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Sep, 2019

Girls I35 HS Showdown Recap: Part II

(By: Anthony Tavarez)

San Antonio, TX-

Pool D possibly had the youngest rosters than any other group. The Brennan Bears and Laredo United Longhorns both ended the day 2-1 in their pools. The Bears only loss came to a tough Longhorns squad. Brennan has a dominate force in 2020 Alani Fluker, who continues to improve her game as she had performances of 16 and 9 points in wins over Harlan and Johnson, but missed the game versus United which proved to be the difference in the game.

Brennan relied on 2022 Jillian Torres, who showed she could play alongside Fluker.  She had a team high 18 points versus Johnson.  Laredo United had a nice trio of 2021s in Elisa Peralta, Evelyn Quiroz, and Isabella Torres.  The three helped lead the Longhorns to a 3-1 record while averaging 56 points per game.  The Longhorns lone loss came to a very surprising Harlan squad. The lady Hawks came in with two 2023s who will be making a huge impact this season in Kastyn Young and Layla Conley.  The length and speed of which these two play allow them to be interchangeable at different positions which could create matchup issues in their 5A classification. Harlan also possess a deep squad which all contributed every time they stepped onto the floor. Harlan has a roster which only has 3 seniors out of 13, is set up to be a serious contender for the next few years.

Another young squad were the Johnson Jaguars, who had an impressive 2022 in Sierra McDermed, who was the team’s leading scorer last year as a freshman. She continued to display her offensive game as she was the leading scorer in every game. Johnson will be another team who will be around for a while as there are five 2023s and three 2022s listed on their roster.

The top scoring performance of the day came in Pool E as 2021 Amelia George dropped in 34 points in Lee’s win over Stevens and led them to a 2-1 record. George has great court vision, IQ, and is able to score in many different ways.  When teams focused on George, 2020 Mariel Prevost stepped up, creating a nice 1-2 punch. Stevens only loss came to Lee but they also return 2021 Semaj Adams to the roster after being injured last year. Adams is a physical player who has a “just take care of business” mentality as her best performance turned in 23 points over Hays and she looks ready to carry the team into the season. 

Hays came out the first game looking to make a statement early as 2021 Lily Gueverra and 2022 Katelyn Isely came out shooting, combining for 32 of the teams 65 points. The remaining games created more of a difficult matchup as they dropped the next two, but showed there are more players to keep an eye on as the season begins in November.

Somerset may have had the most impressive display of shooting behind the arc as new additions to the team, Tse Nizhoni Morgan and Julissa Riojas, hit 11 threes in a 66-56 win to give SA Lee their only loss. Add in Marisol Jimenez and Somerset has a squad to grow with.

Harker Heights came into pool F in mid-season form looking to finally take district 12-6A once the season starts, as they rolled through SA Clark, Austin Bowie, and Judson. The trio of ’21 Sierra Brooks, ’22 Empress Roberts, and ’20 Celise Bobbitt will be causing mismatch issues all year.  Brooks was the most impressive as her speed and body control in the lane were difficult for any one individual to stop. She was definitely the fastest player in the gym. Judson’s only loss came to Harker Heights, but ’21 Kierra Sanderlin was not 100% as she sat out the game. When Sanderlin did play she made a huge impact on the way the defending 6A State Champs plays, even if her ankle was a little tweaked.  She was a true leader on the court along with ’22 Amira Mabry who both consistently lead the team in scoring in wins over SA Clark and Bowie. 

Third place in the pool was SA Clark. Some may think they’re taking a step back this year after a nice run in the playoffs last season, but the team is built to continue competing with ’21 Sydney Solitaire and ’22 Hailey Adams.  Mix in a ’23 in Ramsey Robledo and SA Clark has some height teams must plan for.  Clark was missing a couple of players who should be having an impact this season with ’20 Kayla Harris and ’22 Aaliyah Roberson, both at about 6’0”. 

Austin Bowie is a team filled with seniors and also looking for one of them to take charge and lead this team.  Layla Habash may be the player the Bulldogs will have to rely on for leadership this season if they look to make the next step to take down Westlake for the district championship.

Our final bracket featured some heavy hitters and teams were filled with D1 talent. Vista Ridge, Steele, Veterans Memorial, and Brandeis all had their fair share of ballers. Those who were in the gym could agree these pool games were the most intense.  Though each game was competitive, Vista Ridge came out 3-0 behind the play of 6’1 2021 AJ Marotte and 5’11 2021 Jzara Williams. Marotte plays the game so smooth and plays within herself never trying to force it.  Guarding Marotte, at 6’1”, can be difficult, but throw in a beautiful jump shot off the dribble and it’s even harder. This is the reason why schools such as TCU, Colorado, Tulsa, South Florida, Washington St, UT Arlington, and Arkansas have all offered the 2021. To show how competitive the field was the remaining three teams went 1-2 while battling each other on the court to the end.

Steele has the talented 2020 Aja Holmes who did all she could in dropping 15 points in a close loss to Brandeis. After struggling offensively for the first two games we finally saw 2021 Bria McClure come out firing against Veterans Memorial as she hit 4 threes on her way to 18pts. She refused to go through the day winless and brought out all the stops. No one played harder and hit the floor more than McClure. She showed you don’t always have to score to make an impact.

Veterans Memorial also has D1 talent in 6’1” 2020 Sahara Jones who is one player who loves to get in the mix and get physical in the paint. She is the type of player who could easily take over a game by herself. One player who really stepped up and showed she will be a threat this year is 6’0” 2020 Breanna Perez, who had several college coaches in attendance talking about her.

Brandeis is a team looking to take back district 28-6A and this year may be the year. Missing their floor general in 2020 Kaia Hererra for the next several weeks will mean ’22 Marisa Seaton will have to step up and she did just that, averaging 10 points a game and playing some solid defense against some talented point guards. Brandeis has a solid starting five that can match up with just about any team, but will need someone to come off the bench to provide a spark as Seaton did last year.