You have to admire the efforts put forth by Eastwood and Montwood in their respective Class 5A bi-district games Monday.
The Troopers showed guts in pulling out a 61-58 overtime win over Amarillo Tascosa, while the Rams played Texas' 16th-ranked team tough in a 60-53 loss.
This was a Tascosa team that had defeated Hanks 48-44 earlier in the season, and Hanks tied Eastwood for second place in District 1-5A. Obviously, Tascosa was no pushover despite finishing third in 2-5A. And keeping one's nerves together in an overtime playoff game against an out-of-town opponent - El Paso traditionally struggles outside the county lines - says a lot about the players' fortitude and Endi Vargas' coaching.
Turning over to Montwood, this was a game some people expected to be a rout, considering the state-ranked Sandies had lost only a handful of games all season. Next to that, this was a battle-hardened Amarillo team that had to fend off No. 17 Lubbock Coronado for the district's top playoff seed. Staying that close to a state-ranked team - and even leading at one point - deserves praise, even in defeat.