Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More November Quick Hitters!

-Stevens and Brandeis validated my quick hitters this week. Stevens spanked Johnson in a rubber match in the semifinal of the SAISD. Brandeis confirmed my opinion of them by upsetting Stevens in the championship of SAISD.

- Some believe that Judson is the most balanced team in the city. While Judson is balanced, that honor goes to Stevens, EASILY! The top 5 players for Stevens account for 51 points. Three players averaged double figures with two more just a few points away from joining them in the double digit club. Yesterday game vs Mac showed why I have been on the Stevens bandwagon. They scored 100 points! And their leading scorer, was their 6th best scorer in the talented junior, Amalya Lewinson, who finished with 25 points.

- With all due respect to the published SA Express assist leaders, Recee' Caldwell and Leslie Vorpahl are leading the city in assist. Caldwell has three games of 10 or more assist already. She gave Brandeis 26 points and 10 assist yesterday in front of Duke. . Vorpahl countered last night with the most dominate performance of the early season by giving 30 points and 10 assist to a very talented Steele team.

- Former Smithson Valley star, Danielle Blagg hit the game winning shot over Top 25, LSU. Blagg was named Conference USA Freshman of the week.

- John Jay continues to be plagued by the injury bug. They have lost 4 starters to injury.

- Jacqueline Esquivel is averaging 18 points a game for Mac. The 2013 guard is getting a rep as a proficient scorer.

- Boerne Champion's Heather Hormuth is making her mark . The 2013 forward has made the transition from the post and is now hitting the 3ball consistently. She is averaging 13 points a game, shooting over 50% from the field and 38% from the three point line which places her as the third best scorer in 28-4A.

- Judson's Simone Fields' is shooting close to 60% from the field for the season. Impressive!

- Taft's Monet Neal(Houston Baptist signee) is the most improved offensive player in the city so far. Her incredible defensive ability has been joined by an increased repertoire of spins, turn around jumpers and up and unders.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Wulf and his Pack Leader!

With a huge upset win over Steele tonight on their home court, Churchill's Cal Wulfsburg has done it again. Steele has three Division 1 guards in McKenzie Calvert, Elena Gumbs and Kyra Lambert. Wulfsburg dared Steele to beat him from the outside and Steele came up short totaling a mere 41 points. Wulfsburg's Churchill team won 58-41.

The pack leader for Wulfsburg helped account for 50 points herself. Leslie Vorpahl totaled 30 points and 10 assists to lead her Chargers. Vorpahl will soon have plenty of scouts running to San Antonio vying for her services. She did most of her damage with a very good defender(D1) guarding her.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reagan/Wagner Observations!

Reagan high school capped off a great week by beating #1 Wagner at home. In the same week where the Rattlers beat Top 5 Steele, the game was a great one for many reasons. A few thoughts on the game/players:

Deep Teams- Reagan won the close game with stars, Sabrina Berry and Moriah Mack sitting out significant minutes. Berry played in her first game of the season and Mack sat the entire second half for some reason. Speculation was that she is nursing a minor injury. Still, the Rattlers pulled off a huge win with players such as Tess Ramirez playing very solid. Ramirez kept a steady head and did a good job of not being overwhelmed by the intense Wagner pressure. Bailey Champion provided needed scoring. Imagine how good Reagan will be when all pieces are firing at the same time.

Wagner is also very deep. They feature 4 college bound guards in the Twins, Adrianne and Aundrea Davis(2012),Corrina Moncada(2014) and Deja Pettit(2013). Pettit shows flashes of brilliance. She can slash and has a street ball handle that appeals to the crowd. How deep is Wagner, the best guard is sidelined until early 2012, Ashely Ross. Forward Kiarra Rivera will play college basketball and is very solid post scorer, defender and rebounder. Sophomore forward Kaelynn Wilson has yet to earn significant minutes but would START on most other teams in the city.

Defense wins Championships- While many teams can pressure weak guards into turnovers in the full court, few teams lock up in the half court and rebound. Both Reagan and Wagner defend with great help defense and crash the boards to get needed stops. Both Tina Camacho and Terry Barton mix up defensive looks and have defensive weapons that they can unleash on the opposition. The entire Wagner back court can lock up like pit bulls and Reagan counters with arguable the best on-ball defender in the city, Moriah Mack. Reagan also uses the 5'9 athletic Wendy Knight to slow down scorers. Reagan also has the rebounding bully named Sabrina Berry and a huge body in Corrigan Tibbs. Wagner can board with ANY in the city with Kiarra Rivera and Tesha Smith.

Great Environment: It was the stark contrast in cheering that contributed to a great environment. The chants of Waaagner followed by TTTTT-Birds resonated through the gym. On the other side, Rattler fans enjoyed the prompting of traditional cheerleaders, back flips and all. Club teammates showed up to support club teammates, despite their own school rivalries. The Wagner Principal is as vociferous as any fan in showing his support for his school. He sits in the middle of the crowd and lives and dies with every play. The game at Reagan placed the crowd 60/40 Reagan's way and it is a shame that more high school games are not played on high school campuses. Last night had a football feel, with excitement and disappointment. Girls basketball SEEMED important to San Antonio last night! Even the officials were good!

Tesha Smith- The key to early Wagner success has been Tesha Smith. For anyone that saw a young Xavier McDaniel in the NBA, Smith is built in that mode. She rebounds, the best n the city, she blocks shots into the stands, she is effectively scoring and most importantly, she is the emotional spark plug for the T-Birds. Her intimidating presence adds fuel to the hectic pressure that the guards put on the opposition. Like the X-Man, who punched a young rookie named Michael Jordan in the chest for no reason other than intimidation, "Smitty" snatches boards and scowls in the process. In a telling play in a crucial part of the game, Tesha was having trouble with the band on her new goggles. She palmed the ball in one hand and snatched the band off with the other hand. She then launched the band into the stands before adjusting her goggles on her face. All while holding the palmed ball away from the closely guarding defender a' la, Wilt Chamberlain. She then made a good pass on the perimeter, crashed the boards and secured an offensive rebound and scored put back! She ran up the court clapping at her own accomplishments. She knew that sequence was worthy of self adulation.

Wendy Knight- The sophomore guard for Reagan finished with 15 points(paper had it wrong at 13) on a limited number of shots. She hit big shots, including a huge three and a big time pull up jumper in the face of a defender. In the two games vs Wagner and Steele, Knight averaged 16.5 pts while shooting above 50%. Knight is heady and does not wilt under pressure. In the crucial part of the game, it was Knight who was charged with making out of bounds passes vs Wagner's denial defense. She directed her teammates to flash to the middle vs the 3/4 court zone press, she ensured the spacing of the Rattler offense was appropriate to defeat help side defenders. Knight is regarded as one of the best prospects in the state for 2014 and is heavily recruited. She showed why this past week.

Adriane Davis- Davis is a Division 1 guard! I have been on the fence about her projected level, settling on Division 2 as her destination up until know, but no more. Davis has turned on that D1 switch. She always possessed the speed, quickness and tenacity on the defensive end to be elite. She has always been an aggressive slasher with a good handle. Now she is stretching the defense with the 3ball. She hit two huge three pointers to keep her team in the game. She still takes plenty of chances that end up being ill advised at times but it is that kind of moxie that allows her to be fearless and good! In a huge win over Top 10 Churchill earlier in the week, the University of Colorado came out to see Churchill star Leslie Vorpahl. The scout left with an additional file to open on the kid with 25 points and stellar defense, Adriane Davis.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rest In Peace!

The San Antonio basketball community mourns the loss of Oklahoma State coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna. Many local kids attended the Oklahoma State Elite Camp this past June and had the opportunity to get to know both.

The loss of Coach Serna was taken especially hard for a few local prospects. Coach Serna visited Johnson High School and Boerne High school on numerous occasions last year.

A conversation with Coach Serna this past Monday is ringing in my head. Her enthusiasm and love for her job and school made you want to visit Oklahoma State and view what her excitement was about.

God Bless the family of all those that lost their lives in the plane crash. Thank you Coach Miranda Serna for touching so many of our lives!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mid-November Quick Hitters!

-Brandeis should be a playoff team this season. Here is why:

College Players- Brandeis has 6 players capable of playing beyond high school. Mykel Costley, Hannah Thomspon, Rose Maldonado, Alyssa Browne, Kelsey Glassburn and Amara Parker all should have opportunities to play at some level after their high school careers are over.

Coach John Ince- Coach Ince is one of the few coaches in the city who consistently changes defenses multiple times in a game. This practice keep opposing teams from establishing a rhythm offensively.

27-5A- Jay and Stevens are a lock to come out of the district. While O'Conner's star, Ebony Easter, seems to be on a mission, they may not be deep enough to overcome Brandeis depth. Clark should make some noise but Brandeis should finish 3rd in the district.

- Stevens is a nightmare match up. Here is why:

They Defend Extremely Well- They defend extremely well with different looks and objectives. They press full court to create scoring opportunities through turnovers. They play a long passive aggressive half court trap to minimize the opportunities of the best perimeter player on offense. Then they bring a super aggressive Man defense that features great on ball defenders, Elexus Allen and Samira Rodriguez to harass the oppositions best ball handler. Allen and her long quick 6'0 frame causes on set of problems and then comes the small pit bull tenaciousness and speed of Rodriguez.

They are Deep- Stevens can go 8-9 deep with college caliber kids. The young and talented kids that can score. They have shooters. They have slashers. They have a true big body post option in Deleesha Monroe. They can bring a 6'0 jumping bean off of the bench in Amalya Lewinson.

They are Balanced- Samantha Herrera, Nicole Salazar and Julia Rendon can shoot the 3 well. They provide a solid threat to stretch the defense. They allow the slashers to have spacing to operate. They ability to hit the 3ball and attack the basket enables Stevens have a balanced scoring attack.

- Vying for the Top Spot for 2013:

Moriah Mack- Mack had 18 huge points in a big win over a very good Steele team. Mack has long been considered a remarkable talent. This blog predicted a Jessica Kuster-like breakout year from her and she is on track to do so. (Averaging 11.6 pts for the #2 team in city)

Brooke Allemand- Allemand had a great showing vs Canyon while being guarded by Chamaya Turner for most of the game. Her 22 points followed a 29 point performance in the first game of the season. All while playing the point guard and facing the brunt of the defense focus. (Averaging 19.3pts)

Chamaya Turner- Turner has been the best kid in the city for 2013 for two years. She stepped into Allemand's territory and hit 6 three point buckets against her in a close loss Tuesday. If Turner can consitently knock down jumpers, watch out!( Averaging 19.5 pts)

Leslie Vorpahl- Like Jay star Destiny Amezquita, Vorpahl saw the nasty side of the Twins, Adrina and Aundrea Davis on Tuesday. Vorpahl has played a more challenging schedule than Allemand or Turner so far. As predicted by this blog, Vorpahl has some adjustment this season as she is the obvious point of opposing defenders affection. She is getting the same treatment that Johnson's Recee' Caldwell received last season. Facing Box & 1 defenses in 5-A basketball is not easy! (Averagng 10 points)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

College Connections!

Mizzou stars Christine Flores(Churchill) an Breena Brock(Wagner) pose w/ one of the Finest young fans in the city!

-2011 POY, Erica Donovan (Jay)led NC State in scoring in her first college game w/ 11 points.

- Danielle Blagg (Smithson Valley)has started her first two college games scoring 9 and 11 points.

- Former Churchill star, Chirstine Flores moved into the Top 5 in career blocks for Mizzou.

- Speaking of Flores, she and Breena Brock(Wagner) combined for 53 points in win over TAMUCC

-Monica Engleman is a star! The former Madison forward is a consistent double digit scorer for Kansas. This blog faced some criticism when she was ranked as the best player in her class of 2009 for the city. The dissent has quieted!

-Meaghan Simmons(Steele) played in front more than 12,000 for her season opener against Pepperdine!

- Asha Hampton-Finch(Roosevelt) earned 31 minutes in a huge win over Rice in her first game.

- Speaking of Asha, her first assignment was to guard former district foe, Jessica Kuster(Reagan). Kuster tallied 22 pts and 18 rebounds in the loss to PAVU!

Distinguished Visitors!

Some local kids have some distinguished visitors coming to town:

Brooke Allemand(2013): University of New Mexico and UTSA on Tuesday

Leslie Vorpahl(2013): New Mexico State last Wednesday and Colorado on Tuesday.

Recee' Caldwell(2014): Missouri last Saturday. Oklahoma, TCU and Texas on Tuesday. Duke next Tuesday.

Briana Jones(2013)- UTSA is taking in her game tonight

Kyra Lambert(2015)- UTSA is viewing the match up vs Reagan.

Wendy Knight(2014)- UTSA is viewing the match up vs Steele

Chamaya Turner- UTSA viewing game vs Boerne Champion

Monday, November 14, 2011

Niaga signs!

Roosevelt star, Niaga Mitchell-Cole signs w/ UTSA!

Erica Hernandez signing pic!

Floresville star, Erica Hernandez signs w/ Southeastern Louisiana!

All-Timberland Team!

In a new feature, I will highlight some of the players in the city who do the grunt work. These players may not get the recognition of higher profile teammates but they put in the work to help their teams go. These are the kids that do the dirty work and are "extra possession kids".

Samira Rodriguez(2013)- The gritty guard for Stevens is a headache defensive match up for opposing guards. She came up huge in a season opening win over Churchill. She gave standout guard Leslie Vorpahl a tough time. She followed up with a great effort to slow down Recee' Caldwell in a loss to Johnson in Corpus Christi Tournament championship game. Samara is quick and physical. She plays with moxy and is becoming one of my favorite players to watch.

Bailey Ulrich(2012)- The undersized post is tough! In a game vs Austin Westlake and their 6'2 post, Ulrich was down right nasty. She fronted her, pushed her with lower body leverage and she out hustled her to loose basketball balls. Johnson does not win that game without Ulrich efforts.

Jasmine Thompson(2015)- The frosh post for Mac is a game changer. She immediately makes her presence felt with big time boards. She is very active on both ends of the floor. She is the Dennis Rodman of the city. Besides defending and boarding, she is averaging 10 points early.

Jamee Jorgenson(2014)- Jorgenson is a double digit rebounder for a high scoring Boerne Champion team. She is the hard screen setter and cleans up the numerous long attempts shot by her gunning teammates. Her huge hands and hockey strong body allows her to rebound out of area and bang with the best bigs in the city.

Mikki Flores- The Churchill frosh is an energizer for her team. She is a floor burn kid that dives for every loose ball. She is a pretty good young scorer but she is huge on the defensive end of the floor. I have seen Flores actually dive for the steal while an offensive player was dribbling. Incredible motor!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monet signs on the dotted line

Monet Neal (Taft)signs with Houston Baptist University yesterday!

Tabatha makes it official!

Tabatha Richardson-Smith signs with Seton Hall yesterday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Signing Day!

Elena Gumbs and Fam signs(Rice) on the dotted line!

Today is the first day that players can sign Letter of Intents . Congrats to all you young Stars! Your hard work has paid off. In a conversation with a very proud father, he stated that his daughters' scholarship is worth over $250,000 over the four years! Talk about a making a good investment.

Opening Days Quick Hitters

Though the season is still very new, some early hints signal a different year and new standouts.

Anissa Hastings and Stevens- This blog named Stevens the #10 ranked team in the city. The Stevens team showed the entire city that they are underrated. Coach Anissa Hastings is too underrated. Her team mirrors her passionate coaching style with hard nosed defense. No zones! She makes sure she gets after it and instills an "us against them" mentality. Hastings must be commended for keeping her cool in the big victory over Churchill(preseason #5). The Churchill crowd surprised many onlookers with the verbal assaults toward Hastings and her Stevens group. She steadily led her squad to a 1 point win over one of the better teams and coaches in the city, Cal Wulfsberg. In a telling play, Hastings showed that her X and O ability is first rate. Churchill caused a turnover with 10 seconds left in the game, down by 1 point. The ball was under the Churchill basket. Wulfsberg called a timeout to draw up a set, a baseline drift play to the weak side shooter. The beautiful thing about Hasting's defensive strategy is that she forced the ball to the left side of the floor, thus making the baseline drift pass difficult because it had to be thrown accurately with the Churchill player's weak hand. The result was a turnover, game time.

Johnson High School- A local high school coach was overheard saying that "all they(Johnson) have is Caldwell" as he smirked to his audience. Another coach bragged to a D1 visiting coach that he "beat them(Johnson) 30 twice" last season. Opening day showed that those days are long gone. Gabbie Bowie(2014) introduced herself to the city with 20 points and numerous rebounds over Taft. Erica Sanders (2015) provided a few electric moments telling the uninformed of her promising future. Morgan Stern may be the difference maker when it is all said and done. The standout soccer player has the body, athleticism and grit to give Johnson the physical presence versus elite Bigs. Coach Audra Bredemeyer has picked up the defensive pace and is pressuring all over the court. The 30 point win over Taft exhibited the bright outlook for Johnson.

East Central- East Central beat Roosevelt last night 48-46. Apparently, East Central is no longer an easy out.

Brooke Allemand- This blog stated that Brooke Allemand(Champion) would lead the area in scoring. She backed up that proclamation on Monday night with 29 points, including seven 3 balls. Allemand hit over 100 treys last season.

Wagner #1?- Wagner made its case of being #1 in the city with a solid victory over Jay last night. Wagner holds a couple advantages over most teams in the city, namely, the Twins! Adriane and Aundrea Davis are nightmare defenders for opposing guards. Individually, they are quick and aggressive. They both get into defenders hips and stay low on defensive slides. However, it is the help side defense of their teammates that make them very good. Their aggressive on ball stances inevitably lead to some ball handlers getting by them. That's when the Wagner weak side defense picks up the slack and makes scoring against them very tough. 2013 post, Tesha Smith will lead the city in rebounds. The word most used to describe "Smitty" by onlookers is BEAST. She is one of the few kids in the city that volleyball spikes opponents shots. She reportedly had 7 blocks last night vs Jay.

Mismatches- The opening days showed huge disparities in the city basketball programs. Incarnate Word, Johnson, Brennan, Sam Houston, Southwest, and Johnson all won by 25 pints or more. Steele and Brandeis throttled their opponents by 50 plus!

Reagan- The Rattlers made their case for #1 in the city by beating a good Judson team at Judson. The return of Sabrina Berry, out for personal reasons, may vault them to the top of the city rankings.

Huge Games- Reagan faces both Steele(11/15) and Wagner(11/18) next week in a battle of Top 5 teams in the city. Johnson may face Stevens in Corpus Christi this weekend. Churchill has a tough schedule and faces Steele(11/15), Wagner(11/21) and Jay(11/29) over the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our Best to a SA great.

Former Taft star, Lyndsey Cloman has reportedly torn her ACL and is out for the season. Cloman is a junior post for Oklahoma University. We wish her a speedy recovery.

November Quick Hitters!

Shana Holmes shining already for Harding! FIT!!!!

November marks the start of another great basketball season. It also marks the start of a new chapter in local players lives as they sign National Letter of Intents next week. Here are a few quick hitters.

  • Tabatha Richardson-Smith will sign with Seton Hall. The former SA area player for Seguin verbally committed last week. The remarkable thing about her commit is her journey. Richardson-Smith is a 6'0 guard with a flair for the game. She prefers to play with boys and spent the preseason at her new school, Bay City High in Houston, practicing with the boys team, not the girls. Tabatha had a very tough time at Seguin. She was stuck in an environment that put very little emphasis on girls basketball. It is very difficult to shine in a situation where your passion is treated as a hobby, but shine Tabatha did! Tabatha sought refuge with her club Sophia Young Elite and found herself playing the NCAA October Fall Exposure period playing in front of many college suitors. While she was already well known to many D1 schools, Tabatha took advantage of the fall period to showcase her skills. Her club coach, Mike Ekenam, also sent video to numerous schools and worked diligently to help her get additional looks.(He called one of the best and most progressive coaches in the city and asked her for tape on Tabatha, even though Tabatha was not her kid. Of course she helped provide the tape that warranted a personal visit from Seton Hall!) Seton Hall is led by women's basketball legend, Anne Donovan. Congrats Tabatha! Your perserverence paid off! Your passion is too strong to be deminshed!

  • Speaking of taking advantage of the Fall Exposure Period, point guard extraordinaire,Leslie Vorpahl made a Western Athletic Conference coach stand up and take notice. The Churchill pg put on a show with her SA Heat team. The school will be in San Antonio to visit her at school on November 9th.

  • In a SA area battle, Southwest scoring great Shana Holmes(South Texas Hoyas) led her Division 2 Harding University squad to a win over Lipscomb. The Divison 1 Lipscomb features former La Vernia star, Chealsea McMeans(TeamXpress). Holmes led all scorers with 14 points and McMeans chipped in with 4 points for her team.

  • To follow San Antonio area action starting on Monday, text "follow shesballinsouth" to 40404. We will be covering games throughout the city with the help of numerous correspondents. Tuesday coverage includes Wagner vs Jay, Reagan vs Judson, Johnson vs Taft.

  • My San Antonio with "5 burning questions" and "Preseason Predictions".