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Icy shooting dooms ’Jackets
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
COMMERCE–Icy shooting in a sweltering gym proved to be a fatal
combination for the Kemp Yellowjackets Friday, as they fell to the
Princeton Panthers 38-26 in a Region II semifinal basketball game.
In their first trip to the Region II tournament, the ’Jackets were
knocked out of the playoffs for the second straight year by the
Panthers, who lost to Chapel Hill’s Bulldogs 53-52 in the tournament
Kemp ended the year with a 20-13 record, a District 13-3A championship
trophy, an area championship trophy and a regional quarterfinals
Despite the starting time moving up to 2 p.m., in order for the Texas
A&M at Commerce Lady Lions to host a playoff game that evening, a
significant percentage of Kemp’s total population was present in the
Princeton (28-6) entered the game riding a 17-game winning streak, and
featured a starting lineup averaging 6-6 across the front line and 6-1
in the backcourt, far bigger than the ’Jackets.
That tall and talented Panther squad defeated the ’Jackets in the
regional quarterfinals round last year; in 2005, the ’Jackets defeated
Princeton in the area round for the school’s first-ever playoff win.
Cold shooting marked the ’Jackets from the start, as they missed on
their first three possessions. The Panthers didn’t, taking a 6-0 lead
and prompting a Kemp time out with 5:25 left in the first quarter.
Kemp senior Jacarri Culberson finally broke the ice with an inside
bucket, and he and Princeton’s James Erger swapped baskets.
Kevin Freeman hit for the ’Jackets and Kemp fans roared their
appreciation when Culberson drew a charge from Panther Brian Beauchamp
with 2:34 left.
Culberson hit again to draw the ’Jackets within two at 8-6, and after a
Panther turnover, the big senior again muscled inside to tie the contest
at 8-8 with 1:45 left in the first.
After a Princeton basket, Kemp senior guard Joseph Simmons hit a 3-point
bucket to give the ’Jackets their first (and only) lead at 11-10, but a
Panther trey by Bryce Ivy, a Kemp miss and fumble left Princeton on top,
15-11, at the end of the first quarter.
Cold shooting really got the better of the ’Jackets in the second
quarter, as they misfired on six of their seven possessions.
Both teams clamped down on defense, and each offense was deliberate in
attacking, leading to the slow pace of the contest – the first basket
came at the three-minute mark.
Princeton hit back-to-back buckets to give them a 19-11 edge, and
Culberson’s basket cut the Panthers’ halftime lead to six points, 19-13.
“We didn’t shoot the ball real well, but their defense had a lot to do
with that,” Kemp coach Tracy Carter said later. “They are a great team
Strong defensive play on both sides continued in the second half. A foul
on Culberson put Princeton’s Division I prospect, junior Chase Spruell,
at the line. Spruell’s free throws put the Panthers up by eight, 21-13.
Freeman answered with an inside bucket, and both teams misfired on
A free throw by Panther Cliff Mishler, a follow-up basket and a Kemp
miss gave Princeton a nine-point lead, 26-15, and prompted Carter to
call time with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
Simmons responded by putting together a three-point play on a drive down
the lane, and senior guard Justin Gibson made it a six-point game,
26-20, with his only basket.
After a Princeton miss, Kemp played for the last shot, but sophomore
Josh Carr was called for charging (drawing a chorus of boos from the
Kemp crowd), and the quarter ended with Princeton still up by six.
Simmons opened the fourth quarter with a steal, and set up sophomore
James Trim, who was fouled.
Trim hit both shots to pull the ’Jackets within four at 26-22 with 6:56
The ’Jackets turned up the defensive pressure, forcing a miss on a good
play by Matt Brown, but Kemp again misfired.
Simmons grabbed his second steal of the half, but the ’Jackets fumbled,
and Kemp fans held their breath when Culberson took a bad fall and
limped off the court, holding his elbow, with five minutes to play.
Both teams swapped free throws, and Culberson returned to the lineup
with Princeton up by four, 28-24, with 4:39 left.
Princeton became even more deliberate on offense, forcing the ’Jackets
to gamble and leading to a Panther layup and a 30-24 lead.
Kemp turned the ball over on a throwaway, and Princeton called time with
3:14 to play.
The Panthers set up a perfect lob to Spruell, and Culberson picked up
his fourth personal foul. Spruell completed the three-point play to give
the Panthers a 33-24 lead.
After a miss and a Panther misfire on the free throw line, Simmons’
drive cut the margin back to seven points at 33-26, but the ’Jackets
were not able to score another point.
Princeton held the ball, forcing Kemp to foul, and Spruell hit four free
throws in the final minute to help forge the final 12-point margin.
“We were right there, but we could not put the ball in the hole, and had
to start fouling,” Carter said. “They hurt us on the boards (33-13), and
they got to the free throw line, and we did not.
“They minimized Jacarri’s touches in the second half, and put the 6-6
Spruell kid on (5-5) Joseph,” Carter noted.
“I’m extremely happy and proud of our kids,” he added. “They played with
heart and class. It was a great year.
“Our support from the community could not be matched, and it was great
to see all that orange (in the crowd),” Carter said.
Simmons finished with 10 points, while Culberson finished with eight
points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Brown had two points and five rebounds, while Gibson had two points and
Freeman and Trim both finished with two points each.
Kemp’s Kevin Freeman and Jacarri Culberson (dark uniforms), along with
Princeton’s Derek Fort, James Erger and Bryce Ivy, battle for a loose
under the Kemp basket during the second half of Princeton’s 38-26
semifinal victory Friday.
Panthers split at Fairfield
Monitor Staff Reports
FAIRFIELD–Mabank’s Panthers split three games at the Fairfield Eagle
Invitational baseball tournament last weekend.
The Panthers were scheduled to visit Van Tuesday, and will open play
Thursday (today) in the Athens Hornet Invitational tournament.
Tuesday, March 13, the Panthers will visit Canton for a double-header,
with a 2 p.m. start.
Following Spring Break, Mabank will open District 13-3A play at home
against the Kaufman Lions Friday, March 23, and will visit Eustace
Tuesday, March 27, before returning home to host Ferris Friday, March
Each district varsity game starts at 6:30 p.m.
At Fairfield, the Panthers opened with a 15-2 loss to the District 17-3A
China Spring Cougars.
Chris Trejo took the loss, allowing nine runs (eight earned) and 10 hits
in two and two-thirds innings before Zach Kennedy came on in relief.
Kennedy allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits. The Panthers
committed eight errors.
China Spring opened a 1-0 lead, and the Panthers tied the score at 1-1
in the top of the second.
The Cougers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second, added
three more in the third and six runs in the fourth before the Panthers
scored in the top of the fifth.
Mabank came back to defeat the District 23-A Lovelady Lions 10-2 in the
David Taylor pitched a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) on
seven hits and striking out eight Lions.
The Panthers pounded out 12 hits against the Lions, led by RBI singles
from Garrett Hill, Mikey Shelton (two RBI) and Kolton Browning, along
with two RBIs from R.P. Smith and a sacrifice fly RBI by Alan Ott.
Hill and Browning both went 3-for-3 at the plate, while Taylor and
Shelton both went 2-for-3.
Mabank opened a 2-0 lead in the first and added four runs in both the
second and third innings.
In the third game of the tournament, the Panthers committed four errors
during a 5-2 loss to the District 18-4A Huntsville Hornets junior
After a scoreless first inning, Huntsville opened a 4-1 lead in the
second, and added a fifth run in the third. Mabank’s second run came in
the fifth inning.
Chanz Sullivan took the loss, issuing six walks and hitting one batter,
along with allowing four hits in three innings.
Hill came on in relief, allowing one hit and notching two strikeouts in
two innings of work.
Browning (1-for-1) had an RBI, and Mark Groom (1-for-2) nailed an RBI
Kemp, Kaufman big men named co-MVPs
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The district’s two biggest centers were named the
co-Most Valuable Players by the District 13-3A basketball coaches
Kemp’s 6-5 senior Jacarri Culberson, last year’s MVP in a different
district, and Kaufman’s 6-9 senior James Valladares each anchored their
respective team’s defense.
Kemp’s Yellowjackets and Kaufman’s Lions split their district games,
each winning at home, and met for the third time in a memorable regional
quarterfinals match in Lancaster, won by the ’Jackets 47-45 in overtime.
One of the district’s smallest players, Kemp senior guard Joseph
Simmons, was named the “Offensive Player of the Year,” while Kaufman
sophomore David Miles was named the “Defensive Player of the Year.”
Ferris sophomore Paul Alexander was named the district’s “Newcomer of
Kemp coach Tracy Carter, Kaufman coach Charlie White and Crandall coach
Stan Short were named the “Coaches of the Year.”
Kemp’s Kevin Freeman was the only senior named to the five-member first
team, as loop coaches selected four sophomores – Mabank’s Kolton
Browning, Kaufman’s Ayron Miles, Ferris’ Tevin Richard and Crandall’s
Brett Russell, who was a unanimous selection.
Three unanimous selections led off the five-member second team – Kemp
senior Justin Gibson, Kaufman sophomore Deon Wells and Eustace junior
They were joined by Mabank junior Haydon Blair and Crandall senior Matt
Ten players were given honorable mention, including Kemp junior Matt
Brown and sophomore Josh Carr, along with Mabank senior Jarred Batson
and Eustace senior Ryan Schwanbeck.
Also named were Ferris’ Jeremy Masterson and Emmanuel Grady, Crandall’s
Travis Dykman and Matt Dotson, and Kaufman’s Josh Altman and Lester
Mabank’s Bobby Gaddis, Blair, Dewayne Hamilton and David Parry were
named to the Academic All-District team.
Kemp seniors Simmons and Patrick Dowd, along with junior Chas Gipson
were also named Academic All-District.
off Lady Panthers, 2-0
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–A strong defensive effort by the Mabank Lady Panthers limited
Terrell’s Lady Lions to one goal in each half in a 2-0 defeat Friday.
Now 8-9 overall and 5-8 in District 11-4A soccer play, the Lady Panthers
were scheduled to visit Kaufman Tuesday, with the Mabank boys hosting
Friday, March 9, the Lady Panthers will visit Ferris for a single 5:30
p.m. varsity match, while the Mabank boys will host Ferris.
During Spring Break, the Lady Panthers will host Red Oak Tuesday, March
13, and will visit Corsicana Friday, March 16, with the Mabank boys
visiting Red Oak and hosting Corsicana. Each evening opens with 5:30
p.m. junior varsity matches.
The Mabank soccer teams will wind up district play and the regular
season Monday, March 19, when the girls visit Lancaster and the boys
host Lancaster for single 5:30 p.m. varsity matches.
Against Terrell, the Mabank girls defense stood up strongly, as the Lady
Tigers took 33 shots on goal, forcing goalie Erin Mason to make 18
Mabank was able to get only two shots on goal during the match.
Lady Panther Hilary Noble was issued a yellow card during the bruising
Mabank’s Hilary Noble (right) battles a Terrell
Lady Tiger during a 2-0 home loss Friday.
1-2 at tournament
Monitor Staff Report
NACOGDOCHES–Kemp’s Yellowjackets went 1-2 against a trio of 4A teams at
the Nacogdoches Dragon Invitational baseball tournament last weekend.
The ’Jackets were scheduled to visit Canton Tuesday, and will play in
another major tournament, the Time Warner Classic at Waco, opening
Kemp will return home Tuesday, March 13, to host the Fort Worth Diamond
Hill-Jarvis Eagles in a 3 p.m. contest, and Thursday, March 15, the
’Jackets will travel to North Dallas to face Reverchon in a 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 17, Kemp will wind up its pre-district schedule with a 6
p.m. road game against the hosting Mineola Yellowjackets.
Kemp will open District 13-3A play on the road at Eustace Friday, March
23, before returning home to host Crandall Tuesday, March 27.
At Nacogdoches, the ’Jackets opened tournament play against the
Livingston Lions of District 18-4A, using a five-run third inning to
notch an 8-1 victory.
Mikie Scruggs got the win for the ’Jackets, allowing four hits and no
earned runs while issuing one walk and striking out six Lions.
Kemp opened a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Bret Kennedy led
off with a double and was singled home by Dalton Fugitt, who advanced to
third on an error.
After a fly out by Matt Carr, Nick Sallings singled, but was later
tagged out trying to take third.
Justin Gordan singled in Fugitt, but Scruggs hit into an inning-ending
After a scoreless second inning, Kennedy opened the Kemp third with
another double and both Fugitt and Carr walked to load the bases with no
Following a fly out by Sallings, Gordan walked and Scruggs cleared the
bases with a double.
Scruggs later advanced to home on a balk, but Tim Fuller and Cody Kuehn
both hit into outs to end the inning.
Kemp added another run in the bottom of the fourth when Sallings hit a
sacrifice fly to score Kennedy, who singled.
Livingston’s only run came in the top of the fifth when Clamon singled
home Simpson, who had reached base on an error.
Both teams committed two errors each, and both left six runners
Kemp then faced two District 12-4A teams, the hosting Dragons and the
The Dragons pounded the ’Jackets 17-2, taking advantage of six Kemp
errors and racking up 11 hits against a trio of Yellowjacket pitchers.
Sallings took the loss, giving up six runs (only two earned) on nine
hits, with no walks and three strikeouts.
Gordan gave up seven runs (four earned) on four hits, and issued three
walks in just two-thirds of an inning, before giving way to Shane
Henderson, who allowed one run on one hit and two walks.
Kemp opened a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Carr, but the Dragons tied
the score in the bottom of the first and then blew open the game with a
12-run second inning that featured all six Kemp errors and a three-run
The Dragons added two runs in the third and a single run in the fourth.
Henderson’s Zack Aiken one-hit the ’Jackets to fuel a 14-0 victory.
The Lions racked up 14 hits against a trio of Kemp pitchers, and the
’Jackets also committed five errors in the loss.
Tim Fuller took the loss, allowing 10 runs (six earned) on nine hits,
while Leif Skierski allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits, and
Kennedy allowed one unearned run.
Henderson had two big innings, a six-run second (featuring a three-run
triple by Daniel Francis) and a four-run fourth (featuring a two-run
homer by Joel Johnson).
Carr got Kemp’s only hit in the bottom of the fourth.
MHS @ Van
KHS @ Canton
EHS vs Rains
MHS @ Athens tourney
KHS @ Waco tourney
EHS @ Malakoff tourney
MHS vs Dallas Molina
KHS @ Canton
MHS vs Seagoville
EHS @ Lindale tourney
KHS vs Cross Roads
MHS girls @ Kaufman*
MHS boys vs Kaufman*
*District 11-4A game
Eustace Invitational (girls)
(Cedar Creek Country Club)
Region II meet
@ Elysian Fields