Posted on 13 December 2014.
Most area girls basketball teams begin the battle for the postseason Tuesday with the start of district play.
Aside from Decatur and Bridgeport, who will not start District 8-4A play until January and Northwest, who started Friday, the rest begin league action Tuesday.
Alvord will play host to Poolville. Boyd takes on Bowie at home. Chico welcomes Era to town. Paradise heads to Jacksboro. Slidell takes on longtime rival Saint Jo at home.
Here’s a brief look at the Wise County teams and their respective districts:
Boyd and Paradise are off to hot starts to the regular season. Boyd entered the Chico Tournament at 7-0. Paradise, who was off this weekend, is 12-2.
But as Paradise coach Kevin Pope points out, everyone starts over Tuesday in what should be a wide-open league with Bowie, Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Pope said. “There’s a couple of good teams that will be staying at home. It’s real balanced. You’ll have to play well every night.”
So far this season with a balanced scoring attack and quick defense, the Lady Panthers have been on most nights against a tough schedule.
“I’m pleased with where we are. We can still improve in several areas,” Pope said. “We did everything we could do to prepare for district.
“Our depth is good. We’ve played 11 players in every game and there’s not one that doesn’t contribute.”
Pope said the unselfishness of his team has been impressive throughout the year.
“There’s time they are almost unselfish to a fault,” he said.
Kaylee McConnell and Courtney Kerr have provided a nice scoring punch. Jett Preather leads the rebounding effort.
The Lady Yellowjackets stayed unbeaten Tuesday, rallying to beat Lake Worth. Sophomore Linsey Thorpe has been consistent down low for the Lady Yellowjackets. She and Kenzie Elkins give Boyd a pair of solid posts with Abby Harrell on the wing.
With each game, Alvord coach John Shelton sees his squad getting better and adapting to his up-tempo system.
Senior guard Katie Claborn is among the area’s leading scorers, averaging 18 points per game. Cierra Rangel and Brianna Ponder are adding a combined 22 points.
Shelton looks forward to getting into 11-2A play with games against Poolville and Valley View before the Christmas break.
“I like that we have the two games before Christmas,” Shelton said. “Every game will be evenly matched. The top four can beat each other.
“This district will be real competitive. Muenster is the team to beat. They’ve got a lot of size and depth. But I expect there to be four teams battling for three spots.”
The Chico Lady Dragons hope to fight their way into the race that Alvord, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville and Valley View.
Chico beat Bellevue 57-49 Tuesday before starting its tournament Thursday.
Alli York has paced the Lady Dragons with 11.7 points, two steals and 2.1 assists per game. Whitney Renfro is added 8.8 points. Cheyanne Hale is contributing 5.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Behind a huge start to the season by Caitlin Pruett, the Slidell Lady Greyhounds are 9-3 entering the weekend.
Pruett is averaging 21.3 points and 11.8 rebounds.
To go along with Pruett, the Lady Greyhounds are getting big contributions from Kayler Talamantes and Kylie Franklin on the scoreboard. Jessy Goode is helping on the boards. Kayson Roof is providing solid defense.
“We’re eight deep and that’s depth that a lot of schools don’t have,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “Caitlin is so versatile that it makes it hard for teams to guard. But with Kayler and Kylie having breakout games, we’ve had four girls in double figures so far. That makes it where teams can’t just look at stopping Caitlin. We have four to five girls that can score and we can dictate what the defense does.”
Slidell is hoping to land on top of 21-A and unseat league champion Bellevue.
The league also includes Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley, Saint Jo and Tioga.
Slidell starts district with Saint Jo and Bellevue.
“We have those two right off the bat and can start in a hole if we don’t have a good first week,” Vanover said.
“I feel we should be in good shape. I’m cautiously optimistic.”