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Four area teams advance, two eliminated from postseason

February 23, 2013

Grady's Ellyn Avery receives a hug from her father and Lady Wildcat Head Basketball Coach Jimmy Avery after a win over Borden County. Grady was eliminated — along with the Forsan boys — during Friday's playoff games. Garden City (boys and girls), as well as the Grady boys and Sands boys, all advanced to the next round.

BOYS

MONAHANS — Forsan Head Coach Gary Huckabee watched as his team's season came to a close Friday at the Jerry Larned Sports Complex, falling to El Paso Harmony 78-56.

The Buffaloes started the area playoff game strong, topping the Tigers 18-14 in the first period, but a sixteen point deficit in the second quarter was too much for Forsan to overcome.

Kade Fannin put up 15 points and had 16 rebounds, while Aric Hernandez and Tyler Evans each added 11 for the Buffs, who were outscored 44-21 in the middle quarters.

Two of El Paso's guards — Ivan Gutierrez and Bryan Urrutia — combined for 12 three-point shots and 47 points overall during the outing.

“Overall, it was a great season,” said Huckabee, who led his squad to a 21-10 record, including an 8-2 district run.

“We were up against a very good basketball team. We took the lead and held it until the second quarter when Ivan Gutierrez hit us with four 3-pointers to help the Tigers pull away. We made a couple of runs, but we couldn't regain the lead.”

Huckabee's goal was to make it further into the playoff than last season. That was accomplished, as the Buffs went one round deeper into the postseason. He also has high hopes for next year.

“I definitely think we will be back next season,” Huckabee said. “Coach Richardson did a great job coaching the junior varsity team and Coach Hillger did a great job with the ninth grade. I'd be shocked if weren't in the playoffs again next year.”

Despite having plenty of returning talent, Huckabee credited his seniors as the driving force behind this year's success.

“Our seniors were a good group and they provided a lot of good leadership,” Huckabee added. “They pulled us out of several games. (Hernandez) shot very all season, Dillon (Bagnall) was our inbounder and he really did a good job for us. And we will definitely miss Jerol Womack's height. Jansen McDonald was a great team leader and such a blessing to have on our team. Everyone respects him quite a bit.”

TUSCOLA — Garden City kept on rolling Friday, this time dispatching May, 62-49 at Jim Ned High School in a Class A, D-II area playoff bout.

The Bearkats' Big Three — Corbin Davis, Juan Bustos and Sam Miller — combined for 44 points as Garden City continued to overwhelm its opponents with an explosive offense.

Down by three at the end of the third, it appeared to be anybody's game. That is, until Garden City caught fire.

Scoring 33 points in the final stanza, the Bearkats (23-8) punched a ticket to the regional quarterfinal round where they will face Ira at a place and time to be announced.

Other boys playoff scores:

• Grady defeated Balmorhea, 94-60. Next regional quarterfinal vs. Ropes, TBA.
• Sands defeated Fort Davis, 58-47. Next regional quarterfinal vs. Petersburg, TBA.

GIRLS

ABILENE — To say the No. 13 LadyKats' defense was suffocating during Friday's regional semifinal match against Clyde Eula is an understatement.

Garden City (29-5) smothered the Lady Pirates 45-9, making them the second team GCHS has held to single digits this season. But not even Head Coach Chris Sumrall expected such a showing this deep into the playoffs.

“We're pretty proud of the way we defended and I hope we continue to do it,” Sumrall told Greg Sherman of KBYG Big Spring. “Both teams struggled early offensively, but I think a lot of that was nerves.”

Sumrall was referring to first period, in which only seven total points were scored between both teams.

By the midway point in the second quarter, however, Garden City's nervousness had clearly dissipated.

A 32-0 GCHS run stretching from the second to fourth quarters took the wind out of Eula's sails, but it was the Lady Pirate's 29 turnovers — many of them forced — which led to the lopsided victory.

Sumrall knows his competition is about to get stiffer as the LadyKats find themselves just two wins away from a state championship tournament appearance.

“Right now,” Sumrall said. “We're going to worry about tomorrow.”
Highland — who pulled off a 55-37 upset over Baird — was Sumrall's opponent in the regional final. Game time was set for 2 p.m. Saturday. Results will be in Monday's edition of the HERALD.

Hannah Halfmann led the LadyKats with 11 points, Brylie Schaefer and Holly Halfmann each added 10 in the rout.

LEVELLAND — All season long, the Grady girls have been making mince meat of their opponents. They went undefeated in district play and racked up a 27-6 overall record, but Friday, the Lady Wildcats found themselves in unfamiliar territory — with their backs against the wall.

Ellyn Avery and Cayley Oppegard — Grady's top scorers throughout the year — were each held to just seven points as they saw their season come to a close with a 59-28 loss against No. 2 Whitharrall.

The Lady Wildcats helped contribute to their own demise by committing uncharacteristic turnovers which led to Whitharral points. 10 turnovers in the first half helped the Lady Panthers build a 23-11 lead at the halfway mark.

Things went downhill from there as Grady was outscored 37-17 in the remaining two quarters.

“They're just a great team,” GHS Head Coach Jimmy Avery said of Whitharral to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. “They go inside out. They've got good guards, good post — they have no flaws. I mean, they're the state champions. There's no doubt in my mind. Ain't nobody going to beat them.”

The loss may have been a bittersweet one. Whitharral is Avery's hometown. State tournament success may have eluded Avery this season, but he already has one championship under his belt — a 2008 title won while he was coaching at Jim Ned — and he will be returning next along with a talented squad of underclassmen

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