By Charlie Chitwood
Many coaches like to divide the season into thirds – pre-district play sets up district competition. District competition determines who’s in the playoffs. If you do good enough, you get a third season – the UIL Class 3A boys’playoffs.
Count the Bulldogs in.
Jefferson – still ranked 24th in the latest TABC Class 3A poll – wrapped up a perfect 14-0 run through District 16-3A with convincing victories over Ore City and Beckville, running its season mark to 24-7. With a bi-district matchup against Winona scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Longview’s Lobo Gym, the Dawgs will soon find they can add to the victory total repeatedly but can suffer only one more loss before the season ends.
The Dawgs may be the biggest darkhorse in the Class 3A playoff bracket. Few outside Marion and Cass counties realized the impact of four key additions – new head coach (Treston Dowell) and three transfers (Grayson Early, Curtis Henry and Dee Mitchell – that were all major cogs in winning the 2015-16 Class A state championship in Avinger.
Grayson Early has twice been named the East Texas Boys Player of theWeek and has merely averaged 23.3 points per game and cleaned up 9.7 rebounds per – both good enough for thirdbest in the Longview News-Journal’s area leader board). Dee Mitchell hasn’t been far behind, leading the Bulldogs in scoring several times while averaging 16.9 points per game (ranked 12th on the leaderboard) and 7.0 rebounds per contest (tied for 20th). Added to their junior-year resume is 2.4 steals per game for Mitchell while Early is tied for 4th in the area with 2.2 blocked shots per game.
Cameron Hicks has been coming on of late as well and is scoing better lately than his 7.6 points per game average would indicate. Taylor Smith has been snagging 5.2 rebounds per contest and also shows up on the News-Journal list.
If the new Bulldogs…
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