Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A sneak peak at Team Ichiban Event

The following is a quick recap of local team success at the Team Ichiban event near Dallas. The following teams all sent at least one team to the event: TeamXpress, Lady Rohawks, Schertz Jaguars, South Texas Hoyas and Lady Hoops. Three SA teams reached the Championship game with one bringing home the trophy:

-Lady Hoops won their 5/6th grade Division by smashing all opponents. Their exciting back court of Amber Ramirez, Aaliyah Holmes and Autumn Light are fun to watch. The Lady Hoops travel well and their kids could be found in gyms supporting other local teams in the event. It was good to see Coach Holmes and his kids cheering for fellow SA teams. These kids are young and understand that despite Club affiliation, the better SA teams perform, the better we all get.

-TeamXpress Black lost in the championship game to Nike Cy fair Shock. TeamXpress Black eventually succumbed to the overwhelming size(Chiney Ogumike, Britanny Harding andAnne Hartung)that Cy Fair presents. The first half was a close game with neither team establishing dominance. Transition baskets and rebounding allowed Cy fair to stretch the win to double digits. TeamXpress Black had some bright spots. LenNique Brown faced sophomore sensation, Alexia Standish and held more than her own. Standish has been featured on Hoopgurlz a couple of times recently for her impressive showings during skill camps and events. Brown was her usual savvy self and had little trouble with the intense pressure of Standish and the very athletic press of Cy Fair. Brown conducted the offense and penetrated when the opportunity presented itself. She probably could have shot a little more but I always feel that a player of her caliber could shoot a little more. SA Express player of the year, Meighan Simmonsstarted off on a torrid pace. Simmons came out by hitting three bombs from deep and she had her characteristic swagger going. All signs pointed to a scoring outburst that San Antonians have come to expect from Simmons but that did not happen. For whatever reasons, Simmons did not continue to get good looks throughout the game and Cy Fair pulled away. Arielle Roberson and Erica Donovan played hard and tried to contain the All American front line of Cy Fair. Cheyenne Berry had a very solid tournament.

-TeamXpress Gold lost in the championship 52-48. This was Gold’s first event playing in the TeamXpress uniform against its own age group. Gold lost the first game 43-42 to US Elite in sudden death double overtime. Gold beat three consecutive opponents by double figures to face US Elite again, this time for the championship. Wendy Knight, Hannah Thompson and Victoria Briones gave a valiant effort in the close lost.

Some other happenings in the event:

-Chiney Ogumike is amazing! The Nike Cy Fair Shock post is a live peak at the future of the game. She is agile at 6’3 with a wing span that never ends. She is a sight to see at the front end of the press and just as impressive when snatching rebounds and dribbling up the court, Ala Candice Parker. She is so vocal that I witnessed her calling plays for her point guard from the bench in a previous game. What is most impressive about her is her off court demeanor. She speaks articulately and is quite the conversationalist. She encourages the younger players with kind words and advise to stay in the gym and work on their game. She presents herself as a young lady. It is refreshing to see her and her former McDonald’s All American sister , Nneka, in bright colored summer dresses, ear rings and make up. This lady-like look was a stark contrast to the sagging shorts, tattoo’s , and Allen Iverson scowls worn by other players.

-US Elite 2012 and Westside Select 2013 takes on the big dogs. These 8th and 9th grade teams not only played up, they played up and beat some good teams. It was so encouraging to see that these young girls, their coaches and players looked forward to playing against older teams. I sat with one father of the Westside select 2013 team as he was very disappointed in a loss to TeamXpress Black. Black has one of the best players in the nation, one of the most underrated players in the nation and a Hall of Fame Coach and this man was still upset that his 8th grade daughter’s team lost to them by ten points. He sat at the championship game of Nike Cy Fair and TeamXpress Black and was disgusted that his daughters' team was not facing the CY Fair for the title. His young daughter was just as disappointed as she watched the game. Not surprisingly, she already has received dozens of letters from college coaches including two hand written letter.

-Niaga Mitchell-Cole can play! The Roosevelt freshman was balling for the Lady Rohawks. She can guard three positions with lock down defense and a super fast first step. She is long and very athletic. Watch out for this fabulous freshman.

-This event was not the most organized. The competition was great and the sites were good but last minute scheduled events left many teams with forfeited games and changing game times.