The city is as talented as it has ever been. While the 2013 class is not very top heavy with major impact players, the underclassmen are primed to take up the slack and gives the city a chance of finally going to state and NOT get blown out. The lack off a shot clock and junk defenses by smart coaches will allow for numerous teams to "upset" more talented squads but here are the top contenders for a state trip. Teams 6-10 to follow.
1. Reagan- The defending regional champs are back and still loaded. Led by Super Teamer Wendy Knight and All Area pick, Moriah Mack. Tessa Ramirez is a good high school point guard and capable of stretching the local defenses with the 3. Terry Barton's motion offense and disciplined help side defense will help make up for the loss of Sabrina Berry. Corrigan Tibbs and a reported 6'1 post transfer will help anchor the middle. The Rattlers have a bright freshman in Mailee Jones. Barton has been reluctant to move frosh up to varsity early but may choose the route that he went with Knight three years ago. Without a shot clock in Texas, Reagan's coaching and system may overcome more talented teams to reach Austin again.
2. Johnson- As noted on this blog last season, Johnson was a year away. The losing culture permeated throughout the program. The addition of reigning coach of the year, Randy Evans, will surely put Johnson among the city's elite. Johnson trailed by double digits against EVERY ranked opponent last season in the 1st quarter! Evans will ensure that his talented squad has a solid game plan this time around. Recee' Caldwell will finally get a screen or two and proper spacing to help free her weapons. All-District guard Gabbie Bowie has steadily improved her entire skill set. Erica Sanders has committed to Texas Tech after a great summer and transfer, Tierra Davenport is legit! The 6'1 transfer and cousin of UT player Empress Davenport has too pledged to Texas Tech and is easily a Top 5 talent in the city. USA soccer player Morgan Stearns will help in the middle at 5'11 and Brie Foresman will help stretch the defense after returning from a knee injury. A State trip would not be a surprise from the Jags.
3. Steele- Kari Wallace did a good job balancing the individual needs of her talented group last season. She returns two of the Top 3 players in the city in Kyra Lambert and McKenzie Calvert. Lambert has verballed early to TAMU and should play relaxed and steady. The BU commit , Calvert is fresh off of a high scoring high school campaign and looks to continue giving the city buckets. The emergence of Erika Chapman will help alleviate the loss Elena Gumbs to Rice. Chapman has increased her tools and should have a breakout year. Bri Millet is a capable play maker. Wallace runs a simple system that pressures all over the court and allows her her athletes to make plays. Defending off of the bounce is difficult and Steele has 4 adept players at attacking via the dribble. Three to four Division 1 players on a team, 2 of them Top 50 players nationally, may be enough to get them to state.
4. Wagner- The T-Birds have reloaded. The best Big in the city, Tesha Smith is no longer an unknown. The reigning new comer of the year has verballed to UTSA after being the most sought after kid in the class of 2013 in the city. Wagner returns the super intense Corrina Moncada and the talented Ashley Ross. Wagner added the most recruited 2016 in the city in the high scoring Amber Ramirez, ranked as a Top 20 kid nationally by numerous services. Belle Tovar reminds me of former Wagner guard Chelsea Solis the way she can score. Tina Camacho does well with the tools at her disposal. Teams will not be able to zone or double down on Smith as Ramirez, Tovar and Moncado will knock down open 3's. Guarding Smith and Ross straight up will be a problem and Kiuana Clark and Kaelynn Wilson are good athletes. Do not be surprised at all if the T-Birds reach state, the talent and coaching makes them a contender.
5. Brennan- Brennan won 36 games straight last season before losing in the 3rd round of the playoffs. They lost reigning coach of the year in Randy Evans but should not miss a beat with the addition of former UTSA assistant coach, Koty Cowgill. Anyone seeing Koty train and/or coach while at UTSA knows that he will be playing chess while most of the opposing coaches are stuck on checkers, especially in his district. Super Teamer Tanaeya Boclair has firmly established herself as a Top 100 kid nationally and added to her face up game. Alyssa Crockett and Ashley Graham as defensive ball hawks. Crockett is a power guard that lives at FT line. The 6'1 Eliza Martinez is fresh off of a great summer that solidified her as a Division 1 prospect. The Mason Sisters ,Tia and Deja, at 6'2 and 6'3, gives the Brennan front line a Division 1 feel. Add the sharp shooting Kalani Marquez and Brennan will be tough. Now add this to that talent gumbo, 2013 forward transfer Kiara Etheridge is a mid-high major D1 talent and reportedly a Top 10 player in the city. If Crockett is healthy, I find it hard to believe that Brennan will not be in Austin come March as the regional rep for class 4A. Here's their front line, 5'10(Marquez), 5'11(Etheridge) 6'0(Boclair), 6'1(Martinez), 6'2(Mason), 6'3 (Mason).