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The LaPoynor Flyers and Martins Mill Mustangs came tantalizingly close to playing for state basketball titles in March, only to have their seasons derailed by the COVID-19 restrictions.

The teams learned this week that their stellar seasons wouldn't go unrecognized as the University Interscholastic League informed the schools that they would be co-state champions in their respective divisions.

The email was from Joseph Garmon, UIL Assistant Athletic Director for Basketball, and Dr. Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director, informing the teams of the title and an upcoming virtual awards ceremony. The schools will receive a trophy and each of the teams, a medal.

This is Coach Dean Nuckolls 14th year at LaPoynor. He's had teams before he though might have a chance at winning the crown, only to trip up on the way, but this year's team came out of the chute fast, with a 15-0 start.

Class A LaPoynor was making their first trip to state since they took the 2A crown in 1995. The No. 1 ranked Flyers, who finished 34-3, beat Nazareth in the semi-final 63-53.

Senior guard Isaac Jackson, who's headed for Panola College, posted a game-high 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting and 13 rebounds to lead the Flyers. LaPoynor shot 53% and had the edge in rebounds 36-23 in a game they dominated from the early states.

The Flyers were slated to meet Slidell for the title on Saturday morning, March 14.

Class 2A Martins Mill earned a trip to San Antonio, plowing through all competition en route to a 39-0 record. But unlike LaPoynor, coach Jake Bell's Mustangs didn't even get to play a semi-final on the big stage.

The Mustangs played 14 ranked teams during the season and beat three that earned a trip to San Antonio.

Recognition also came this week to Brownsboro Lady Bears Coach Tony Wood. After being named 14-4A- Coach of the Year, he was awarded East Texas Coach of the Year.

Wood's team went 34-8 and made it to the regional semi-finals. He took over the program in 2018, following the legendary Fred Griffin who had set the tone for the school with numerous regional and state appearances.

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