UIL Realignments May Shuffle Basketball Districts in East Texas
On February 1, 2024, the Texas University Interscholastic League will release the official district alignments for the 2024-2026 school years. Thanks to the enrollment numbers already reported, we already know the cutoff numbers for conferences A through 6A, now it's just a matter of deciding which teams will be in what districts.
In some cases, there may be no changes for certain districts, while massive changes will take place in others.
We've already covered the possible football changes in a previous post. Now, we will take a look at what the basketball landscape may look like over the next two school years.
Keep in mind that, unlike football, there is no Division 1 or 2 to consider within the different conferences. This is one reason why district alignments in basketball may differ greatly from football alignments. Another reason is that many schools in East Texas do not have football programs.
Lufkin and Nacogdoches have been competing in the same basketball district along with Kingwood Park, Huntsville, Dayton, and Porter. All these teams are staying in 5A, so the status quo may be in play here for the next two years.
Jacksonville is moving from 4A to 5A, so the question will be whether the UIL places them in the Lufkin/Nacogdoches district or adds them to the district that includes many of the Tyler/Longview area 5A schools.
Jacksonville is making the move to 5A. That means that District 18-4A (basketball) will be left with Hudson, Bullard, Madisonville, Rusk, and Palestine. Does the UIL leave this as a 5-team district, or do they take a team from District 17-4A, such as Center?
Adding Center would make for a long trip for Madisonville, so then you might consider moving the Mustangs to a closer district that includes teams such as Navasota and Sealy.
District 20 will be losing New Caney West Fork and Splendora to 5A, but Tarkington and Shepherd are moving up from 3A, so they may be plugged into this district which includes Livingston.
Districts 21, 22, and 23 may see some flip-flopping for the next two seasons.
District 23 is losing Shepherd and Tarkington to 4A. District 21 will be losing Hemphill to Conference 2A. That will still leave a healthy 7-team district that includes, Diboll, Huntington, PCA, Central Heights, Newton, Central, and Woodville.
However, the UIL might take a long look at all the teams from 21, 22, and 23 and see if they can come up with a better grouping when it comes to proximity. Does that mean moving Newton into a district with teams to their south? What about Crockett taking Hemphill's spot?
Conference 2A and A
There is only one team from the Pineywoods jumping conferences for the next two years.
The enrollment numbers for Broaddus will allow the Bulldogs to go from 2A to A. That would leave Chireno, Colmesneil, Corrigan-Camden, San Augustine, West Sabine, and Woden in a 6-team district.
So, where will the UIL be sending Broaddus? Two main districts make up Deep East Texas teams in Conference A. Each of those districts has 8 teams.
District 27A - Apple Springs, Centerville, Kennard, Laneville, Martinsville, Neches, Slocum, and Wells.
District 28A - Brookeland, Burkeville, Chester, Goodrich, High Island, and, Leggett, Spurger, and Zavalla.
It's rare to see the UIL assign a district with more than 8 teams.
It will be interesting to see if the powers that be make a 9-team district or do some mixing and matching with teams from Districts 26, 27, and 28.
Remember, February 1 will be the big day for the UIL announcement.
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Gallery Credit: Danny Merrell