A week is still left in the regular season, but the Lufkin Panthers are officially locked into their playoff spot.
The Panthers have rolled off four straight wins, which makes them a lock for the third playoff spot. Lufkin is currently alone in third place in the district with an 8-4 record.
That leaves them three games behind Nacogdoches and Marshall, which are in a first-place tie at 11-1. Those teams play tonight with first place on the line. They are guaranteed the first and second playoff spots.
The Panthers are also three games up on John Tyler and Whitehouse, meaning Lufkin will enter the playoffs as the third seed in 16-5A regardless of their finish.
John Tyler and Whitehouse are each 5-7, with Hallsville and Pine Tree sitting a game back at 4-8. Each of those teams have a shot at the fourth seed.
Lufkin will look to play the role of spoiler while continuing to build momentum for the playoffs as it heads to Hallsville for a 16-5A matchup tonight.
The Panthers took a 64-45 win in the matchup in Lufkin earlier this season.
Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7:30 and can be heard on FM 103.7 with Gary Ivins calling play-by-play.
In other basketball action tonight, the Hudson Hornets visit the Huntington Red Devils in a key District 20-4A matchup.
Carthage has already clinched the district title with Hudson, Jasper and Huntington in a logjam for the second seed. Center is in fifth place but still has playoff aspirations headed into the final week.
Also tonight, the Diboll Lumberjacks will get a second chance at officially clinching the District 21-3A title when they host Woodville for Senior Night.
In other 21-3A action, Central goes after its fifth straight win in a trip to Corrigan-Camden, while Pineywoods Community Academy hosts Hemphill.
Lady Panthers set playoff game — With the second playoff seed in hand, the Lufkin Lady Panthers will open their postseason run against Texas High.
That game will be played at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pine Tree High School in Longview.
Lufkin finished the district slate with an 11-3 record, trailing only district champion Jacksonville.
The Huntington Devilettes and Central Lady Bulldogs are also gearing up for their postseason runs. Huntington will open the playoffs against Rusk at 6:15 p.m. Monday night at Wells High School.
The Central Lady Bulldogs are still awaiting their playoff opponent.