East girls to be tested by state's best
To date, two things have elevated the profile of Victoria East's girls basketball program: a 40-3 record last season, and the Lady Titans' run to the state tournament last spring.
Should Yulonda Wimbish-North and her young charges escape this weekend's McDonald's Texas Invitational with an impressive showing, even more attention may be cast their way.
In each of the last five years, at least one of the top three finishers at the McDonald's tournament has advanced to the state tournament. A year ago Duncanville won the tournament. The Pantherettes, the reigning Class 5A state champions, will play the Lady Titans Friday afternoon.
East (1-1) will play two games Thursday afternoon, against The Woodlands and La Porte, before facing Duncanville on Friday.
"It will measure areas we need to work on, or it will show us where we need to be," Wimbish-North said. "The preseason should be hard so when you get to district you won't experience anything you haven't experienced in pre-district games."
East rallied to beat San Angelo Central 68-31 last Friday to even its record on the season.
Senior guard Bre Williams hates losing - with an emphasis on hate. After losing their season opener against Corpus Christi Ray, Williams said the Lady Titans played its brand of pressing, trapping and high-tempo basketball in their 37-point win.
As for this weekend, Williams said it will reveal a lot about the 2012-13 Lady Titans.
"It's going to show who we are and how well we do this season," Williams said. "Our character will show. I think we'll be all right. I know we are a strong enough team to come out and play every game."
Williams is one of four new starters for East along with senior Kamri Hardeman and juniors Leah Bailey and Kendall Carter. Senior post Sonya Acuna is the only returning starter from last year's juggernaut.
"It's not really about them," Acuna said about this weekend's tournament. "It's about us and how we work together to get the job done. We just have to know that we are doing our best."
Acuna said the Lady Titans success has led to people approaching her with questions about this season. Whether its students, teachers or random people it appears the Lady Titans are no longer anonymous.
"There is going to be a lot of good competition up there," Acuna said. "We just have to be ready to play hard, come out strong every quarter and be ready to play every game."