District 30-4A girls basketball will be tough to conquer
Jan. 5, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 5, 2012 at 7:06 p.m.
After two long months of tournaments and match-ups against nondistrict teams, crunch time has arrived for District 30-4A.
In five weeks, a district girls basketball champion will be crowned and three other playoff teams will emerge.
And they will have all earned it.
District 30-4A boasts a defending district champion with an experienced guard combination and a pair of teams ranked in the top 15.
"There are no easy games," Victoria East head coach Yulonda Wimbish-North said. "You don't know what's going to happen, so you've just got to expect that every time you step out onto the floor there's going to be a war, and you're going to have to fight and claw to win the game."
Last year, the Victoria West won the district title with a 9-1 record (29-10 overall)and advanced to the regional semifinals.
But the Warriors know repeating will not be easy.
"Our kids definitely want to repeat as district champions, and they are willing to fight for the district championship, but they realize this is a different race," West head coach Sandra Jimenez said.
The Warriors have three returning starters in Sevanah Campos-Reyes, Emily Skipper and Treka Franklin.
Franklin is the Warriors primary inside presence, averaging nine points and 11 rebounds per game. Campos-Reyes and Skipper combine for 10 assists per game, while Skipper and Franklin average four steals apiece.
Skipper and Campos-Reyes were named to the 2011 all-district first team, while Franklin earned co-MVP honors.
East and Floresville are considered the two biggest challengers to unseat West.
Floresville is ranked 11th and East 14th in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A poll.
A year ago, the Titans finished with a district record of 8-2, including a big win at Victoria West to close out the regular season.
The victory over the crosstown rival helped propel East to the regional finals, giving the Titans plenty of valuable experience for another extended playoff run.
"What we did last year allowed us to realize that all things are possible, and it showed them they can do it," Wimbish-North said.
Advocate all-area girls MVP Adelaide Wenzel and first team all-district guard Danielle Franklin lead the Titans in their senior seasons.
Standing at 5-foot-11, Kenya Griffin adds a formidable post presence for the Titans with 151 rebounds.
Although all eyes were on Wenzel coming into the season, Franklin's offensive play gives opposing defenses another thing to worry about.
"Her defense has always been there, but she's more of a scorer this year, and I think that's been an added push to our team," Wimbish-North said.
Wenzel and Franklin have a combined average of 28 points per game.
The Floresville Tigers figure to have a little extra spark in their step when they play East this season.
The Tigers finished third in district last season and after splitting two regular season meetings with the Titans, East eliminated Floresville in the regional quarterfinals.
Last season, Erica Hernandez split the District 30-4A MVP with Franklin and leads Floresville again this season. Through 21 games, Hernandez is averaging 23 points.
Senior wing Brittany Aikens and junior post Shelby Leinneweber will also be key weapons for the Tigers.
Aikens averages 15 points, while Leinneweber adds 10 per game. Aikens is also Floresville's key distributor with seven assists per game.
Although polls and rankings give fans something to talk about, Jimenez knows ultimately it will be the teams that determine how the district pans out.
"This district (title) is not going to be given to one team because they are ranked," Jimenez said. "It's going to be the team that plays consistent, that shows up for those games that supposedly aren't going to be the tough games."
A year ago, the Calhoun Sandies lost all 10 games and brought up the rear in district play.
This season, Calhoun head coach Sherman Chew thinks the Sandies can take a step further and not only compete in district, but make the playoffs.
"In our district that's tough to do, but that's been our goal from day one," Chew said.
Calhoun is 17-6 on the season and has already surpassed the school's win total of 13 from 2010-11.
Senior wing Michelle Wagner is Calhoun's leading scorer, just as she was a year ago. Her average is up from 12 points last season, to 15 this season.
Chew said Wagner has been helped by the addition of 5-foot-10 freshman post McKenna Villegas this season.
Villegas is averaging 12 points and seven rebounds this season.
"She plays with more confidence, knowing that she has teammates around her that will work with her," Wagner said.
District play gets underway on Friday with Calhoun hosting East, West hosting Beeville and Floresville hosting Gregory-Portland.
"You better come to play, that's for sure," Chew said.