These boots are made for computing; Slidell junior returns to state competition

Morgan Barnes wears her boots just about every day. Next week, she’ll stomp across Austin in them as she competes in computer applications Wednesday at the UIL State academic meet at the University of Texas.

“I guess you could say they’re my good-luck charm,” she said.

State Bound

STATE BOUND – After a top finish at district competition and a bronze at regionals, Morgan Barnes of Slidell will compete in computer applications at the UIL academic state meet Wednesday. She qualified for state last year but was slowed by a medical issue. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Slidell High School junior earned a bid to state competition with a first-place finish at the district meet in Bryson and a bronze medal at regional competition at Abilene Christian University.

But this year’s state contest won’t be her first rodeo.

Barnes qualified for state in the same event last year, but then spent several weeks in the hospital with pancreatitis.

“I was back just a few weeks before going to state,” Barnes recalled. ” … I was just glad to be there.”

She didn’t place. This year, completely healthy and practicing just about daily, she should fare better.

“She’s got a good shot to do well,” her coach, Becky Reeder, said. “Morgan is an amazing student. She’s dedicated and always right at the top of what she does.”

The 30-minute competition involves Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access. It focuses on word-processing speed and accuracy, skill in the use of database and spreadsheet applications, and the integration of all of these, according to the UIL website.

Students have an hour before the competition to connect their laptop and printer.

“Usually what I do is I go in there and set up, and I take practice tests,” Barnes said. “I practice typing to warm up my fingers and look around at everything so I remember exactly where it is.”

The competition begins with a five-minute tiebreaker where students input data.

“They put all these big words to make it hard and symbols to make it complicated,” Barnes said. “One of my favorite parts is when competition just starts and we’re doing the tiebreaker and all you hear are just keyboards clicking. The sound is soothing, even though the contest is very stressful.”

Then students access files that outline what tasks must be executed.

“There’s usually a goal you’re accomplishing by the end,” Barnes said. “It could be you take school students and their grades then write a report about it … It doesn’t tell you how to do it, but it gives you directions on what it wants, so you have to remember how to do it.

“I take it one step at a time.”

Before 30 minutes are up, contestants should have sent to be printed two documents and the tiebreaker.

Each printout is assigned a weighted point value to be judged accordingly.

According to the UIL, the goal is for students to have a thorough, working knowledge of the three applications, to be able to complete substantial tasks in all of them and to direct data from one application to another.

“You must not only be knowledgable but also very efficient,” Reeder said.

Just like Barnes, wearing her boots or not, is.

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Pruett takes third in 800

With just over 200 meters to go, Caitlin Pruett sprinted to the front of the pack in the Class A Division II 800 finals Saturday afternoon.

“I knew the kick has always been my thing, and if I wanted to have a shot at it, I had to kick early and hope my kick would outlast them,” Pruett said. “They ran a great race and caught up with me. It’s still an awesome opportunity.”

Standing Out

STANDING OUT – Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett rounds the corner during the Class A Division II 800. She finished third in the race. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Calvert’s Tiffany Williams and Rockspring’s Abellyca Ramirez passed Pruett in the final 100 meters. Williams took the gold medal in 2:20.43, slightly ahead of Ramirez in 2:20.92.

Pruett earned the bronze, running 2:23.01.

“It’s awesome,” Pruett said. “My goal this year was to make it to state and to run at least a 2:27. I broke that and once I finished at regionals I revamped my goals to get on the medal stand, and I got that. I’m very blessed God gave me that opportunity.”

Pruett and the top two runners all broke the division’s record of 2:23.89 set last year.

“I’ve been looking at records at the school, and our record is 2:17,” Pruett said. “That’s my goal, to eventually break that. To break the state record was cool even if I did get third.”

Pruett stayed with the lead group from the starting gun. She finished the first lap in 67 seconds in third place.

“That was awesome. The pace is what I’ve been training for,” Pruett said. “I’ve been training for a 16 to 17 second per 100. It was quick but it was comfortable.”

Slidell coach Cody Vanover said Pruett ran the race they wanted.

“She came out quick. We wanted to run a 67 split and she did,” he said. “I’m really proud of her.”

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Slidell’s Roof finishes fourth in 300 hurdles

Rounding the final corner, Slidell’s Kayson Roof found an extra gear to move up several spots in the Class A Division II 300 hurdles Saturday afternoon.

“There were a couple of girls in front of me,” Roof said. “I caught a couple and got fourth. I just told myself you have to go.”

Roof took fourth in the event at Mike Myers Stadium at the University Interscholastic League Track and Field Championships in 49.9.

“I beat my personal best,” said a smiling Roof after the race.

Cross Plains’ McKenzie Halsel won the race in 47.64. Buckholts’ Sara Cowan took silver in 48.21, and Roscoe Highland’s Beth Richburg was third in 49.1.

Running out of lane 5, Roof held her own early in the race before making her late push.

“The second hurdle I stumbled a bit. Other than that it was a clean race,” Roof said.

It was her second event of the day. The freshman finished sixth in the pole vault Saturday morning.

Roof got her body over the bar on all three attempts at 9 feet but barely clipped it each time Saturday morning.

She was one of three competitors to go out at 9-0.

“I let my nerves get the best of me,” Roof said. “I’m a freshman. I’ve got a couple more years. This will help me a lot next year.”

Ira’s Hannah Womack took the gold medal, clearing 10 feet. Cross Plains’ Allanta Wheeler finished second with a vault of 9-3. Comstock’s Breanna Jorgensen cleared 9-0 for third.

Roof flew over 7-0 and 7-6 on her first attempts. She missed her first try at 8-0 before getting it on her second effort. Roof also needed two chances at 8-6.

“I just wasn’t rolling,” Roof said about her misses.

The Slidell freshman relished her opportunity to compete at state.

“It was an amazing experience. [Friday] I didn’t know if I was ready. After the pole vault, I was ready,” Roof said. “It’s amazing for a freshman to come down here and compete.”

Slidell coach Cody Vanover praised his young athlete.

“She ran hard and competed well,” he said. “Mentally, she showed how tough she is. To finish fourth as a freshman is great. The expectations will be high next year.”

Roof is already setting high goals for herself and other Slidell athletes.

“Next year I want to come back with more girls,” Roof said.

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Coming back strong: State track meet holds no fear for Slidell freshman

Coming back strong: State track meet holds no fear for Slidell freshman

The best high school athletes from across Texas will convene Friday and Saturday in Austin to test their strength, skill and will for a spot on the podium.

Hours of practice and preparation will culminate into these few precious seconds of competition on the state’s biggest stage.

“It means a lot. Not many freshmen get the chance to go to state,” explains Slidell freshman Kayson Roof. “My hard work has really paid off.”

Hurdles Cleared

HURDLES CLEARED – After several surgeries following crash a child, Slidell freshman Kayson Roof will compete for state titles Saturday in the pole vault and 300 hurdles. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Roof will vie for state crowns in the Class A Division II pole vault and 300 hurdles.

But aside from the chance to compete, it’s another celebration of life for the 15-year-old, who narrowly escaped death just eight years earlier in a horrific car accident.

“I’m a Christian,” she said. “The reason I believe in Jesus is he didn’t let me die that day. God wanted to use me to show my strength and how I could recover.

“Now, I’m strong, and I am going to the state track meet.”

FEARLESS VAULTER – Slidell’s Kayson Roof won a region title, clearing 9 feet. She enters the state meet, seeded second. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Roof was just 6 years old on April 20, 2006, when she was riding with her stepfather and brother on U.S. 82 between Nocona and Saint Jo.

“It was a rainy day, and we were going to pick up my mom at work,” Roof explains.

“I don’t remember anything other than my stepdad telling me to put on my seatbelt. I always wore it behind me.”

Over a hill in front of their pickup was a truck pulling a flatbed trailer, loaded with iron pipe.

“We ran into the trailer and a pole went through the window and hit me in the face,” Roof describes. “My stepdad looked at me and picked me up. He called for help, saying my daughter was dying. All my skin was coming off my face.”

Clinging to life, Roof was taken to a hospital in Nocona before being flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

She was soon rushed to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, where surgeons skillfully reconstructed her face during a 12-hour surgery.

“It broke all the bones in my face. I had plastic surgery, and they put in several screws. I’m missing my right jaw. They took part of my skull to build a nose,” Roof said.

She continued her inventory, explaining problems with her sinus cavities and pointing to the hole in the roof of her mouth.

That first surgery was one of many she’s faced since the wreck. She has up to five remaining.

“She’s had a lot of surgeries and some they can’t do until she’s done growing,” said her mother, Jennifer Lopez.

Roof spent her seventh birthday on May 4 in the hospital. She was eventually sent home May 7 – which she points out is close to the date of this year’s state track meet.

Miraculously, Roof escaped the accident with no lasting brain trauma. She was, however, left with deep scars around her face.

“I don’t feel them, but I do get self-conscious about them. But people tell me I’m beautiful the way I am,” she said. “That helps.”

In recent years, sports have become the outlet to get Kayson out of her shell. She quickly became a standout in basketball, along with track. She also plays tennis.

“Once I got into sports in the seventh grade, I became more outgoing,” Roof said.

Her mother credits not only sports but also the family she’s found in the Slidell schools for helping her.

“They’ve accepted her, and she’s fit in so well there,” Lopez said. “She’s had such acceptance from everyone. She even said that in her speech last year as the eighth-grade salutatorian.”

Last year is when Slidell coach Cody Vanover began planting the seed, telling Roof she could be a state qualifier.

“She’s surprised herself more than me,” he said. “I told her last year that if she kept working, she’d make it to Austin in the 300 hurdles.

“She started the year running a 58 and every meet ran quicker.”

Roof earned the state spot, clocking a 50.12 to finish first at the Class A Region III meet in Bullard April 26 – eight years and six days after the accident.

But before earning a state berth in the hurdles, she had already claimed the region title in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet before stopping.

“I think I can get a lot higher,” Roof said. “I’m not even turning at the point where I need to.”

That event is now her favorite.

“It’s more fun. I’m not scared of heights. I love it,” Roof said.

Vanover said the freshman still has a lot of upside.

“She’s fearless, athletic and strong,” the coach said. “She doesn’t understand how good she can be.”

Watching her pole vault, Mrs. Lopez admits to getting a bit nervous.

“I do worry about her,” she said. “But I know she’s a strong person. If she falls, she’s going to get right back up and do it again. She’s not one to give up.”

When Roof takes the track Saturday, her mother said she will be surrounded by family ready to cheer.

“I’m really proud of her. It’s going to be exciting to watch her there. She’s made it to the top after going through so much,” Mrs. Lopez said.

Roof said former classmates at Nocona and others have reached out to her since she qualified for state.

“People say I’m a real inspiration to them because I’ve come so far,” Roof said. “To know that I’m helping people in their lives makes me happy.

“For myself, I’m really proud of how I’ve grown so much since [the wreck] to now.”

She even credits her brush with death to helping her become the champion she is today.

“Knowing you were so close to death and knowing it was so close to being so different makes you appreciate everything,” Roof said.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

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Roof earns 2 golds at region

Kayson Roof admitted to having some nerves before competing over the weekend at the Class A Division II Region III meet in Bullard.

But the Slidell freshman put aside her anxiety to earn a pair of bids to the University Interscholastic League track and field championships May 9-10.

Roof won the girls pole vault and 300 hurdles.

“Going to state as a regional champion is awesome,” she said.

Roof cleared nine feet to win the pole vault.

“I got my personal best,” she said. “I was so excited.”

She expects to go after 10 feet at the state meet.

Her teammate Kylie Franklin finished third, clearing seven feet.

In the 300 hurdles, Roof caught the leader at the curve and went on to win in 50.12. Shauna Coleman of Lipan took second in 52.07.

Roof was one of two Lady Greyhounds to earn a state spot. Caitlin Pruett won the 800 in 2:25.93. She finished more than six seconds in front of second place.

The Slidell girls 4×400 finished third in 4:28.25. Roof and Pruett joined Kayleigh Miller and Franklin on the relay.

Miller took third in the 400 in 1:05.59.

Makayla Fitzgerald was sixth in the 3200 in 13:44.49.

As a team, Slidell finished third at the regional meet with 55 points. Gorman won the title with 92.5.

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Greyhounds win 7th UIL academic district title

Slidell High School won the District 14-A UIL academic meet by more than 300 points.

The Greyhound competitors teamed up last month to earn 488 points, winning 11 of the 17 events and securing the school’s seventh consecutive district title.

Second place was Newcastle with 163 points.

The meet was held March 19 in Bryson, and the top three individuals in each contest advance to regional competition May 1-3 at Abilene Christian University. First place teams in some events also advance.

Greyhound teams advancing include those in accounting, current issues, computer science, mathematics, number sense and speech.

Ashley Mills led the charge in accounting with a first-place finish, followed by teammates Walker Gladden and Melinda Guinn in second and third, respectively.

Slidell students also went one-two-three in computer science, led by Sarah Beaver in first, Mills in second and Shelby Vanover in third.

Beaver also won first place in mathematics and number sense.

Other first-place finishes included Morgan Barnes in computer applications, Marisol Millan in informative speaking, Jason Fuller in news writing, Jarret Tinsman in persuasive speaking, Jessy Goode in poetry interpretation, Caitlin Pruett in prose interpretation and Cisco Martinez in chemistry.


Slidell 488
Newcastle 163
Forestburg 144
Saint Jo 136
Bryson 108
Midway (Henrietta) 87
Throckmorton 72
Graford 53
Woodson 35
Gold-Burg (Bowie) 28
Bellevue 27
Prairie Valley (Nocona) 24
Paint Creek (Haskell) 24

*denotes regional qualifiers

Accounting – 1. Ashley Mills*, 2. Walker Gladden*, 3. Melinda Guinn*, 5. Kayler Talamantes

Current Issues – 3. Ashley Mills*, 5. Isaac Davis

Computer Applications – 1. Morgan Barnes*

Computer Science – 1. Sarah Beaver*, 2. Ashley Mills*, 3. Shelby Vanover*, 4. Mason Maynard

Editorial Writing – 3. Lisbeth Licea*

Headline Writing – 4. Kayleigh Miller

Informative Speaking – 1. Marisol Millan*, 2. Jessy Goode*

Mathematics – 1. Sarah Beaver*, 2. Mason Maynard*

Number Sense – 1. Sarah Beaver*; 2. Mason Maynard*

News Writing – 1. Jason Fuller*, 2. Tyler Maynard*

Persuasive Speaking – 1. Jarrett Tinsman*, 3. Caitlin Pruett*, 5. Dustin Davis

Poetry Interpretation – 1. Jessy Goode*, 2. Norbert Martinez*, 3. Adina Zidermanis*

Prose Interpretation – 1. Caitlin Pruett*, 2. Makayla Fitzgerald*, 3. Marisol Millan*

Ready Writing – 3. Shelby Vanover*; 6. Kylie Franklin

Chemistry – 1. Cisco Martinez*

Social Studies – 3. Kevin Oney*, 5. Francisco Martinez

Spelling and Vocabulary – 3. Rosa Verdugo*, 4. Lisbeth Licea

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Slidell’s Brown wins area in hurdles

Slidell hurdler Chris Brown captured a pair of gold medals Thursday at the 21/22-A Division II area track meet held in Alvord.

The Greyhound junior won the 110 hurdles in 18.56 and captured the 300 hurdles in 47.89 to earn a trip to the Class A Division II Region III meet in Bullard April 25-26.

Brown garnered two of Slidell’s nine gold medals at the area meet for Districts 21 and 22. The two leagues elected to forgo a district meet and hold an area meet.

Kayson Roof also earned a pair of gold medals, winning the 300 hurdles in 52.5 and clearing 8-6 to win the pole vault.

Khristian Talamantes took first in the 3200 in 11 minutes and 34 seconds. He also finished second in the 1600 in 5:24.38.

Makayla Fitzgerald won the girls 3200 in 14:13.67. She finished second in the 1600 in 6:29.93.

Caitlin Pruett captured the 800 in 2:23.04. Her teammate Adina Zidermanis was third in the race.

Kaylie Miller won the 400 in 1:05.75.

The Slidell girls qualified two relays for regionals, winning the 4×400 in 4:37.65 and finishing second in the 4×100 in 56.94.

The Greyhounds qualified the 4×400 for regionals, running 4:12.25 for third place.


3200: 1. Makayla Fitzgerald, Slidell, 14:13.67

4×100: 2. Slidell 56.94

800: 1. Caitlin Pruett, Slidell, 2:23.04; 3. Adina Zidermanis, Slidell, 2:53.83

4×200: 2. Slidell 2:05.67

400: 1. Kayleigh Miller, Slidell, 1:05.75

300 hurdles: 1. Kayson Roof, Slidell, 52.5

1600: 2. Makayla Fitzgerald, Slidell, 6:29.93

4×400: 1. Slidell, 4:37.65

High jump: 4. Kayson Roof, Slidell, 4-0

Pole vault: 1. Kayson Roof, Slidell, 8-6; 3. Kylie Franklin, Slidell, 7-6

Shot put: 4. Melinda Guinn, Slidell, 26-8.5


3200: 1. Khristian Talamantes, Slidell, 11:34.18; 4. Shelby Vanover, Slidell, 11:48.48

800: 3. Kyler Carnes, Slidell, 2:25.42

110 hurdles: 1. Chris Brown, Slidell, 18.56

300 hurdles: 1. Chris Brown, Slidell, 47.89

1600: 2. Khristian Talamantes, Slidell, 5:24.38

4×400: 3. Slidell 4:12.25

Triple jump: 4. Colton Crane, Slidell, 33-6

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About to give up on Lent

March 5 wasn’t just another day in the countdown to spring break, it was Ash Wednesday, observed mostly by Roman Catholics, which I’m not – but I always give up something for Lent. To me it’s “long-term fasting” of something in particular. After all, Jesus gave it all up for me on the cross so I figure I can give up some token for Lent.

This year I gave up (don’t laugh) Cheez-Its and Mini-Drumsticks with peanuts on top (Wal-Mart Great Value brand are the best). During the cold, icy winter, this weather wienie participated in lots of sitting and partaking in Cheez-Its and Mini-Drumsticks (do they call that a food addiction?) – gathering about seven unwanted and unneeded pounds.

Convinced the beautiful weather would allow for yard work and walking, I left school on that Friday pumped, stopped at the post office, picked up the mail and headed home for a week of no office work, get things done at home, enjoy the days off.

Oops! A fat letter from the IRS was not a good way to start spring break. Opening it reveals, I worketh and the government taketh away. They politely request $4,000 from me by April 2. (No problem, I’ve got that much under my pillow.) Seems my tax man forgot to report my TRS earnings.

During the course of the week I notice a spot on my living room ceiling looks like a water leak from above. And I just had a roofer out about two months ago, and he said my roof was great!

I get a call from my Mom’s aide. Seems she was taking a shower and the aluminum leg on the shower chair folded up and pitched her out in the floor. She wasn’t hurt, just bruised – but the carpet got soaked when the hose came out of the shower with Mom. I had to take up the carpet (a carpet man I’m not!).

During the week, my opthamaolgist says I have the beginnings of cataracts but not to worry, I have several miles before he will have to operate. For now he prescribes new glasses to the tune of $660. Oh my, goodness.

And then the wind came in blustery and cold. Not my kind of weather. What I really want is warm sunshine, no tax bill from Uncle Sam, no bubble water spot on the ceiling, dry carpet and 20/20 vision. Spring break wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned.

By the way, Lord: Next year, I’m giving up spring break for Lent.

Irene Wilson

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Davis earns top offense award

No one in District 21-A Division II was as prolific scoring this season as Slidell’s Isaac Davis.

The senior guard in district play averaged 26.2 points. He also had 11.5 rebounds, five assists and 4.8 steals per game. Those numbers were slightly higher than his impressive season averages of 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.8 steals.


SHOWSTOPPER – Slidell’s Isaac Davis earned the 21-A Offensive Player of the Year after averaging 26.2 points in league play. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

After leading the Greyhounds to a runner-up finish in 21-A and to the Region III quarterfinal, Davis was named the league’s Offensive MVP.

Davis was one of four Greyhounds to earn league honors.

Tyler Maynard and Colton Perkins made the first team. Maynard scored 13.2 points, grabbed 4.3 rebounds, dished out 4.4 assists and made 2.1 steals per game. Perkins averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals and an assist.

Khristian Talamantes earned a second-team spot. He contributed nine points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

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Pruett garners 21-A MVP

Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett torched opponents in District 21-A Division II play, helping the Lady Greyhounds to a runner-up finish and playoff berth.

The Slidell junior averaged 17.4 points and 11.4 rebounds along with 1.4 assists and 2.5 steals.

For her efforts, Pruett was named the league’s MVP.

Pruett was one of four Slidell players to earn district honors. Megan Garcia received honorable mention.

Kayler Talamantes was the district’s Newcomer of the Year, averaging 6.3 points, five rebounds, 2.1 steals and an assist as a freshman.

Sophomore Kylie Franklin made the first team. She contributed 10 points, 4.4 rebounds, two steals and 1.3 assists per game.

Jessy Goode earned a second-team selection for the Lady Greyhounds.

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Crimstoppers: Investigators seek info in church burglary

Wise County Sheriff’s Office investigators are seeking information related to the Feb. 14 burglary of First Baptist Church in Slidell.

Items stolen include a Soundcraft 16-channel soundboard, Tascam CD-RW900 CD recorder, Juice Goose power supply, ASUS laptop computer, Seagate 500GB data storage device, a LAM computer tower, a Kodak 8-megapixel digital camera, a Squier bass guitar and a Gator brand guitar case.

To report information about this burglary or the items stolen, call Sgt. Luke Campbell at 940-627-5971, ext. 237, or email

To make an anonymous report, call Crimestoppers at 800-643-TIPS or 940-627-TIPS. Lines are open 24 hours.

Reward: Up to $1,500

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Slidell Elementary Fourth Six Weeks Honor Roll


THIRD GRADE – Hannah Schumpert

FOURTH – Novalee Polanco, Kristal Gladden


THIRD GRADE – James Beaty, Lezley Beaty, Jayson Ellison, Paige McDaniel, Brianna Wright

FOURTH – Morgan Barzano, Caitlyn Cox, Adriana Deluna, Fisher Horner, James Hunter, Tyler Pruett, Collin Richards

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Forever champs – Slidell’s back-to-back title teams remain county’s lone boys champs

Sitting at the kitchen table Thursday afternoon, a twinkle quickly came to Edwin Pruett’s eyes when asked about his days on the hardcourt for the Slidell Greyhounds.

“I wish I could get in there again,” Pruett said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Glory Days

GLORY DAYS – At 88, Edwin Pruett recalls the days when he and his Slidell Greyhound teammates captured back-to-back Class B titles in 1942 and ’43. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Pruett, 88, is one of the last links to the Greyhound basketball squads that claimed the Class B state titles in 1942 and 1943. Seventy-one years later, the two squads remain Wise County’s only boys basketball state champions.

The Greyhounds under the guidance of Manuel McCarroll rolled to the 1942 crown in the first year the University Interscholastic League introduced Class B. Previously, the UIL crowned only one state champion.

According to the old handwritten text of the 1942 Slidell yearbook, Lewis Hall was the team’s lone returning player. But McCarroll “began early in the year to whip his charges into shape.”

Pruett said McCarroll definitely had everyone’s attention.

“He was a dandy. We worshipped him you might say,” Pruett said. “Everyone that played for him, he’d eat out.”

The 1942 squad’s six main players were Gussie Weber, Wallace Patton, Hall, Harold Raye Gage, Pruett and Raleigh Christian. James Fortenberry, Willard Burton, Mack Ashley, Turner Bill Hall, Billy Jameson and Elmer Pugh filled roles off the bench.

“That was the whole school,” Pruett joked pointing at the picture of the team.

The team’s tallest player, and the best, according to Pruett, was Weber.

“Gussie was the best,” Pruett said. “[The rest of us] were all about the same.”

Slidell beat Rhome, Park Springs and Ringgold before taking on Spanish Fort at the district meet. According to Pruett, the Greyhounds needed to win the game and then fight to get out of Spanish Fort because of a controversy with the clock.

“We had a scorekeeper, and they had a scorekeeper. It was getting down to the end of the game,” Pruett described. “They threw the ball in and their scorekeeper didn’t start the clock. Our bookkeeper, Ray Christian, jumped up and went to yelling.

“We messed around and won the game.”

Slidell rolled to double-digit wins at the regional meet over Lorena, Ireland and Post Oak to secure the Greyhounds’ trip to Austin.

A state trip then did not mean a ride on a charter bus. Pruett said the team rode down in cars. The accommodations were also meager.

“We didn’t stay in a hotel. We didn’t know what a hotel was,” Pruett said. “We stayed in classrooms about the size of this [kitchen].”

Pruett said the team didn’t get too worked up about the state tournament which featured three games.

“We went down to play. We happened to come out on top. The trip was successful,” he said.

The Greyhounds beat Stratford and Boles Home in the quarterfinals and semifinals. In the finals, Slidell bested Fayetteville 32-22 to win the title behind 12 points from Weber. Pruett scored four in the win.

After the ’42 season, Pruett and several others could have graduated having completing the 11th grade. But Bert Pruett said his dad and others chose to come back for 12th grade.

But for the 1943 season, the team had a new coach, G.T. Phillips, after McCarroll left to serve as an Army Air Corps instructor.

Pruett said with several players back they just tried to do what McCarroll told them. That worked. Slidell beat Leona and Midway in the first two games at the state meet. Then in the finals after Weber fouled out, Alvin Rhine and Robert Christian helped the team to a 36-23 win over Sidney for the second straight title and the last for Slidell.

The banners from the two state title teams still hang in the old rock gym in Slidell. The two championship trophies are near the front office.

The memories of those glory days will forever be with Pruett.

“Those were good ol’ days,” he said. “We had a fun team.”

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Fouls bring down Hounds

With 2:24 left in the final quarter, the Slidell Greyhounds held a six-point lead over the defending state champion.

That’s when Slidell senior guard Isaac Davis, who led all scorers with 28 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, fouled out.

Consoling at End

CONSOLING AT END – Colton Perkins wraps his arm around teammate Isaac Davis after he fouls out late in the loss to Roxton. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Slidell never scored again, and Roxton clawed their way to a 62-60 win at Tuesday night’s Class 1A Division 2 regional quarterfinal at Van Alstyne High School.

Roxton’s Kalyl Mcguire dropped in a layup with 10 seconds left to clinch the playoff win.

The Greyhounds were already short-handed after senior forward Colton Perkins, a strong presence under the basket, fouled out with almost six minutes left in the game.

“After me and Isaac fouled out it all went downhill from there,” Perkins said.

“Davis and Perkins having to go to the bench, fouling out, that was the difference,” said Slidell head coach Todd McCormick. “But the guys out there still gutted it out.”

“I think that’s the best game we ever played, defensively and offensively,” Davis said. “We played together, we played as a team.”

The Greyhounds’ gutty performance helped them take a 32-27 lead into halftime when junior guard Khristian Talamantes sunk a long-range three at the buzzer. Talamantes had nine for the night, including a pair of treys.

The second half featured a flurry of lead changes, as Slidell’s undersized players (the tallest being 6’1″) battled against Roxton’s 6’5″ James Black, 6’5″ Brazos White and 6’6″ Dreikus Green.

Slidell junior guard Tyler Maynard racked up 14 points, shooting 56 percent from the field. Perkins had five, and senior Heyden Crane had four.

Black and Mcguire led Roxton in scoring with 18 each.

Slidell was trailing 50-51 with six minutes left when Davis converted back-to-back downcourt steals into easy layups. His aggressive, dominating performance built up a six-point lead for the Greyhounds and put them moments away from a spot in the regional tournament.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” McCormick said. “They did everything we asked them to do. They executed the game plan. They played their hearts out these last two games. It’s the toughest group of kids I’ve ever been around.

“I’ve never seen kids work so hard in the offseason to get where they are at. It’s unbelievable how hard they’ve worked to get us here – just an inch from the regional tournament.”

“We played amazing,” Perkins said. “I’m so proud of my team, and I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.”

It was an emotional finish to the season for all the players, coaches and fans – but especially for the three seniors.

“It’s not a good feeling at all,” Davis said after playing his final game for the Greyhounds. “But I hope I played well enough to serve as an inspiration for the younger players.”

Slidell finished the season with 28-8 record.

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Hounds hold off Avinger in OT; Davis scores 36 in area win

An Avinger player hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the fourth quarter Friday to take Slidell into overtime.

But despite being down two starters in the extra period, the Greyhounds rallied for a 71-65 victory in the Class A Division II area game.

Moving On

MOVING ON – The Slidell Greyhounds celebrate with the Class A Division II Region III area trophy Friday after beating Avinger in overtime. Photo courtesy of Kim Dunlap

“We all gutted it out,” said Slidell’s Isaac Davis, who poured in 36 points. “All the starters and the bench players did what we needed to do. Everyone played a role.”

Tyler Maynard added 14 for the Greyhounds.

Slidell coach Todd McCormick praised his entire team for continuing to fight back in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“It was one of the guttiest performances I’ve seen from high school kids,” McCormick said. “[Avinger] had the momentum going into overtime, but we fought back.”

Slidell with the victory moved on to play defending Class A Division II state champion Roxton Tuesday.

Playing the 17th-ranked team in Class A Division II, Slidell matched Avinger shot-for-shot in the first half. Davis scored 14 in the first quarter and 19 in the half as the Greyhounds led 35-34 at the break.

Avinger went on a 15-9 run in the third to take a 49-44 lead. But the Greyhounds, with Maynard and Khristian Talamantes leading the defensive effort, limited Avinger to just seven points through the first 7:50 of the fourth quarter.

Slidell took a 59-56 lead into the final 10 seconds, before the trey – one of three for Avinger in the game – tied it at 59.

“We contested their shooters, and they hit only one three through 31 minutes and 50 seconds,” McCormick said. “Tyler and Khristian did a great job guarding their two shooters and took them out of the game.”

In the overtime, Davis fought cramps in his legs, but managed to score seven of the Greyhounds’ 12 points to get the win.

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Slidell captures UIL medals

Slidell Elementary UIL district winners were named recently. They were:

UIL Winners

UIL WINNERS – Slidell Elementary students brought home lots of medals from the district meet. Submitted photo


Chess Puzzle: 1st Legend Juarez, 3rd Colin Beaty, 6th Rustan Fennell, 2nd place team

Creative Writing: 4th Kenlea Hardin, 5th Avery Weathers

Storytelling: 2nd Keller Pruett, 4th Brenna Keating


Chess Puzzle: 2nd Christian Everton, 3rd Brianna Wright, 5th Jayson Ellison, 1st place team

Music Memory: 3rd Avery Weathers, 5th Madison McCullough, 3rd place team – Weathers, McCullough, Wright, Juarez and Gonzalez

Ready Writing: 2nd Hannah Schumpert

Spelling: 2nd Hannah Schumpert, 5th Kenlea Hardin, 2nd place team – Schumpert, McDaniel and Hardin

Storytelling: 1st Jayson Ellison, 4th Brenna Keating


Art: 3rd Jaden Martinez, 6th Shelby Seay, 1st place team Seay, Martinez, and Horner

Chess Puzzle: 2nd Fisher Horner, 4th James Hunter, 1st place team -Hunter, Horner, Smith

Music Memory: 5th Tyler Pruett, 3rd place team – Friddle, Polanco, Gladden, Pruett, and Castillo

Number Sense: 2nd Carly Franklin, 6th Colin Richards, 4th place team – Smith, Richards, and Franklin

Ready Writing: 6th Tyler Pruett

Spelling: 6th James Hunter, 3rd place team – Hunter, Polanco, and Cox


Art: 1st place Jenny Licea, 2nd Jayden Ellison, 1st place team – Licea, Ellison, and Davis

Chess Puzzle: 1st Warren Johnson, 2nd Easton Vanover, 4th Jerl McCasland, 1st place team – Vanover, Johnson, and McCasland

Dictionary Skills: 1st place Chloe Malone, 2nd place team – Fennell, Malone, and Licea

Music Memory: 3rd Cameron Dinger, 5th Jayden Ellison, 2nd place team – Ellison, Dinger, and Cox

Number Sense: 2nd place Easton Vanover, 3rd Warren Johnson, 5th Maddie Meyer, 1st place team – Vanover, Johnson, Meyer

Oral Reading: 1st place Maddie Meyer, 2nd place Cameron Dinger

Social Studies: 2nd Easton Vanover, 3rd Jerl McCasland, 4th Warren Johnson, 1st place team – Vanover, McCasland, Johnson

Spelling: 1st Easton Vanover, 1st place team – Vanover, Ellison, Malone

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Crime leads to acts of kindness

Forgiveness was rewarded last week.

The sign on the marquee in front of Slidell First Baptist Church reads, “To those who robbed us we forgive you.”

On the morning of Friday, Feb. 14, pastor Bobby Cates discovered someone had broken into the church and stolen more than $10,000 in electronic equipment and the church van. The van was discovered later that day, but the rest of the items remain missing.

A story on the burglary ran in the Feb. 15 edition of the Messenger. By Monday, the story was picked up by a Metroplex news station and was syndicated on stations across the nation. Not long after, Cates said he started receiving calls from people wanting to donate to the church to help replace the stolen property.

“We’ve had tons of offers,” he said. “We’ve even had several companies offer to install security systems in our church.”

Calls came from as far away as Houston and Florida.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Cates said. “In the midst of dealing with difficult people, we quickly realize how many other people have good intentions and are willing to help others.”

One of the items stolen from the church was the sound system. “When we had service last Sunday, I had to ask the congregation to move closer to the front so they could hear me,” Cates said. “We just try to focus on what we have and not so much on what was lost.”

The forgiving and positive nature of the church and its members seems to have prompted others throughout the nation to help them replace what was lost.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the burglary.

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Hounds ready for area round; Slidell faces Avinger

Walking off the floor Monday night after a victory over Dodd City, Isaac Davis and his Slidell Greyhound teammates felt accomplished.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been there,” Davis said. “It was exciting. It took us four years to get it accomplished.”

It was the first time since 2007 the Greyhounds had won a playoff game. After that 75-48 win over Dodd City, Slidell (26-7) got a shot at 17th-ranked Avinger (25-2) in the Class A Division II Region III area-round Friday at Quinlan.

“We match up good with them,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick going into the game. “If we can contain their shooters, we’ll have a chance.

“At this point, everyone is good. You throw out the records. All that matters is winning.”

With Slidell’s basketball past that includes multiple state titles, the Greyhounds take pride in getting the program back to winning playoff games.

“They know the storied past here and take pride in taking a step to getting it back,” McCormick said. “It’s a good thing the success that Slidell has had in the past. It gives us a measuring stick.”

Davis, who had 28 points in the win over Dodd City, said the Greyhounds are not satisfied with the one playoff victory.

“We’re nowhere near done,” he said. “We want to keep going forward and go as far as we can.”

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Slidell tames Dodd City, 75-48

For the first time since 2007, the Slidell Greyhounds left the floor Monday as victors in a playoff game.

Behind 28 points from Isaac Davis and 27 from Colton Perkins, the Greyhounds shot down Dodd City 75-48 in the Class A Division II Region III bi-district game at S&S High School gym in Sadler.

“It’s a big win for them. The kids are excited and have been working for this,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “They won this game last summer and spring with all their work. It paid off. They should be proud of that.”

With the victory, Slidell (26-7) moves on to play Avinger in the area round. No time or date has been set for the game.

“They have a couple of good shooters and pressure the ball,” McCormick said. “It should be a good game with two good teams.”

Against Dodd City, the Greyhounds broke the game open with an 18-7 run in the second quarter to take a 40-23 halftime lead.

McCormick said Khristian Talamantes and Perkins hit some big shots early to loosen up the Dodd City defense and allow Davis room to operate.

“Khristian hit a 3 and made a drive early,” McCormick said. “Perkins hit five 3s. Isaac then got going in the second quarter.

“We also played better on defense and scored some in transition.”

Slidell continued to pull away in the third, outscoring Dodd City 17-8 and building a 57-31 lead.

McCormick said Tyler Maynard was aggressive running the offense. He also offered praise to freshman Walker Gladden for his work inside.

“He played good on their big kid,” McCormick said.

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Saltillo down Lady Hounds

Though the deficit continued to grow throughout the second half, Slidell continued to hustle on the court. That showed a lot about the young Lady Hounds, who had their return to the postseason abruptly ended Saturday night.

Kendall Bain had 19 points. and Haylee Clover scored 16, as Saltillo defeated Slidell 67-39 in the Class A Division II Region III area-round game at Blue Ridge High School.

“(My girls) are a high-character bunch with no quit in them,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “They had a moment during a timeout when they had to regain their focus.

“They are young and that’s part of growing and maturing, especially when you have no seniors. Saltillo is tough, well-coached and a handful.”

Saltillo (22-11), the state runner-up last year, advanced to a regional quarterfinal rematch with Campbell, a 52-46 winner on Friday over Dodd City.

Caitlin Pruett’s 19 points led Slidell (17-8), as they made the postseason for the first time since reaching the regional tournament three straight times between 2010 and 2012. Vanover is in his 11th year at the school.

With Pruett being one of four juniors, underclassmen otherwise dominate the Lady Hounds’ 11-member roster.

She provided the bulk of Slidell’s offense in the first half, scoring eight in each quarter.

Her first two scores gave Slidell their only advantage at 2-0 and tied the game at four in the first quarter, before Saltillo added the next five points to get the lead for good.

Pruett cut the deficit to three twice afterward, 9-6 and 11-8, in the first quarter on a pair of free throws and a score off the glass.

Slidell pulled within two on sophomore Megan Garcia’s late putback, but a 3-pointer gave Saltillo a 15-10 lead after one quarter.

Saltillo took nine-point leads three times during the first three-plus minutes of the second quarter, prior to a 6-0 run by the Lady Hounds.

Junior Marisol Millan hit two free throws, then Pruett did likewise and had a putback to cut the deficit to 23-20.

Saltillo followed with a 3-pointer to start an 8-0 run during a 48-second span, building the lead to 11.

Baskets by Millan and Pruett cut the deficit back to nine twice before Saltillo added two of the final three points for a 35-25 halftime lead.

An 8-1 run to start the third gave Saltillo a lead in the teens for the remainder of the quarter.

Two free throws by freshman Kayler Talamantes stopped the surge with 5:07 left in the third, as Slidell scored all but one of its points in the quarter from that moment forward.

Freshman Brooklyn Rambsel had two points for Slidell in the fourth quarter, but the deficit grew even higher.

“We’ll have a better feeling in a couple of weeks than now,” Vanover said. “We talked about just don’t use the frustration you have now as motivation.

“Use the thought of walking on the floor in Austin,” he said. “Too many times you focus on how it ended, but sometimes you need to use something pretty and nice.”

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