Boys’ Playoff Picture Comes into Focus

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – With one game left in the regular season – as of Feb. 11 – the playoffs are set for most area boys’ basketball teams. The only issue, however, is several of the teams don’t know where they will be seeded when the postseason tips-off next week.

In District 19-2A, the Kerens Bobcats are going into the playoffs are the first seed out of the district. Cayuga and Cross Roads are currently tied for second with 6-3 records, while Italy is in fourth place with a 4-5 mark. Itasca still has a shot at the fourth seed with a 3-6 record but they will need help. Frost is sitting at 0-9 in district play and looking towards next year.

Last week’s games saw Kerens defeat Italy 53-51, while Itasca took down Frost 56-49 and Cross Roads beat Cayuga 58-49. On Friday, Cross Roads handled Itasca 76-46 as Kerens defeated Frost 45-39 and Cayuga squeaked by Italy, 64-61.

Moving to District 20-2A, the Grapeland Sandies captured their 11th consecutive district championship, sit at 11-0 and will head into the postseason as the one seed out of the district. The Lovelady Lions have secured the two seed and sport a district record of 9-2. Groveton sits at 6-5 while Slocum is 5-6. Both teams have clinched a playoff spot but Tuesday night’s games will likely force a play-in game to determine who goes in as the third seed and who goes in as the fourth seed.

On Tuesday of last week, Grapeland wrapped up the title with a 66-53 win over Lovelady. Slocum defeated Latexo, 67-55 and Centerville beat up on Leon, 51-38. Friday, the Sandies blew out the Mustangs 65-24, Groveton clipped Latexo, 55-51, and Lovelady defeated Leon 86-52.

At the Class 3A level, Crockett and Teague sit tied atop the District 20-3A standings with identical 10-1 records. Buffalo is in third with an 8-3 record and Westwood is currently fourth with 4-7 mark. Elkhart is right behind Westwood with a 4-8 district record and if the Panthers stumble in their district season finale, it will set up a play-in game between the Elks and Panthers for the fourth seed.

On Tuesday of last week, the Elks lost a heartbreaker to the Panthers, 42-41, while Teague slipped by Frankston 48-45 and Buffalo defeated Groesbeck, 68-40. Friday’s games saw Crockett defeat Elkhart 46-33, while Buffalo took down Frankston40-35 and Teague hammered Westwood, 70-45.

In Class 4A, Palestine has clinched the district championship with a 7-0 record. Fairfield is currently second at 5-2 while Mexia is 4-3. If Mexia wins at Rusk and Fairfield loses at Palestine, a play-in game will be needed to determine the second and third seeds. Madisonville is 2-6 and while enter the postseason as the fourth seed out of District 19-4A.

On Tuesday of last week, Palestine took out Rusk, 87-43, while Fairfield defeated Madisonville, 65-42. On Friday, Mexia beat Madisonville, 59-39 while Fairfield handled Rusk, 77-45.

At the Class 1A level, only three teams qualify for the postseason. In District 28-1A, the LaPoynor Flyers at 14-1 and Neches Tigers at 13-2 have clinched the top two seeds. Laneville and Oakwood are still duking it out for the final playoff spot as both have 11-4 records.

Oakwood took on Neches Tuesday night, Feb. 12 while Laneville hosted Wells. As of press time, the scores of those two games were unavailable.

The boys’ playoffs begin on Monday, Feb. 18.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.