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.