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JOHNSONCOUNTY

BASKETBALL2012

ALVARADO - BURLESON - CENTENNIAL • CLEBURNE GODLEY • GRANDVIEW - JOSHUA - KEENE - RIO VISTA

A special supplement to the Cleburne Times-Review

Johnson County Basketball 2012 is a publication of the Cleburne Times-Review

Nov. 4, 2012

Johnson County Basketball 2012

Publisher

Kay Helms

Managing Editor

Dale Gosser

Design/Layout

A.J.

Crisp

Sports Editor

A.J.

Crisp

Contributing Writers

Tommy

Brown

Contributing Photographers

Laura Zamora

David

Beans

Laura Zamora

Tommy Brown

Advertising

Advertising Graphics

Kay

Helms, Mgr.

Eric Faught Sherri Jouet Tammy Kay Lisa Dyer Ashley Garey, Mgr.

Cleburne Times-Review

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Courtesy photos Left: Grandview’s La’Broyeah Jackson figures to be one of the better defensive players
Courtesy photos Left: Grandview’s La’Broyeah Jackson figures to be one of the better defensive players

Courtesy photos

Left: Grandview’s La’Broyeah Jackson figures to be one of the better defensive players in Johnson County for the Zebras. Right: Josh- ua’s Madison Lasater and the Lady Owls, under new Head Coach Jeff Hudak, look to turn their losing ways around.

INDEX

Alvarado Indians

Page 4

Alvarado Lady Indians

Page 5

Burleson Elks

Page 6

Burleson Lady Elks

Page 7

Centennial Spartans

Page 8

Centennial Lady Spartans

Page 9

Cleburne Yellow Jackets

Page 10

Cleburne Lady Jackets

Page 11

Godley Wildcats

Page 12

Godley Lady Cats

Page 13

Grandview Zebras

Page 14

Grandview Lady Zebras

Page 15

Joshua Owls

Page 16

Joshua Lady Owls

Page 17

Keene Chargers

Page 18

Keene Lady Chargers

Page 19

Rio Vista Eagles

Page 20

Rio Vista Lady Eagles

Page 21

Indians out to prove they have staying power

By Tommy Brown

aisd public information

It’s been a while since the Alvarado Indi- ans have entered a season with high expecta- tions after a regional tournament appearance the year before. Alvarado Head Coach Michael Seibert, however, welcomes the pressure that comes with those expectations with open arms. “Our expectations are to build on what we did last year,” Seibert said. “I fully expect us to go out and compete for a district champion- ship again. If we go in and play our game, we can play with the best teams around.” Building on last year’s run to the regional semifinals will not be an easy task for the In- dians as they will be without two three-year starters in Abel Manriquez and Tyler Bates, along with starter Ricky Handy. Despite the losses, the cupboard is far from bare for Seibert and the Indians as junior Xavier Adams, last year’s district offensive player of the year, returns along with starter Sam Manning and contributors Keith Kanter and Brandon Castillo.

“We’ll have a different look just because we may not have the same speed we had a year ago, but we do have guys coming back that have a lot of experience,” he said. “We have timidity in what year’s doing. These guys have been training hard and they know what level we need to be at in order to be where we want to be when the season ends. “There’s an awareness and a confidence among everyone that wasn’t there before.

Plus, we have really good depth and every one

of these guys know their roles, their strengths

and where they fit in to the big picture.”

Adams is a two-year starter and will be the Indians go-to person when they are in need

of points, but Seibert believes Alvarado’s suc-

cess may come down to finding a second and third option to keep pressure off the junior guard. “More than anything, we need to find

a couple guys who can shoot the ball,” he

said.”If we can stretch the floor and consis- tently knock down threes to make them pay for any double or triple teams against Xavier, we are going to be very successful.” On the defensive end of the court, Al-

varado will have to find a way to replace the team’s top rebounder and shot blocker from the last two years in Manriquez. “It’s tough to replace a kid like Abel; he was definitely a presence for us,” Seibert said. “We’re expecting Jake Geeo to step up and be physical for us. He doesn’t shoot as well, but I’m confident we can put him in the middle of the paint and he’ll be a factor on the defensive end.” When Alvarado takes the court in a game for the first time, they will open the season with back-to-back playoff appearances and most recently a regional semifinal appear- ance. For Seibert, the goal by the end of the sea- son is to see this newest edition of the Indians add to that foundation. “You never want to be a flash in the pan,” he said. “My goal coming in last year was to establish consistency, a winning mindset and a winning program. “I want everyone to know we are going to be here for the long haul.” Alvarado opens its season at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Palmer.

Alvarado opens its season at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Palmer. Tommy Brown/AISD Left: Alvarado’s
Alvarado opens its season at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Palmer. Tommy Brown/AISD Left: Alvarado’s

Tommy Brown/AISD

Left: Alvarado’s Brandon Castillo is a returning varsity player for the Indians this year. Right: Xavier Adams was last year’s district of- fensive player of the year and looks to build on his impressive sophomore season.

Lady Indians ready to end playoff drought

By Tommy Brown

aisd public information

Excitement is not a word that has been used a lot around the Al- varado Lady Indian basketball program recently as it has been more than 10 years since Alvarado qualified for the state playoffs. This season, however, is different. Lady Indian Head Coach Jenny McKinney throws the word around at every opportunity as her team prepares for the upcoming season. “I think they’re excited,” she said. “With volleyball making the playoffs I think it has made them think that the playoffs are a real pos- sibility and that makes things exciting for everyone.” One thing the Lady Indians do not have to worry about this year is experience. Having lost only three players from the varsity roster, all of which were from students who moved, the Lady Indians have a plethora of experienced leadership to draw from. “I’ve got seven returning varsity players and they’re picking up the pace and they know what they are doing,” McKinney said. “Some- times I think they’re coaching up the freshmen more than I am. They grab them and say do this or do that. It’s exciting to see everything trickle down through the program.” The road back to being in the playoff hunt has been a long one for the Lady Indians and McKinney, but it was something she was pre- pared for and she hopes that her and the team’s patience will finally pay off. “When I first got here we spent a year and a half teaching the in-

See ALVARADO, Page 19

a year and a half teaching the in- See ALVARADO, Page 19 Tommy Brown/AISD Brianna Thomas

Tommy Brown/AISD

Brianna Thomas and the Lady Indians look to end the season with a playoff berth for the first time in more than a decade.

Thomas and the Lady Indians look to end the season with a playoff berth for the

Burleson starts fresh with young team, new district

By Laura Zamora

have to play a different brand of basketball

getting back into the playoffs for the first

reporter3@trcle.com

now.”

time in three years.

The Burleson Elks are working on a suc-

The young varsity roster has been prac- ticing relentlessly to prepare for the 2012

“We don’t care what it is, but we’re going to try to get into the top four. We’ll get in as

cessful strategy to get back into the playoff

season.

a total team effort, no outstanding individual

mix

with less than a handful of returning

“We’re trying to get everyone on the same

players, but as a whole team,” he said.

players.

page so everyone knows what our offense

Moving into District 8-4A means the Elks

The Elks finished its final season in Dis-

and defense plans look like,” Tomchesson

got rid of two of its toughest district com-

trict

7-4A in sixth place with a 4-10 district

said. “We’re not trying to play ‘keep away,’

petitors — Mansfield Summit and Arlington

and

14-16 overall record. It was a similar

but we know our best asset to our offense is

Seguin — but Tomchesson said the Elks’

story for Burleson the year before, finishing

our defense.”

new district has two schools who replaced

in fifth place just short of a postseason ap- pearance. Head Coach Ted Tomchesson said his

The team is focusing on playing as one unit, Tomchesson said, as they adjust to a new atmosphere and new teammates. De-

those two. “We’ve got our rival school, which is a really fundamental and sound team in Cen-

team

is trying something new this year to try

termination and the team’s work ethic are

tennial, but other than that, the new district

to see some postseason action after its reg-

playing as strengths for the Elks’ brand new

doesn’t change much for me. We now have

ular

season schedule wraps up for the first

game plan.

two very competitive teams in Waco High

time

since the 2009-10 season.

“Some of our positives are that the kids

and Waco University that’ll make up for

The Elks are returning only three play- ers this year, including all-district selections Turner Schwarz and Lance Forehand, which makes the feat a little more difficult to attain. “We’re working on a whole different style of play,” he said. “We lost so many guys with so much experience, and we’re just going to

are playing hard. They seem to be buying into what we’re trying to get them to do,” Tomchesson said. “We have to be deliber- ate with our play, and we have to look for the best shots for the team – not for the in- dividual.” Tomchesson said the team’s goals include

Summit and Seguin. I think our district’s competition will be the same, just with dif- ferent colored jerseys.” The Elks’ first home nondistrict match is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 against Weatherford. Burleson opens district play Dec. 18 at Ever- man.

Burleson opens district play Dec. 18 at Ever- man. Laura Zamora/CTR Burleson Head Coach Ted Tomchesson

Laura Zamora/CTR

Burleson Head Coach Ted Tomchesson talks to his team during one of their first practices of the season. The Elks open their season on Nov. 13 against Weatherford.

Lady Elks ready to execute on strengths, potential

By Laura Zamora

reporter3@trcle.com

The Burleson girls basketball team is shifting its focus to stay- ing healthy and using its experi- ence to push into the postseason for the first time since 2010. The Lady Elks were one game shy of a chance at the playoffs in District 7-4A last season. Burle- son finished 5-7 in district play and lost its final regular season game to Crowley by one point. Had the Lady Elks won, both Burleson and Crowley would have finished district at 6-6 and been forced into a tiebreaker game for the final playoff spot. That season finale for the Lady Elks ended a tough year marred by injuries, Head Coach Rusty East said. “From that point, it was down- hill,” he said. “We’re a bit more experienced now, but we’re beat up. Mackenzie [Hailey] had a torn PCL, Morgan [Schwarz] tore her ACL and Lindsay [Bryan] has something in her knee, too.” Burleson went 18-14 overall in the 2011-12 season with three freshmen on the varsity roster, but East said his team’s experi- ence will help give them a boost this time around. “When you put freshmen at the varsity level, they learn the speed of the game and have a bet- ter understanding of what we ex- pect from them,” he said. “Those three freshmen are all starting now. They [have] a lot of game- time experience, and you can’t teach that.” Hailey averaged 15 points and eight rebounds last season, which earned her the Newcomer of the Year accolade in District 7-4A. Bryan, who was also a freshman last season, was named to second team all-district. East has six returning players on this year’s squad, including two four-year varsity seniors. “We have three more fresh- men this year. I think we have the tools to make a run at the dis-

trict title, but we want to make playoffs first. Since we were one game out last year, a reasonable goal would be to make the post- season, and the exceptional goal would be to win district,” East said. “It’s such a long season and staying healthy has always been a problem.” An injury-free roster will help the team make strides in the new District 8-4A, East said. The head coach has been at Burleson for six years and had four top players and leading scor- ers tear their ACLs in his time with the Lady Elks. “The deal with us is staying healthy because we don’t have a lot of depth,” he said. “If we can stay healthy, we’ve been picked to win district in the TexPreps Basketball magazine. That just means we have a target on our backs. We’re big, but we’ll just have to see what happens. If we can stay healthy, we can make a run this year.” East highlighted determi- nation as one of Burleson’s strengths this season. “They really trust the stuff we do. They’re comfortable with it. We don’t complicate things. They respond to me, and they buy into what I’m saying,” he said. “They’re good kids and they have a drive to want to win. When I got here, the players said they just want to have fun and play basketball. Well, I want to have fun by winning. All we did was make some structure and dis- cipline. When I took over, they were 4-24.” The formation of Burleson Centennial that split the Lady Elks’ team in two hurt East’s ros- ter, he said. “Looking at Centennial, those seniors over there were my fresh- men. You’re trying to beat play- ers you taught,” East said. Nonetheless, East and the Lady Elks are preparing for a competitive district where he

See LADY ELKS, Page 22

said. Nonetheless, East and the Lady Elks are preparing for a competitive district where he See

Spartans focusing on improving competitiveness in 4A

By Laura Zamora

reporter3@trcle.com

The Centennial boys basket- ball team is practicing relent- lessly to be prepared for some major changes and challenges in its upcoming season. The Spartans’ biggest chal- lenge will be moving up to 4A with its first senior class in school history. Centennial finished its 2011- 12 season at 16-15 overall and 6-4 in District 7-3A. The Spar- tans finished second in district and earned their first-ever play- off win in the bidistrict round of playoffs against Kennedale. Abilene Wylie knocked Cen- tennial out of the postseason in the area round, but Centennial still made an impression with a bidistrict championship in its

first year of varsity competition. The district realignment af- ter last season puts Centennial in District 8-4A with Burleson, Cleburne, Crowley, Everman and Joshua, which were all in District 7-4A last year. Waco and Waco University remained in 8-4A as the district’s seventh and eighth schools. Now, the Spartans must read- just as a newcomer to 4A play. “It’s a big step up to 4A,” Head Coach Jeff Carroll said. “It’s going to be a big change for us and a big adjustment overall. Our kids have to change the ath- leticism of the district. We have to make sure we understand that there is a big jump, and we have to be prepared to make that jump.” Carroll’s roster lists 11 re- turning varsity players, includ-

ing two all-district selections and three All-Johnson County athletes. Seniors Doug Hopkins and Garrett Easterling made first team all-district in 7-3A last season and All-Johnson County. Curtis Amos, another All-John- son County selection, was dis- trict newcomer of the year. “It’s going to be a tough dis- trict and a tough battle every night,” Carroll said. “Every team in our district can win any given night that they play. This team really has to show up and play every night.” To be successful, Carroll said his team has to improve on ev- ery aspect of the game to match up to the competitiveness of 4A play. “The big key for us is being able to play at the same pace.

The pace of the game is going to be a lot faster, and we just have to be prepared for it,” he said. The Spartans are also work- ing on their defense and how to defend the ball at the faster pace. “We have to be able to defend at a higher rate of speed. It’s go- ing to be difficult, and some- thing we need to get used to,” Carroll said. Centennial opens its season at home against Fort Worth Poly on Nov. 13. The Spartans tip off in District 8-4A play against Crowley at home on Dec. 18. The team’s ultimate goal, Carroll said, is to deliver its best game of basketball at every game to stay prepared for what- ever comes. “We just need to play as hard as we can every single night to be successful,” he said.

as we can every single night to be successful,” he said. Laura Zamora/CTR Left: Centennial Coach
as we can every single night to be successful,” he said. Laura Zamora/CTR Left: Centennial Coach

Laura Zamora/CTR

Left: Centennial Coach Jeff Carroll talks to his team during the team’s first week of practice. Right: The Spartans work on the pick and roll. Centennial makes the move from 3A to 4A this season.

Lady Spartans focusing on defense, continuing success in new district

By Laura Zamora

reporter3@trcle.com

The Burleson Centennial Lady Spartans’ second- place district finish in its first year as a varsity team last season made a lasting impression in District 7-3A, but now the team must start over in new territory. After district realignment, the Lady Spartans will have to readjust to the competitiveness on a 4A basket- ball court. Centennial finished the 2011-12 season at 7-3 in dis- trict and 19-11 overall, entering the postseason as the No. 2 seed. The team lost to West High School in the bidistrict round to cut its playoff run short. New head coach Valerie Wootan then came into the picture, succeeding the role left vacant by Greg Peters. Wootan’s upcoming season with the Lady Spartans is her first as a head coach. She was previously an as- sistant coach for three years at Midlothian High School. Wootan’s new team had five all-district selections last season in District 7-3A, including a newcomer of the year accolade for freshman Madison Thompson. Meagan Benson and Brooklyn Garcia made first team, and Ashley Dixon and Kelsey Stewart were named second team All-District. Wootan said she has been emphasizing fundamen-

See CENTENNIAL, Page 22

she has been emphasizing fundamen- See CENTENNIAL, Page 22 Laura Zamora/CTR The Lady Spartans will be

Laura Zamora/CTR

The Lady Spartans will be under new leadership in the form of Valerie Wootan as Centennial makes the jump from 3A to 4A this season.

will be under new leadership in the form of Valerie Wootan as Centennial makes the jump
will be under new leadership in the form of Valerie Wootan as Centennial makes the jump

Under new leadership, Jackets hope to restore rich basketball tradition

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Cleburne boys basketball program is going back to the ba- sics and becoming a fundamen- tally sound team under new head coach Jimmy Littleton. “I really believe the kids have brought in to what we’re teach- ing them,” Littleton said. “We’re a fundamental basketball team:

shooting, dribbling, defensively. They’re really coming around. Our defense will be far ahead of our offense to start the season and then our offense will catch up later. You’ve got to play great defense to be a championship- caliber team.” Littleton is facing the chal- lenge of essentially coaching two different teams considering the number of players who are expected to join the team after football season is over. Right now, Littleton is work- ing with players like Ryan Kirk, Dominic Lazano, Colin Garcia, Deion Clark and several others. But once the Yellow Jacket foot- ball season is over, Littleton said players like Khalil Hall, Kamer- on Pickett, Kibo Grant, Al Bay- lor, Brezuan Miller and Cannon Martyniuk will make the transi- tion to basketball. “We’re going to have some quickness and athleticism,” Littleton said. “I think that’s go- ing to help us tremendously. I want the football to win the state championship and then basket- ball will be there when they’re done. It’s hard getting this thing going when you’re missing that many good players. I’m new and they’re new and when they come out, we’ll start all over again. Our kids are still learning what I’m doing and they’ve adjusted extremely well. “We got guys in there right now that we’re trying to put together to start the year and they’re our team right now. But things will change drastically

our team right now. But things will change drastically David Beans/Special to the CTR Kameron Pickett

David Beans/Special to the CTR

Kameron Pickett will be one of many players new coach Jimmy Littleton will depend on to make an impact in 2012.

Jimmy Littleton will depend on to make an impact in 2012. Jimmy Littleton when the rest

Jimmy

Littleton

when the rest of the players come over from football.” The Yellow Jacket basket- ball program has had its fair share of ups and downs, mostly

downs, since the Jeff Cody era came to an end, but Littleton brings 32 years of coaching experience and comes from a basketball tradition rich in history. Littleton’s father, James, is a Texas High School Coaches Hall of Famer. The elder Littleton won three state titles and went to the state tour- nament 13 times in 23 years at

San Antonio South San. The Jackets new commander has had his fair share of success in his own right, as he’s made the playoffs everywhere he has been, including stops at San An- tonio South San, San Antonio Roosevelt and New Caney. Littleton preaches fundamen- tals and defense nonstop, and he said he believes that is what the game of basketball is all about. While he has been in Cleburne for only a few months and hasn’t had his whole arsenal of play- ers to work with yet, he said the players he does have right now have started to pick up his sys- tems. “We’re a very aggressive, deny-the-ball, man-to-man,

half-court, up-in-your-face kind of intense defensive team,” Littleton said with passion. “[The defense] has picked up tremendously. It’s just like with anything else. When you learn something the first time, you’re not good at it, but the more you do it you get better and they’re starting to pick it up. Our prog- ress has really picked up.” Offensively, Littleton said they’ll be a continuity basketball team. He runs three guards with two low posts and he likes to play inside-out. “I’ve usually had kids who are over 6-5 at the programs I’ve been associated with,” Littleton said. “But right now, our tallest

player is 6-2. With the style of ball we’ll play here, we’ll push it up. We like to fastbreak and then

it flows directly into our offense.

But we don’t just push it up the floor and shoot quick shots. We’re a more ball-control team.” Even though the Jackets have

struggled overall, especially in district play, in recent years, that doesn’t sway Littleton’s opinion of Cleburne being a playoff team this year. “I think right now if we im- prove every day and put together the mixture of kids coming from football and have some good connection there, I think we’re

a playoff contending team and I

honestly believe that,” he said. “I

believe that wholeheartedly. I’m not saying we’re going to win

the district title this year. Is that our goal? Most definitely. That’s our main goal, and to make the playoffs and see how far we can go from there. “But this group is young and fundamentals have not been here

We’re ex-

the past few

cited about the season starting, but we’re excited every day to get on the court and practice and get better at what we’re doing.” The Jackets open the season

at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 against Fort Worth Southwest Christian.

Lady Jackets ready to make a playoff run

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Lady Jackets enter their second year with Coach Jamie Calahan, and the one word Cala- han is instilling in his team is “team.” “This is what I always preach is to play as a team,” Calahan said. “It’s going to take any sin- gle one of us at any point. I am a big believer in team. I think the biggest name on the team is Lady Jackets, and that’s what I preach to them. We’re going to win as a team and lose as a team. It takes all of us. Our biggest thing that we’re going to work on and our biggest key this season will be playing as a team. We’re one heartbeat and one unit.” Cleburne enters the 2012 campaign coming off a 2-12 re- cord in District 7-4A play last season, and Calahan said the newly aligned District 8-4A is wide open this year. “One thing about this district in basketball this year is any given night you can beat some- body and any given night you can lose to somebody,” Calahan said. “I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite. I think it’s a very tough district, and I think it’s tough all the way across the board. You’ve got to bring your A game every night because if you don’t any team can beat you. It should be very fun and interesting year.” One of the keys to the Lady Jackets having a successful sea- son is avoiding the injury bug, something that plagued the team last season in Calahan’s first sea- son. “It was a very tough district,” Calahan said. “We had injuries all year last year. I had about three or four people out every game. We had so many injuries it was crazy. Being my first year as the head coach and to go through that many injuries [was tough].”

The Lady Jackets will be an experienced group in 2012 as Calahan returns seven start- ers from last year’s varsity unit. Five of those players have started games in their careers, but with so many injuries, they were con- sidered spot starts. Juniors Bria McCullough and Courtney Jeffcoat were all- district performers for the Lady Jackets in 2011, and Calahan ex- pects big things out of them this year as well. “They both had really good years last year,” Calahan said. “They’ll both carry some of the load this season.” Junior Avery Hough, senior Hillary King, junior Alli Suitt and sophomore Jasline Chandler also return for Cleburne. Calahan said that Torameshia Robinson, Aastyshia Howard, Kennedy Foster and Whitney Morgan will also play key roles for the Lady Jackets. And Calah- an said everyone will be counted on.

“With the way we play, every- body’s going to play a lot,” Cala- han said. “We’re going to be deep because we run so much that we’ve got to be in shape. We’re very diversified as far as offense. Defensively we run a man-to- man. It can be full court, it can be half court. It varies. We run a press depending on the team we play. Our offense and transition game is fast-paced. We want to get up the court. We’re going to be a running team. “I think our defense is going to be our biggest strength. I think we’ll be pretty good defensively. Bria does a really good on oppos- ing team’s point guards and the rest of them read passing lanes really well. I think the defense can be our biggest strength. I think getting the ball and scor- ing quickly can be one of our

See CLEBURNE, Page 23

be our biggest strength. I think getting the ball and scor- ing quickly can be one

Despite inexperienced roster, Wildcats’ aim is still district title

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

While the Godley Wildcats are seemingly in a transitional season this year as they only return two players with varsity experience, Coach Keith McFar-

land said their goal is to still aim for a district championship and the playoffs. “We’re going to be really young,” McFarland said. “We’re going to have two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior that will see significant minutes this sea- son.” The two returning varsity players from last year’s team that went 21-9 overall and 10-4 in district play are Trace Brown and Drew Benge. The Wildcats lost

in the second round to Melissa in

2011.

“We’re going to just try to depend on those two seniors,”

said McFarland, entering his sec- ond year at Godley and 13th as

liams. With such talent moved on and with a young and inexperi- enced roster, the Wildcats will certainly face their fair share of adversity this season, especially early on. “We’re going to play a really tough nondistrict schedule and hope it pays off in the long run,” McFarland said. Some coaches like to schedule tough nondistrict opponents and hope that lessons learned against quality teams will help a team grow up and come together mo- reso than playing a softer sched- ule. That is what McFarland is hoping will be the case for his young Wildcats this season. Despite the challenges facing Godley entering their campaign,

McFarland is confident they can compete for a district champion- ship and at least a playoff berth. “We moved out of a district that had two regional power- houses in brock and peaster,” he

a

coach overall. “We’re going

said. “Moving out of that district

to

have a lot of young players.

will help us. I’m also counting

It’s good for the future, but it’s

on being able to get the football

a

learning process, for sure, for

kids going fast once they’re out

those kids this year.” Collin Douglas and Kyle Samples will be two other play- ers McFarland said he would rely

of football and us competing hard in nondistrict. Our goal this year is going to be to win a district title. Whether we can do that or

heavily. Godley lost all-region per- former Kolby Brown, all-district players Riley Davis and Kolbe Foster and the fourth starter from last year’s team, Canyon Wil-

on

not, I don’t know. Compared to last year, the district is a lot more balanced. That makes me feel better.” Godley opens the season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 against Ferris.

Godley opens the season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 against Ferris. Mason Irvin/Courtesy photo Godley’s

Mason Irvin/Courtesy photo

Godley’s Drew Benge will be one of only two returning players with varsity experience for the Wildcats in 2012.

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Lady Cats will have different look than previous four years

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

Similarly to the Godley boys basketball program, the Lady Cats varsity basketball squad will have a different look to it than of years’ past. “The previous four years, we’ve kind of had a core nucleus of kids that were here,” Coach Mark Chauveaux said. “We had four kids on varsity as freshmen who graduated last year and they were the core of our team for four years. Our team looked the same for quite a while there. This is go- ing to be a whole new look for us.” The Lady Cats are coming off a 26-6 campaign a year ago, including a 12-2 mark in district play, second behind powerhouse

Brock. Chauveaux has been the Godley head girls basketball coach for 14 years, and the Lady Cats have missed the playoffs just once. “I really don’t know what ex- pectations to have for this team,” he said. “But just knowing the kids who are returning and what we have coming up, I think that we have a chance to be competi- tive with the better teams in our region, but we’ll just have to see. We are very lacking in depth and size so those are two things that we’ve had quite a bit of lately that we don’t this year. We’ll just have to see.” The three players who do have varsity experience are Maelan Brown, Lyndsie James and Leanna James. Other play- ers who Chauveaux expects to

and Leanna James. Other play- ers who Chauveaux expects to Mason Irvin/Courtesy photo Godley’s LeAnna James

Mason Irvin/Courtesy photo

Godley’s LeAnna James will be counted on to help lead the Lady Cats as one of three returning varsity players.

step up this season include Sam Corbridge, Stacy Huckaby and Destinee Puente. Having the core of a team to- gether for four years from their freshman year to their senior year is rare in high school bas- ketball, but despite the losses of Tollie Wylie, Brittnie Neill, Dallas Young and Anna Perez, Chauveaux likes what the future holds for the Lady Cats. “I like our kids that are re- turning,” he said. “I think they’re really, really good players who have the potential to be standout players in our district. The other kids we have coming up into varsity, some of them are seniors who have been three-year or two- year JV players. We’ll have to see if they can adjust to the speed of the game at this level.”

Unlike many high school teams, but Lady Cats are rare in their offensive schemes in that they have the capability to play multiple styles of offense, from fast-paced to slow halfcourt. “We always try to dictate the tempo,” Chauveaux said. “It kind of depends on who we’re play- ing, but if we can, we want to get the ball up the court as quick as possible but at the same time we’re pretty comfortable with whatever pace we need to play at. I feel pretty good with this team in that we can play in two or three different styles and be comfort- able. We don’t have a lot of size so that would be a little concern- ing when we go up against much bigger teams.”

See GODLEY, Page 22

lot of size so that would be a little concern- ing when we go up against

Zebras eye return to postseason after coming up short last season

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

Coach Todd Jarrell enters his ninth year as head coach of the Grandview boys basketball pro- gram, and the Zebras are looking to redeem themselves after a dis- appointing end to the season last year where they narrowly missed the playoffs. “We were one game short of making it last year and I’m hop- ing that that will leave a strong desire on the guys that are return- ing to push us to that one or two extra wins this year to get into the playoffs,” Jarrell said. “Hopeful- ly we’ll have a chance to fight for a district championship.” Grandview finished the sea- son at 13-12 last year and 9-5 in district. The Zebras made the playoffs two years ago. Grand- view hasn’t won a district title since 2002. The Zebras will have a rather young team this season, as only four players return from last year’s varsity squad, and only two of those were starters — Ryan Breton and Stephen Stew- art, both of whom were first-team all district performers and sec- ond-team all county. “As far as the two returning starters, they’re both really good outside shooters,” Jarrell said. “They both can put the ball on the floor and make things hap- pen. I wouldn’t say they’re mir- ror images of each other but their scoring averages are very similar. They both averaged about 14 points per game. On some nights, especially down the stretch, it would be one or the other, but we’re hoping to have both of those two firing on the same cyl- inders at the same time this year.” The other two returners are La’Broyeah Jackson and Jordy Massey. “[Jackson] really came on for us last year,” Jarrell said. “He brings a lot of energy. He’s a very

Jarrell said. “He brings a lot of energy. He’s a very Grandview Yearbook Staff/Courtesy photo Grandview’s

Grandview Yearbook Staff/Courtesy photo

Grandview’s Ryan Breton (15) and Jordy Massey (41) are two of four returning varsity players for the Zebras in 2012.

long and lanky guy who blocks shots and gets rebounds for us. I think as far as our defensive stop- per type kid, he’ll be able to get out there and do things for us de- fensively.” While Grandview only has four players with varsity experi- ence returning from last year’s team, the Zebras will have anoth- er key player — Jamon Martinez — who brings varsity experience,

but from another program. “He’s got some varsity experi- ence coming over from the Waxa- hachie program,” Jarrell said. “I’ve got some sophomores and juniors who I’m hoping can step up and fill a role. From what I’ve seen from Jamon, he’s got a nice game that’ll help complement the rest of the team. Hopefully stuff will come together fairly quick- ly after they get out of football.

We’re hoping to score in the mid- 60s on a consistent basis.” The Zebras’ biggest strength this season will be the play of

their guards, but with that, their biggest weakness will be a lack

of size.

“Our guards have a lot of ex- perience,” Jarrell said. “We’re a pretty guard-heavy team. I think

we’ll be able to spread people out and have a bunch of ballhandlers on the floor. We’ve got a couple

of guys that are very good ball-

handlers and very good shooters. Down low, I don’t know how much we’ll have.” Due to the lack of size, Jarrell

said he plans on running a flex of- fense with likely four guards on the court most of the time. “Since we have so many guards on the floor, in the flex you end up playing every spot on the floor,” he said. “That’s what we’ll do if we have to set up and run an offense. Hopefully we can pull some boards and be

a running team. Hopefully we

can generate some steals. We’ve always been a pressing team de- fensively. That helps generate steals and gets easy baskets off the press.” Defensively, the Zebras will throw several different looks at opponents depending on the matchup, including different zones and man-to-man. With so much newness sur- rounding the Zebras, whether it be due to a lack of experience or lack of familiarity amongst play- ers, Jarrell said the biggest key to this season will be everyone ad- justing to each other and chemis- try coming together. “I think because we do have

a lot of new people, that devel-

oping chemistry and finding out roles early is going to be key,” he said. “Sometimes that’s real dif- ficult when you hop into tourna- ment season and usually we end

See ZEBRAS, Page 22

Expectations high for Lady Zebras, despite losing several key players

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Lady Zebras are coming off a 29-5 season in which they were undefeated district cham- pions, and despite losing an all- state guard and all-county most valuable player in Raven Mc- Grath, Grandview Coach Kevin Pope said he expects a similar season this year. “Everybody has to chip in and everybody’s got to do a little more,” Pope said. “We don’t ex- pect one person to step in and do what she did.” The Lady Zebras also graduat- ed standouts Melody Mayse and Lyncon Tekell from last year’s squad, both of whom earned all- district and all-county honors as well. Despite losing three solid players, the expectations are still high for the Grandview lady bas- ketball program in 2012, a team that’s made the playoffs for three straight seasons. While Grand- view lost a star player in Mc- Grath, something the Lady Ze- bras will be strong in this season is depth. “We’ve got a bunch of kids that all have things they bring to the table,” Pope said. “We’ve got to figure out which ones are going to be varsity and which ones will be kids with varsity- level attributes that are going to be on the JV getting another year of experience. I don’t feel like we have just that one person that we’re going to always go to like what it’s been the last couple of years. We’re going to be a more balanced team.” Seniors Kalani Basham, Harley Griffith, Taylor Russell, Alexis Wheeler and juniors Ri- ley Schindler and Krista Em- mons are all back from last year’s team. Grandview also received a transfer from Arlington Martin in senior Alyssa Stanley. With only two starters return-

in senior Alyssa Stanley. With only two starters return- Courtesy photo Grandview will rely on seniors

Courtesy photo

Grandview will rely on seniors Kalani Basham, center, and Harley Griffith (21), among others, to replace the production Raven Mc- Grath, Melody Mayse and Lyncon Tekell had last season.

ing from last year and a number of new players at the varsity lev- el, Pope said one of the biggest keys to Grandview having im- mediate success this season is to develop chemistry quickly. Pope said he didn’t plan on changing his offensive system or scheme to adjust to a new team.

“We’ll keep doing the same basic stuff offensively,” he said. “We’re probably not going to change a whole lot. Even with Raven last year, we didn’t run a lot of stuff for her. It wasn’t all designed around one person. They were all three players that opponents had to take into con-

sideration. When you lose three senior guards of that caliber, that’ll change the dynamics of the team. “But you hope those young kids have learned coming up through the ranks and step in their spots and everything contin- ues as is.” Losing those three senior guards of that caliber last year would be a blow to any program, but with the new talent moving up to varsity, Pope said the team will be stronger in one area this season compared to years’ past. “We won’t be as guard orient- ed as we have been,” Pope said. “We’ve got some forward-type kids that we feel like can help. That’s probably the area we’re stronger this year than the past three years. “We’ve got four forwards now, where usually we’ve put one forward on the floor with four guards. We keep the floor spread and try to use our quick- ness and basketball intelligence. But we’ve got some girls now that are 5-9 where most posts in the past were 5-7 and smaller.” Grandview faces a tougher road in district play this season a year after going unbeaten in league play, and Pope said he knows it’ll be a challenge. “There’s going to be a lot of parity. It’s going to be a close dis- trict race.” The Lady Zebras open their season at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Lancaster against Red Oak Life.

dis- trict race.” The Lady Zebras open their season at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Lancaster

dis- trict race.” The Lady Zebras open their season at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Lancaster

New head coach looks to bring winning attitude to struggling Owls program

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Joshua Owls basketball program is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Lady Owls volleyball program and quickly turn a rough season one year into a winning, playoff-bound season the following. And the Owls will look to do that under new leader- ship in the form of Jeff Hudak. “We really want to get a win- ning mentality built,” Hudak said. “I think from the little bit of research I’ve done, I don’t think they’ve won a district game in four years at least. I’m trying to get them to understand what it takes to win and the effort it takes to be a winner. I really want to build that mentality here quick- ly.” The Owls are coming off a 3-24 season last year and didn’t win one district contest. Similarly to Joshua’s volleyball history, the Owls’ last playoff appearance in boys basketball is unknown. For the Owls to turn from their los- ing ways, Hudak said they need to start on the defensive end of the court. “We’re going to start on the defensive end first,” he said. “I come from a very rich tradition of defense-first as a player at Birdville, so that’s what I want to bring to Joshua also. I told the guys, ‘You’ve got to be known for something, and I want people to say that Joshua can play de- fense and can shoot the ball.’” The Owls surrendered just over 60 points per game last season, while scoring only 37.5 points per game. Hudak will have four return- ers from last year’s varsity team to work with and one starter. Ty- ler Wright, James Woodley and Garrett Hoffman look to lead the team this season on the court for Hudak, who began his tenure at Joshua in the spring, something he said was a big help in getting things rolling.

something he said was a big help in getting things rolling. A.J. Crisp/CTR New coach Jeff

A.J. Crisp/CTR

New coach Jeff Hudak, right, hopes to instill a defensive mindset in a Joshua boys basketball pro- gram that hasn’t won a district game in more than four years.

“[Practice has] gone really well,” he said. “The kids here are great. They’re hard-working kids. I couldn’t ask for better kids. It’s actually been a pretty smooth transition. Since I was able to come in the spring, that’s helped. And we’ve worked all summer. So that’s made it a fairly easy transition. Now we’re wait- ing for football guys to come out to complete that transition.” The Owls went 5-3 in summer league ball and the fall league was 3-2. While it’s a small sam- ple size, the 8-5 combined record in those two leagues is twice as many wins that the Owls record- ed all of last season, and Hudak

said he believes it’s a start. “They’re starting to see a little fruits of their labor,” Hudak said. “Some of the stuff we’re doing is starting to work. Once they fig- ure it out a little more, it’ll click for them and we’ll be successful. We’ve just got to get over that initial hump and get those first few victories under our belt.” Joshua will be a senior-laden team this year as Hudak expects to have 10 seniors on the varsity after football is over. Along with the 10 seniors, he’ll have two juniors and one sophomore to round out his roster. Coming off a season where you lose 21 more games than

you won, one might not expect a playoff berth to be on the team’s mind, but Hudak said that is ex- actly what’s on the minds of him- self and his Owls. “Our short-term goals are to get district victories,” Hudak said. “Our main goal is always playoffs. We want to have that lofty goal of making the playoffs. I’ve told them from day one that I think we can make the playoffs. For a lot of people they kind of look at me crazy when I say that, but I think we can be a playoff team.” Joshua opens the season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 against Hu- dak’s alma mater, Birdville.

Lady Owls on the path to turning things around

Lady Owls on the path to turning things around Courtesy photo Joshua’s Katherine Martin will be

Courtesy photo

Joshua’s Katherine Martin will be a key player in the Lady Owls’ hopes of earning a postseason berth this year.

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

Continuity and more expe- rience, along with new district opponents, will be the keys to

a potential turnaround season

for the Joshua Lady Owls bas- ketball program, which is enter- ing its second year under Head Coach Danny Gillham. The Lady Owls went 7-23 last season, including 1-13 in

district play, a district that in- cluded perennial powerhouses in Mansfield Summit and Ar- lington Seguin. “Last year was such a feel- ing out process for us, not really

so much because I was new, be-

cause most of the girls were fa- miliar with me because I was a varsity assistant,” Gillham said. “The fact is that there was such a transition in learning because we had an incredibly young

team last year. We had six fresh-

men on the varsity. Only four of the 11 girls had varsity ex- perience last year, and nobody had two years of varsity expe- rience. So you had a bunch of kids who had been role players

and a bunch of kids who were in eighth grade. “You throw them together and put them in the district we were in last year, which was a nightmare of a district. You had the state champs in it and three of the top 16 teams in the play- offs were in that district. You’re throwing them into the wolves there. We took our lumps, but we learned a lot from it, too. It’s one of those deals where every

day those girls were learning something new and adjusting to something.” But Gillham said the excuses and learning from losing ends with the start of this new season. “We’ve had our share of loss-

See JOSHUA, Page 23

learning from losing ends with the start of this new season. “We’ve had our share of

Keene coach puts lofty goals on 2012 season

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Keene Chargers are in the midst of an impressive string of playoff runs dating back to the 2003 season, and while many teams across the region would be satisfied with a track record of that, Coach Jason Hill said his team is striving to be the best team Keene has ever had this season. “Some of our team goals we’ve talked about is, first of all, we want to win a district championship,” Hill said. “Another goal is to get the most wins in school history and focus on getting a lot of wins this year. We want to make a good playoff run. The past two years we’ve been knocked out the first round.” The single-season record for wins at Keene is 26. Hill said this team can surpass that mark. Despite making the playoffs nine straight seasons, Keene hasn’t won a district title since 2006. Keene returns several players with varsity experience, including senior Manuel Gonza- lez, senior Angel Ortiz, senior Keith Hadley,

senior Brian Foley and sophomore Ricky Hadley. Gonzalez led the region in scoring last year for the Chargers, and Hill, entering his 14th season at Keene, expects Gonzalez to not only repeat that feat, but also be a playmaker and get others involved. “Manuel Gonzalez led our district and re-

gion in scoring last year,” Hill said. “He’s had

a lot of success scoring. This year, I want him

to continue that but also to set up more plays for other people. I’ve got more weapons this year than I had last year as far as having guys who can score around the rim and around the perimeter.” For a team that finished last season with

a 22-13 record, Hill said having so many re- turning players with varsity experience will be just another reason why the Chargers can have a successful season. “My expectations for my seniors are, first is to provide some leadership,” Hill said. “They’ll be able to be an extension of me on and off the court and be able to get the young guys to buy into our system and the program.”

Along with the experience, Hill said the team’s other strengths are depth and endur- ance. “I think one of our main strengths is in our numbers,” Hill said. “I feel confident in being able to put 12 guys on the floor who can make plays for us. We have strength in numbers. Our conditioning is a strength for us, as well. Our kids run in cross country, so we’ve been running since August. We’ll try to run teams down and get to their bench. Our skillset is to our advantage because we work on basketball for the first three months of the year since we don’t have a football program.” With their endurance being a team strength, the Chargers will look to play to that and be an up-and-down the court team. “We’re going to try to push the ball off of makes and misses,” Hill said. “We want to get the ball in quick and get out in transition and put a lot of pressure on the defense getting back. That way we create some easy scoring opportunities for us in transition.” Keene opens the season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 against Peaster.

Keene opens the season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 against Peaster. A.J. Crisp/CTR Keene Head

A.J. Crisp/CTR

Keene Head Coach Jason Hill directs his Chargers in a fast-paced drill at a morning practice on Oct. 31. The Chargers are striving to break a school record for wins in a season this year.

Lady Chargers hope experienced team can lead to winning season

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

All teams have hurdles they have to clear to have a success- ful season, but the challenges facing the Keene Lady Chargers year in and year out are always lofty. Coming off an 8-24 year in which the Lady Chargers went 0-14 in district play, Coach Mi- chelle Connelly has four return- ing starters and seven returning varsity players and hopes that continuity will lead to more wins in 2012-13. “We need to have more con- fidence in ourself,” Connelly said. “We need to keep playing hard. We’re really not horrible. People didn’t beat us by a lot last year. So we’re there, we just have to step over that hurdle. Since we went 0-14 in district last year, I think we’d like to try and reach that .500 mark and to not be the last team in district. We’re looking to move closer to the middle. It’s going to be tough because of the district we’re in.” Keene’s last playoff appear- ance was in 2007, and for the Lady Chargers to have any shot at making a run for a postseason berth, sophomore Zayda Gon- zalez will play a key role in that. In 2011, Gonzalez scored more points herself as a fresh- man than the rest of the Lady Chargers did combined throughout the season, and she will be their go-to player again. “Somebody’s going to have to step up and help her out,” Connelly said. “I think we’ll have more help for her this year than last.” Several of those players Connelly expects to step up in- cludes sophomore Navi Lopez, who will be the team’s best de- fender, junior Jenna Bulles and senior Amanda Langmos.

Two freshmen, Jennifer Gonzalez and Ebony Smith, may also play a supporting role for the Lady Chargers. The biggest problem Keene faced last year was lack of ex- perience, lack of size and lack of leadership. Keene only lost one player from last year’s squad and ev- eryone coming back has one more year of experience and players like Zayda Gonzalez should be able to fill that lead- ership role. But the lack of size is still a concern for Connelly. “Slow and short doesn’t not usually equal good things in basketball,” Connelly said. “We’ve actually defended the post really well, though. We just have to shoot better from the outside and keep working hard on defense. We need to be really aggressive on defense.” Connelly is in the unique po- sition of not only being the head girls basketball coach, but also the head volleyball coach. “It’s good because I can make sure my kids are exposed to basketball but I want them to do good in both,” she said. “It’s good because I’m the one who gets to chose how the programs work. “[At Keene], we have so few kids anyways that they all pret- ty much do everything. We only have 26 girls in high school ath- letics. Tolar, who is 2A and just moved up from 1A, has about 50 girls.” The challenges facing Keene athletics are always daunting, but with the right combination of hard work and outstanding play from their best player, the Lady Chargers may be in posi- tion to have the turnaround sea- son Connelly is hoping for. The Lady Chargers officially open the season at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Boyd.

officially open the season at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Boyd. File photo Keene will rely

File photo

Keene will rely heavily on Zayda Gonzalez this season.

alvarado

cont. from pg. 5

tensity and work ethic it requires to try to compete at a high level,” McKinney said. “We’ve finally got that down and now we’re able to teach some basketball and it’s carrying over. There are times in practice that our JV even does things against our varsity that makes you say ‘wow’ and we’ve never had that before.” Alvarado’s blueprint for suc- cess begins and ends with a sti- fling defense that McKinney has

been implementing for the past two years. “I hope other teams feel pres- sure on them that they haven’t felt in a while, like they’re play- ing five on seven because we’re flying to the ball,” she said. “Of- fensively we want to take advan- tage of our opponent’s transition defense. We want a game that is fast-paced with a lot of defensive pressure. “Those games are fun to watch and more importantly, fun to play.” Alvarado opens its season at 8 p.m. on Tuesday against Fort Worth Paschal.

Experience and continuity on Rio Vista’s side in 2012

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

The Rio Vista Eagles return seven varsity players, including all five starters, to the hardwood this season and look to better their 3-11 district record from a year ago. “Obviously the goal is to make the playoffs,” Rio Vista Coach Ryan Cavazos said. “We want to be competitive and play hard every night. We don’t want to have that drop off that we had in district. We want to carry mo- mentum into district play.” Cavazos enters his third sea- son as the Eagles head basket-

ball coach. Rio Vista went 15-15 overall a season ago but struggled in district play. Ryan Jimison, Joseph Chavez, Kyle Leonhardt, James Angelei and Tye Stulir will again be the starters for Cavazos, and he ex- pects that unit to grow and know what to expect this season after having a year of starting together under their belts from last year. “I’ll be relying on them quite a bit this season,” Cavazos said. “We run a lot of motion stuff. We have a lot of shooters. We’re not very big, so we like to get out and run in transition and then shoot from the outside.” Rio Vista also brings back

then shoot from the outside.” Rio Vista also brings back Dylan Howe and Kolton Leon- hardt.
then shoot from the outside.” Rio Vista also brings back Dylan Howe and Kolton Leon- hardt.

Dylan Howe and Kolton Leon- hardt. Jimison, Kyle Leonhardt and Angelei were the Eagles’ top three scorers this year. Newcom- er Joseph Chavez figures to help carry the scoring load this year, Cavazos said. The Eagles lost one all-district performer from last season, Tyler Allen, who was Cavazos’ sixth man off the bench, but he said with the new kids he has com- ing up and with the experienced ones from last year, they should be able to find someone to fill Al- len’s role. The Eagles biggest strength this season will be their speed

and quickness. “We’re pretty quick and pretty fast,” Cavazos said. “We get up and down the court really well. This year I think one of our big- gest strengths is chemistry since we have all five starters back. This will be Joseph and Ryan’s third year on varsity. There should be good chemistry and we should play well together. “Our biggest weakness is we’re kind of small. We’ll just have to work harder on rebound- ing and we’ll have to rebound as a team. You have to play harder when you’re a smaller team.” Rio Vista tips off its season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Kopperl.

tips off its season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Kopperl. Courtesy photos Left: Ryan

Courtesy photos

Left: Ryan Jimison (2) led the Eagles in scoring last season and Coach Ryan Cavazos will look to Jimison and the other four re- turning starters to carry the load this year. Above: Kyle Leonhardt also started for Rio Vista in 2011.

Lady Eagles look to turn close losses in 2011 into wins this season

By A.J. Crisp

sports@trcle.com

Rio Vista alum Tyler Adams begins his second season as the Lady Eagles head coach, and they look to rebound from a 2-12 cam- paign in district play last season. Despite that record, Adams said the Lady Eagles played tough throughout the season and played everyone in district tough — they just need to learn how to win. “I’d like to find a way to win a couple more district games this year,” Adams said. “The district became more tough adding God- ley and Tolar. I understand their tradition and how good they typi- cally are. But I’d like to win a few more games and compete against some of the higher echelon teams such as Grandview, Godley, Tolar and Maypearl. “There was a couple games last year against some of the bet- ter teams last year where we were in it late and then the wheels fell off. We want to at least compete with the big dogs for four quar- ters. Some of those games we had chances to win and ended up losing late in the fourth quarter, we want to beat those teams this year.” Adams returns three starters off last season’s team, including all- district and all-county performer Caly Linton. Macy Moreno gar- nered all-district recognition last year as well. “When the game’s on the line we want the ball in [Linton’s] hands,” Adams said. “She is our most experienced, best decision maker, best offensive player that we have. We will be looking to her to carry us. Our best defensive player is Macy Moreno. We’ll be looking to put her on the opposing team’s best guard and be relying a lot on her one-on-one to shut down the other team’s best player. “I’m hoping that the five we do have returning, that last year’s experience and some of the prob- lems we dealt with will help us

out as far as leadership goes. We struggled last year with having some leadership and teamwork, so we’ve been preaching that since day one and hopefully once we get the volleyball girls in it’ll carry on over to them.” Rio Vista will also rely on players such as Megan Wilson, Haley Hennis, Krissa Reese, Jor- dan Long, Hannah Kamphaus and Alex Nichols this season. “As far as posts go, we’re go- ing to do that by committee. Me- gan Wilson is returning. She’s ath- letic. We’ll look for her to rebound and get putbacks. Alex Nichols, she’ll be a good role player for us and another ball handler. A new addition this year is Krissa Re- ese. She’s a senior and didn’t play last year. She will be another post player who’s fairly athletic who can get up and down the floor. We’re excited to have her as part of the team.” Adams said the team strength for Rio Vista is in its size and ath- letic ability, but their weaknesses are fundamentals and a lack of success. “Last year, it was rough for everybody trying to learn a new system and doing things different than somebody had for two years prior,” Adams said. “Already this year, just as far as terminology and knowing what to do, we’re better. I can call out an offense or defense and they know what to get into so it speeds up the flow of practice. I’m not having to do as much teaching and walkthrough. It makes every- thing flow a little easier.” While the Lady Eagles had their struggles in district play, their nondistrict schedule last year was an area Adams hopes to see tremendous improvement in this season. “I’m hoping to see a better brand of basketball,” he said. “We struggled as far as playing together and actually putting a good brand of basketball that the girls and myself were proud of putting out there. I’d like it to be more orga-

proud of putting out there. I’d like it to be more orga- File photo Rio Vista’s

File photo

Rio Vista’s Caly Linton, left, will be the go-to player again for Coach Tyler Adams and the Lady Eagles. Linton was an all-district and all-county performer in 2011.

nized, playing more together as a team, being more competitive. Some of the games in predistrict we struggled to compete in. I’d like to be in every game going into the last couple of minutes, at least, and just having a chance to win. Of course, we want to win more

games. I’d like to have more wins going into district this season so we have a little bit of momentum carrying us into when the real part of the season starts.” Rio Vista opens its season at 6:15 on Tuesday against Rosebud- Lott.

when the real part of the season starts.” Rio Vista opens its season at 6:15 on

lady elks

cont. from pg. 7

says anything can happen. “I think we could finish first in district, or last in district,” East said. “It’s exciting because in this district, you can win or lose any given day. I wouldn’t take any district team lightly.” The Lady Elks face Weather- ford in an away nondistrict match on Tuesday. Burleson opens dis- trict play at home on Dec. 11 against Joshua.

Laura Zamora/CTR

Burleson Coach Rusty East, left, talks to Elizabeth Wager during a scrimmage.

East, left, talks to Elizabeth Wager during a scrimmage. c entennial cont. from pg. 9 tal

centennial

cont. from pg. 9

tal basketball and defense on her new squad, which already saw scrimmage action on Oct. 27. “Our focus is on defense and rebounding. We’re really focus- ing on defense now that we’re getting to play in practice,” she said. After the team’s first scrim- mage, Wootan said the team got an idea of what to improve on be- fore nondistrict and district play begin in District 8-4A. “We saw a lot of positive, but there’s still plenty of errors we need to work on,” Wootan said. “We need to focus on defensive pressure, being composed and those sorts of things. They need to learn how to respond to a little adversity. It’s good for the kids.”

To get the team to buy into a new coach’s strategies, philoso- phy and plans, Wootan said it’s easiest for the team to see some success to build trust in her as their new leader. “Building a relationship is one thing. It’s new, and it takes them a little getting used to. But I think once they see they’re getting bet- ter and that all of their hard work is paying off, they’ll buy into it,” she said. Centennial’s first nondistrict match at home is at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10 against Mineral Wells. The Lady Spartans open district play on Dec. 11 at Waco. The team is in the middle of determining its season goals, but Wootan said making playoffs is definitely on the list. “They made the playoffs their first year as a varsity team, and it’s a tradition they want to con- tinue at Centennial,” she said.

they want to con- tinue at Centennial,” she said. G odley cont. from pg. 13 Defensively,

Godley

cont. from pg. 13

Defensively, the Lady Cats will play a man-to-man defense the majority of the time, but Chauveaux said he likes to throw a zone in every once in a while depending on the opponent’s strengths. Just like the Godley boys pro- gram, playing in a new district will be more friendly to the Lady Cats compared to the district they were playing in the previous two seasons. “Every two years when they

realign, it seems we are bumped to a different district,” Chauveaux said. “It seems like every other realignment we go into a district with Brock. Except for Tolar, who was in our district last year, I haven’t really seen any of these teams play in a couple of years. I don’t know really what to expect other than hearsay. I do know that traditionally Grandview’s been pretty good. I know Maypearl has most of, if not all of their play- ers back but I really haven’t seen them play, so I can’t fairly judge the district.” Godley opens the season at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 at Kennedale.

Zebras

cont. from pg. 14

up having a lot more games than we’ve had practices early in the year just because we don’t get started with everybody until after Thanksgiving. Some teams have been practicing with everybody

already but because of football, we’ve got to play catch up for a while.” But Jarrell said he’d rather that be the case than the alterna- tive because he believes success in one sport carries over into the next. “The confidence that winning in football will help us out on the basketball court,” he said.

Coaches, parents or fans are encouraged to send scores and stats throughout the season to sports editor A.J. Crisp at sports@trcle.com or post them on Cleburne Times-Reveiw Sport’s facebook page.

cleburne

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strengths. We’re pretty good when we get out and run. I think those two things are things we’re going to lean on heavily.” While the Lady Jackets’ strength will be in their defense and quickness, they are under- sized. “We’re not very big so that’s part of the reason we’ve got to run,” Calahan said. “We’re defi- nitely not the tallest team in the district, but we’re strong and tough and physical. Some of us play bigger than we really are and that helps. But size will hurt us some so we hope are speed and quickness can help us.” Despite being a program that’s only made one playoff ap- pearance in the past five years, and has really struggled in the past couple of seasons, Calahan said his expectations for the Lady

Jackets are playoffs — and a dis- trict title. “Our first small goal is to get to the playoffs,” he said. “We talk about winning the district cham- pionship, getting to the playoffs and having aspirations to get to Austin. If you don’t talk about it, I don’t think you’ll ever get there. We have high aspirations. The girls have been working their tails off since last year. They’ve put a lot of work into this year and they want to see some results. I think it’s one of those things where we take it one game at a time. We want to win 20-plus games, which would be a big turnaround from a team that won 10 last year. Our first and foremost goal is we want to win a district title. It’s go- ing to be tough and it’s going to be a battle. But if you don’t put district title in your goals, you’ll never win one. That has to be something you aspire for.” The Lady Jackets tip off the season on at 7:30 p.m. on Tues- day against Arlington Sam Hous-

on at 7:30 p.m. on Tues- day against Arlington Sam Hous- David Beans/Special to the CTR

David Beans/Special to the CTR

Cleburne’s Bria McCullough was an all-district performer in 2011, and she’ll be a key player for Cleburne in 2012 as well.

Joshua

cont. from pg. 17

es last year,” he said. “We’ve had enough teaching moments, and it’s time to learn from those and get some victories. “I think we’ve got a group who can do that for sure. They’re a good, hard-working group and their basketball IQ gets better every day. We want to get off to a fast start. We want to get some wins and build some confidence.” Joshua returns nine players from last year’s varsity team, four of those starters, and while that was a weakness last year, it should prove to be a strength this season as the girls have a season of playing together un- der their belts, which wasn’t the case entering last year. “There was a flaw last year in that people weren’t familiar with each other and now, people are familiar with each other and you’re seeing that transition in practice and hopefully we’ll see that on the court,” Gillham said.

And eight of the 10 varsity players that Gillham plans on suiting up for the varsity Lady Owls have been practicing in fall ball. Joshua will only have two players move over from the volleyball team. Gillham said that having that many girls in offseason basketball is great for continuity. “It’s a great thing to be able to have six or eight weeks to communicate and work with those girls on a daily basis,” he said. Senior guard Katherine Mar- tin, junior wing Madison La- sater and sophomore wing Kalie Schuman all earned honorable mention in all-district selections last season. The Lady Owls graduated Gin Wright, a first team all- district selection who was the team’s senior leader last year who led the team in rebounds, blocks and free throw percent- age. Look for Joshua to play an aggressive style of man-to-man defense and continue their im- provement from last year, when they allowed six less points per

game than the 2010 season. “We must cut down on our turnovers from last year and be more aggressive offensively,” Gillham said. “We are going to be undersized against every team we play, so we all have to block out together.” While the Lady Owls went through their fair share of strug- gles in recent years, Gillham said he expects to be a playoff team this year. Playing in a new district will make that goal a lit- tle easier compared to the previ- ous district. “I think everybody who has remained in that district — us, Everman, Cleburne, Burleson — when realignment came out, we were like ‘Oh man, thank gosh we don’t have to play them anymore,’” Gillham said. “That’s not to say Centennial and the two Waco schools don’t present their own challenges, because they do. But Summit and Seguin are different animals altogether. Those girls are the class of the state. Either one of them would be favored almost any given year to win state and to have to play them four times

a year is a pretty tall order.

“I see a scenario where our district is very, very wide open.

I think anybody can beat any-

body on any given night. We’re going to have to be sharp every night because I think anybody can beat us and we can beat anybody. That’s kind of exciting though. We’ll see who’s got the best team.” One trait that is sure to help Joshua break through and earn its first playoff berth since 2008 will be their competitive spirit, something that Gillham feels strong about. “I’ve got just as competi- tive girls as anybody and I’m just as competitive as anybody, and we’re hungry for [the play- offs],” Gillham said. “It’s going to be a dog fight and it’s going to be very competitive in this district. “If you get one of the four playoff spots in the districts, you’ve accomplished some- thing because you have earned it. That’s for sure.” The Lady Owls open the sea- son at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 when they host Weatherford.

A place as important at your home. deserves the very best
A place as important at your home.
deserves the very best