Sports and Outdoors


 Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 321.79
Water Temperature:
53 degrees





Fly Fish Texas set at TFFC
By Larry D. Hodge
Special to The Monitor

ATHENS–Fly Fish Texas grew out of a chance encounter between a fly-fisher teaching his grandkids to cast and a Texas Parks and Wildlife employee who thought it looked like fun.
Allen Crise was teaching his grandchildren to cast at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center casting pond when former TPWD employee Jinger Knight happened by. One thing led to another, and soon Walter McLendon and other members of the Pineywoods Fly Fishers committed to organizing the first Fly Fish Texas, held in 2000.
The event has since introduced thousands of people to fly-fishing, many of whom shared two common misconceptions – one, that Texas is not a fly-fishing state, and two, they could not learn to fly-fish.
Neither misconception could be further from the truth, say the seasoned fly-anglers who volunteer each year to teach everything from knot-tying to two-handing casting.
“I had a television impression of Texas when I lived in Michigan – hot and dry,” Allen Crise of Glen Rose, who chairs the casting classes at Fly Fish Texas with Steven Hollensed, noted.
“Then I moved to Glen Rose and took a canoe out on the Paluxy River, and that was a turning point for me,” Crise said. “Texas has almost 200,000 miles of rivers and streams and more lakes to fish than most states.
“Within a morning’s drive I can fish for trout, bass, bluegills, chain pickerel and striped bass, and just a little more driving can put me in saltwater fishing for redfish, spotted seatrout or any number of deepwater fish,” Crise added.
“Casting a fly is not hard to learn – that’s a big misconception,” Hollensed said. “The difference in fly-casting and conventional fishing is that in fly-fishing you are casting the weight of the line as opposed to the weight of the lure or bait. You have to learn to throw the line backwards, and that goes against what people have learned in the past.”
About 1,000 people attend Fly Fish Texas each year, and it takes only a few hours for them to advance from rank amateur to, well, not-so-rank amateur.
Colby (“Pops”) Sorrells is a fly-casting and fly-tying instructor, and he’s seen the magic at work.
“The best thing about Fly Fish Texas is that it is made for the person who is just starting out,” he says. “Once you walk in the gate, you will be immersed in the fly-fishing community. Fly Fish Texas gives the person who’s been thinking about fly-fishing but never done it the opportunity to learn all about it.”
Fly Fish Texas focuses on helping people master the set of skills required for fly-fishing.
“Many Scout groups use the event as part of their merit badge quest,” Sorrells pointed out. “Instructors hold classes throughout the day on everything from fly-casting to fly-tying to knot tying. This is a hands-on event, and visitors are expected to participate.
“True beginners can join one of the casting classes where rods and reels are provided. Classes are offered on particular casting problems, how to set up tackle, fly selection and more,” Sorrells added. “Seminars give information on subjects ranging from how to fish specific bodies of water to tips and techniques for fishing for different species. Skilled fly-tiers make flies all day long. Anyone wanting to learn how can give it a try themselves or simply watch.”
Fly Fish Texas will be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens Saturday, March 8.
For an event program, vendor information and directions to TFFC, go to  and click on the “Fly Fish Texas” link. To explore fly-fishing opportunities in Texas, visit the TPWD Angler Education pages at

Kaufman nips Mabank, 66-63
Lions capture District 13-3A championship with tourney win
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

DALLAS–Kaufman’s Lions opened a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter and held off a late Mabank Panther comeback to win the District 13-3A boys basketball championship 66-63 Friday.
The narrow win capped a four-game mini-tournament at the Ellis Davis Field House to determine the district playoff seeding, after Mabank, Kaufman, Ferris and Crandall all finished tied for first at the end of regular-season play.
As the district champion, the Lions get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Mabank, the district runner-up, was scheduled to face Brownsboro, the District 14-3A third-place team, in the first game of a double-header Tuesday at Wills Point.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank junior Kolton Browning (14) drives in for two of his game-high 27 points during a 66-63 district championship loss to Kaufman’s Lions Friday in Dallas.

Ferris, the District 13-3A third-place team, was slated to face 14-3A runner-up Van in the second game of Tuesday’s double-header.
Kaufman and Tuesday night’s winners advance to the area round of the playoffs this weekend.
Feb. 14, the 13-3A teams opened the mini-tournament at the Davis Field House, with Mabank facing Ferris and Kaufman facing Crandall for the second time in three days.
Mabank posted the largest winning margin of the tournament with a 64-45 win over the Yellowjackets.
After Ferris posted an early 18-14 lead, the Panthers came roaring back, outscoring the ’Jackets 16-9 in the second quarter to take a three-point halftime lead.
In the second half, the Panthers outscored Ferris 34-18 behind Kolton Browning (12 points), Albin Gashi (eight points) and Caleb McKee (six points) to forge the final 19-point margin.
Browning finished with a game-high 25 points, while Gashi finished with 15, and Haydon Blair, McKee and Tyler Fisher all scored six points each.
Tanner Bodine and Jeremy Masterson led Ferris with 11 points each, and Paul Alexander added 10 points.
In the second game of the opening round, Kaufman defeated Crandall 52-49, using a 19-11 push in the fourth quarter to take a come-from-behind victory.
Friday, the first-round losers, Ferris and Crandall, played to determine third place in the district.
Ferris’s James Dye hit a pair of free throws to give the Yellowjackets a 49-45 lead with less than 15 seconds to play, and the ’Jackets got some help when Crandall missed two of four three throws.
Alexander could have iced the game with 7.4 seconds to play, but missed both free throws, leaving the Yellowjackets clinging to a 49-47 lead.
Ferris managed to harass Crandall into throwing up an awkward, off-balance shot at the buzzer, and won by two points.
In the nightcap, the Lions and Panthers battled to a 34-34 standoff in the first half, as neither team pulled ahead by more than six points at any time.
That six-point margin came early, when Panther Oliver Wedemeyer hit a 3-point basket to put Mabank up 18-12, but Lion R.J. Turner answered with a trey at the other end to make it a three-point game again.
Mabank held a slim 20-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Lion sophomore Mitchell Malone put together a three-point play to give Kaufman a 22-20 lead with 6:33 left in the first half.
Mabank sophomore Tray Phillips tied the contest at 22, and after swapping turnovers, Browning tied the contest at 28 and again at 30.
Gashi hit a short jumper at the halftime buzzer to tie the contest at 34.
Early in the second half, the officials (who had allowed essentially unlimited contact in the first half) called offensive fouls on both the Panthers (Browning, Gashi and Blair) and the Lions (David Miles), and each team adjusted its defensive play.
Ayron Miles hit one of two free throws to give Kaufman a six-point lead at 40-34 with 5:15 left in the third, but the Panthers came right back behind Fisher, Phillips and Gashi.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank senior Albin Gashi (24) drives around Kaufman junior Ayron Miles (5) during Mabank’s 66-63 loss to Kaufman Friday in a district championship playoff in Dallas.

A put-back by Browning tied the score again at 47, but the Lions took a 51-49 lead on a basket by Deon Wells.
As the fourth quarter opened, Ayron Miles hit a trey to give the Lions a five-point lead, 54-49, but another put-back by Browning closed the gap to three points.
With just over four minutes to go, Kaufman junior Chris Wood hit the game-turning basket, an NBA 3-pointer that gave the Lions a seven-point lead, 60-53, and all-important momentum.
When Wells picked up two quick fouls (his third and fourth) and was forced to take a seat with 3:24 to play, it looked like the Panthers were ready to make a run behind Browning.
The junior lefty hit a pair of free throws, then made a steal and drove coast-to-coast to make it a three-point game at 60-57.
Down the stretch, however, the Panthers couldn’t buy a basket, and Turner’s fast-break layup gave the Lions a seven-point lead once again, 64-58.
From that point, the final two minutes became a free-throw shooting contest, as the Panthers had to foul to keep the Lions from running the clock down, and the Lions strongly contested every Panther shot.
With 58.6 seconds left, Lion junior Kendall Wrenn committed his fourth foul, and Browning hit both free throws to make it a four-point game at 65-61.
Kaufman missed two opportunities, but managed to keep the ball until Browning put on another coast-to-coast show to make it a two-point contest at 65-63 with 30 seconds left.
Wrenn grabbed a steal on a Panther inbounds pass, and tried to call time, but was standing on the sideline, allowing Mabank to keep the ball with 9.1 seconds left.
During the play, Browning was knocked to the floor, suffering a bloody nose, and was forced to leave the game.
Mabank coach Mark Allen used his last time out so Browning would have time to recover and reenter the contest, but the officials ruled he could not return until the next stoppage in play.
Mabank’s last-possession shot missed as Browning looked on from the sideline, and the Lions celebrated their three-point victory.
Browning led all scorers with 27 points (including 9-of-11 from the charity stripe), but no other Panther scored in double figures.
Gashi finished with nine points, while Phillips had eight, both Blair and Fisher finished with six points each, Wedemeyer had five points and McKee added two points.
Wrenn led a very balanced Kaufman attack with 13 points, as David Miles finished with 12 and Wood had nine.
Both Turner and Wells finished with eight points each, Ayron Miles had six points, Malone finished with five, Nick Taylor scored three and Chad Walker chipped in two points.


A-G stops Kemp
Monitor Staff Reports
ALBA-GOLDEN–In their best game to date, the Kemp Lady Yellowjackets softball team battled Alba-Golden’s hosting Lady Panthers Monday before falling, 6-3.
This weekend (today-Saturday), the Lady ’Jackets are scheduled to play in the Kerens Lady Bobcat Invitational tournament.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Lady ’Jackets will visit Cayuga for a 4:30 p.m. contest, the first of four straight games originally scheduled to be played at home, but moved because the new Kemp baseball and softball fields are not ready.
Friday, Feb. 29, the Kemp girls will visit Palestine for a 4:30 p.m. game, and the next Friday, March 7, Kemp will visit the Sabine Lady Cardinals for a 5 p.m. contest.
Against Alba-Golden, Kemp’s Kylie Goswick went 2-for-4 at the plate, while Bre Griffin hit a double.
Jasmine Prince pitched for the Lady ’Jackets, giving up only six hits, but not getting much defensive help, as numerous Kemp errors led to Lady Panther runs.
The Lady ’Jackets also had two starters benched by injury, new coach Kurt Schumacher reported.

Upcoming games


Feb. 21-23
MHS @ EHS tournament
KHS @ Wills Point tourn.
EHS tournament


Feb. 21-23
MHS @ Ennis tourn.
KHS @ Kerens tourn.
EHS @ Kerens tourn.

Feb. 26
MHS @ John Tyler
KHS @ Cayuga
EHS vs Kilgore

Feb. 22
MHS g/b vs Ennis* (b home)
EHS g/b @ Athens*

Feb. 26
MHS g/b vs Waxahachie*
EHS g/b vs Whitehouse*
*District contest

Feb. 23
District 13-3A meet

Feb. 22
Bulldog Relays (EHS)

Feb. 28
Cedar Creek Relays (MHS)

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