The contrast couldn’t have been clearer Friday night when a pair of Canyon ISD boys basketball teams opened their District 4-4A schedules against each other at brand new West Plains High School.
While things were competitive, especially in the first half, it was tradition and reputation which prevailed as expected.
Canyon, ranked No. 9 in the state, proved to be a team to beat in the district against upstart but game West Plains. The Eagles never trailed, although they never got comfortable in cruising to a 47-35 victory in a historic CISD athletic matchup.
It looked a lot like a mid-December district opener, hard-fought but often lacking in crispness of execution. But Canyon’s depth and size proved to be too much for young West Plains to overcome.
“West Plains played their tails off tonight,” Canyon coach Travis Schulte said. “I thought their kids played hard and I thought their intensity was at a different level than what our intensity was. We didn’t make a lot of adjustments at halftime. We just went in and said we’ve got to do us better and be able to handle the pressure.”
Canyon (11-2, 1-0 in district) took a 14-9 lead in the first quarter as West Plains (10-5, 0-1) stayed in the game with three 3-pointers in the quarter. By halftime, it was 24-22 and West Plains had reason to believe it could pull off a shocking upset.
But the Eagles turned things up defensively in the third quarter, giving up only four points to take a 35-26 lead at the end of the quarter. The Wolves stayed in the game, but they struggled offensively, and were unable to put up a significant run which threatened Canyon.
“I thought our guys came out early and were fired up flying around on defense and competed well,” West Plains coach Kendall Cogburn said. “We didn’t get shots to fall late. I’m proud of the effort. We’re just going to build off of that.”
After reaching the Region I-4A final last season, Canyon has bigger short-term goals. The Eagles have ample size with three starters, Kemper Jones, Kelson Jones and Chris Bryant all standing at least 6-foot-6.
Canyon wore down West Plains with that size, particularly in the second half. That’s when the Eagles took advantage of those matchups.
“We did take advantage of matchups better in the second half, but I don’t know that it was necessarily an intentional thing,” Schulte said. “We slowed down a little bit and moved the ball a little bit and let then offense come to us instead of trying to force the offense.”
The two Joneses and Bryant combined to score nine of Canyon’s 11 points in the third quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
“At halftime we realized we had the smaller defender on Kelson so we decided to switch to help me on the outside so that Kelson could go against the shorter defender and take advantage of his height,” said Bryant, who had 12 points. “I feel like in the first half I didn’t hold off the defender very well, so we had to come back out there and put more effort into that. We knew (the Wolves) were going to try to come out and punch us in the face, but we started off cold and that kind of killed us.”
Bryant and Gage Lunsford had 12 points each to lead the Eagles, as Lunsford carried Canyon in the first half with eight points. Kemper Jones had 10 points.
West Plains didn’t have a single scorer in double digits despite hitting five 3-pointers. Wiley Killham led the Wolves with seven points.
“We’ve got to work the kinks out of our offense and find a way to get some easy baskets,” Cogburn said. “I think eventually (Canyon’s) size kind of prevailed. We did a great job of keeping it out there early but sometimes they just got in position. They’re tough to get offensive rebounds on.”
Canyon 14 24 35 47
W. Plains 9 22 26 35
C – Gage Lunsford 12, Chris Bryant 12, Kemper Jones 10. WP – Wiley Killham 7, Ayden Rodriguez 6. Records: Canyon 11-2, 1-0. West Plains 10-5, 0-1.
Randall routs Dumas
The No. 11-ranked Randall Raiders opened District 4-4A in fine fashion by downing Dumas in a big way 97-44 on Friday night at the Raiders Gym.
Randall is off to an 11-5 start on the year and 1-0 in district, while Dumas falls to 13-3, 0-1.
The Raiders have players finish in double digits with standout guard KJ Thomas leading the way with 17 points. Teammate Zak Bol followed with 16, Dawson Heider had 13, Devin Baccus scored 12, and Jaxon Toniolli and Tayesen Combs each added 10. Despite the loss Matthew Reynaga of Dumas had a game-high 20 points.
Dumas 14 25 37 44
Randall 29 48 76 97
D- Matthew Reynaga 20, Jimmy Estradada 9. R- KJ Thomas 17, Zak Bol 16, Dawson Heider 13, Devin Baccas 12, Jaxon Toniolli 10, Tayesen Combs 10. Records: Dumas 13-3, 0-1; Randall 11-5, 1-0.
Hereford hustles past Pampa
Hereford used a big second half to get a key home win against Pampa 49-38 on Friday night.
The Whitefaces led just 24-20 at the break but opened the game up in the third quarter by outscoring the Harvesters 16-8 to go up 40-28. Tyi Duque scored a game-high 18 points for Hereford as teammate Kenyon Loftis chipped in with 13 points.
Hereford improves to 11-2 overall and 1-0 in District 4-4A. Pampa falls to 9-6, 0-1.
Pampa 10 20 28 38
Hereford 11 24 40 49
P- J. Alonzo 10, H. Villanueva 10. H- Tyi Duque 18, Kenyon Loftis 13. Records: Pampa 9-6, 0-1; Hereford 11-2, 1-0.
Perryton beats up Borger
The Perryton Rangers got off to a fast start and never looked back during a 72-40 beating of Borger in a home district clash on Friday night.
Before Borger could blink the Rangers went up 21-8 at the end of the first with hot shooting that followed into the second quarter as Perryton held a commanding 43-16 advantage by halftime. Julian Cervantes had a red-hot performance dropping 29 points for Perryton. Teammate Tad Pshigoda added 13 points.
Perryton is now 7-3 overall and 1-0 in District 4-4A. Borger drops to 7-10, 0-1.
Borger 8 16 31 40
Perryton 21 43 63 72
B- Fernandez 14, Jennings 8. P- Julian Cervantes 29, Tad Pshigoda 13, Aiden Tarango 10. Records: Borger 7-10, 0-1; Perryton 7-3, 1-0.