By BRAD KEITH
(February 23, 2016) — Huckabay is one win from reaching the ‘Sweet 16’ for the first time in a decade.
The Lady Indians last appeared in a regional tournament in 2006 under head coach Ed Ledbetter. A win Tuesday over Newcastle will end that drought. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Mineral Wells High School.
Huckabay is coming off a 47-38 area-round win over Zephyr that followed a 50-23 bi-district rout of Graford. Newcastle arrived in the Region III-A quarterfinals by beating Sidney, 42-31, in the area round after a first-round bye as champion of 17-A. Huckabay was he runner-up in 18-A.
“They’re very similar to us as far as style of play. They like to get up and down the court,” said Huckabay coach Caleb Walls, who is in his seventh total year leading the Lady Indians, the second since a one-year hiatus to coach boys in his hometown of Baird. “They have a few solid players, not just one good one that you can focus on. That makes them tough to defend.”
But if there’s anything Walls has been confident in of late, it’s his team’s defense.
“I really feel like we’ve stepped up defensively in the playoffs. Once we got going and got our nerves calmed down, we’ve played hard defense and that’s led to offense for us,” Walls said. “That’s what we have to continue to do to have a chance to win at this level.”
Meaning among the 32 teams remaining in Class A, with the field to be whittled to just 16 after tonight.
“I feel like we’re confident, and I know they will be too,” said Walls. “It will come down to who handles the pressure the best.”