Lindale's regional foe similar, yet different

Lindale will face Wilmer-Hutchins Friday in a Class 3A Region II semifinal at Texas A&M Commerce (Staff file photo)

Last season, Lindale was eliminated by Dallas Smith in regional semifinals. 

The Eagles will be seeking a measure of revenge this week — against a different uniform. 

When the Dallas Independent School District turned Smith into a magnet school last fall, the remaining students moved to Wilmer-Hutchins High School. 

The WHISD closed its doors in 2004, but the high school reopened in the DISD last year. 

“It’s the same coach and a lot of the same players,” Lindale coach Scott Albritton said. 

Added Lindale junior Josiah Johnson: “It’s going to be odd.”

On Friday night, Lindale (27-8) meets Wilmer-Hutchins (26-7) in the Class 3A Region II semifinals at the Texas A&M-Commerce Fieldhouse. The winner will face either Pleasant Grove or Argyle for the title Saturday.

Smith held off Lindale in the final moments to escape 56-53 in the regional semifinals last season. The Falcons went on to beat Argyle in the final and fall to Corpus Christi West Oso in the state semifinals.

No matter the name on the opposing jersey, Lindale is excited to be back in the regional tournament. 

“It’s going to be fun,” Johnson said. “I feel like we have a chance to possibly go farther.”

Said Albritton: “It’s going to be exciting. The team we are going to play is very athletic. They’ve played a lot of good teams.”

Lindale returned four players who saw considerable action at regionals last year — Johnson, senior forwards Nick Butcher and Jordan VanDeKop, and senior guard Johnny Pittman. 

Lindale advanced to regionals with a 61-53 win against Spring Hill on Tuesday night. VanDeKop, who scored 31 points against Smith last season, led the Eagles with 32 points and 10 rebounds.

“We expected to get here and now we want to get farther than last year,” Pittman said. “Which is to get to Austin.”

Said VanDeKop: “It’s a great feeling. I kind of expected it, but I want to get farther than the semifinals.”

Wilmer-Hutchins, which boasts six players who stand 6-4 or taller, moved on with a 49-46 win against Carrollton Ranchview in the regional quarterfinals. 

Meanwhile, the Class 1A Region III tournaments for Division I and II are set for Friday and Saturday at Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gymnasium.

In Division II, Roxton takes on Laneville in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday and Dodd City and Douglass play the second semifinal at noon. 

The title round is set for 10 a.m. Saturday. 

In Division I, Cayuga takes on Tenaha in the opening semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday and Clarksville and Grapeland close the day at 5 p.m. 

The final is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The 2A Region III tournament is set for Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

Edgewood meets Kountze in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday and White Oak takes on Woden at 5 p.m. 

The title game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

Athens will be in action at the 3A Region III tournament at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. 

The Hornets face Silsbee in the semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Friday. 

The other semifinal features La Vega against Hardin-Jefferson at 8 p.m. and the final will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday.  

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