High School: Arlington Lamar

Arl. Bowie burns Lamar with 27-point quarter

February, 3, 2012
ARLINGTON, TEXAS -- Allen Gratts said he wasn’t sending a message to the starters of his Arlington Bowie boys basketball team when he benched them in the first quarter.

“They just didn’t deserve to be on the floor, they were playing so badly,’’ Gratts explained. “I told them they were going to get one more chance in the second quarter. And when they got back out there, it was like a different team.’’

Bowie, limited to six points in the first quarter, exploded for 27 in the second period and went on to breeze past host Arlington Lamar, 69-52, on Friday night in a matchup of the third- and fourth-place teams in District 4-5A. Coupled with a 57-56 Bowie home court win over Lamar on Jan. 10, the Volunteers completed a sweep of the Vikings.

North Crowley and Arlington Martin are 1-2 in in the 4-5A standings.

Lamar (11-15, 7-4 in 4-5A) still owns a one-game district lead over Bowie (12-18, 6-5) with three regular-season games remaining.

“We showed tonight that we want third place instead of fourth,’’ said Jeremy Senglin, who led Bowie with 16 points, 10 coming in the decisive second quarter.

The Bowie starters were 0-for-6 shooting in the first period and trailed 6-2 when Gratts went to his bench.

The same five made 8-of-18 shots in the second quarter, went 7-for-8 from the free throw line and forced nine Lamar turnovers to build a 33-21 halftime lead.

Lamar reduced the lead to single digits just once in the second half on a follow shot by Robert Sneed that made it 41-32 with three minutes to play in the third period. But Lamar couldn’t sustain its rally.

While Bowie struggled early, junior guard DaQuan Thomas helped the Vikings jump ahead, scoring seven of his team-high 16 points in the first quarter.

Gratts and Lamar coach Zach Burks have taken some lumps with young teams this season. Between the teams, there was only one senior starter on Friday.

Bowie gave North Crowley a tough game in 61-53 defeat on Tuesday and appears to be gaining playoff momentum.

“Our defense has been better the last two games,'' Gratts said. “In the second quarter we looked like a playoff team.’’

GIRLS: Arlington Lamar 52, Arlington Bowie girls 44

Senior guard Jasmine Dubose accounted for six of Lamar’s final eight points, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds, to help the Lady Vikings move into sole possession of second place in District 4-5A with one game remaining.

Lamar improved to 21-12 for the season and 11-2 in 4-5A.

Bowie (26-6, 10-3) was led by Ashley Ferguson’s 17 points.

“I’m excited for our girls,’’ said Lamar coach Erinn Levels. “We went into a game at Bowie in similar position last year and they beat us, so this is payback.’’

Lamar travels to Arlington Martin and Bowie hosts Weatherford to wrap up the regular season Tuesday.

Sneeds keep Arlington Lamar in playoff hunt

January, 26, 2012
With three Sneed brothers in the starting lineup, Arlington Lamar’s boys basketball team really is like a family.

There is Brandon, a 6-foot-4 junior; Jeremy, a 6-foot-2 sophomore; and Robert, a 6-foot-3 freshman.

“All three are pretty laid-back kids,’’ said second-year Lamar coach Zach Burks. “But they can be pretty competitive, too. They will get after each other.’’

Brandon and Robert have similar games and are capable of playing inside and outside. Jeremy’s role is more of a traditional guard.

In District 4-5A games, Robert is the leading scorer with a 12.6 average, followed by Brandon (9.9) and Jeremy (8.3).

The Sneeds have accounted for 53 percent of the Vikings’ points in district games. Despite fielding one of the area’s youngest teams, Lamar (9-14) is in third place in the district with a 5-3 record.

Lamar’s roster is made up of three freshmen, four sophomores, four juniors and only two seniors. The starting lineup consists of two freshmen, two juniors and one sophomore.

“We knew we were going to be young this season,’’ said Burks, “but we didn’t know we would be this young. It’s been interesting.’’

North Crowley and Arlington Martin are first and second, respectively, in 4-5A. Lamar owns a one-game lead over Fort Worth Paschal and Arlington Bowie with six games remaining.

“There’s a lot of basketball to be played and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,’’ Burks said. “We just need to take care of our business.’’

Lamar hosts Weatherford at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Homecoming for Bills' Fred Jackson (Arl. Lamar)

November, 10, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Imagine if you came home one day and your house was replaced by a $1.2 billion football stadium.

Welcome to Fred Jackson’s world.

Jackson will play at Cowboys Stadium Sunday as the NFL’s third-leading rusher on the very spot he once played touch football as a kid with his friends.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Jackson, who did not even star at Arlington Lamar High School. “We were young kids playing football out in the middle of the street. It will be good going back.”

He grew up an Emmitt Smith fan and wears No. 22 in honor of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Jackson has 803 rushing yards and 1,194 scrimmage yards. He is the first Buffalo back to average more than 100 yards a game through the first eight games of a season since Thurman Thomas in 1993.

“It’s a homecoming. I’ve yet to play there,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to play. Growing up in the state of the Texas you either want to play for the Cowboys or play against them. To get the opportunity to go down there and play, we’re coming down with a really good team that’s doing really well right now and we’ve got to win this game. You have to show up and play big.”

The Cowboys are coming off back-to-back nightmarish games for the run defense. Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy ran for 185 yards and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch had 135 last week. Defensive end Marcus Spears called the work “terrible.”

“Whenever a team runs the ball against you you’ve got to look at it that way,” outside linebacker Anthony Spencer said. “If you can’t stop the run in this league, it’s hard to win games. Everybodu on this defense knows that.”

It’s up to the defense to ruin Jackson’s homecoming.

ARLINGTON, Texas – District 4-5A, containing mostly Arlington ISD schools, has been surprisingly competitive this season.

Teams such as Arlington and Arlington Lamar have silently made moves throughout district play to be in a position to take the district title with one game left in the regular season.

Also in the three-way tie of 5-1 teams is a perennial mainstay Arlington Martin squad which can claim its second district title in as many years with a win over Fort Worth Paschal on Thursday, coupled with an Arlington loss to Arlington Bowie.

Martin already has sealed the Division I No. 1 seed and broke the school record for most wins in a season with nine.

“We’ll try to go out and take care of our business and we’ll be a fan and watch what happens Friday night,” Martin coach Bob Wager said. “Certainly, we would like to repeat as district champion but the prize that comes around Christmas time is what we are looking for.”

Martin is also celebrating its second year sending a player to the Under Armor All-American Game after standout defensive end Devonte Fields was given his All-American jersey Tuesday.

Click here for an in-depth feature from ESPN Recruiting on Fields , a TCU commit, and his selection to the All-American Game.

Rankings: Highland Park bounces back to No. 1

October, 16, 2011

What we got right: The majority of the teams in the 5A poll took care of business this week, leaving the top seven unchanged. Aledo and Waxahachie remained unmoved after wins this weekend in 4A. Waxahachie has proven it belongs at the top of one of the deepest districts in the area, 15-4A, but it will be interesting to see if it has what it takes to move up any further.

What we got wrong: We can't make up our mind who is the best team in 4A. Denton Ryan and Highland Park have very comparable results through 2011, and both pass a similar eye test. However, Highland Park has proven it has depth on offense, finding players to replace standout wide receiver Dalton Stogner. Garland has flown under the radar for the majority of the season but had a big win against Rowlett this weekend, showcasing skill in all phases of the game. Fort Worth Southwest taught Fort Worth Arlington Heights a lesson it did not learn in years past -- how to lose in district play. That blowout was more than enough to give Southwest the No. 10 spot in the 4A poll.

Say hello to: 5A -- Garland, Cedar Hill; 4A --Fort Worth Southwest

Say goodbye to: 5A -- Keller Central, Hebron; 4A -- Everman

Watch out for: 5A -- Arlington Lamar; 4A -- Frisco

Tell us: How would you rank teams differently and who did we leave out?

Arl. Lamar 4-0 in 4-5A after edging Arl. Bowie

October, 14, 2011
ARLINGTON -- One of the season’s best turnaround stories just added another chapter.

Arlington Lamar, not so long ago 0-3 at the completion of nondistrict play, held off Arlington Bowie, 21-20, Friday night at Wilemon Field to go to 4-0 in District 4-5A.

Lamar (4-3, 4-0) leads Arlington Martin and Arlington High by one game and by two over Bowie (4-3, 2-2) and North Crowley with three games remaining in the regular season.

“It is unbelievable the way this season has gone,’’ said Lamar quarterback Connor Berry, who completed 19 of 31 passes for 208 yards and a pair of touchdown passes in the second half. “Offensively, we got back to playing our game in the second half. But I have to hand it to our defense. They did an amazing job.’’

Berry’s touchdown passes of 30 and 38 yards to junior DaQuan Thomas occurred in a four-minute window late in the third period. Thomas finished with nine catches for 152 yards.

“The first one, I rolled out and DaQuan came across the field,‘’ said Berry, a 5-9, 170-pound senior. “He’s always open on that play in practice and he was open tonight.‘’

Thomas was inside the 5-yard-line when he made the catch and took a couple of steps for the score.

The winning points, as it turned out, came on a fourth-and-8 play at the Vols 38.

“I threw that one before DaQuan even turned his head,‘’ Berry said.

Thomas made the catch near the sideline for the first down, and when a Bowie defender missed an attempted tackle, Thomas sprinted the final 20 yards into the end zone for a 21-14 lead.

With a five-year winning streak over Lamar, the Vikings had to figure Bowie wasn’t finished. Sure enough, the Vols held the ball for six minutes and 16 plays to draw within a point on a one-yard touchdown run by Blake Bradford with 3:41 remaining. Twice, the drive was kept alive by Lamar penalties, roughing the punter and pass interference.

But Lamar got a break when the Vols extra-point kick for the tie missed to the right.

Bowie got the ball once more with 34 seconds remaining and managed to move 39 yards, but Kolby Listenbee’s desperation heave fell incomplete on the game’s final play, setting off a celebration on the Lamar sideline.

A 47-yard touchdown pass from Listenbee to D.J. White with a little over a minute remaining in the first half gave the Vols a 14-7 intermission lead.

Listenbee’s 1-yard sneak allowed Bowie to tie the game early in the second period against a Lamar defense that stood strong against seven consecutive plays inside its 10. The defense made another similar stand in the second half.

Lamar scored first with the help of a trick play. Thomas hooked up with Berry on a flanker-around pass for 39 yards, setting up a 16-yard scoring run by Cameron Smith on the following play.

A failed 27-yard field goal attempt prevented Bowie from taking advantage of the only first-half turnover, an interception by Quinton McCoy.

“We’re a family,’’ said Lamar defensive back Paris Watson. “Even when we were 0-3, if one feels down, we’re all down. If one is up, everybody is up.’’

Said Berry: “We were very confident going into the season, but we lost that first game to South Grand Prairie and it was one of those things for three weeks. But we decided when district started it was time to play or shut up and go home.’’

Arl. Lamar tries to hold 4-5A lead vs. Arl. Bowie

October, 13, 2011
ARLINGTON LAMAR (3-3, 3-0 4-5A) vs. ARLINGTON BOWIE (4-2, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Wilemon Field

When we saw them last: Lamar remained the surprise District 4-5A leader after a 52-12 pummeling of Fort Worth Paschal. It took two days for Bowie to put a wrap on a 42-21 win over North Crowley after a power outage Friday night forced a Saturday afternoon finish. Sophomore defensive back Edwin Freeman had two fumble returns for touchdowns.

2010 result: Bowie continued a five-year trend by holding off Lamar, 36-32, despite being outgained by over 100 yards. In Bowie’s run of success against Lamar, it has scored at least 35 points in all five wins. Lamar swept the first 22 meetings until Kenny Perry became Volunteers coach.

What’s at stake: Lamar with a win can maintain sole possession of the District 4-5A lead. A victory for Bowie would assure it at least a share of first place with three games remaining in the regular season.

Key matchup: Lamar senior quarterback Connor Berry has a hot hand, having thrown for 651 yards and eight touchdowns during the Vikings’ three-game winning streak. Bowie’s speedy, athletic defense is holding opponents to an average of 272 total yards per game.

Players to watch: Lamar receiver DaQuan Thomas is Berry’s go-to guy with 25 catches for 376 yards and seven touchdowns, while Cameron Smith leads the team in rushing with 327 yards and three scores. Bowie quarterback Kolby Listenbee accounted for three touchdowns in last year’s game at Lamar and senior running back Russell Hansbrough has regained the form from his sophomore season, rushing for 822 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Prediction: Bowie 35, Lamar 31.

Arlington Lamar a surprising District 4-5A leader

October, 10, 2011
Surprising Arlington Lamar is alone in first place in District 4-5A with a 3-0 record.

Preseason favorites Arlington Martin, Arlington Bowie and Arlington High are one game back at 2-1.

It has been an abrupt turnaround for Lamar, which struggled to an 0-3 record prior to the start of district play. Two of the losses (35-21 to Mansfield Timberview and 27-7 to Flower Mound Marcus) weren’t close.

But following an open date, Lamar began its turnaround with a 41-24 over Arlington.

Since getting a taste of victory, Lamar has reeled off two more, 42-0 over Weatherford and most recently 52-12 over Fort Worth Paschal.

Second-year head coach Trent Fuller has installed a quarterback-friendly offense and Connor Berry, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior, has taken advantage, completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,201 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Vikings defense has averaged four takeaways per game in the winning streak.

Lamar (3-3, 3-0) faces its biggest 4-5A test to date when it meets Bowie (4-2, 2-1) 7:30 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Wilemon Field. The Vikings haven’t had a 4-0 district record since 2004.

Fuller was offensive coordinator for Bowie head coach Kenny Perry before coming to Lamar.

Bowie defeated Lamar for the fifth straight time in 2010, but Lamar still holds a commanding 22-5 series lead.

Rankings: Skyline rises over DeSoto to No. 2

October, 9, 2011

What we got right: Most of the teams in the top 10 remained the same, but Week 6 might have shuffled the deck more than any week to date. The 4A poll remained mostly the same with the exception of Waxahachie jumping to the No. 4 position after its win over Corsicana.

What we got wrong: Skyline proved itself with a decisive win over Dallas Jesuit on Friday, which shot the Raiders over DeSoto, who struggled for a victory over North Mesquite, for the first time this year. Keller Central more than proved it belonged among the best in the area with a 6-0 record and a win over previous No. 8 Denton Guyer. Everman comes in at No. 10, with several weeks of quality play after taking a Zero Week loss from Highland Park.

Say hello to: 5A -- Keller Central; 4A --Everman

Say goodbye to: 5A --Denton Guyer; 4A -- Mesquite Poteet

Watch out for: 5A Arlington Lamar; 4A -- Fort Worth Southwest

Two Arlington teams get first win at right time

September, 26, 2011
Winless in three nondistrict games, Arlington Lamar and Arlington Sam Houston broke through with victories in District 4-5A openers Friday.

Quarterback Connor Berry helped prevent Lamar’s first 0-4 start since 1984 by throwing for 212 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 94 yards and two scores in a 41-24 win over Arlington (1-3, 0-1).

Berry, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior, gave Lamar (1-3, 1-0) the lead for good with a 78-yard touchdown run in the second period.

Lamar ended Arlington’s three-year winning streak in the rivalry and increased its series lead to 22-18-1.

The Vikings travel to Weatherford (1-3, 0-1) on Friday.

A second chance for kicker Miguel Alvarez produced the winning overtime field goal for Sam Houston in a 24-21 homecoming triumph over Fort Worth Paschal.

Alvarez missed from 27 yards, but a Paschal encroachment penalty moved the kicker 5 yards closer for the winning 22-yard kick.

The field goal followed an end zone interception by the Texans’ David Mustapha that ended the overtime possession for Paschal (0-4, 0-1).

Texans quarterback Kendall Jackson threw for two scores.

Sam Houston (1-3, 1-0) faces Arlington Bowie (2-2, 0-1) Friday at Wilemon Field.

More Thursday home games for Arlington teams

August, 29, 2011
More Arlington ISD teams will play home games Thursday nights this season because one fewer stadium is available for the six varsity squads.

The school district chose not to rent UT-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium this season as part of the district’s budget cutting for the 2011-2012 school year in the wake of an estimated $48.4 million shortfall.

The district will save $99,000 by eliminating Maverick Stadium rental.

Arlington ISD will make do with two stadiums, Cravens Field on the campus of Arlington Lamar and Wilemon Field at Arlington Sam Houston.

Maverick Stadium in years past was the designated home stadium for Arlington High and Arlington Bowie.

Cravens Field, the home field for Lamar and Arlington Martin, adds Arlington this season. Wilemon Field, home to Sam Houston and Arlington Seguin, adds Bowie.

Arlington High last played its home games at Cravens Field in the 1983 season.

Eight Thursday home games are scheduled, including the one that could decide the District 4-5A title: Bowie vs. Martin on Sept. 22 at Cravens Field.

Arlington High and Lamar play the most Thursday home games with three each. Sam Houston has two and Seguin, Bowie and Martin have one each.

District 4-5A football season preview

August, 15, 2011
  • Arlington (7-4, 5-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Scott Peach.
  • Arlington Bowie (7-4, 6-1), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Kenny Perry.
  • Arlington Lamar (5-6, 4-3), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Trent Fuller.
  • Arlington Martin (10-3, 7-0), lost in DI regional semifinal. Coach: Bob Wager.
  • Arlington Sam Houston (4-6, 3-4). Coach: Anthony Criss.
  • Fort Worth Paschal (1-9, 0-7). Coach: Matt Cook.
  • North Crowley (2-8, 2-5). Coach: Keeath Magee.
  • Weatherford (1-9, 1-6). Coach: Reid Waller.
THE BIG QUESTION: Is Martin poised to become the bully of the block after defeating Bowie on the way to the District 4-5A title in 2010?

Bob Wager’s Warriors have advanced to the third round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons, something never before accomplished at Martin.

Quarterback Brodie Lambert was named MVP in Martin’s Red Bull Game Breakers 7-on-7 national championship during the summer. There is quality in the eight returning starters on defense, including college commits Devonte Fields (TCU), Stephen Amoako and Eric Amoako (Oregon).

Arlington ISD rivals Bowie and Arlington High aren’t going to concede the title to Martin. Bowie returns experience at key spots and has advanced to the playoffs in all five seasons under coach Kenny Perry.

Arlington Lamar could figure into the mix after making the playoffs in its first season under a coach not named Eddy Peach.


DE Devonte Fields, LB Cameron Williams, OL Steven Baggett, DB Eric Amoako, DB Stephen Amoako, Arlington Martin; QB/WR Kolby Listenbee, LB Jaquirous Jackson, DT Demonte Hood, RB Russell Hansbrough, Arlington Bowie; RB Tavarreon Dickerson, OL Daniil Lysenko, LB Curtis Douglas, Arlington; SS Paris Watson, LB Deandre Wilson, QB Connor Berry, Arlington Lamar; WR Xavier Mathews, North Crowley; WR Terrell Varnes, Arlington Sam Houston; QB Chris Hanson, Fort Worth Paschal; QB Trooper Reynolds, Weatherford.


Four of the last five Martin seasons have ended with a playoff loss to Euless Trinity. ... After going young in 2010, Arlington returns 19 starters. ... Second division finishers North Crowley, Arlington Sam Houston, Fort Worth Paschal and Weatherford won a total of eight games among them.

  1. Arlington Martin
  2. Arlington Bowie
  3. Arlington
  4. Arlington Lamar

7-on-7 notebook: Arl. Martin's rah-rah grandma

June, 15, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Even in afternoon temperatures approaching triple digits, Karen Fallman wasn’t about to miss a play involving her grandson, Arlington Martin quarterback Brodie Lambert.

The 73-year-old Arlington resident spent over six hours at the Red Bull 7-on-7 Game Breakers Fort Worth Qualifier on Tuesday night at O.D. Wyatt High School.

She was still going strong when Martin defeated Aledo, 20-11, under the lights for the title.

“I had a great time, particularly since we won,’’ she said. “I have eight grandchildren and they’ve all been good athletes. I never miss any of them playing. Brodie is the last one.’’

Friends say Karen doesn’t hesitate to let a referee know when she believes a mistake has been made.

“When its blatant right in front of them and they don’t call it, I don’t understand that,’’ she said.

Guyer receiver grades out well

Connor Crane ranks No. 1 academically in a 2012 graduating class of over 500 at Denton Guyer.

The 6-4, 190-pound outside receiver said his mom, a chemical engineer, insists on studies before sports.

Crane, a returning starter from last year’s Class 4A Division I state finalist team, is considering a career in the medical field. Football, however, plays a role in his college choice.

He’s made unofficial visits to Northwestern, Kansas and Colorado and will take a first-hand look at the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday, California Bears on Sunday and Stanford on Monday. He hopes to commit this summer.

“I’m looking for a good academic school, but I want to see how the coaches are and how quickly I can get into the lineup,’’ Crane said.

Crane caught a touchdown pass on the final play to beat Arlington, 26-24, in a third-round game Tuesday.

“People might overlook us this season because of the players that graduated, but I think we can make another run,’’ Crane said. “We have some guys that are really talented. It might take a couple of games because we will be young, but we’ll surprise some teams.’’

Sanger QB: Bigger schools don’t always have best players

Dane Evans, quarterback of Class 3A Sanger, dismisses the notion that players from smaller schools are inferior to those from larger Class 4A and 5A schools.

“All it means is those schools have more guys in the program, not better players,’’ said the 6-2, 190-pounder, who threw for over 3,400 yards and 37 touchdowns in 11 games as a junior.

Evans has busied himself by taking part in a number of skills camps on college campuses and he’s gotten a first-hand look at some of the top-rated prospects.

Sanger went 0-2 on Tuesday’s qualifier, but was competitive in losses to 5A Arlington (31-22) and 4A Crowley (23-14.)

Re-birth at Wilmer-Hutchins

LaDarrell McNeil remembers the way the Wilmer-Hutchins community supported its high school football team before the school closed six years ago.

“The whole town came to games,’’ said McNeil, a 6-1, 190-pound senior free safety. “With the school re-opening, I feel like I’m coming home.’’

Like many of his teammates, McNeil spent his high school career at A. Maceo Smith, but his early schooling was in Wilmer-Hutchins.

The Dallas Independent School District opted to convert A. Maceo Smith, in its fourth year of academic unacceptability, into a technology high school as part of a repurposing plan. Athletics will not be offered.

McNeil said athletic facilities at Wilmer-Hutchins, which includes its own football stadium, are superior to those at A. Maceo Smith, where the weight room was a portable building.

In 1990, Wilmer-Hutchins won the Class 4A Texas state championship.

“We hope to build on traditions at Wilmer-Hutchins and A. Maceo Smith,’’ McNeil said.

Aledo star RB can catch, too

Aledo has won consecutive Class 4A Division II state titles in part by giving Johnathan Gray the football and watching him run.

That’s not an option in the all-pass format of 7-on-7 football, however.

“Running backs have to be able to catch the ball if they are going to be well-rounded,’’ the Texas Longhorns commit said. “I love catching the ball coming out of the backfield. I look at this as a way to improve my game and have fun.

“My team wants to go to the National Finals and that’s why we’re here,’’ Gray said.

On his first 7-on-7 play Tuesday, Gray hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass.

Lamar’s Brown finds niche as a pass rusher

Sophomore Greg Brown’s enthusiasm proved contagious on the Arlington Lamar sideline.

Brown, normally a running back, was chosen to be pass rusher in situations allowed under Game Breaker rules. He totaled four quarterback “sacks’’ for the day.

After each, he sprinted off the field, encouraging his teammates with every step, yelling, “Let’s go! We got this! Let’s do it!’’

The 5-7, 185-pound Brown said he enjoyed his pass rush experience so much, he wouldn’t be against trying it in the regular season.

Taylor-to-Taylor a good combination for Richland

Junior quarterback Sebastian Taylor guided North Richland Hills Richland to a third-place finish despite missing his favorite receiver, older brother Christian, in the Rebels’ two defeats.

“He’s a key cog in our offense because he goes inside and puts a lot of pressure on the defense,’’ Sebastian said.

Christian hurt his shoulder in the semifinal loss to Arlington Martin.

“It is fun throwing to him,’’ the quarterback said. “Growing up, we’ve probably thrown a million passes to each other.’’

Martin gains upper hand with OT win at Lamar

February, 9, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was an air of desperation surrounding Tuesday’s Arlington Martin-Arlington Lamar boys basketball game.

Both camps conceded that while the winner had the inside track on the fourth and final playoff berth in District 4-5A, the losing team faced a tough road.

Fittingly, it took an overtime to decide it.

Martin, burned on a last-second basket that forced overtime, stopped Lamar on its final possession of the extra period to escape Viking Gym with a 55-53 victory.

The Warriors (14-12, 6-5 in District 4-5A) are tied in the district standings with Lamar (18-11, 6-5). But because of Martin’s sweep of the season series, it now holds an advantage over Lamar should a head-to-head tiebreaker be needed. Each team has three district games remaining.

“This was a must game for us,’’ said Martin 6-foot-6 senior post Charles Buggs, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and a very big assist.

It was Buggs’ pinpoint pass off the dribble to a darting Jordan Walker that turned out to be the game-winning basket with 40 seconds remaining in overtime.

On Lamar’s final possession, 6-foot-9 senior post Cannen Cunningham, an SMU signee, was forced outside to receive the ball and missed a 3-point bid for the lead from the head of the key. Teammate Shayne Allen grabbed the rebound but in his haste to beat the buzzer hit the bottom of the rim.

“I think had Shayne gathered himself, he would have made the shot, but he didn’t know what the time situation was,’’ Lamar coach Zach Burks said. “Regardless, that play didn’t beat us. We allowed a put-back on an offensive rebound, we missed a free throw, and we didn’t make stops when we really needed them.’’

Cunningham finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds despite a collapsing Martin defense that made entry passes difficult.

“It’s frustrating,’’ said Cunningham, who is averaging 20 points and eight rebounds. “All teams play that way, but Martin was a little better at it than most. When I try to do too much, that’s when I get frustrated. The best thing I can do when I get double-teamed is to put my teammates in good position.’’

Warriors guard Myles Johnson led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Martin coach Jeff Plemons utilized a 2-3 zone defense in the first half and a match-up zone in the second half to clog the middle.

“Cannen is one of the best big kids to come along in a while,’’ said Plemons. “He has a great future.’’

Lamar guard Kordell Eilts put the game into overtime with a driving basket that pinballed off both sides of the rim before going down.

“I thought we showed a lot of heart because Lamar had the momentum going into overtime,’’ Plemons said.

Said Buggs: “We were kind of down, but we kept our composure and it turned out to be our best game of the year.’’

While disappointed with execution in critical spots, Burks, a one-time assistant on Plemons staff, was proud of the effort of his players.

“This was like a playoff game the way both teams went at it and the way the crowd got into the game,’’ Burks said. “I want every game to be like that.’’

In the preliminary girls game, Martin defeated Lamar, 51-43.

SMU-bound post pacing Arlington Lamar

January, 19, 2011
With 6-foot-8 SMU signee Cannen Cunningham leading the way, Arlington Lamar is challenging for its first boys basketball playoff berth since the 2003-04 season.

Cunningham is averaging 20.3 points a game in league play, helping Lamar to a 4-2 record in District 4-5A -- good enough for a three-way share of second place along with Arlington High and Arlington Bowie.

Lamar is 1-1 in head-to-head play with the other second-place teams, having beaten Arlington, 52-51, and lost to Bowie, 59-54.

Cunningham scored 23 points in Lamar's 61-63 rout of Arlington Sam Houston on Tuesday.

The Vikings (18-8) go on the road to meet first-place North Crowley (20-5, 6-0 in 4-5A) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the final game of the first half of district play. North Crowley is No. 6 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10.