Area hoop teams face different challenges in today’s playoff twinbills
A lot of good high school basketball is being played these days in an eight-mile stretch of Nolan County.As a result, basketball fans in Roscoe and Highland are getting the chance to cheer today for both of their teams in playoff doubleheaders that are being held in Bal-linger and Tuscola Jim Ned, respectively.For the girls teams, a win today puts them in the Region II-1A, Division II tournament that will be held starting Friday at Abil-ene Christian University.Also, the Highland girls are trying to make it to the state tournament for the second straight year after advancing to the quarter-finals in 2013.But for the Highland and Roscoe boys, who finished in a second-place tie in District 13-1A with Highland getting the No. 2 seed as the result of a coin flip, both are just now starting the playoffs.Here’s a quick review:AT JIM NED (Tuscola)GIRLS, 6 p.m.Highland (25-3) vs. Cross Plains (20-5)BOYS, 7:30 p.m.Highland (14-8) vs. Bronte (16-7)No. 2-ranked Highland — which blew out Santa Anna 73-26 in the area round on Friday after earning a first-round bye as the District 13-1A champion — should get a much tougher challenge as the Lady Hornets will face No. 19-ranked Cross Plains, a 51-36 winner over Ira.The Highland boys, who lost in bi-district a year ago, will try again when they open the playoffs against Bronte in the nightcap. Highland’s girls, who were No. 1 to start the season until falling to No. 2 prior to district, return most of their 2013 team that was the most successful in school history. Madison Moseley, Schyler Kimbrell, Sierra Allen and Beth Richburg all hit double figures against Santa Anna and Highland led by as much as 58 points the second half.Highland’s boys also ret-urned several of their players after last season’s bi-district loss to Robert Lee. The Hor-nets were also the No. 2 seed in their district last year after winning a tiebreaker to determine playoff seeding at the end of the regular season.AT BALLINGERGIRLS, 6 p.m.Roscoe (17-13) vs. Garden City (28-1)BOYS, 7:30 p.m.Roscoe (8-14) vs. Garden City (17-7)The Roscoe girls got here by winning two playoff games by a total of seven points. Friday’s thrilling 27-22 overtime win in the area round over Zephyr followed an equally tough 33-31 regulation win by the Plowgirls over Paint Rock that came just two days earlier.But Roscoe now faces its biggest challenge yet in the opener of today’s double-header — No. 5 Garden City. It will take the team’s best showing to knock out the 28-1 Lady Bearkats. However, the Plowgirls — the No. 2 team in District 13-1A — have shown a lot of heart just getting to this point. Against Zephyr, Eva Aguayo scored 17 points, including four free throws in overtime, while the Roscoe defense held Zephyr without a point over the final four minutes of regulation plus the four-minute overtime.The Roscoe boys, mean-while, overcame an unseemly 1-12 start to make it to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in 13-1A. This is the Plowboys’ first trip to the playoffs since winning their only basketball state title in school history four years ago in 2009.After its slow start, Roscoe finished 7-3 in district play to tie Highland for second place before losing a coin flip to determine playoff seeding. The Plowboys finished the regular season with a 67-43 win over Westbrook. Jesus Leanos had 24 points and his brother, Javier Leanos, added 23 in the victory for Roscoe, which had its highest one-game point total of the year.To advance to the next round, though, the Plowboys must defeat a Garden City team that is ranked No. 20 in the state, although it placed second to No. 4 Water Valley in its district this season.This is the first time that either of Roscoe’s teams has played Garden City this year. If Garden City’s girls win today, they could get a rematch in the regional tournament with Highland.