Saltillo seniors eyeing Class A state playoffs
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

The Saltillo Lions are in the hunt for the Class A, Div. II playoffs as they are tied with Bloomburg for third place. The senior members are (l-r) Cody  Tully, Justin Wade, Trey Thompson, B.J. Hankins and Daniel White.
Staff photo by Joseph Elerson

Jan. 27, 2006 - SALTILLO - Seniors Trey Thompson, Daniel White, Justin Wade, B.J. Hankins and Cody Tully all want one goal to end their senior year at Saltillo  - they all want to make the Class A state playoffs.

Saltillo (14-10 overall and 3-3 in district) is currently tied with Bloomburg for third place in District 20-A, Division II and will play the No. 4-ranked team in the state by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches in the Karnack Indians (15-7, 6-0 in district) tonight in Saltillo.

The Lions will be without the services of starting post Thompson, who suffered an injury to his hand recently and will be out for the remainder of the season.

Thompson said not getting to play is tough but his teammates still rely on his leadership throughout the games.

"I am disappointed I won't get to play, but I will be there to support my team, and I have been there the whole ride through," said Thompson, the son of Bruce and Kim Thompson. "They realize and know I am a big asset to the team, and we have only lost one game since my injury and they have a lot of respect for me as a senior."

Thompson said he plans on attending Northeast Texas Community College this fall and then head to a university with hopes of working in architecture.

With only one senior starter in the lineup for head coach Joe Thomas in Tully, Hankins said the loss of Thompson hurts them in the post.

"It hurts us a lot with him out and he was basically our only post player," he said.

Tully, the son of  Linda Mae and Danny Tully, said his role on the team as the leader now takes on a bigger role and said some of the underclassman help out the team as well.

"I have to try and get the guys ready for the game and get them focused now and all of the other guys help out a lot like Miles Payne and they help out a good bit with the leadership," Tully said.

Wade, the son of Virgil and Cathy Wade, hopes the team can take care of the basketball against Karnack and play their best game of the year.

"We need to control the ball and not let them run away with it and play good team defense," he said.

White, the son of Benny and Tammy White, said tonight's game against Karnack will be a tough battle in hopes of picking up their fourth district win.

"We need to play our best game of the year and we need to stay on top of our game against Karnack," White said. 

With the top two teams in the district in Karnack and Avinger back-to-back on the schedule for the Lions in hopes of making it to the playoffs as one of the top two seeds, Hankins said getting past Karnack will get their confidence up, but it won't be easy.

"If we can beat Karnack then we have a pretty high chance of getting in but then we get Avinger so we get the two tough teams real quick," he said.

All five of the seniors said this season has been fun for them and White said the memories will last a lifetime.

"It has been a blast and I will definitely look back on this for the remainder of my days," he said.

Thompson said now with his injury he is going to be more of a vocal leader on the sidelines.

"With five seniors it is hard but we basically share leadership between all of us and we all feel like the seniors lead the team and we all stand up and show it when we need to," said Thompson.

�Thompson said when the teams loses games, they apologize to him after the game or they congratulate him for helping them keep their confidence up during the games while his is out of the lineup.

After suffering a 48-42 loss to the Yantis Owls Tuesday night to fall a game back of Avinger in the standings, Tully said the team needs to get back to the way they play basketball or their playoff hopes will end soon.

"We've got to wake up and play because we lost to Yantis and we need to wake up and play like we should," he said. "If we don't then we don't got a chance."

"Once we were defeated by Yantis it brought our hopes down a little bit, but I hope the guys will step it up. We have a chance to make the playoffs if we win out and the chances are likely," Thompson added. "We just need to have the determination to do it."

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