PRAIRILAND - The Yantis Owls played their final playoff game Friday against No. 4 state-ranked Avery Bulldogs. The Owls fell 51-41, ending their season with a 22-10 mark.
"Considering we began the season with seven of our top eight gone to graduation, and we were not even ranked by TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) polls, I am proud of our season," said Yantis Owls head basketball coach Jack Bowles. "This has been a great bunch of kids to coach. They have all been fantastic. I am already looking forward to next year. We will have seven of our top nine back." In the first quarter, the game remained tight 8-all. "I was shocked to realize we had 10 turnovers in just the first quarter, because we take care of the ball much better than that. We came out very nervous. Both teams had a big case of jitters in front of the huge crowd," Bowles added.
Avery gained a second quarter lead due to Yantis defensive mistakes. The Owls had only three back when they needed five back to clog the lane. The Bulldogs got the lay-ups.
"Varley (Avery senior point guard Jordan Varley) punished us. With a 31-3 opponent there is a slim margin of error," coach said. Avery scored at the end of the half to push their lead from four points to six.
It was in the third that Yantis ruled the floor up until a defensive miscue that allowed a buzzer shot by Avery. Seven minutes remained, the Owls had the opportunity for a wide open jumper to cut the deficit to three but was just shy of clearing.
Top scorers for Yantis were senior Terry Thompson with 13 and junior Tony Garcia had seven points, each swished a 3-pointer.
Yantis relaxed in the fourth and it became a seven point gap. Avery held tight to finish with the Class A Division I Region 3 Area title.
"Avery is a well-coached, classy team. They were patient and well drilled," Bowles said. Avery face the winner of Hawkins/Bland game and will also graduate eight of their 10 players. Others from District 18, Martin's Mill defeated Detroit 51-44, and Waskom beat Fruitvale 70-46. And Yantis will begin baseball Monday.
The Owls will compete in the Celeste Baseball Tournament March 5-7 followed by their first district game against North Hopkins on March 10 at 4:30 p.m.
Yantis--Tony Garcia 7 (one 3-pointer), Jereme Smith 3, Justin Hunt 2, Matthew Crayton 2, Terry Thompson 13 (one 3-pointer), Ty Davis 4, Allen Rose 2, Cory Thompson 4, Gerry Hernandez 2.
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