first and fourth innings to make it a one-run game.

But Little Elm wouldn’t go away quietly as they added two more in the top of the fifth to increase their lead back to three.

Northwest came screaming back in the bottom of the same inning. Sydenee Hinkle drove in a run on a single. That was followed by three RBI doubles from Tarah Hilton, Rhianna Speicher and Kelsey Rhine that gave Northwest the lead.

The win was the second consecutive come-from-behind victory for Northwest, who had a similar finish against Denton Ryan earlier last week.

Northwest coach Tanya Morrow liked the mentality her team displayed in the hard-fought battle.

“Even with two outs they never gave up,” Morrow said. “Hilton is our sophomore right fielder who came up with two outs in both games and got hits. I was real proud of her at-bats in those games.

Morrow also appreciated how vocal her team was in the game, saying that it was the most her players talked and communicated thus far in the season.

Tuesday DerMargosian hit two doubles in her two at-bats to accompany the two runs she scored.

DerMargosian also reached base on a walk.

Hinkle finished the game with two RBIs off of her two hits, while Speicher had four total bases and two doubles herself.

DerMargosian had three quality at-bats while Speicher, Hilton, Hinkle, McKenzie Middlebrook and Brie Wrobel each had two.

Emily Worley took the mound for the Lady Texans, throwing 61 strikes in 88 pitches that included 16 first-pitch strikes thrown to 25 batters.

Worley struck out five and walked two while allowing 10 hits in the win.

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Soccer: Eagles even record

The Decatur Eagles took down Wichita Falls Hirschi 3-2 Friday to even their record in 3-4A to 2-2.

The Eagles are in third place in the league behind Wichita Falls Hirschi and Springtown.

FOSSIL RIDGE 3, NORTHWEST 0

The Northwest Texans were blanked by Fossil Ridge 3-0 Friday.

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Soccer: Springtown edges Decatur

The Decatur Lady Eagles fell 2-1 to Springtown Tuesday.

Reagan Johnson netted the Lady Eagles’ goal.

Decatur fell to 0-3 in District 3-4A.

Decatur looked to picked up its first league win against Wichita Falls Hirschi Tuesday.

NORTHWEST 1, KELLER 1

The Northwest Texans fought to a draw at 1-1 against Keller Tuesday.

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Wrestling: Ausman bids for state title

Northwest’s Jessie Ausman captured the 6A Region I title in the 119-pound class to earn a spot in the University Interscholastic League state wrestling championships.

The state tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Ausman, who has compiled a record of 44-5, will take on Euless Trinity’s Savannah Bye in the opening round at state. Bye finished fourth at the Region II championships.

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Basketball: Texans top Fossil Ridge

Elijah Christman poured in 28 points Friday leading the Northwest Texans to an 80-53 victory over Keller Fossil Ridge.

Eli Ponce added 10 points. Jesse DeVries had five points and 10 rebounds. Montrae Toliver handed out seven assists.

Northwest jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first quarter, 22-13. The Texans held a 45-29 halftime lead.

The Texans (12-17, 5-8) closed out the season Tuesday against Denton Guyer.

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Basketball: Lady Texans set for big test

The Northwest Lady Texans passed a major test in reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Now, awaiting them in the first round of the postseason is another big challenge – the nation’s top recruit Lauren Cox of Flower Mound.

The Lady Texans take on Flower Mound at Lewisville High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Class 6A Region I bi-district game.

The Lady Texans know it will be a challenge against the 6-4 Cox.

“They are built around Lauren Cox both offensively and defensively,” said Northwest coach Rusty Johnson. “She is a special, special player especially with her athleticism at 6’4.”

The Lady Texans will look to get going on the perimeter to get Cox out of the lane and open things up for their guards, including Alexus Brigham to penetrate.

“For us, we will have to find an answer for her not just on the defensive end in trying to stop her, but we will have to hit some perimeter shots because she does such a great job of protecting the lane on their defensive end,” Johnson said.

Northwest will not only have to contend with Cox.

“They are a very good team and a well-coached team,” Johnson said. “They come out of a very tough district with Plano West, Plano and Plano East. They are battle tested.”

The Lady Texans enter the playoffs playing solid basketball since Christmas. Northwest went 6-2 in the second half of 5-6A play.

“We have been playing really well as of late and playing really hard and a tough brand of basketball,” Johnson said. “We look forward to Tuesday getting here and putting our best foot forward.”

He added that he hopes his team can hit a few shots early to calm the nerves with the entire Northwest roster making its playoff debut.

“I believe the girls will be ready for the challenge and will put their best foot forward,” Johnson said. “It’s exciting to be in the playoffs but I think their feelings have now turned to ‘let’s do something with this opportunity.'”

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Different way equals success; Students lead lessons in math classes

As students settle in at their desks, Chisholm Trail Middle School math teacher Catherine Powell makes a few opening remarks before setting a timer and turning her students loose to solve the graphing problem projected on the whiteboard.

Powell wanders through the room listening to the discussions in the small groups about the problem before selecting one student to go to the front of the class and show how she solved it. Immediately, other students ask questions and give alternate solutions. There are also more group talks and a little debate about using fractions for the solution or converting the fraction to a number.

Guiding the Way

GUIDING THE WAY – Chisholm Trail Middle School math teachers Richard Kleckner, Catherine Powell, Cristi Ludwig and Misty Taylor stand in front of some of the anchor charts used in lessons. They will be presenters at the Texas Middle School Association Conference later this month. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“[The debates] are totally student-initiated,” Powell explained before class.

And as fellow math teacher Richard Kleckner adds, they are not unusual. “There are sometimes heated debates on math.”

As the school’s math department head, Misty Taylor, pointed out, this dialogue between students is as essential to the math classrooms at Chisholm Trail as multiplication or addition. Here, students dictate much of the discussion.

“We act as facilitators,” Taylor said of herself and her fellow teachers. “We’re putting the learning on them.”

This method of teaching math is part of Northwest ISD’s POST (Pedagogy of Observable Student Thinking) initiative, which challenges students to learn the concepts and skills through non-traditional teaching, including helping their peers and leading the lessons.

Showing How Its Done

SHOWING HOW IT’S DONE – Maggie LeMasters shows her fellow students how to solve a graphing problem during math class. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s not your typical math classroom,” Taylor said.

Kleckner adds: “In traditional rooms, students sit in rows with the teacher up front. We’ve gotten away from that. We work more collaboratively.

“We leave them to say, ‘I’m going to figure this out.’ If they can, it’s more likely to stick. There’s also a better understanding and deeper understanding of the concept.”

The Chisholm Trail team of math teachers – Taylor, Kleckner, Powell and Cristi Ludwig – will share their experience at the Texas Middle School Association Conference Feb. 26-28. Their presentation is called “Transforming Secondary Math Classrooms One POST at a time.”

Taylor said their main goal during the presentation, along with telling the benefits of the method, will be relaying the need to develop a strong support system among teachers and administrators.

“That support component is huge,” Taylor said.

Making the Rounds

MAKING THE ROUNDS – Chisholm Trail math teacher Catherine Powell stops to help Lindsay Dominguez and her partners Morgan Miller and Layton Fowler with a problem during class last week. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Chisholm Trail Assistant Principal Amy Jo Wagner said the school district started adapting POST seven years ago. At first it was difficult for the teachers to work with the concept of flipping the classroom.

“The first year was a struggle,” Kleckner said. “That kid would raise their hand with a question. You’d ask them if they talked to their group yet. We want you to use all your resources before coming to the teacher.

“We got a lot of parent emails at first. Most of our students were used to the traditional classroom,” he said. “Once you explain it to them they understand.”

Wagner agrees that it was a learning process for teachers, students and parents.

“It’s a culture shift,” Wagner said. “Our core belief is, the best way to learn is from each other.”

Each class period begins with a quick opening on the day’s topic, from solving quadratic formulas to graphing. After that starts the solo time.

“At the beginning we called it struggle time,” Kleckner said.

This “struggle time” is an essential part of POST as students must try to figure out the solution on their own, also coming up with questions for the teacher or classmates about things they don’t understand.

“It’s not just five minutes of sitting there,” Kleckner said.

As Ludwig points out: “They learn through that struggle.”

After that solo time, teachers ask students to go into partner time to work collaboratively on the problem and discuss a solution. But the partner who can best explain the problem may not be the person next to a student.

“We give them the autonomy to walk across the room and ask someone a question,” Kleckner said.

The teacher continues to flow through the room and asks questions to the groups.

“The word ‘why’ is said hundreds of times in a class period,” Kleckner said.

To wrap up a lesson, a closer is picked out to go to the front of the room and work through the solution and answer questions. Kleckner said the instructors usually have a short rehearsal with the closers before they start.

Taylor said teachers try to call on different students to handle the closing.

“They have to step out of their comfort zone,” she said.

Powell added: “It is uncomfortable for them to get up there. We want them to get comfortable. We want them to share where they make mistakes.”

While one is closing, other students ask questions and take notes – taking responsibility to learn from their peers.

During each lesson, the focus isn’t just on coming up with the right answer. It’s learning the process of how to solve the problem in the future.

“As you’re doing a math problem, you come up with different ways of doing it. You may come up with two or three,” Kleckner said. “Kids can pick the best way to work with their brain.”

The strategy of teaching is working, according to Wagner.

“The data shows scores went up, and we’re sticking with what’s working,” Wagner said.

Teachers say more important than just passing standardized tests, they are witnessing progress. Students who were well below the passing mark are moving toward a passing grade or meeting standards.

“If that growth pattern continues, they will eventually be passing,” Ludwig said.

But it’s not just about scores and passing. It’s the other benefits where teachers gain rewards.

“To see their confidence build up is great,” Powell said.

The POST method has been carried on to high school and the principles used in other subjects. The teachers expect these skills to benefit the students not just in the classroom moving forward.

“When they get out in the real world, they will have to work with partners and be able to solve problems,” Kleckner said. “This is part of getting them future ready.”

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Northwest ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, February 11, 2015

PRAIRIE VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Jayla Adams

Jayla Adams

Grade: 2nd

Parents: Jason and Lauren Adams

Favorite subject: Writing

Activities: Volleyball, Green Team, UIL storytelling and drawing

“Jayla is only a second-grader and already exemplifies characteristics of a strong all-around student. In the classroom, she is focused on her success and growth as a student. She does not shy away from extracurricular opportunities outside of the classroom. In our opinion, she is a soaring hawk and we are proud of Jayla.”
– Principal Yolanda Wallace

SEVEN HILLS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Guillermo Rodriguez

Guillermo Rodriguez

Grade: 5th

Parents: Guillermo and Jessica Rodriguez

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Soccer, reading and playing with friends

“Guillermo is a student that always has a smile for everyone. He puts effort into his work and is a leader among his peers.”
– Principal Michelle Pawski

CHISHOLM TRAIL MIDDLE SCHOOL

Samantha Roth

Grade: 8th

Parents: Tony and Shelly Roth

Favorite subjects: Science, art and athletics

Activities: Volleyball, basketball, track and National Junior Honor Society

“Samantha is an outstanding Chisholm Trail Middle School student, athlete and leader. She is taking five high school credited classes, all advanced academic classes, involved in athletics, National Junior Honor Society and is a leader both in and outside of the classroom. Samantha works hard at everything she does while having a great attitude and smile. Samantha is an outstanding Chisholm Trail Bulldog leader.”
– Principal Todd Rogers

NORTHWEST HIGH SCHOOL

Austin Navarrette

Activities: football, STEM

“Austin Navarrette is an amazing young man. He is a member of the Texan varsity football team as well as a very involved member of our STEM Academy. He is well respected on campus and a great student leader. I look forward to Austin’s future both here at NHS and beyond.”
– Principal Jason Childress

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Basketball: Mom knows best – Guard uses advice to lead Northwest to playoffs

Alexus Brigham made an instant impact last season for the Northwest Lady Texans, averaging 10 points per game as a freshman and earning 4-5A and Wise County Newcomer of the Year.

“It was exciting,” Brigham recalled. “Everyone was like, ‘You’re a freshman on varsity. Freshmen are not supposed to be as good.’ I just showed what I can do.”

Headed to Post Season

HEADED TO POSTSEASON – With sophomore Alexus Brigham averaging 14 points, the Northwest Texans are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Brigham is averaging more than 18 points in her last eight games. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

That strong first year lifted expectations for Brigham this year. The sophomore admitted to feeling the weight of those expectations at the start of the year.

“A lot of people expected a lot out of me,” Brigham said. “I got frustrated a lot. I tried to keep my head up.”

Then around Christmas, Brigham took her game to a new level and helped the Northwest Lady Texans rebound from an 0-2 start in 5-6A to clinching their first playoff spot since 2009. She entered Tuesday’s regular season finale averaging 14.3 points. In her past eight games, she’s averaged 18.8 points along with five rebounds and 3.5 steals.

Brigham credits a little motherly advice for the improvement.

“I wasn’t scoring as much as I needed. My mom and I talked about it,” recalled Brigham, giving credit to mother Tashae Watson.

“At night, we regularly talk about what I can do better. She helps me with my confidence.”

Brigham poured in 20 Friday against Denton Ryan as the Lady Texans sealed the playoff berth to continue her recent tear.

Northwest coach Rusty Johnson points out there has been a difference in Brigham not only in games but practice since the start of the year.

“Her practices have been much better and she seems to be enjoying herself more,” Johnson said. “Maybe she was putting too much pressure on herself. She is now comfortable in her role. When you’re comfortable, you’re at your best.”

Johnson added that the entire team has accepted their roles, which has led to the 9-2 run in district since that 0-2 start.

“Everyone fit into their roles and are playing much better than at the beginning of December,” Johnson said. “Over the course of the season, you want to get better.”

Along increasing her scoring by four points over last year, Brigham has improved her decision-making. When her shots weren’t falling against Keller Timber Creek last week, she began attacking the lane and working her way to the free-throw line. She went to the line nine times, hitting seven free throws on her way to scoring 13 points in the 36-29 win.

She said that was following more advice from her mother.

“My mom said if my outside shot is not falling to drive,” Brigham said.

Johnson said that penetrating and working her way to the line is essential.

“She can be a legit 20-point scorer. But to get there, she has to be getting to the line eight to 10 times per game,” Johnson said.

While her offensive game has garnered headlines, Johnson points out she is playing even better on the defensive end.

“I think she’s a better defensive player than offensive,” he said. “The opposing team’s best player that’s who she’s guarding. Not many have had success against her.”

Brigham takes a lot of pride in her play on defense.

“Defense is our No. 1 thing. You get stops and then go score on offense,” she said.

Brigham is thrilled to be part of the Lady Texans’ first playoff team in six years, especially with how the team fought through some early adversity.

“It’s been exciting. Everyone around us didn’t believe in us,” Brigham said. “We came out with a bang [the second half]. We play hard every night. Even if we lose, we’re going to come out and fight.”

With two more years left, Brigham has lofty expectations for herself moving forward, including challenging for school records.

“Every year, I’ll have more expectations,” she said.

She expects to also get some motherly advice to help her along the way.

“It always does help,” Brigham said.

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Basketball: Lady Texans near playoff spot

After being unable to knock down the open shots in the first half, the Northwest Lady Texans found their rhythm in the third quarter.

The Lady Texans closed the third on a 13-3 run to pace them to a 36-29 victory over Keller Timber Creek at Texan Gym.

Passing Another Test

PASSING ANOTHER TEST – Northwest’s Alexus Brigham dishes the ball off during the Lady Texans’ win Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

“We just needed to get hot,” said Northwest guard Alexus Brigham. “After that first half, everyone was telling us to keep our heads up. We just took it to them – all of us.”

Brigham scored nine of her team-high 13 in the second half as Northwest (18-8) took a huge step toward sealing a playoff spot of District 5-6, moving to 8-4 in the league. With Denton Ryan’s loss to Keller, the Lady Texans clinched at least a tie for fourth. Northwest, who is tied with Denton Guyer for second in the district, could lock up a playoff spot with a win over Ryan Friday.

“It’s really exciting. I’ve never experienced the playoffs,” Brigham said. “All our players are playing their hardest. We all just want it.”

Northwest coach Rusty Johnson pointed out that Tuesday’s win didn’t score style points as the Lady Texans shot 27 percent (10-for-36).

“We didn’t play well, but we won. This time of year, they don’t judge how you did it,” Johnson said.

With Timber Creek focused on Brigham, it left open shots for the other Lady Texans on the perimeter. Northwest couldn’t take advantage in the first half, going 2-for-16 from the field, including 2-for-14 outside the 3-point arc. Tara Crumpton hit both 3s for the Lady Texans.

“We just didn’t hit shots,” Johnson said. “But that’s what we do. If we get the open shot, we’re going to take it.”

Even with the offensive struggles, Northwest took a 13-11 lead into halftime by hitting free throws and locking down defensively. The Lady Texans went 8-for-10 from the line in the first half and held Timber Creek to 25 percent shooting (5-for-20).

After Timber Creek tied the score at 15 two minutes into the second half, Northwest’s Equalya Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to start the 13-3 run. Smith’s layup off the pass from Maddie Dodgen in the closing seconds of the third capped the run and sent the Lady Texans into the fourth with a 28-18 lead.

Smith finished with seven points.

Along with netting the assist on Smith’s layup, Dodgen drilled a pair of 3-pointers during the third-quarter spurt.

Brigham turned into the closer for the Lady Texans, scoring seven in the fourth quarter, including going 3-for-3 at the line to keep protect Northwest’s lead.

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Basketball: Timber Creek cuts down Texans

The Northwest Texans erased a 13-point halftime deficit with three minutes left in the third quarter. But the Texans didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish the job Tuesday night.

BATTLING INSIDE – Northwest’s Jesse Devries fights for a basket Tuesday in the Texans’ loss to Timber Creek. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Behind 29 points from Devante Waldon, Timber Creek went on for a 68-57 victory over the Texans.

Northwest went more than six minutes without scoring after tying the game at 43 with 3:08 left in the third, allowing Timber Creek to build the lead back to 12. The Texans could not put together another run.

“We couldn’t make shots,” said Northwest’s Eli Ponce, who led the Texans with 18 points. “We had good shots. We just couldn’t get them to fall.”

The loss put the Texans (11-15) on the brink of being eliminated from the 5-6A playoff race as they fell to 4-6 in the league.

“We’ll need to win four in a row and one of those teams ahead of us will need to lose,” said Northwest coach Mike Hatch.

Walden did most of his damage against the Texans in the second quarter, scoring 18 of Timber Creek’s 28 points in the frame. He scored 14 during a 16-3 run that opened the quarter.

He finished the frame a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, hitting a 3-pointer and relentlessly attacking the paint. Walden also went 5-for-6 from the line, helping Timber Creek to the 37-24 halftime lead.

“We let Walden get loose in the second quarter,” Hatch said. “We knew we had to control him.

“It’s been the same story all year. We have a spell where we don’t contain or master a part of the game.”

In the third quarter, Tavien Ezell got hot on perimeter, knocking down three 3-pointers. His third trey pulled the Texans even at 41.

After Elijah Christman answered a pair of Walden free throws with two of his own, the Texans tied the game again at 43. Christman had 15 for the Texans.

Northwest didn’t score again until Jesse Devries’ putback with five minutes remaining with Timber Creek back up by double-digits.

Hatch explained it’s hard for his team to sustain runs because of shooting woes. Northwest shot 31 percent for the game.

“We’ve got to make some shots,” Hatch said.

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Football: Three Texans ink letters of intent

The Northwest Texans rewrote much of the offensive record book during the 2014 season.

Three of the primary reasons for the record-setting year – wide receiver Emmanuel Moore, quarterback Jesse Drummer and offensive lineman Dustin Maclin – signed letters of intent Wednesday on National Signing Day.

Making Their Mark

MAKING THEIR MARK – Northwest’s Emmanuel Moore, Jesse Drummer and Dustin Maclin prepare to sign their letters of intent Wednesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Moore, an all-state wide receiver and Wise County All-Purpose Player of the Year, will be headed to Lawrence, Kansas to play at the University of Kansas. He takes nine school records with him to the Big 12 school.

Moore had multiple offers from Division I schools but eventually picked Kansas in the weeks leading up signing day.

“It’s been exciting, knowing everything I’ve done and all the hard work has paid off,” Moore said. “[The offense] they are putting in works out perfect for me. They are looking for me to come in this June and get as big and fast as I can and compete for a job.”

At Northwest, Moore caught 183 passes for a record 2,707 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also added five touchdowns rushing and three on special teams.

Drummer, who tossed most of those touchdowns to Moore, is headed to Angelo State University. The quarterback threw for 4,980 yards and 52 touchdowns at Northwest. He leaves the school with seven school records.

Drummer said he picked Angelo State after taking a visit.

“I loved the coaching staff and the kids they were bringing in,” he said.

Angelo State returns its starter next season. Drummer anticipates red-shirting in the fall.

Maclin, who helped plow the way for Moore and Drummer on the line, is going to Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. Maclin was the Texans’ top offensive lineman with 48 knockdowns. He allowed only two sacks last season.

Maclin said he hopes to earn a starting job next fall.

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Basketball: Northwest falls again to rival

The Northwest Texans suffered their second setback of the season Friday to rival Byron Nelson.

Byron Nelson held a slim lead throughout and pulled out the 57-49 victory.

Northwest fell to 4-5 in District 5-6A and 11-14 overall.

Elijah Christman and Tavien Ezell scored 13 points each for the Texans. Darril Eyaa recorded a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Byron Nelson led 28-24 at halftime and outscored Northwest 16-14 in the third to take a 44-38 lead into the final frame.

The Texans looked to rebound Tuesday against Keller Timber Creek. Northwest heads to Denton Ryan Friday.

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Basketball: Lady Texans sweep Byron Nelson

The Northwest Lady Texans remained in a tie for second place in District 5-6A Friday by completing the season sweep of Byron Nelson.

The Lady Texans won 46-36 to move to 7-4 in the league with three games remaining. Northwest is tied for second with Denton Guyer. Both are a game ahead of Denton Ryan and Keller Fossil Ridge.

Alexus Brigham continued her torrid pace over the second half of 5-6A play, tossing in 19 points. She went 6-for-12 from the field and grabbed six rebounds.

Marley Floyd chipped in nine points. Equalya Smith had seven.

Northwest took control of the game in the second quarter with a 19-14 spurt, building a 26-19 halftime lead. The Lady Texans added to their advantage in the third with a 15-10 run and took a 41-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

Northwest took on Keller Timber Creek Tuesday and will meet Denton Ryan in a pivotal game Friday.

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Rue receives extension, praise

Karen Rue will head Northwest ISD at least through June 2019.

Trustees Thursday night approved a contract extension for the superintendent, who has been with the district since July 2005.

Karen Rue

Karen Rue

Several offered glowing remarks about Rue.

“I want to sincerely thank you for your caring and energy,” said trustee Devonna Holland. “You work so tirelessly for the students, and we’re so much better for it.”

Mark Schluter added: “We are a team of eight, and you are the head of the team,”

Rue expressed gratitude to the trustees along with thanking her staff.

“It’s a joy to be part of this team,” Rue said. “It’d be difficult not to have an outstanding system with such a talented team.”

Trustees did not address compensation. Last June, Rue received a 3-percent increase as did other Northwest ISD employees. Her annual base salary, starting July 1, was $258,708.

Rue last year was named the Education Service Center Region 11’s Superintendent of the Year. In November, she was picked for the first National Connected Superintendents Summit at the White House.

Before joining Northwest, Rue served as the superintendent at Tuloso-Midway ISD and executive director of Katy ISD.

In her tenure at Northwest, the district has been one of the fastest growing in Texas, adding more than 1,400 students in recent years. The district will open a third high school next fall – V.R. Eaton. It is the second high school to open since she has been on board.

Northwest ISD voters have approved three bond packages since she joined the district in 2005, totaling $739 million.

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Turner to lead Eaton Eagles; Former Springtown coach heads to new school

After 26 years of coaching, including 17 as a head football coach, Brad Turner will take on the task of building a program from the ground up.

Brad Turner

Turner, who served as an assistant last season at Graham and was previously the head football coach at Springtown, was named Thursday as the first football coach and campus athletic coordinator for V.R. Eaton High School in Northwest ISD.

The school will open this fall.

“Starting a new school at the highest level is the ultimate challenge,” Turner said. “I’ve always wanted to start a new school. I look forward to building a program brick by brick.”

Turner was one of several staff members named for the new campus this week. Diane Wilson was hired as Eaton’s first volleyball coach.

Turner will arrive at Eaton with a career record of 106-81 after stops at Lone Oak, Sulphur Springs, and Springtown. His squads have made the playoffs 13 times.

Northwest ISD Executive Athletic Director Susan Elza said after interviewing seven candidates, Turner was picked for his experience in building programs at his previous jobs.

“All along, he had his sights set on Eaton High School,” Elza said. “There’s no doubt that he’s prepared and has a solid plan to make a successful program.”

Turner said he planned to be at Northwest Friday morning to start building a staff.

“Knowing this was a possibility, I’ve got ideas in mind,” he said about staffing.

Next fall, Eaton will field junior varsity and freshman football teams. The first Eagles varsity squad will take the field in 2016 after the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment.

“The first thing we need to do is establish expectations and a brand for the Eaton Eagles,” Turner said. “We want to get better every day.

“Everything you do is new,” he added. “You don’t have to worry about what’s been done before. You have the opportunity to build from the ground up.”

As the campus athletic coordinator, Elza said Turner will have input on the rest of the athletics staffing as well.

Wilson will join Turner in building a first-year program in the fall as Eaton’s first volleyball coach. Wilson, who spent last season at Arlington Bowie, was at Grapevine from 1996-2014. Her teams have been to the playoffs 14 times and captured four district titles.

“It’s a new challenge and something I’ve never gotten to do. Northwest is experienced in opening schools and has a good system in place to build a program quickly,” Wilson said.

Like football, Eaton will field subvarsity volleyball squads next fall.

“That will provide a lot of instructional time without the pressure of a district title or the playoffs,” Wilson said. “We can all mature together.”

Other Eaton staff members named this week included:

  • Tami Prevett as drill team director.
  • Jenn Randall as choir teacher.
  • Paul Elder as band director.

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Basketball: Texans stay in 5-6A hunt

Elijah Christman poured in 16 points to lead the Northwest Texans to a 51-30 win over Keller Central Tuesday.

WORKING INSIDE – Northwest’s Darriel Eyaa lays the ball in off the glass during the Texans’ win over Keller Central Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

The Texans evened their record at 4-4 in District 5-6A with the victory. Northwest was a game back of Byron Nelson for fourth place in the league before their showdown Friday.

The Texans broke the game open in the second half, taking a 33-20 lead in the third quarter. Northwest outscored Central 18-10 in the fourth quarter.

Tavien Ezell scored eight points. Darriel Eyaa added three points with eight rebounds.

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