BELTON — For the 15th straight year, Mary Hardin-Baylor is the preseason pick to win the American Southwest Conference title. And this year’s selection might be the biggest no-brainer of them all.
BELTON — It has been eight months since Mary Hardin-Baylor won its first national title, and a lot can change in 34 weeks.
BELTON — As Mary Hardin-Baylor prepared last week for the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships, two things were prevalent on the Crusaders’ minds: the bountiful breakfast buffet at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, and a Saturday jaunt to the Jacksonville area to watch the third round of The Players Championship.
BELTON — Houston, we have a ballgame.
For the first time in 26 years, the NCAA Division III football championship game will not be held in Salem, Va., in 2018, when the Stagg Bowl makes its first visit to the Lone Star State.
Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah on the outskirts of Houston will be the site of the 2018 and 2019 title games, which will be co-hosted by defending national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor.
So long, frigid East Coast. Hello, sunny Gulf Coast.
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Temple falls to University
WACO — The Temple Tem-Cats dropped their third game in a row Friday night, falling to Waco University 10-2. No other information was reported.
The Tem-Cats (7-13, 2-5 District 18-5A) host College Station A&M Consolidated on Tuesday.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Temple splits to close out Round Rock tournament
ROUND ROCK — Eli Mendoza threw a four-hitter, and Temple knocked off Wolfforth Frenship 4-1 to stretch its win streak to four Saturday before losing to Round Rock McNeil 16-9 to finish out the Round Rock Hardball Classic.
LONGVIEW — The Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders’ bid for an NCAA tournament berth was short-lived Thursday afternoon, when their season was ended by an 85-62 loss to Texas-Dallas in the first round of the men’s American Southwest Conference tournament.
BELTON — The path to the NCAA Division III tournament is pretty clear for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: TC men top Ranger in overtime
RANGER — Temple College had all of its starters score in double figures Saturday evening as the Leopards defeated Ranger 101-94 in overtime in a Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference matchup.
Kaelin Jackson led TC (23-4, 7-2) with 29 points. J.R. Adams scored 18, Max Portmann had 17, Malik Malone had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Torenzo Saunders added 14.
HIGH SCHOOL SWIMMING: Belton’s Henry advances to state finals
AUSTIN — Belton’s Noah Henry qualified for the final in both of his events at the UIL Swimming State Championships.
Henry posted a time of 49.78 seconds Friday to grab the fourth qualifying spot for the final in the Class 6A boys 100-yard backstroke. Glen Cowand of Katy Cinco Ranch had the top preliminary time of 47.61.
Henry also qualified for the final in the 100 butterfly, clocking a time of 49.52 to earn the final spot. Southlake Carroll’s Jack LeVant qualified first in 47.86.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UMHB men beat McMurry, clinch No. 3 seed
ABILENE — Mary Hardin-Baylor shot 58 percent from the field in the second half, pulling away for a 96-84 victory over McMurry on Thursday night and clinching the American Southwest Conference West Division’s No. 3 seed for the league tournament.
BELTON — Mary Hardin-Baylor was a paltry 1-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half and trailed at intermission of a game it had to win, but Crusaders coach Ken DeWeese didn’t build his record of success without knowing how to make some adjustments.
“At halftime I told them to keep shooting it from out there but if you’re going to shoot it, shoot to make it. If you don’t feel good about making it, don’t shoot it. That was my instructions,” DeWeese said before adding with a laugh, “That’s good coaching I guess.”
UMHB made a string of crucial 3-pointers in the second half to push Howard Payne against the ropes and delivered the knockout punch from the free throw line to carve out an 80-74 victory at Mayborn Campus Center, clinching a conference tournament berth and giving DeWeese a milestone win.
BELTON — This type of win hasn’t come around very often. Not for Mary Hardin-Baylor. Not against longtime division power Howard Payne.
In fact, Lady Crusaders victories against the Lady Jackets have been rare enough to give UMHB coach Mark Morefield reason to celebrate so much that he injured his right knee while leaping in the air near the end of Saturday’s matchup.
“It hurts, like really bad,” Morefield said after UMHB knocked off Howard Payne 79-75 in overtime for the program’s second win in the annual series since the start of the 2011-12 season. “Howard Payne has been on top of this division for a long time. This is a big win because it’s good for our younger players to know that the program is changing and we’re knocking on that door to win a division title.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: No. 1 University downs Temple boys
WACO — Top-ranked Waco University raced past the Temple Wildcats for an 83-47 victory Friday night. No other information was reported.
Temple (12-21, 2-9 District 18-5A) closes out the season Tuesday at home against College Station A&M Consolidated.
BELTON — Without any way to sugarcoat it, Mary Hardin-Baylor knew this was one it had to win, which made the outcome that much sweeter for the Crusaders.
BELTON — When Mary Hardin-Baylor didn’t get caught up playing Sul Ross State’s frantic style, the Lady Crusaders controlled the action on both ends of the floor. It was those stretches in which they got away from what they do best that kept the contest from becoming a rout.
BELTON — Mary Hardin-Baylor almost shot Concordia Texas out of the gym in the opening 8 minutes Saturday afternoon.
Almost is rarely enough, though, in a matchup of American Southwest Conference West Division rivals.
Concordia withstood UMHB’s early barrage and took advantage of a multitude of trips to the free throw line, grinding out a 101-94 victory over the Crusaders in a foul-infested affair at Mayborn Campus Center.
BELTON — Seven days and several intense practice sessions after a dismal loss on their home floor, the Mary Hardin-Baylor Lady Crusaders were back on the court at Mayborn Campus Center, looking nothing like last week’s version of themselves.
Gone were many of the turnovers, errant shots and mental mistakes that had plagued them — replaced with sharp shooting, steady ball handling and suffocating defense.
“We focused on resiliency,” Lady Crusaders freshman guard Kendall Rollins said. “We wanted to make sure we bounced back today.”
Rollins scored a game-high 21 points and UMHB never trailed over the final 32½ minutes of a 70-50 victory over Concordia Texas on Saturday afternoon.
BELTON — Speaking over the excited voices of fans of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team, Belton Mayor Marion Grayson proclaimed Thursday to be Crusaders Football Day.
AUSTIN — Six weeks after capturing the NCAA Division III title, the Mary Hardin-Baylor football team was bestowed an honor befitting a national champion.
BELTON — Hung up in an avalanche of miscues that snowballed in the closing minutes, Mary Hardin-Baylor finally collapsed, suffering the type of defeat Saturday afternoon that can either throw a team into a tailspin or steel a squad for the season’s closing run.
BELTON — Two days after a draining double-overtime loss, Mary Hardin-Baylor might not have been operating at full capacity in every facet of the game for all 40 minutes Saturday afternoon.
Nevertheless, the Crusaders kept their wheels turning on the defensive end even when their offensive engine began to sputter, providing enough firepower to motor past McMurry for a 74-70 victory at Mayborn Campus Center.
BELTON — In game that was typical of the American Southwest Conference West Division this season, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons played a knock-down, drag-out affair Thursday night that needed two extra periods to determine a winner.
BELTON — That Mary Hardin-Baylor could go 7 minutes without a field a goal in the first half and 9½ minutes in the second and still walk out of Mayborn Campus Center on Thursday night with a 56-47 victory says something about the Lady Crusaders’ tenacity on the defensive end and Hardin-Simmons’ season-long struggles.
BELTON — An oddball job of scheduling by the American Southwest Conference that put Mary Hardin-Baylor on the road for six of its previous seven league games has only one upside.
UMHB closes out the regular season by playing five of seven at Mayborn Campus Center, including a five-game homestand that starts Thursday night against Hardin-Simmons.
It’s a key stretch for the Crusaders (12-6, 5-4 ASC) and Lady Crusaders (12-6, 5-4), both of whom are in the thick of the chase for conference tournament slots from the West Division.