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.