Well – in a reverse from the normal phrase, that de-escalated quickly.

We’re all in football playoff mode, as volleyball’s regular season ends, as basketball’s regular season starts, with Kilgore College’s men’s team ranked in the nation’s top three, and suddenly…

Everything just about comes to a grinding halt for a few days.

That’s the way it is, and probably should be, around Christmas-time, as we used to say. After all, we probably all need a break, a reset, some family time, just a sigh of relief, before it all winds up again.

That’s where this column comes in.

There’s not really a lot to analyze locally right now. KC’s Rangers and Lady Rangers are both on their lengthy holiday break, but both teams have started off hot: coach Brian Hoberecht’s Rangers are 14-0 and ranked second in the nation. Coach Addie Lees’ team isn’t undefeated, but they are unbeaten through the early portion of their Region XIV Conference schedule.

In high school ball, Kilgore’s girls have only played a couple of District 16-4A games; ditto for the Sabine girls, and for all the girls programs in the area. Coach Jeff Coleman’s Kilgore Bulldogs were to open 16-4A play on Tuesday night, after this print edition of the News Herald was to go to press.

So, rather than run my mouth (or ink) about a game, or things that have happened, I’ll use this space to tell you a little bit about what’s coming after the holidays.

  • Coach Coleman’s Kilgore High School Bulldogs basketball team was to host Lindale in the district opener on Tuesday, and then they’ll take Christmas weekend off. They’ll head to Paris on Tuesday for the annual Paris Holiday Tournament, and that includes teams from three states (Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, I believe). They’re there through Thursday. They come back and resume the district schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at Chapel Hill, and are home Jan. 7, a Friday, against Bullard.
  • Kilgore’s Lady Bulldogs, coached by Trushundra McGill, were to play a road game at Lindale on Tuesday, after the deadline for the print issue of this paper, and after Christmas, they’re set to compete in a tournament in Hallsville on Monday and Tuesday. They’ll host Chapel Hill the following Tuesday, Jan. 4.
  • The Sabine Lady Cardinals don’t lose many District 15-3A games, but they did drop one over the weekend, a 56-46 setback to Gladewater. Ally Gresham had 14 points in the loss. Ashlynn Davis and Maddie Furrh each had nine, and Addy Gresham had seven. Eliza Roper, Claudia simmons and Tayla Calico each had two, and Ella Roberts had a point. Coach Sara Cantrell’s Lady Cards and coach Colby Carr’s Sabine boys will both compete in the Tenaha tournaments that begin Monday. After that, the girls will resume district play at Daingerfield Jan. 4, while the Cardinals will host Daingerfield the same night – that’s the Cardinals’ 15-3A opener.
  • Kilgore College’s Rangers ease back into action after the two-plus-week break with a non-conference home game here next Tuesday, Dec. 28, against Southwest Community College, a 6 p.m. tip-off. After that, they don’t play again until Monday, Jan. 3, at Jacksonville College. The only team in the entire country ranked higher than KC is Salt Lake (Utah) Community College.
  • The Lady Rangers, meanwhile, are 9-2 overall, but their last two games were conference wins over Paris and Angelina. KC’s ladies come back from the holidays and head to LSU-Eunice for a mini-tournament. They’ll play Pensacola (Fla.) Community College next Thursday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m. at the LSU-Eunice campus. Then they’ll play Friday, Dec. 31 there against Florida Southwestern at 11 a.m. KC returns home for a big one on Wednesday, Jan. 5: Trinity Valley.

Soccer

  • For the first time in what seems like forever, neither Kilgore High School soccer program got to the regional round last postseason, and I can personally guarantee you that both coaches (Tom Wait, for Kilgore’s boys, and Todd BonDurant, for Kilgore’s girls) have spent much of their preparation time for this season in reversing that, before it becomes a trend.
  • Wait’s Bulldogs have played a handful of scrimmages and have one more – at Tyler Legacy next Friday – before the season begins. The alumni game is set for Jan. 3, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, and then the season begins as a part of the annual Pine Tree Tournament Jan. 6-8. The ‘Dogs will play in a tournament at Palestine Jan. 13-15, and then a series of road games throughout January before finally playing at home Feb. 3 against New Summerfield.
  • The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to host Mabank at R.E. St. John next Thursday, Dec. 30, a 10:30 a.m. junior varsity start, with varsity to follow, and then to play a tri-match on the road against Tyler Legacy and Waco Midway next Friday. The Lady ‘Dogs will host their own tournament Jan. 6-8, and then compete in tournaments at Forney (Jan. 13-15) and Longview (Jan. 20-22) with a home date against Longview (Jan. 18) sandwiched in between.
  • In that girls tournament here at R.E. St. John, other scheduled participants are Chapel Hill, Carthage, Texas High, Spring Hill, Sunnyvale, Hallsville, Pleasant Grove, Captain Shreve, and Lufkin. Games begin at 9 a.m. each of those days, with Kilgore facing Lufkin in the nightcap Jan. 6 (at 6:55), facing Hallsville at 1:15 p.m. Jan. 7, and then back at 6:55 on Jan. 8.
  • Sabine’s girls soccer is guided by one-time KHS coach Heidi Hagan, who once coached the Lady Bulldogs to the UIL Class 4A state tournament. The Lady Cardinals have also played a couple of scrimmages, and are scheduled to be back in action at home against Gladewater on Jan. 4, then to compete in a tournament in Garland on Jan. 6-8. Sabine High School sports normally compete in 3A, but in UIL / Texas high school soccer, 3A plays up with the 4A classification – Sabine and Kilgore are in the same district, and both start their district schedules in late January.
  • Wayne Borden coaches Sabine boys soccer, and they’re also at home Jan. 4 against New Diana, after the girls game. They’re scheduled to host Gladewater, Cumberland Academy and Tenaha in a multi-team matchup Jan. 8, and then to host Brownsboro Jan. 11. The Cardinals compete in a tournament in Tatum Jan. 13-15.

Junior college softball

  • The Kilgore College softball program is about to begin its 10th season. The Rangers, coached by Trish Robinson and Kendyl Dockter, play their home games at the nice and still relatively-new Ballpark at KC Commons just off Houston Street (at the site of the former Kilgore Heights school). KC softball does play an abbreviated fall season, but its main season is the spring, the one that begins in January. In fact, the schedule hasn’t yet been posted, but there will be a preview, including the complete roster, here in the News Herald as the Rangers get closer to play.

In addition to all of the above, coming soon is spring high school tennis, high school golf, track and field, and then of course baseball and softball tryouts in late January, and their seasons set to begin in February.

It’s enough to wear us all thin, but it’s fun, and when we’re back with the full load, stop me and say hello. I’m never too busy for a conversation with you guys. If you’d like to drop me a line, do so via e-mail at mlucas@kilgorenewsherald.com.

Merry Christmas, and an early happy new year.

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