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Queens of the Hardwood: 1st Impressions

By Antonio G. Castillo, 05/01/21, 11:00PM CDT


It didn't take long! Impressions were made early and often on day one...

San Antonio, TX-

After a day that started at 6am, we’re still busy, pushing through and we’re not quite done yet after our first full day of the “Queens of the Hardwood 2021”. We’ll break it down for you shotgun style. Here are some first impressions from action on day one.

-Watchout for SAHE Red
This bunch of seventh and eighth graders do not mess around. Led by 5’11” Yasmeen Schmidt (2026), they are a tough out for most 15U and 16U teams. Karina Garcia, Mia Ramos, and Karina Vasquez (all 2025’s), make you only fathom at what the future can hold for this group, if they can stay together, and continue to improve. They went 2-0 on the day. If you missed our takes on twitter, mark down Schmidt's name. She has a chance to be very special in a few years.

-Sophomore anchoring the middle
Standing every bit of 6’3”, Tabitha Johnson (Whitney HS) is a force down low for the DC Queens CenTX. With her wide frame, and physical play, only a 2023, but there aren’t many who can bang with her on the block.

-Panuco sisters are trouble
Both can fire away and hit from deep without hesitation. 5’9” Caitlyn Panuco (2022/Whitney HS) showed she can fill up the stat sheet quickly scoring 24pts in one of their wins. While older sister, Valerie Panuco (2021/Whitney HS), was right on her heels with 20points. As an unsigned senior, Valerie showed she can add worth to a college roster at the right level. She can handle the ball and her 5’6” frame is no issue as she has plenty of range.

-Players 1st Basketball 16U National has players
Another younger roster full of freshman and sophomores who can ball. Addison Iden (2023/Johnson HS) showed a versatile game. Hitting from deep multiple times and being able to put the ball on the floor and attack. In transition she caused some oooh’s and awwwwe’s with a euro-step avoiding the defender and laying it in. Kamryn Griffin (2024/Johnson HS) and Sydney Colleoni (2023/Johnson HS) are another pair of talented youngsters with this group.

-Comeback of the day, from 20+ points down
That honor goes to the SA Islanders. Trailing at one point by more than 20 points, they used a furious 2nd half rally, coupled with plenty of forced turnovers and big shot, to force OT. In the extra frame, Lanie Douget (2021/Homeschool) secured the game winning layup with a few seconds to spare. Propelling to an undefeated first day and into bracket play. It wasn’t a one women show either, Karina Ortiz (2022/Crystal City HS) and her outside shot make a nice 1-2 scoring punch for the Islanders.

-South Texas Representing
A team made up of all players from the Rio Grande Valley, Mamba Select showed well for the #956 in two, tough wins on the day. Iasia Goldman (Mcallen Memorial HS/2022) and Britzeida Sanchez (Rio Grande City HS/2023) led them with 16pts and 20pts respectively in their wins.

-Another 2024 to write down
Kendall Beck (Homeschool/2024)
is the name you need to know. ProSkills SA 15U rode their 6’2’ freshman to victory. She’s long, and knows how to efficiently make the most of her mismatches in low. Both wins were blowouts for ProSkills, and her play was the main reason why.

-Nothing new for Austin Elite RFW
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Coach Fonzell Martin has a team full of girls who can play. Arguably the girl’s cornerstone club of Central Texas showed that they’re setting the standard again. Destroying two opponents, each by 27 points, AE looks like they’re in mid-AAU season form. Lexi Alexander (Cedar Ridge HS/2022) is the offensive heavy for AE as she had team highs in both of their wins, but Erika Suarez (2022/Hendrickson HS), Jamyria Ramsey (2022/Weiss HS), and Avari Berry (2023/Pflugerville HS), are all capable of filling up the stat sheet, and creating buckets when the ball is in their hands.

­-2pts is the difference
That’s all that kept Texas Elite Lady Force from going unblemished. Coach McGowan has a squad though. It’s baffling that unsigned senior Ashton Garner (Jim Ned HS) is still on the board. Every bit of 5’11”, she is very active. Good enough handles where she showed the ability to get down hill from the wing. Showed a nice soft touch when she used her jumper, even connected on a set trey, and uses her length very well to be active on the glass. Nesha Stephens (2022/Odessa HS) can get hot quickly. She has range beyond the arc, can stop on a dime and fire away, and she showed great change in speeds in being able to attack off the bounce and get by defenders to finish at the rim.