Woodville summer league basketball team (Hale Hughes Photo)
by Hale Hughes
Summer league basketball has been in full swing during the month of June. Teams from Woodville, Warren, Corrigan, Brookeland, Big Sandy and Spurger have been converging at the Eagle Summit on Thursdays that began on June 9 and have been playing every Thursday since. The final games were played last Thursday and the girls from Woodville came away with the best record of all teams with 9-1 record while playing all teams.
Girls participate to sharpen their skillset and prepare for the upcoming season. This is a first for many underclassmen to participate with upperclassmen who will be their teammates in high school basketball in the fall and see firsthand how fast the high school game is.
The Woodville summer league team is coached by Brooke Taylor, a 2010 graduate of Woodville, and considered to be one of the best point guards Woodville girls basketball has ever produced. She was selected as an all-state three times during her career at WHS. She is a coach that the kids identify with and look up to. "These girls are not afraid to work and get better," according to Taylor. Practices are held Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Taylor added, "These are not just 'participation' practices either. I require them to work and really get after it for two solid hours each time, and they do." But Taylor also added, "If the summit is open, they are there. This group of girls continue to put in extra work on top of the practices we hold. That is a testament to how much these girls love the game of basketball."
Summer league members who have played this summer were Kayla Merchant, Shannon Whitehead, Telia Jackson, Shayla Williams, Ellie Robinson, Kendal Wilroy, Makenzie Robinson, Bethany Mitchell, Jordan Beaty, Jayda Argumon, Kerrigan Young, Eveona Williams, Yasmeika Douglas, Chelsie Sargent and Jaelan Gabriel.
These girls have been playing together since before middle school and have great chemistry according to Taylor. "I've seen these girls play even as little dribblers when I refereed games when I was in high school." Taylor continued, "I love coaching these girls. They have the will and dedication. They remind me of the group of girls I played with when we went to state." Taylor said that she thinks the summer league is a key component to really making the girls better competitors during the school year, because the summer league doesn't allow them to take a break. "The girls are in a constant state of conditioning," said Taylor. "They go from school sports and activities in the spring right into our summer league and they stay in shape and don't have time to get lazy." Taylor reminded that volleyball season is close and staying in shape over the summer will help the girls as they transition back into the fall school sports and she thinks the added playing time will really benefit the Woodville high school basketball team when November rolls around.
The 2016 baseball and softball All District selections were announced this past week for District 22-3A. District representatives made their choices and both teams were heavily occupied by Woodville Eagles. It comes as no surprise to the Woodville faithful, who all along have known that WHS teams are loaded with talent, blessed with deep skills and have a great understanding of the game and are never short on effort.
Boys chosen for first team honors were Tyler Hollingsworth, pitcher; Marcos Broom, catcher; and Stephen Thomas, outfield. Ty Bryant, pitcher; Reed Weaver, infield; David Whitehead, infield; Kris Traylor, outfield; and Ivan Lockhart, outfield were named to the second team. Cade Bass and Wyatt Bell were infield honorable mention selections.
Eight out of the nine Lady Eagle starters were named to the first team or were tabbed in the superlatives. The superlative honors were swept by the Lady Eagles with Shelby Mixon being named as the District 22-3A MVP. The Defensive Player of the Year went to Faith Sirmons, catche, and Bailey Stewart was named as the Offensive Player of the Year.
Players named to the first team from the Lady Eagles were Mika Maxwell, 1B; Avery Tolar, Infield; Chloe Weeks, Infield; Gracin McCollum, OF; and Madison Mahaffey, OF. Senior Haylie Tullos was named as the second team OF and Kaitlyn Odom was named to the second team as an infielder.
Head coaches from both squads had plenty of positives to say about the players selected for All-District honors this year.
Coach Lance Standley said it was a testament to his team that no members were named superlatively. "I guess we played as a team so well. Everyone stepped up at different times and we never just leaned on one person," said Standley. "Tyler Hollingsworth had a great year and went 7-0 as a starter, and I thought that was pretty exceptional," he added. "I thought he carried us as a player and a leader."
Standley continued, "Stephen Thomas led the team in hitting all year, Marcos Broom had a great year as a freshman and got a lot stronger and became a better hitter, especially in playoff games." Standley then spoke of the players named to the second team. "Ty Bryant did great and was very coachable. He said 'Yes Sir' to everything we tried to teach in the bull pen and will be a special player with two more years playing time remaining. David Whitehead is a three-sport athlete and made good plays at second who will also devlop with two years to play. Reed Weaver is a special player for sure," Standley noted. "He played amazing this year. He started the season at second, but we moved him to short and he only made three errors the entire season at a position he had never played before. He is an amazing player for this team. Kris Traylor is one who used his tremendous athleticism to make some big hits at significant times this year. Ivan Lockhart made some big hits and producing, especially from the lead off hitter position and putting pressure on the other team is what he is most remembered for amongst the coaches in the district. Cade Bass had a good year for us having some timely hits that produced runs and made some incredible picks for us at first base. Wyatt Bell is another great story for this team. He started on the JV team but worked and earned his way onto the varsity team and he just loves the game. Mixon had this to say about his girls who were selected. "Mika was a presence at the plate from what she'd done in the past.
Players knew her when she came up to bat." Regarding the other infield positions, Mixon commented, "Coming in to this year, the left side of our infield was a big question mark after losing graduating seniors Ashton Weatherford and Kenzie McGallion. Avery and Chloe answered that question and were rock solid for us this year and both deserve the recognition with first team honors. Madison Mahaffey and Gracin McCollum helped improve our outfield and clearly earned their first team nod. Our outfield was definitely a strong point for us this year." Mixon paused during the interview and flatly stated, "I want to stop and say something about Tullos. She is one that always showed in the past during practices that she could play a little bit, you know, showed real promise. But this year, she was finally able to take it from practice to the game and she is just one of those kids you pull for and root for because she works so hard and just stays at it. I was just proud of the way she stepped up and played this year. She was a pleasure to coach." Mixon closed his comments and spoke about Tullos, McCollum and Mahaffey as a unit. "As a group, they finally made a jump from the year before and they each played like they were capable of. They've always been good, but they just came together this year and became great."
"Yeah, I thought our team was well represented." Mixon said with a smile.
Karlie Moore (fourth from the left) with Power Elite Team. (Brandi Moore Photo)
by Doug Glosson
Warren basketball seems to be in good shape for the future as they have several young talented players playing on select teams for the summer.
Karlie Moore is on the Power Elite sixth grade team that finished third in their latest tournament in Houston. Power Elite had two wins against two losses which featured playing four players in the last game and only losing to Cajun Express 28-20. This is Moore's first year on Power Elite, who is coached by Cody Bauer.
Emma Kethan is on the seventh grade Power Elite team that took first place against 3220 Elite from Katy at the same tournament in Houston.
Kethan has been playing with this League since February and had her first tournament in March.
Kayden Morris has played for Golden Triangle Elite (GTE) for two years. She played in Alodia tournament in the Woodlands last weekend in the seventh/eighth grade bracket. The team came in third as they won two and lost one.
Brady Trotter is playing for GTE seventh grade division. He was in a tournament in Houston a couple of weeks ago where the team played together for the first time and took third place; Trotter scored 14 points.
Trotter plays with kids from Lumberton, Hampshire Fannett, and other local areas.
During the last week of school, the coaching staff of Spurger High School made its selection for the 2016 recipients of the prestigious Athlete of the Year award. Chosen by coaches Lin Ellis, Murphy Martin, David Morgan, Amber Moore, Carrrie Brinkley, Ruth Williams, and Stormy Hubbard, the top male and female athletes this year are Kaleb Hyden and Shelly Martin. As a sophomore, Kaleb Hyden has shown amazing athletic potential combined with a great attitude both on and off the field and court. These qualities led the coaches to a unanimous decision for Hayden's selection.
Freshman Shelly Martin has started her high school sports career off in an impressive direction. "I am extremely proud of Shelly," expressed Coach Amber Moore. "She is a hard worker and extremely dedicated to the program." Moore said these sentiments are also shared by her fellow coaches.
After selecting these two deserving young athletes for this esteemed honor, the Spurger athletic department looks forward to their performances in the upcoming year.
In upcoming preparation for the 2016 volleyball season, the Colmesneil Lady Dogs have been putting in work. In the past weeks, the Lady Dogs have been participating in volleyball spring league.
Athletes participating included incoming freshman Lacy Reynolds, sophomores Jackie Hughes, Emilee James, and Leah White, juniors Gabby Reynolds, Nature Jackson, Rylee Smith, and Lindsey Dobbins. The purpose of spring league is for the volleyball athletes to sharpen their skills and try to fill the holes left on the court by graduating seniors.
The Lady Dogs experienced a successful volleyball spring league and accomplished many goals set for themselves. They showed team unity as they came together to beat Jasper. The team also showed their skills as they went to face an extremely tough competitor, Lufkin, and won one set of the game.
Upcoming goals the Lady Dogs have for the 2016 volleyball season are to be defending district champions for the third year in a row, and for the upperclassman to help the freshman adapt the new atmosphere of high school sports.
Coach Chris Fudge has resigned from Chester ISD after four years to return to his alma mater, Barbers Hill ISD. Fudge came to Chester in 2012, when the Yellowjackets were still newcomers to 6-man football. After three years without winning a district game, Fudge and his 2013 team ended that streak. Then, in 2014, the Yellowjacket football team made the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years. Later that year, the boys track team were the district champs, and the boys 4X400m relay team advanced all the way to state track meet.
This past school year, Fudge amassed four district titles in different sports.
Under his leadership, the Yellowjacket football team went 10-1 for the 2015 season, collecting the honors of district and bi-district champs. This was the first playoff win for Yellowjacket football since 1971. The boys golf team also garnered the title of district champs, and made it all the way to the state meet. The boys tennis team were the district champs, sending many to the regional meet. The boys track team took the district title for the second year in a row, and Fudge took many boys and girls to the area and the regional meets.
Fudge was not only a coach while at Chester ISD, he was a motivator, role model, and a father-figure to many. Even when he was not coaching, he would give up his free time to come support the athletes in other sports. He put the kids first, and they knew it.
Fudge and his family, wife Tara and sons Justin and Nate, will be missed by the students, staff, and the entire Chester community.