Yantis Owls will face off with the Trenton Tigers in round ball playoff action at 7 p.m. today in Commerce for the bi-district title for Class 1A Division I. The winner will go on to play the Avery Bulldogs in next round for the area title.
“We were not even predicted to make the playoffs by the TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches),” said Yantis Owls head basketball coach and athletic director Jack Bowles. Yantis may have lost seven of their top eight players from last year’s team according to their coach, but it has not stopped them from going above and beyond this year with a record of 21-9. The third time has truly charmed this Owl team as they have spread their wings three years in a row in the playoffs. They have bounce passed last year’s 18-16 mark.
Yantis boasts two seniors: post player Justin Hunt and forward Terry “T-Ray” Thompson. “Hunt has made great strides for us inside,” coach said. “Thompson gives us flexibility with his 6 foot-1 and half inch frame, yet has the ability to play out in the open court. So he allows us to use him to guard bigs and smalls, which most players really can’t do effectively.”
Yantis lost Alan Rose to a dislocated kneecap and moved Jereme Smith into his slot. Bowles considered moving up a player from JV, but he broke his foot in the fourth quarter of the last game, no less. “We do not need any luck; we just don’t need bad luck,” Bowles joked.
Possible future opponent, Martin’s Mill Mustangs, also from District 18-A, has recently suffered equal injury difficulties. According to Bowles, the Mustangs’ starting center broke his foot this week. In order to meet again outside of district play, both teams will have to advance to the regional final round at the beginning of March.
As for the Tuesday night opponent, Trenton also brings a tradition of playoff experience to the court. “Trenton will play ‘pack line’ style man-to-man and some extended match up zone,” explained Bowles. “They have a really good center. They push the ball up the court and look for a great shot, but early in their offense. They will leak a man back, so we have to be sound in our transition ‘D’…We are going to Commerce to compete.”
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