NO. 7: AREA OWNS 1A BASKETBALL — When it comes to dominance, nobody was (and is) much more dominating than the area’s Class 1A basketball schools.
For the third-straight year, Neches captured the girls’ state championship (more on them later). Also, for the second-straight year, Cayuga and Grapeland made up half of the field at the Class 1A, Region III tournament in February.
Both the Slocum boys and girls had strong seasons, with the former falling to Grapeland in the regional quarterfinals and the latter losing to state-bound Martin’s Mill in the regional semifinals.
It’s continued late in the year as the next basketball season has gotten underway, with the Slocum girls, Cayuga boys and Oakwood boys all occupying top-10 spots in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
NO. 6: WESTWOOD MAKES BIG POSTSEASON SPLASH — It had been close to four years since the Westwood athletic department had a playoff team prior to 2012.
In the year since, the Panthers have had three.
Westwood broke its postseason drought in a big way in 2012, led by the Westwood boys’ basketball team breaking its almost two decade postseason drought by finishing second in 20-3A.
The Panthers got bounced in the first round by Waco Connally in heartbreaking fashion, as Courtney Anderson’s potential game-winner went just wide at the buzzer.
After the basketball team came Lady Panther softball, which finished third in 20-3A to return to the playoffs
The Westwood volleyball team provided the biggest spark to the 2012 campaign, however, as the Lady Panthers rank through District 19-2A to an undefeated district title.
The Lady Panthers then defeated Troup in the area round of the playoffs to advance to the regional quarterfinals, where they fell to state tournament-bound White Oak.
Editor’s Note: The year’s top-five can be found in the Jan. 1 edition of the Herald-Press
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com