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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Clark’s talent, record open to all

Feb. 18 – 28 the polls open for early voting, and election day is March 4. The first political contest was held in 1788, and there have been countless elections since that Dec. 15. Individuals desiring offices throughout the county have “thrown their hat in the ring,” and we are called to make decisions for Wise County.

J.D. Clark is in the hunt for the office of county judge, currently leading as mayor of Chico.

I remember when I first met him. He was a skinny kid … interested in academics, One-Act Play and serving as a class officer. He had a passion for learning, laughter and leading. He came by the office often to visit with Mrs. Hair, his English teacher and part-time curriculum director at Chico.

The Bridgeport Index was also his “stomping ground” as he covered governing board meetings at Chico ISD, the city council and commissioners court. He always had a spring in his step, a smile on his face and a friendly greeting.

Some things don’t change much in the course of years; he has those same qualities today.

He chose to be an educator, teaching kids to think and reach for that same learning, laughter and leading. While teaching full time, he conducts business on behalf of Chico residents as mayor. No longer a skinny kid … but a mature young man with another dream – one of great proportions – pushing his leadership skills with fresh and innovative ideas, looking to show the way for our county to grow and prosper.

As mayor of Chico he has:

  • balanced a budget every year (not an easy feat)
  • cut administrative spending by 30 percent
  • lowered property tax rates
  • upgraded water, street and sewer infrastructure
  • expanded police and fire services
  • led for economic development
  • expanded library services and focused on a reading initiative
  • utilized technology by using texting programs to alert residents of emergencies

… just to name a few.

We need a county judge to lead and work for the citizens all over the county. It is a big job, but I believe J.D. can do the job.

He deserves our vote, and we deserve a good county judge like J.D. Clark.

Irene Wilson
Slidell

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Vehicle, electronics stolen from Slidell church

Burglars targeted a Slidell church early Friday morning, stealing approximately $35,000 of items including a vehicle and electronic equipment.

The suspects broke into First Baptist Church of Slidell, located in the 100 block of County Road 2822.

“They crawled in through a window in the nursery and ransacked the place,” said pastor Bobby Cates.

They proceeded to steal the church van along with all the electronic equipment they could carry out including sound equipment, televisions and the pastor’s personal computer.

“I’ve been here six years and we’ve never had anything like this happen,” Cates said. “No vandalism. No robberies.”

The van was recovered later that morning after it was located just off a nearby county road, barely hidden behind trees.

Cates said the suspects appeared to know the layout of the church, since they even knew where a ladder was stored which they used to reach some of the items they stole.

“I don’t think it’s an active member of the church, but it could have been someone who’s been here before,” Cates said. “We forget a lot of people are really hurting and are desperate – especialy people dealing with addiction or the consequences of making a series of bad decisions.

“Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to see them face-to-face and tell them I forgive them.”

Wise County Sheriff’s Office was already tracking down possible leads Friday.

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Hounds hope for playoff win

Making their third straight trip to the playoffs, the Slidell Greyhounds are hungry for their first postseason win since 2007.

The Greyhounds, who finished a 25-7 regular season Thursday with a 64-47 win over Forestburg, will open the Class A Division II playoffs Monday with a bi-district game against Dodd City at 7 p.m. at S&S High School in Sadler.

“We’ve got guys like Isaac [Davis], Colton [Perkins] and Khristian [Talamantes] that have been in this situation before,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “These seniors have been with me for 90 games. We’re ready.”

The Greyhounds lost in bi-district the past two seasons. Last year after finishing third in 21-A, Ector tripped them up 59-49.

The Greyhounds enter the playoffs this year as the runner-up in 21-A after going 10-2. The two losses were to 25th-ranked Bellevue.

Dodd City finished as the third-place team in 22-A.

“We’ve seen them several times this season,” McCormick said. “They have a good shooter and a good inside player. If we can control those two guys, we should be in good shape.”

In Slidell’s win Thursday, Davis poured in 24. Tyler Maynard added 15, and Perkins 11.

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Lady Hounds run past Savoy

Playing their first playoff game in two seasons, the Slidell Lady Greyhounds came out firing.

The Lady Greyhounds knocked down nine 3-pointers on the way to a 54-29 victory over Savoy in the Class A Division I bi-district game at Whitesboro High School Wednesday.

Rise Above

RISE ABOVE – Slidell’s Lady Greyhounds celebrate after defeating Savoy 54-29 to capture the Class A Division I bi-district title. Photo courtesy of Andy Simpson

“It was exciting. It’s the first playoff game for a lot of the team,” said Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett, who led the Lady Greyhounds with 20 points and six rebounds. “We went in with a lot of confidence and shot the ball well. We knew we needed to get the lead and were focused on getting the best shot for the team.”

Slidell (17-7) finished 9-for-25 on 3-pointers. The Lady Greyhounds also went 15-for-18 from the free-throw line.

Kylie Franklin scored 11 points, and Kayler Talamantes eight.

“We’re young but we didn’t come out nervous or anything,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “It felt like we shot the ball better than we did. Kayler came out and hit her first two 3s.”

Slidell opened the game on a 16-2 run. Savoy rallied to get within five, 16-11. The Lady Greyhounds led 28-17 at halftime.

Slidell put the game away in the third quarter, going on a 14-1 run and building a 45-22 lead.

“They ran out of gas, and we kept coming at them,” Vanover said.

The Lady Greyhounds will face a stiff challenge in the area round, playing 24-A champion Saltillo.

“They are a good team. They pressure the ball and are quick,” Vanover said. “If we can make the reads and take care of the basketball we could hang with them. That’s a lot of ifs for a bunch of freshmen and sophomores.”

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Boys Basketball: Greyhounds blow out Midway

The Slidell Greyhounds buried Midway early Friday with a 21-4 run.

The Greyhounds went on for a 70-42 victory.

Slidell (24-7) improved to 9-2 in District 21-A Division II.

“This was a big win for us to handle Midway like this,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “We had big contributions from our bench tonight. Mason Maynard hit a key 3-pointer. Dustin Davis provided a defensive spark for us. Heyden Crane pulled down seven rebounds.”

Slidell led 41-22 at halftime and 55-33 going into the fourth quarter.

Isaac Davis poured in 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Colton Perkins finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds.

BOYD 75, PARADISE 72

The Boyd Yellowjackets outlasted Paradise in overtime Saturday 75-72.

The game was tied at 57 at the end of regulation. Boyd scored 18 in the extra period to get the win.

Fino Cardona led Boyd with 16 points. Trey Gordon and Chris Carmona had 11 each.

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Slidell Junior High School and High School Honor Roll

A HONOR ROLL

FIFTH GRADE – Easton Vanover, Madison Meyer, Jerl McCasland, Warren Johnson

SEVENTH GRADE – Savannah Gray, Lexey Houck, Bailey Meyer, Brady Vanover, Mayling Zhang

EIGHTH GRADE – Taylor Davis, Obed Galindo, Sierra Hargrave-McGinty, Shelby Johnson, Sydney Keating

A/B HONOR ROLL

FIFTH GRADE – Chloe Malone, Brock Harwell, Rusty Fennell, Jayden Ellison, Cameron Dinger, Michael Davis

SIXTH GRADE – Ashley Bowen, Aurora Deluna, Bailey Keating, Slayton Pruett, Tristyn Talamantes

SEVENTH GRADE – Camryn Franklin, William Horner, Chasey Malone, Ben McCasland, Chesney McDaniel, Kaitlyn Reynolds

EIGHTH GRADE – Caitlynn Baber, Sydney Engle, Cassidy Shenberger

SLIDELL HIGH SCHOOL

A HONOR ROLL

NINTH GRADE – Adina Zidermanis

10TH GRADE – Sarah Beaver, Francisco Martinez, Mason Maynard, Shelby Vanover

11TH GRADE – Caitlin Pruett, Marisol Millan, Amanda Hall, Morgan Barnes

12TH GRADE – Ashley Mills

A/B HONOR ROLL

NINTH GRADE – Erick Guiterrez, Ian Lane, Lisbet Licea, Jace Schumpert, Amber Sylvera, Kayler Talamantes, Rosa Verdugo

10TH GRADE – Dustin Davis, Kylie Franklin, Norberto Martinez

11TH GRADE – Khristian Talamantes, Miguel Sanchez, Kayleigh Miller, Tyler Maynard, Chris Brown

12TH GRADE – Chloe Cox, Isaac Davis, Melinda Guinn, Jarrett Tinsman

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Hounds run past Prairie Valley

The Slidell Greyhounds opened with a 30-4 run and never slowed down in an 87-29 victory over Prairie Valley.

Slidell (23-7, 8-2) led 56-13 at halftime and 73-20 going into the fourth quarter.

“I thought that we executed on both ends of the floor and rebounded the ball very well,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick.

Heyden Craned posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He was one of four Greyhounds in double figures. Tyler Maynard poured in 24 points with five rebounds, six assists and a steal. Isaac Davis had 14 points, seven boards, nine assists and four steals. Colton Perkins finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals.

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Slidell returns to postseason

Last year as the playoffs began, Slidell girls coach Cody Vanover was in the unusual position of watching from the stands after his Lady Greyhounds missed the postseason for the first time since 2009.

“We made it to the regional tournament three straight years and didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Vanover said. “We had a young group last year. But missing the playoffs hurt. It wasn’t a lot of fun not being in.”

After that one-year absence, the Lady Greyhounds are postseason bound again. Slidell (16-7) finished as the second seed in District 21-A Division II and will open the playoffs at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Whitesboro with a bi-district game against Savoy – the third seed from 22-A.

Vanover feels his Lady Greyhounds match up well with Savoy.

“They are a little stronger and thicker inside. If we can get out and run, hopefully they will struggle,” Vanover said. “We have to block out or they will kill us on the boards.”

The Lady Greyhounds will rely on Caitlin Pruett to help carry the load inside. The junior averaged better than a double-double this season – 17.3 points and 11.6 rebounds. She also added 1.5 assists and 2.5 steals.

In the regular season finale against Prairie Valley, Pruett needed just 26 minutes to put in 23 points and grab 14 boards.

But Vanover points out that one of the keys for the Lady Greyhounds’ turnaround has been the play of Kayler Talamantes. The freshman has averaged 6.2 points and five boards.

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Even the geese are snowbirding

Did I mention I don’t really love winter? … and today is BRRRR Rabbit! The weatherman calls it “dangerously cold” – some say the weather is not fit for man nor beast.

But what about our feathered friends? Everyone knows they go south for the winter, but wait just a minute …

This afternoon I took my granddaughters to Sanger to gymnastics. I’m driving back and what did I see? A flock of geese headed northeast.

I did a double take… surely that’s not what I think. Yes indeed – in “V” formation they fly high, fighting the north wind. I couldn’t really hear them, but I think the goose in front was honking, “Come on, guys … we’re going home. It’s warmer up there than it is down here!”

Come on summer!

Irene Wilson
Slidell

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Eagles move west, Bulls east in realignment

The Decatur Eagles are headed west, and the Bridgeport Bulls east.

The Big Sandy rivals were sent in opposite directions for football Monday morning when the University Interscholastic League unveiled its biennial realignment for 2014-16. It was the first realignment with a division split for the UIL’s third-largest classification in football.

While they’re in separate leagues for football, Decatur and Bridgeport will be back together for basketball.

All the Wise County schools will start competition in their new leagues in August.

The UIL released realignment for football and basketball Monday. The new leagues for the other sports will be released later.

This year’s realignment included renaming the UIL’s six classifications from 6A to A. That put six-man football and the former Class A Division II schools in their own classification, A. The former Class A Division I and A 11-man football schools are now 2A. The rest of the classifications also moved up, with the largest league now 6A.

The split for the new 4A presented a fair amount of intrigue for this year’s realignment. The split was used in the past realignment in the old 2A and Class A.

UIL athletic director Mark Cousins said the split presented a challenge because of the lack of schools in 4A. It is the smallest classification, with 186 schools in the range of 465 students and 1,059. Division I is for schools with 686 to 1,059 students. Division II is for those with 465 to 685.

“That’s the old 3A, and even before the split, it was the one class that was the biggest challenge with the number of schools and the enrollments,” Cousins said. “In that range, there are not that many schools. The question is, how large do you want those ratios? Then when you split it in half, one of the biggest concerns is travel.”

Cousins said the added travel caused by the division splits in 4A, 3A and 2A for football is a reason why the UIL is not looking to do the same in other sports.

Here’s a look at where everyone is headed as a result of the realignment.

EAGLES, BULLS SPLIT

The Decatur Eagles will play in 4A Division I’s 4-4A in Region I with Burkburnett, Wichita Falls Hirschi, Graham, Mineral Wells and Gainesville.

“It’s a good district,” said Decatur athletic director Kyle Story. “It’ll be a good competitive district for football. We’ve enjoyed our time in West Texas as we have out east.”

The Eagles could face a tough bi-district opponent with a loaded District 3-4A next to them that includes Stephenville, Brownwood and Abilene Wylie.

Bridgeport will shift east in Division II’s 3-4A with Aubrey, Celina, Krum, Anna and Bonham.

“Our football district came out to what we were predicting,” said Bridgeport athletic director Danny Henson. “We’re used to competing with Celina in scrimmages. We’ve played Krum and have an idea about them.

“We knew we’d be looking at some travel with Division II, but most of the district games are what we are used to traveling.”

For basketball, Decatur and Bridgeport will be together in 8-4A with Castleberry, Lake Worth and Springtown. The two were sent to Region I and avoided being in the same region with Dallas ISD powerhouses Dallas Madison and Lincoln, as well as Argyle.

NORTHWEST, BYRON NELSON LAND TOGETHER

As expected, Northwest will be in the same league next year with its district mate Byron Nelson. The two landed in 6A’s District 5 with Denton Guyer, Denton Ryan and Keller’s four schools – Keller, Central, Fossil Ridge and Timber Creek.

“It’s what we thought with the Keller schools and Byron Nelson,” said Northwest football coach Bill Patterson. “It’s going to be a tough district.”

Once again, as in the past with Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll, Northwest will be in a district with a team coming off a state title – this time Guyer.

“We’re good about that. We’re fortunate to keep getting the state champion,” Patterson said. “But all around us are good football teams.”

BOYD, PARADISE STAY TOGETHER

Boyd and Paradise will again be linked in the same football district but will have new mates. After sharing league last year with Callisburg, Whitesboro and Pilot Point, the Wise County schools move west to Region I’s 4-3A Division I with Breckenridge, Bowie, Brock and Ponder.

“It was kind of a surprise the way it turned out,” said Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins. “It will be a decent district. The only drawback is the post-district travel.”

Paradise athletic director Scott Broussard also expressed excitement about the new league.

“I didn’t think that’s the way it would be,” he said. “It’s not too bad of a realignment.”

For basketball, the two got away from perennial powers Peaster, Brock and Ponder. They will be in 9-3A with Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View.

“Our basketball coaches are really happy,” Broussard said. “It’ll be good for the kids to play different people.”

ALVORD, CHICO TO HEAD EAST

Alvord dipped down into the new 2A Division I and landed in the same league with an old rival, Chico. The two Wise County schools will be in 5-2A with Valley View, Bells, Blue Ridge and Trenton for football.

“I thought that Chico, Valley View and us were hooked together,” said Alvord athletic director Curtis Enis. “We thought we’d go west with Olney and Archer City. We’re glad to be with Trenton, Bells and Blue Ridge. It’ll be refreshing to be with all new people.”

After competing against larger schools, Enis said it will be good to face schools their own size.

“Our kids are excited. They see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Enis said.

Chico athletic director Stephen Carter also liked the new league.

“It’s exciting to get some new faces,” he said. “We’d rather go that way for travel purposes.”

For basketball, Alvord and Chico will be with Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville and Valley View.

SLIDELL STAYS IN SAME SPOT

Of all the area schools, Slidell saw the least amount of change in the new alignment. The Greyhounds stayed in 21-A with Bellevue, Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley and Saint Jo. The lone change was the addition of Tioga, who is competing in the UIL for the first time.

“We may be the only eight-team district in the region,” said Slidell athletic director Todd McCormick.

DRAWING NEW LEAGUES

The UIL unveiled its new alignments for 2014-16 Monday. Here are the results.

4-4A I Football
Decatur, Burkburnett, Wichita Falls Hirschi, Graham, Mineral Wells, Gainesville

3-4A II Football
Bridgeport, Aubrey, Anna, Krum, Bonham, Celina

8-4A Basketball
Decatur, Bridgeport, Castleberry, Lake Worth, Springtown

5-6A Football/Basketball
Northwest, Byron Nelson, Denton Ryan, Denton Guyer, Keller, Keller Central, Fossil Ridge, Timber Creek

4-3A I Football
Boyd, Paradise, Breckenridge, Bowie, Ponder, Brock

9-3A Basketball
Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona, City View

5-2A I Football
Alvord, Chico, Valley View, Bells, Blue Ridge, Trenton

11-2A I Basketball
Alvord, Chico, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville, Valley View

21-A Basketball
Slidell, Bellevue, Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley, Saint Jo, Tioga

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Eagles, Bulls await split-up; Rivals to land in different districts

The historic district football rivalry between Decatur and Bridgeport will become part of the past Monday morning.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) will unveil its biennial realignment at 9 a.m. Monday and the two Big Sandy rivals will end up in separate Class 4A divisions for football. Decatur will be a 4A Division I school, and Bridgeport heads to 4A Division II.

In an unprecedented move, the UIL released the cutoffs its six classifications and the division breaks in the lower four leagues in December. Previously, the organization had waited to release those numbers along with realignment in the first week of February.

“The UIL coming out with that information took some of the shock value out of it,” said Danny Henson, Bridgeport football coach and athletic director. “It also allowed coaches to figure out their non-district schedules.”

The UIL also renamed its classifications for this realignment. The previous 5A division became 6A and the next four leagues elevated in class. The previous Class A Division II will now be Class A, and Class A Division I is now 2A.

While schools know what classification they will be in for 2014-2016, they are still left to wonder what league they will end up in when the UIL releases the new district alignments.

“I don’t make any guesses because I’ve never been right,” said Kyle Story, Decatur football coach and athletic director.

Carl Padilla of San Antonio, creator of the Padilla Poll, has compiled his list of district projections and is confident with his picks.

“I do but there’s always different ways of doing things,” Padilla said. “One of the tougher things to project is what they will do with the bigger schools in the Metroplex.”

Here are a few items to watch for Monday:

DECATUR, BRIDGEPORT SPLIT

Since 1998, the Bridgeport Bulls and Decatur Eagles have shared a football league.

With a big-school, small-school division split being introduced to Class 4A this realignment, they will go their separate ways.

“Since I’ve been here at Bridgeport, there’s been two cycles (1994-96 and 1996-98) that we were not in the same district,” said Henson, who started with the Bulls in 1993.

Story, who arrived in 1999 in Decatur, has always been paired with Bridgeport.

Both coaches have already vowed to keep the Battle of Big Sandy alive as a non-district game. It it tentatively set at the fifth non-district game for each.

“We still plan to play each other,” Story said. “If we end up with a bigger district, we’ll move the game up.”

The division split that will put the two in separate districts for football is supported by both. In 4A-II, Bridgeport, whose enrollment is 627, will be paired with schools that have between 465 and 685 students.

“Football takes so many resources and there’s a big difference in the big schools and smaller schools,” Henson said. “The UIL is doing something to help.”

Decatur, with an enrollment of 876, will be with schools with between 686 and 1,059 students in 4A Division I.

“It levels the playing field and there won’t be as wide of a range,” Story said. “It will be good for equality.”

The division split is only for football. Decatur and Bridgeport could end up in the same league for volleyball, basketball and the spring sports.

Padilla expects Decatur to end up in District 4-4A Division I with Sanger, Lake Worth, Gainesville, Springtown and Argyle. He projects Bridgeport to be in the expansive District 3-4A Division II with Celina, Anna, Aubrey, Iowa Park and Vernon.

NORTHWEST, BYRON NELSON TO BE IN 6A

Northwest and Byron Nelson are expected by both Northwest ISD officials and Padilla to be together in a 6A league Monday.

“That’ll be a good rivalry,” said Northwest football coach Bill Patterson.

Who will join the two Northwest ISD schools is anyone’s guess.

“I’ve been here five years, and this will be the third realignment and it’s always been different,” Patterson said. “We’ve always been with the Keller schools but the other schools have been different.”

Padilla projects Northwest and Byron Nelson to stay with the Keller schools and add Denton Ryan and Guyer.

BOYD, PARADISE STAY PUT

Boyd and Paradise will be in Class 3A Division I and don’t expect to see much change.

“I think things will stay pretty much the same,” said Boyd football coach and athletic director Brandon Hopkins. “We could lose Pilot Point or Whitesboro. Maybe we’ll get a six-team district.”

Boyd turned in an enrollment of 350 to put it in the Division I that has a range of 315-464.

Paradise has an enrollment of 337 – 12 over the cutoff for Division II.

“It makes it tough being one of the smaller schools in the division – but it’s not something you can control,” said Paradise football coach and athletic director Scott Broussard. “You control what you can, and that’s getting your kids ready.”

The two are not sure how newcomers to 3A Division I – Brock, Glen Rose, West and Hillsboro – may affect where they go.

Padilla expects Paradise and Boyd to be with Ponder, Whitesboro, Callisburg and Bowie in a six-team league.

ALVORD IN NEW TO 2A

After battling in the old Class 2A the past few years as one of the division’s smallest, Alvord will stay in the new 2A and suddenly be one of the biggest.

With an enrollment of 202, Alvord fit under the cutoff of 219 for Class 2A Division I – the old Class A Division I.

“It’s a good move for our athletic program,” said Alvord football coach and athletic director Curtis Enis. “We’ve been a small fish in a large pond for the last few years. When we first went to 2A and had an enrollment of 230 we were fine. When we dropped to 204, it hurt us to compete against much larger schools.”

Alvord will be in the same division with Chico, which turned in 185.

SLIDELL COULD GO IN MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS

With an enrollment of 66, Slidell will be in the smallest classification – Class A.

But athletic director Todd McCormick is unsure if the school will stay with its current district mates that include Forestburg, Midway, Gold-Burg, Saint Jo and Prairie Valley.

“The key will be what they do with Tioga,” McCormick said. “No one is near them. They could pull us east with Dodd City and Roxton. They could also bring Tioga in with us to make an eight-team district.”

UIL realignment will be announced at 9 a.m. Monday. See where Wise schools land at wcmsports.com

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Girls Basketball: Slidell routs Gold-Burg

The Slidell Lady Greyhounds inched closer to locking up the second playoff seed out of District 21-A Division II Tuesday.

Behind 25 points from Caitlin Pruett, the Lady Greyhounds pounded Gold-Burg 51-27.

“It wasn’t a real crisp performance for us, but it’s a win,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “We need to beat Prairie Valley on Tuesday to secure second place.”

The Lady Greyhounds (14-7, 8-2) trail first-place Saint Jo by a game, heading into the regular season finale.

Slidell started slow against Gold-Burg, but came alive in the second quarter with a 19-8 run. Slidell led 27-12 at the break.

The Lady Greyhounds put the game away with a 12-5 closing spurt.

Kylie Franklin scored eight points, and Kayler Talamantes seven.

SANTO 68, CHICO 16

Santo, ranked seventh in Class A, rolled past Chico Tuesday 68-16.

Santo opened the game on a 20-4 run and led 43-8 at halftime.

Chico looked to rebound Friday at home against Perrin-Whitt in its season finale.

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Boys Basketball: Santo extinguishes Dragons

The Chico Dragons lost their grip on second place in District 11-A Tuesday.

Santo started the game on a 20-7 run on its way to a 56-44 victory.

Marshall Anderle, Chris Gilmore and Kalan Johnson scored 11 points each.

SLIDELL 60, GOLD-BURG 33

The Slidell Greyhounds rebounded from the loss to Bellevue in a big way Tuesday.

The Greyhounds went on a 41-5 run from the middle of the second quarter into the fourth in a 60-33 victory over Gold-Burg.

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Boys basketball: Class A Roundup

CHICO HANDLES RANGER

The Chico Dragons took a big step toward wrapping up second place in District 11-A Friday.

Behind 21 points from Marshall Anderle, the Dragons knocked off Ranger 60-46. Chico (8-10) moved to 4-1 in the league with three games left.

Fighting Through Traffic

FIGHTING THROUGH TRAFFIC – Chico’s Marshall Anderle works his way to the basket during the Dragons’ win over Ranger Friday. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Anderle attacked Ranger inside and helped the Dragons to an early 20-12 lead. Chico built the advantage to 35-21 at halftime.

“Marshall played big for us,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “Shots were not falling from the outside, and he was able to find a way to score down low.

“We played well enough to win, but we have to cut down our turnovers.”

Chris Gilmore added 10 points and four assists. Ivan Segura finished with nine points, six rebounds and three assists.

Chico returned to action Tuesday at Santo and will play Perrin-Whitt at home Friday.

BELLEVUE 71, SLIDELL 63

Bellevue seized control of the District 21-A Division II race Friday, holding off the second-place Slidell Greyhounds.

Bellevue, which moved to 8-0 in the league, outscored Slidell 23-18 in the final frame to pick up the win.

“It was a good game played by both teams,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “They outrebounded us and that was the difference in the game.”

Slidell (21-7) fell to 6-2 in the district with three games left after Tuesday’s game at Gold-Burg.

Friday’s game was tight throughout. Bellevue led 48-45 going into the fourth quarter.

Isaac Davis led Slidell with 35 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tyler Maynard added 13 points, and Khristian Talamantes 10 points and nine assists.

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Perkins, Davis pace Hounds to win

The Slidell Greyhounds blasted out of the gate Tuesday, burying the Saint Jo Panthers early and never letting up.

Slidell poured in 27 points in the first quarter on its way to an 89-37 victory in the Pantherdome.

“We got off to a good start shooting the ball in the first quarter,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick.

The Greyhounds (21-6) finished with 29 assists led by Isaac Davis, who handed out 12 as part of his triple double. Davis also scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Colton Perkins led the Greyhounds in scoring with 31 points. He also pulled down 15 boards. Tyler Maynard and Khristian Talamantes finished with 13 points each.

Slidell stretched a 27-10 first-quarter lead into a 50-16 halftime advantage. The Greyhounds continued to pull away in the third quarter, going on a 26-7 run.

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Saint Jo takes over league lead

The Saint Jo Lady Panthers grabbed control of the District 21-A Division II race Tuesday, knocking off the Slidell Lady Greyhounds.

Saint Jo ended the game on a 12-4 run to pull off a 49-42 victory.

“We had our chances in the game,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “We led 38-37 with about five minutes to play. We just missed too many free throws and too many shots under the goal.”

The loss dropped Slidell (13-7) to 7-2 in the league. Saint Jo (16-5) moved to 8-1 and into sole possession of first place.

After trailing 26-20 at halftime, Slidell went on a 13-7 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 33. Saint Jo outscored Slidell 17-9 in the final frame to get the win.

“We can learn a lot from this game – it just doesn’t leave a very good taste in your mouth to learn it this way,” Vanover said.

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