Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I guess this would fall into the "what a difference a year makes category " as the Cougars are coming off a (26-6) record last season which earned them a trip to "Big Dance" now are faced with the task of rebuliding.
Head Coach Todd Buchanan knows how it work and sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet, he also knows help is coming SIGNEES
Losing the bulk of your offense from the previous season, Courtney Taylor and Brittney Scott, plus Lauren Flores who would have been eligible, deciding not to play anymore due to numerous injuries, left the Cougars depleted to say the least. Porsche Landry, the do it all play-maker goes out with concussion, Amanda Lawson, a freshman from Bryan who worked her way into the starting lineup goes down and then Mileka Loydrake, a gifted freshman from Clear Springs that was bothered by nagging injuries left the Cougs with only 7 players against UTPA.
Roxanna Button is putting up numbers which is good news however even better news is that Loydrake and Danielle Parks (St Pius) did a whole lot of growing up against McNeese State. Parks finished with 16 points while Loydrake had 8 points and 7 assists. They may not make it back to the "Big Dance" this season however the future is definitely bright.
Last season McNeese State represented the Southland Conference in the NCAA Tournament after coming off one of the most exciting seasons in school history. With over 340 teams in D-1 basketball, being one of the 64 that actually makes the "Big Dance" let's you know how important it really was. Head Coach Brooks Donald-Williams team is off to it's best start ever at 5-1 after an opening game loss to UCLA (67-59). Yes that's the same UCLA that's in the Pac-12 and even more impressive than the 8 point loss is that they did it on the road
I always say that the game starts at the one, well add the one, two and the three as in long ball shooters. Led by the Baggett twins, Aslyn and Caitlyn, along with Kendra Wells, this high octane offensive trio can put up numbers in bunches, in fact all three are on course to break 1000 career points this season
Candace LaCombe showed she could shoot the three as well, knocking down 2 of them in first 3 minutes and
3 in the first half while Martika Hull is just so athletic, the first thing that I noticed was that she just hustles you on both ends. With Hightower's Jasmine Prophett deciding to join a superb recruiting calls, the future looks bright for the Cowgirls.
After Dekaney won the Fort Bend ISD Tournament a little over a week ago, I wrote that they placed themselves in a very good position to be the #1 team in the area since they were hosting both Cy Springs and Cy Falls the following weeks. I knew the Springs and Dekaney match-up would be a must see game however the flu was one of only a few things that would stop me from seeing that game. Kayla Nevitt apparently went completely off scoring 27 points and solidified her spot among the must see 2014 players
Monday, November 28, 2011
Several of the top players and teams will be playing various events across the area. Raven Burns, pictured with dad, went off against Westbury Christian scoring 25 and almost put up a triple double as Bellaire pulled off the victory despite missing 3 starters. Both teams will be playing this week, Bellaire in the HISD and Westbury Chrisitian in the Aldine Invitational. As an added treat for Aldine, Top 100 player Breanna Hayden is coming to town with her squad, Dallas Lincoln. Check out the EVENTS tab in link!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This was my first look at TSU this season. I knew they were young, 3 juniors, 2 sophomores and 10 freshmen, so my guess was I could expect anything. They went up against A&M Corpus Christi and appeared to be on the verge of running away with the game however crucial errors toward the end of the half found them down 28-27.
I have seen young teams fall apart after closing halves out like this however having a player like Gianne Fleming, junior from Peoria Arizona, who can do quite a number of things led the second half attack and finished with 17 points in the 63-54 victory.
Former Brookshire star, Jeesica Jammer, led the Islanders with 12 points as she attacked the basket at will and she also finished with 11 rebounds, while Brandi Huff added 10 points
Speaking of former local stars, Bianca Smith is now a grad assistant at TSU while Kerrie Patterson-Brown has joined the staff
Coach Yolanda Broughton is looking forward to making big things happen at TSU, I can see why because this young team could be special
Friday, November 25, 2011
Seniors Jasmine Rollins and Kierra Fisher help lead Klein Forest in Montgomery Tournament. Interesting situation, Klein Forest and Cy Woods, both ranked in the cities Top 20, appear to be on a semifinal collision course
Bellaire took care of Westbury Christian today 62-55 despite not having Lulu McKinney, A J Alix or Bianca Winslow, McKinney and Winslow suffered minor injuries in the Texas Invitational . They may not be able to defend theie HISD title as Kincaid and Temple ready to do battle
Several Top 20 teams are in Houston's 3rd major, the Katy ISD Tournament. Check out the brackets
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Let's see if I can figure this out. Desoto lost the opening game of the season to Duncanville 63-51. They also lost to Cy Falls in the Texas Invitational 76-55, who lost to Duncanville 58-47 in the Gold semi-final game. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing as the Eagles lost in the R-2 Final 4 semfinal game to Pfluggerville in overtime. What I do know is they regrouped to win the Silver in the Texas Invitational defeating one of the areas top R-2 contenders, The Woodlands. I also know they have one of the best back courts in the state, Jordan Jones (Texas A&M) and Bryce Owens (New Mexico) plus a variety of players who can get the job done.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Rice started out like they wanted to open this thing wide up score 7 points in the first minute. Jessica Custer had 5 of those 7 and finished with 29 points
Kiara Ruffin kept Alcorn in it, in fact she helped them briefly take the lead in the first half. She finished with 31 points on 12-20 from the field, 6-7 from bta
Dickinson's own Brianna Hypolite contributed 14 points in the Owls 74-57 victory while Jessica Goswitz added 11
If you want to play at the next level, you really need to attend local college basketball games so you can observe what these young ladies can do. It's not easy to make it to the next level, I have shown statistics numerous times on the percentages of kids who don't make it, so may I suggest the earlier the better!
Houston's Zoe Rogers and The Woodlands Megan Shafer
I called the Highlanders "The Unranked Woodlands" after the preseason poll and even though they lost two games in the Texas Invitational, both games were by only 2 points and both to teams ranked in the Top 5 in both the 4-A and 5-A polls, they were runner-up in the Silver. Ashlyn Hargraves 6 threes and 25 points helped get them back on track as they defeated Klein Collins on Monday and they have also entered the TABC state poll at #20.
This is a great time to see players that have made it to the next level. Rice cranks it up tonight as they host Alcorn State and on Saturday, Arkansas Little Rock will be coming to town
Friday and Saturday, the Husky Classic features HBU, Texas Southern, A&M Corpus Christi and Vermont
Friday and Saturday, the David Jones Classic features U of H, McNeese State, UT Pan American and Yale
I wrote something about Westfield going to state three times and my mind started click about teams from the area that have actually gone multiple times and it just so happened I had pictures of kids with their dads. The Gilbert twins are part of #canenation, Hightower has made multiple appearances, the most recent year before last where they were runner-up to Cy Fair, a team that has gone four times and won twice. A quick note on Cy Fair, Chiney Ogwumike not only won two state titles, she was all state each of the Bobcat's trips.
Elsik's Jasmine Ocanas helped take Elsik back to the glory days of yesteryear, they have actually won a state championship and been runner-up once and last season marked at least their third appearance, I believe it might be four though. Yates is another school off the top of my head that has gone more than once, they also won it back in the day
Brianna Turner is in a great position to get out of here more than once at Manvel. Their performance over the weekend showed they can play with the big schools, which will give them a legitimate chance down the stretch
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Brynae Thompson is an athletic yet raw freshman whose best basketball is ahead of her. She and 2013 Bianca Serna lead a group of ladies that want to carry the tradition of the great Jersey Village players before them, like MDAA Nina Norman and Coco Reed who both went on to star at Texas. Tracey Ray who played her first two seasons at JV before transferring to Cy Fair is among that super 2005 class, she played her college ball at Charlotte. Then there's the Isom sisters, Brittanae and Tasha, both played at Northwestern, Tasha is another 2005 grad.
|GEVENIA "NAY" CARTER|
|KYLAH JONES & BIANCA SERNA|
Kylah Jones is Westfield's offensive weapon and whether she's attacking the basket or letting it fly, she's a hard nose player that will give it her all. Serna is a smooth and skilled scorer that knows and understands the game and both of these juniors will be key factors in their teams quest to reach the playoffs.
|K Myers & Natasha Smith|
Westfield won today's match-up going away but the important thing was that I saw growth in both teams since my first look at them in the Conroe Tournament. High scorers were Jones (22) and Smith (14) for Westfield while Thompson (12) led Jersey Village
Texas Invitational-Cy Falls
Fort Bend ISD-Katy Taylor
Katy ISD-North Shore
Peggy Whitley-North Shore
|AKUNNA ELONU & JASMINE OCANAS|
Hightower was my #2 team going into year. I'm sure many would question my logic since I make comparisons about losing key players along with my favorite saying " the game starts at the one" and true as all of that may be, there are always exceptions to the rule. Hightower had three D-1 players over 6'0, Taylor and Tyler Gilbert had already committed to the University of Houston and I knew Jasmine Prophett, above, would be on many college wish lists. That wish came true for McNeese State as JP signed on the last day of the early signing period. I had a chance to see Hightower for the first time this weekend in the Fort Bend ISD Tournament and I watched her drop 3 threes as she has expanded her long range shooting to go along with her mid-range game, not to mention she's pretty darn good in the paint. Although Taylor Gilbert is out for the season, Hightower still has the most dominant inside player in the area in Tyler Gilbert and she and Jasmine will have a say in who the Region 3 representative will be.
The Prophett signing also brings the total up to 32 which is better than what I anticipated for early signing and halfway where I believe it will end up.
I had a feeling this game would be worth the drive simply because two of the best long range shooters in the area would be on opposing teams and I wasn't disappointed. Memorial's Ellen Anderson came straight off the volleyball court in the SBISD Tournament to go 7-8 from bta a couple of weeks ago and this time she was on fire once again as she opened the game by going 4-4 as the Mustangs, fresh off winning the Consolation Championship in the FBISD Tournament led Fort Bend Austin 19-16
No lead is safe when you play FBA simply because they have a great shooter as well in Nicloe "Kidd" Blaskowsky who can light it up from all over the court. Kidd ignited a second quarter rally that saw FBA take the lead behind her and Natalie McGaughey's offense and if it wasn't for Anderson's 6th trey at the buzzer, they wouldn't have been able to stay in striking distance as the half ended 36-35 FBA.
Kidd continued her offensive assault as she accounted for 5 points and an assist in a little over a minute to start the second half. One thing about Blaskowsky is she can find ways to score and not only did she drop a couple of threes in the quarter, she had a hand in 10 of the 11 points they scored in the quarter. Memorial only scored 9 in the same quarter, most of those by Kelli Wilson as they went cold as well as they headed to the stretch down 47-46
Madison Miller opened up with two steals, both for layups to give the Mustangs the lead and her free throw shooting, along with Laurel Carrell and Olivia Podaras down the stretch helped seal the 63-55 victory. Anderson finished with 23 points, followed by Wilson (13) and Carrell (11) while Blaskowsky led all scorers with 25 along with McGaughey's 12 for FBA
Monday, November 21, 2011
It's no surprise that Manvel and Clear Springs are among the top teams in the area. After all both teams made it to the Region 3 Final Fours last season, Manvel in 4-A and Clear Springs in 5-A, and after their performances over the weekend, it shouldn't be a surprise to see both teams not only repeat the feat but have a legitimate chance at going to Austin for the State Championship Final 4. Manvel added Brianna Turner, the #1 player in the Class of 2014 to the mix along with Jordan Hosey who is going to make a legitimate run at Top 10 for the Class of 2015. Turner brings so much to the table as she is now playing all five positions in high school and her mid-range game has arrived.
McCarty has been on my radar since she was in elementary school, her presence on the court takes her team to another level because what she does is make everyone around her better and can drop 20 in the flow of the game while keeping others involved. Not only are these two of the top five players in the state, their teams are two of the top five in the area and both will make a legitimate run at Player Of The Year.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
After their performance in the FBISD Tourmnament, #3 Dekaney is a good position to be the areas #1 team but that task won't be easy. After a couple of tune up games against Cy Ranch and Elkins, the Wildcats host #1 Clear Springs on November 29th and then #2 Cy Falls on December 7th. I don't know how accurate those tune-up games are since the schedule has them playing on Monday and Tuesday but the other games are accurate.
Cy Falls starting 5 is as good as any in the area however after this weekend, I'm sure they realize that means nothing outside of Houston as they picked up their first loss of the season against Duncanville and narrowly beat Mansfield Summit (56-48) to win 3rd place in the GOLD.
Keep in mind Mansfield Summit is a 4-A school that was ranked #4 in the preseason by TABC, so for them to come here and knock off two of my area Top 10 teams, The Woodlands and North Shore and then playing the #1 Clear Springs down to the wire (59-52) so I was impressed to say the least. Ashley Eli provided the offensive punch against Springs with 16 while "Fantastic Friday" Honorable Mention Maya Hawkins added 13 in the opener and 17 against Falls
Fantastic Friday player Shernise Robertson continued her offensive barrage of scoring at will, she had to shoot close to 70% on three point attempts, by putting up 18 in the loss to Duncanville.
Loryn Goodwin missed the tourney game record of 18 made free throws by one on Friday was leading scorer against Summit with 16. By winning third place GOLD, they do just what Irving MacArthur did last season, I-MAC went on to win state going away. Maybe it's an omen!