Monday, June 1, 2009

TeamXpress unChallenged

The TeamXpress Challenge concluded yesterday and I was a little disappointed. Even though some local teams performed well, the main attraction between the two top Elite Clubs in San Antonio turned out to be nothing but an old school spanking.

TeamXpress Black faced the Lady Rohawks on the main floor at the small Sam Houston High School gym. The bleachers were full and fans were jammed in doorways and corners to view the much anticipated game. The atmosphere almost matched the scene of last year's game during the 'Ladies First' event at Alamo City Christian Center.

Last years scene was the most exciting crowd and game that I have witnessed since moving to San Antonio. That game featured three Division 1 and two Division 2 players starting for the Lady Rohawks. TeamXpress started four Division 1 and one Division 2 kid on their starting roster. I described TeamXpress as a BMW 740 due to the way they performed and executed. I called the Lady Rohawks a Porsche Carrera because of the speed and aggressive style they displayed.

The entire gym was expecting the same excitement as last year but found out that this years Porshe Carrera never got out Parking gear. TeamXpress became a Monster truck and the ran over the Lady Rohawks. Repeatedly!

The final score was 64-13! That is not a typo. That was the actual score. The clock was running at 7 minutes. I have never witnessed a game between two Elite teams where the clock ran due to a 20 point lead seven minutes into the game. As a fan of good basketball, I felt cheated. I made sure to get my front row seat so I could enjoy a game that celebrated San Antonio's girls basketball with athleticism, skill and passion. I knew that I was going to be engulfed by overzealous fans cheering emphatically. I spotted at least four High School coaches who came to take in the scene too. Apparently, TeamXpress did not get the memo that we all came to view a good heavy weight battle as they ended the bout faster than 1986 Mike Tyson fight. They did not want to share the limelight and ensured that everyone who was in that gym knew they were running this show.

I choose not to opine negatively about kids so I will say that TeamXpress flipped the switch. Usually it is the Lady Rohawks who apply full court pressure until their opponents fold. This time, it was TeamXpress who pressured the Lady Rohawks into a lay up drill. When the Lady Rohawks tried to pressure TeamXpress, they gave up baseball passes that turned into wide open lay ups. TeamXpress is known for its half court execution but they rarely needed to run a play due to constant transition opportunities they caused. Simply put, it was a thrashing.

Now let us ponder. How much of a difference would CeCe Harper have made? Regular readers know how much I love CeCe's game and the passion that she brings to the game surely would have made a difference. But, would she have made a 50 point difference? Probably not. Among the rumblings I heard were that some fans were upset that the Lady Rohawks seniors did not play. I do not know the tournament rules but look at it this way. Monica Engleman(Kansas), Felicia Jacobs(St. Mary's) and Alicia Houston( Midwestern St) would have made an impact for the Lady Rohawks. But, so would have TeamXpress Seniors Lyndsey Cloman(Oklahama), Kyra Crosby(West Virginia) and Sabreena Denure(UTA).

(A Side Note:

This practice of playing signed and committed seniors is new to me. No where in other parts of the country is it common practice to play signed and committed seniors in club games. The intriguing thing is exposure events. I read that Kelsey Bone, McDonald's All American and South Carolina 2009 commit played at an exposure event in Las Vegas in April. WHY!?!? Why is she and her Houston Elite club taking valuable looks from college coaches away from her club teammates. College coaches attend these events to find NEW prospects, not see old ones. This violates the spirit of club ball in my opinion. Club ball is about getting kids better through Elite competition and providing exposure for its players. It should not be about winning trophies at the expense of the younger girls on the roster.)

Moving on, I am deeper in love with LenNique Brown's game. Last years TeamXpress vs Lady Rohawk game was when I first became captivated by LenNique. She can GO!!!!

The only bright spot for the Lady Rohawks was the few minutes of excitement that McKenzie Calvert played. The 2014 guard is fearless and showed glimpses of how bright a future she will have.

Other event happenings:

- The Lady Mustangs played very well and lost in overtime to the eventual Varsity Division Champs, Houston Wildcats. Julissa Garrett's left hand is getting stronger and she scored in bunches. Eighth grader, Destiny Ameziquita held her own against High School juniors by effectively managing games at the point guard.

- Kiara Rivera led the South Texas Hoyas Gray team to a couple of victories this weekend. Rivera is a 5'10 freshman from Wagner. I first saw Rivera last year and her potential was evident. She is athletic and has a great body of a power forward. She has since developed a face up game and is putting the ball on the floor with success. To see her snatch rebounds, outlet , and run the court to finish with lay ups was Karl Malone-ish.

-TeamXpress Gold(SA Finest) ran through the competition to a 3-0 record. They beat teams by a combined total of 161-41. This team faced the Houston Wildcats in the Ship' and won 49-28. Rising Boerne Champion freshman Heather Hormuth, went on a personal 8-0 run with jump shots, a reverse lay up and an impressive put back in traffic to initiate the running clock on the Wildcats. Hormuth will be joined at Champion next year by the ultra quick and exciting point guard, Brooke Allemand. Allemand had a great event by breaking defenders down off of the dribble and running her teams' offense. This team will go back to playing up in the Lady Rohawk "Ladies First" event to face the best freshman team in the city, Schertz Jaguars. Bring your popcorn!

-Cassie Peoples was in the house. San Antonio born and UT commit, Peoples was in town for her little brothers game at a local gym. Peoples is still recovering from a broken leg that she suffered during the high school season. Peoples entered the gym wearing jeans but left wearing UT shorts. It was good to see a player of her caliber shed her outfit and shoot jumpers during timeouts of the last game. Her work ethic is legendary as I admired her hitting nothing but the bottom of the net in her shooting exhibitions. The event also saw UT senior and All Time three point leader, AJ Abrams in the house. I would have loved to see those two shoot it out!