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TABC Releases Preseason Rankings

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BJ Lamb

Grapeland Boys and Girls Ranked in Top 10

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – In this new world of COVID-19 and given how basketball season ended in 2020, earlier this week, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) sent up a positive sign with the release of the 2020-2021 preseason polls.  

With the success of the last several seasons – combined with several returning All-State players – both the Grapeland Sandies and Grapeland Sandiettes find themselves ranked in the TABC Preseason Top 10.

The Grapeland Sandiettes are ranked at number eight to start the 2020-2021 season. The Sandiettes have been to the Class 2A Final Four for the last two years. In 2018-2019, Grapeland made it to the State Finals where they fell to the Martin’s Mill Lady Mustangs, 60-56.

Last year, the Sandiettes fell in the State Semifinals to eventual the eventual State Champion Gruver Lady Hounds, 59-49.

Grapeland will have a lot to replace with the loss of four of the five starters from last year’s team, but the one returning starter is 2 x All-State player Teira Jones, returning for her senior season.

The Top 10 Girls’ TABC 2A Preseason Poll:

1. Gruver

2. Muenster

3. Martins Mill

4. Mason

5. San Saba

6. Panhandle

7. Lipan

8. Grapeland

9. Wellington

10. Haskell

Moving to the boys, the Grapeland Sandies open the season ranked at number four. The Sandies have been to the Regional Finals every year since the 2016-2017 season, when they made it to the State Semifinals.

The Sandies return two All-State players in Keizion Ashford and BJ Lamb while Cadarian Wiley was selected as All-Region. Riley Murchison will join the returning starters and was named as Co-Newcomer of the Year in District 20-2A during in the 2019-2020 season.

The Top 10 Boys’ TABC 2A Preseason Poll:

1. Martins Mill

2. Clarendon

3. Lipan

4. Grapeland

5. Hearne

6. McLeod

7. New Deal

8. Tenaha

9. Rivercrest

10. Gary

The Crockett Bulldogs are also ranked in the TABC 2020-2021 preseason poll and they come in at number 14. Crockett’s season ended in the Regional Semifinals last year.

The Bulldogs lost All-State post player Allen Horace and he will be tough to replace. Crockett will have Ty White returning – the 2019-2020 MVP of District 20-3A – along with Courtney Byrd who was District 20-3A’s Newcomer of the Year last season.

The Top 15 Boys’ TABC 3A Preseason Poll:

1. Cole

2. Madison

3. Peaster

4. Academy

5. Brock

6. Tatum

7. Coldspring

8. Atlanta

9. Malakoff

10. Shallowater

11. London

12. Aransas Pass

13. East Chambers

14. Crockett

15. Mineola

Grapeland will play in District 20-2A along with: Centerville; Groveton; Jewett Leon; Latexo; Lovelady and Slocum.

Crockett will play in District 20-3A along with: Buffalo; Elkhart; Fairfield; Franklin; Groesbeck; Teague and Westwood.

At the 1A level, District 27-1A is comprised of: Apple Springs; Groveton Centerville; Kennard; Laneville; Neches; Oakwood and Wells.

In the 4A classification, District 17-4A will be comprised of: Carthage; Center; Hudson; Jasper; Palestine; and Rusk.

The girls’ first day of practice is Oct. 21, the first day for a scrimmage is Oct. 31 and the first game day is scheduled for Nov. 6.

The boys begin a week later on Oct. 28 with their first day of practice. The first day for a boys’ scrimmage is Nov. 7 and the first day for a game is Nov. 13.

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

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