The first meeting of the year between White Oak and Tatum on Jan. 8 was perhaps the most anticipated boys basketball game of the year.

And ever since the Roughnecks' 59-54 win in White Oak, Friday night's rematch at Eagle Coliseum in Tatum has seemingly been all anyone's talked about for three weeks.

And for good reason.

Not only is this a matchup between Class 2A's second- and third-ranked teams, it will play a big role in determining the District 17-2A championship.

In the first encounter, White Oak (26-1, 10-0) built a double-digit lead on Tatum (25-7, 9-1) in the first half and had to fend off several comeback attempts from Tatum.

Hayden Nichols led White Oak with 15 points that night, while Slade Sutton, Kris Anderson and Josh Benson all reached double figures.

Javolick Garrett scored a game-high 22 points for Tatum, while Robbie Rockwell chipped in with 10.

Both teams are coming off blowout wins on Tuesday. White Oak blasted Elysian Fields 86-25, while Tatum ran away with a 92-49 win over Waskom.

Elsewhere in East Texas, there a couple of prime matchups in District 16-4A.

No. 10 Jacksonville (29-0, 6-0) again puts its unblemished record on the line when the Indians host Corsicana (21-7, 3-3). And John Tyler (10-14, 4-2) looks to wrestle sole possession of second place away from Whitehouse (20-7, 4-2) when the two rivals hook up in Whitehouse.

In 14-4A, district co-leaders Marshall (21-8, 5-1) and Mount Pleasant (18-9, 5-1) square off in Marshall. Meanwhile, Hallsville (10-17, 2-4) looks to get back into the playoff discussion with a home win against Pine Tree (10-18, 3-3).

Also on Friday, Longview (17-12, 7-2) hopes to keep one game behind District 12-5A-leading Mesquite with a road win at North Mesquite (10-14, 3-5). Tyler Lee (18-9, 5-4) entertains third-place Mesquite Horn (12-13, 6-2).

In District 16-3A, the 19th-ranked Chapel Hill Bulldogs can clinch the district title with a win at home against Bullard (13-14, 4-4), which is trying to get back into the playoff race.

Other boys basketball games Friday involving ranked teams ...


Class 3A

  • Atlanta at No. 22 Pleasant Grove


Class 2A

  • Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill at No. 10 Clarksville
  • No. 19 Palestine Westwood at Crockett


Class A Division I

  • No. 3 Grapeland at Latexo
  • No. 6 Cayuga at Cross Roads
  • No. 8 San Augustine at Brookeland
  • Beckville at No. 12 LaPoynor
  • Martinsville at No. 15 Tenaha
  • No. 21 West Sabine at Lufkin Pineywoods Academy


Class A Division II

  • No. 7 Oakwood at Apple Springs
  • Avinger at No. 11 Saltillo
  • No. 15 Laneville at No. 17 Douglass