Three area boys basketball teams reached regional tournaments this season, and each has two players on their respective Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-Region teams.
Stephenville seniors Malik Taylor and Grayson Sweet were each named all-region in 3A region I, while a quartet of players from Huckabay and Lingleville were awarded the same honor in 1A Division II Region III.
Taylor and Sweet were MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 7-3A, respectively. The Yellow Jackets tore through the district with an 8-0 mark before a historic run to the regional final. They had not reached that point of the post season since 1925.
"They're both very deserving, and I thought they were a shoe-in for the all-region team after the way they performed at the regional tournament," said Stephenville head coach Jonathan Normand of Taylor and Sweet, who were also each on the all-tournament team at regionals. "They don't vote on the all-region team until after the playoffs, and I think our historic run and the way they played during our run were directly related to them earning this award."
Normand said the regional tourney run was also invaluable for the program.
"Our offseason group that we have right now was doing some simulations and when asked who they wanted to go against, someone said 'Kennedale at the regional tournament,'" said Normand. It was Kennedale that eliminated Stephenville in the regional final. "Two years ago they never would have said Kennedale, but that's the level of teams we expect to compete with now. I can't put a value on that, it's priceless."
Same goes for the local 1A schools.
Huckabay was represented by Junior Fragoza and Gavin Fuentes. The Indians shared the District 17-A Division II title with arch-rival Lingleville, who placed Robert VanKranenburg and Ruperto Huerta on the all-region club. The teams split their two annual regular season meetings.
Fragoza and Huerta were each point guards, while Fuentes and VanKranenburg were among the region's most explosive scorers. The Cardinals and Indians each reached the Sweet 16, falling in the regional semifinals. Each team needed just one more win to set up an all Erath County regional championship game.
VanKranenburg topped 2,000 points for Lingleville, which reached the regional tournament for the third straight year.