SUGAR LAND — District 28-1A boys' basketball is packed with drama, and that's because four teams are ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
LaPoynor is the top state-ranked team in 28-1A — currently third with a 17-3 record. Neches (12-10) also is among the schools in the top-10, rated sixth.
Laneville (13-7) is 13th and Oakwood (5-3) 15th among teams polled; the TABC released the rankings on Dec. 31, 2018.
LaPoynor is the only 28-1A team without a loss. Neches is next at 5-1, with Laneville and Oakwood at 4-1 — two games clear of Chireno.
What's more, in the state of Texas, only the top-3 schools in Conference 1A districts are allowed to qualify for the postseason — adding to the drama in 28-1A.
Last year, when Slocum was a Conference 1A school, the Mustang boys were left on the outside looking in.
Neches defeated Laneville 58-56 on Friday evening, which should help determine the pecking order. LaPoynor traveled Apple Springs and Oakwood played at Groveton Centerville on Friday evening.
Grapeland, which has been through some turmoil this week, is currently ranked seventh in the Conference 2A poll with a record of 14-5.
Crockett, who beat Grapeland in the Houston County Tournament championship game last week, has emerged as a contender in Conference 3A. The Bulldogs (13-3) are ranked 20th. Westwood (11-12) dropped out of the poll early on; but, the Panthers have been playing much better lately.
Palestine (15-3) is coming off a strong performance in the Ardmore Chickasaw Nation Holiday Tournament, despite going 1-2 at the event.
The Wildcats defeated Oklahoma Conference 5A Ardmore, and suffered losses to a Conference 6A defending state champion from Oklahoma (Putnam City North) and the No. 1 ranked team in Conference 7A Arkansas (Little Rock Central).
Palestine returns to the court on Monday with a home game versus Van.
The overall No. 1 boys' teams by class are: Lipan (19-1) in 1A, Shelbyville (19-2) in 2A, Brock (15-5) in 3A, Wilmer Hutchins (16-3) in 4A, Lancaster (16-2) in 5A and Allen (21-1) in 6A.
The girls' basketball isn't as strong in the Pine Empire as it had been in recent memory; but, there are a couple of success stories.
LaPoynor (14-5) overall is the class of District 28-1A with a spotless 6-0 mark. Neches is one game back with two district losses — followed by Chireno in third and Groveton Centerville fourth.
In Conference 2A, Grapeland is the lone school ranked in state polling — in 12th. The Sandiettes have a record of 14-8 overall, and they haven't lost in District 20-1A action. Centerville, also in Grapeland's district, is slotted 14th overall with a sparkling 21-4 overall record.
Buffalo, under former Slocum head coach Dustin Bates, continues to have one of the strongest girls' programs in the region. The Lady Bison are 14-2, 3-0 in District 20-3A, the same district that includes Westwood, Elkhart and Frankston.
The overall No. 1 girls' teams across Texas by class are: Nazareth (15-6) in 1A, Martins Mill (21-0) in 2A, Wall (18-1) in 3A, Levelland (21-1) in 4A, Mansfield Timberview (24-1) in 5A and Duncanville (21-4) in 6A.