Participating in the annual Wagstaff Holiday Classic at Tyler Junior College’s Floyd Wagstaff Gymnasium between Christmas and New Year’s ended up being a good decision for the Kilgore Bulldogs basketball team.
Coach Jerry Timmons and the ‘Dogs went 2-1 in the classic, their first time in the tournament in about three seasons.
Kilgore edged Palestine, 41-38, on the first day; lost to Athens, 75-66, on day two; and defeated Brook Hill, 61-51, on Friday, the final day of the event.
Kilgore (7-9) was to host All-Saints on Tuesday, following the deadline for this issue of the News Herald, and is off this weekend. The Bulldogs will play at Henderson next Tuesday, Jan. 10, and then open District 15-4A play next Friday, Jan. 13, at home against Chapel Hill.
“My goal for this year was to be at 10 wins before district,” said Timmons, in his second season of Kilgore’s boys program. “So, I am pretty happy with where we are. And we are hitting our stride at the right time.”
Kilgore was outscored, 12-9, in the first quarter against Palestine, and led by one, 21-20, at the halftime break. The game was close throughout, but Kilgore held on for the win. Senior Tray Dunn led the Bulldogs with 11 points. Octavian McKee added nine, and Hunter Bonnette, seven.
A.J. Henson had four; Seth Thomas and Nesba Brown, three each; Elijah Williams had two; and Deiontrae Wheat and Sam Kosel each had one. Darin Parkes led PHS with 11.
On Thursday, Athens got a measure of revenge on Kilgore by defeating the Bulldogs, 75-66. Kilgore had dealt Athens a bad loss a couple of years ago, also in Wagstaff Gymnasium, in a first-round playoff game.
Miles Koehler led all scorers with 24 points for Athens.
For Kilgore, Wheat, one of several sophomores on varsity, had his best game of his short varsity career, netting 24 points. Dunn had 12. McKee had seven; Brown, Henson, and Bonnette each had five; and Dre Thurmond and Thomas each scored four.
Friday, the Bulldogs defeated Brook Hill, 61-51, to wrap up the tournament.
McKee led Kilgore with 19 points. Wheat added 17. Dunn scored eight; Henson, six; Sam Kosel had four; Thomas had three; and Brown and Elijah Williams each chipped in two.
Kilgore blew open what had been a close game with a 23-point third quarter.
Shreveport Evangel wound up the tournament champions, holding off Tyler Lee in a low-scoring, 38-35 title game on Friday night.
As good of a tournament run as the Bulldogs had in Tyler, the Lady Bulldogs were at the opposite end of the spectrum in the Fidelity Communications Classic tournament in Hallsville between the holidays.
Kilgore (6-15) went 2-4 in the tournament, beating Houston Heights, and Center, but falling to Hallsville, Mount Pleasant, Simms Bowie and Liberty-Eylau.
The Lady ‘Dogs were to play at Union Hill Tuesday night, and then will open their district slate Friday at Spring Hill, starting with junior varsity at 5, varsity to follow.
After that, Kilgore has a stretch of three straight home games: vs. Gladewater next Tuesday, Jan. 10; vs. Chapel Hill next Friday; and then Bullard here on Jan. 17.
Kilgore opened the tournament with a 42-33 win over Houston Heights. Alexis Gaitan scored 11 to lead Kilgore.
KHS ran into a buzzsaw with Hallsville, though, losing 53-30. Jada Abercrombie had 10 for Kilgore, the only KHS player in double figures.
The Lady ‘Dogs bounced back with a 39-21 win over Center, getting nine points each from Tianna Holland and Jamaria Thomas.
Against Mount Pleasant, Kilgore fell, 44-30. Mount Pleasant’s long-ball shooting boosted the Lady Tigers’ game; they hit seven three-point shots in the contest. Thomas had nine points to lead Kilgore and Gaitan added seven.
Kilgore lost to Bowie, 48-23, after trailing 28-14 at halftime. The Lady ‘Dogs just couldn’t get the offense going. Thomas again led KHS, this time with 13 points, and seven of them came at the free throw line.
Sabine: The Cardinals were working their non-district muscles over the holidays, too, playing in the multi-team, multi-town Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament.
In its conclusion on Friday, Sabine held off Laneville, 46-44, finishing fifth in the tournament. In spite of all those games, Sabine heads into this week with a 12-5 overall record.
Will Shawn, a junior and the son of SHS principal and former girls coach Eddie Shawn, had 17 points to lead Sabine. Eylan Goodwyn scored 10. Nathan Willis hit free throws late to put Sabine in front just before the final buzzer.
For his efforts, and for scoring over 50 points in the tournament in four games, Shawn was named to the all-tournament team.
Sabine was to play at Overton on Tuesday, and will return to District 15-3A play Friday at home, hosting Troup, a 5 p.m JV start.
Sabine’s Lady Cardinals were also to play at Overton on Tuesday, and also host Troup on Friday, with JV starting at 5, varsity to follow.