You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Clarendon’s quick start leads to Thorndale’s exit from state tournament


The Broncos are aiming for a Panhandle sweep of Class 2A basketball.

Several key players for Thorndale will be back next season.

There’s something about the Texas Panhandle that brings out the best in boys and girls basketball teams.

After Clarendon raced past Thorndale 59-35 Friday in a Class 2A boys state semifinal inside the Alamodome, Broncos players said they feel pressure to keep up with their high school’s girls team, which qualified for the postseason out of a district that included Panhandle, the eventual Class 2A state champion.

On Saturday, the Broncos boys will complete a Panhandle sweep of Class 2A basketball if they can knock off top-ranked Muenster.

On Friday, Clarendon center Marshall Johnson had 18 points and eight rebounds while forward Cameron Smith tallied 17 points and 12 boards in a surprisingly easy victory over the Bulldogs. The Broncos (32-2) built a 39-16 lead by halftime while improving their winning streak to 17 games.

Three teams from the Texas Panhandle — Nazareth, Canyon and Panhandle — claimed state championships at the UIL girls tournament last week. Johnson, a 6-foot-5 senior, hopes the Broncos add to the region’s tradition of basketball excellence with a victory Saturday.

“We have football, too, but we take basketball to heart,” he said.

Clarendon coach Brandt Lockhart estimated that the boys on his team had played roughly 200 games together since the sixth grade.

“I coached in the Metroplex, and there are a lot of great teams, but there’s a lot of things to do there, too,” Lockhart said. “In the Panhandle, there’s not as many things to do, so we strive on playing basketball.”

Thorndale (27-10) watched its hopes of claiming a third state title vanish quickly. Clarendon outscored the Bulldogs 25-6 in the second quarter and never looked back.

Point guard Ty Prince, a 6-6 junior and Thorndale’s leading scorer with an average of 16 points a game, was held to six points Friday. Sophomore forward Sam Reaves led the Bulldogs with seven points, down from his season average of 14.

Thorndale shot 31.3 percent from the field and was outrebounded 39-32. Clarendon’s 13 offensive boards gave the Broncos several second-chance opportunities.

“Our theme is to always give someone one shot,” Thorndale coach John Kovar said. “If it goes in, we’ll just give them a high-five after the game, but if it doesn’t, we’re getting every other rebound. … The ball just didn’t go in the basket the way it has in the previous five basketball games.”

Thorndale took its only lead of the game at 10-9 after a bucket by guard Ashton Albert with 3 minutes, 10 seconds to play in the first quarter. But Clarendon outscored Thorndale 30-6 for the remainder of the first half.

While there are “no guarantees” in basketball, Kovar said, he’s optimistic his young team will be back at state in 2018. Like Prince, Albert and Logan Fisher are juniors.

Friday’s state semifinal, though, was the final high school game for three Thorndale seniors — guard Ruben Briones and forwards Josh Iselt and Ryan Biar.

Despite the loss, all three can say they were a part of a program that sent teams to state in back-to-back seasons.

“We’re like one big family in Thorndale,” Briones said. “Being part of both of these teams has been amazing.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in High School Sports

Bobcats land 7 commitments at recruiting event
Bobcats land 7 commitments at recruiting event

Texas State went two months without a commitment for its 2018 recruiting class. The Bobcats now have nine, seven of which pledged Saturday at the annual Party in the Park recruiting event. Tyler Junior College safety Brandon Johnson was the first pledge of the class last Wednesday, followed by Lake Ridge wide receiver TJ Graham. Both players have 3-star...
Express’ scheduling is matter of night-and-day
Express’ scheduling is matter of night-and-day

In summer time at Dell Diamond, high heat isn’t just something that comes from the pitching mound. With average temperatures of 96 to 98 for home games, Round Rock Express management grapples with day vs. night scheduling on Sundays, traditionally reserved for afternoon baseball. Since 2015, attendance has been 7 percent higher for night games...
Commitment 101: Rondale Moore, wide receiver
Commitment 101: Rondale Moore, wide receiver

Texas’ recruiting class grew to 12 members Sunday when four-star wide receiver Rondale Moore committed to the Longhorns. The 5-foot-8.5 slot receiver from Trinity High School in Kentucky joins Florida’s Justin Watkins as the two wide receiver commits in the class. Moore was offered by Texas May 22, visited the campus last weekend and committed...
Riley's journey: East Carolina success, Oklahoma coaching job
Riley's journey: East Carolina success, Oklahoma coaching job

Like a lot of 26-year-olds, Lincoln Riley was looking for a job in the winter of 2010. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach had been fired because of a player mistreatment scandal, and his staff was let go, too. For Riley, who had spent eight years at Texas Tech moving up the ladder from walk-on quarterback to student assistant to graduate assistant to...
Bruno leads Iowa to win over Round Rock

Stephen Bruno hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 10-5 win over the Round Rock Express on Saturday at Dell Diamond. The home run by Bruno gave the Cubs a 9-5 lead and capped a five-run inning for Iowa. Earlier in the inning, Iowa tied the game when Jeimer Candelario hit an RBI double and then took the lead when...
More Stories