Written by SportsDayDFW.com
2012-2013 girls basketball teams to watch
Coach: Teri Morrison
2011-12 record: 31-4, regional quarterfinalist
Southlake Carroll will have an experienced, talented backcourt with Kami Mickens and Kennedy Leonard. Mickens is a 5-7 senior point guard who is committed to Boston College. Leonard was SportsDay’s Newcomer of the Year last year after an impressive freshman campaign. Carroll’s forwards — Anna Hurlburt, Madison Drescher and Sarah Williams — are all first-time starters. They’re young but talented, and each is at least 6-feet tall. “With so much inexperience, you sort of close your eyes and hope they figure it out along the way,” Morrison said.
Coach: Darrin Samuels
2011-12 record: 31-7, regional finalist
West Mesquite is the top-ranked team in Class 4A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Senior forward Claudia Price averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds last year. The San Francisco pledge will lead a talented junior class that includes forward Jazmyne Walker and guards Alexus Bertrand and Regina Garrett. Bertrand averaged 13 points, five rebounds and five steals last year, and Garrett was an all-district selection. “We have the chance to bring home a state championship,” Samuels said. “I think those rankings are not so much where you are now, but where you can be. We just want to keep getting better.”
Coach: Don Patterson
2011-12 record: 34-3, regional quarterfinalist
Plano West was the only team in Texas to beat eventual state champion Duncanville last season. Patterson returns much of the talent from that team, including senior guard Devri Owens. “We’re looking forward to her expanding on what she did last year,” Patterson said. “She’s one of our captains. A good ball-handler and shooter.” The Utah pledge leads a senior-laden group. Randi Reinhardt, Allison Staley and Grace Horn were all major contributors last season. Plano West doesn’t have much size, but Patterson said the team makes up for it with athleticism and experience. He’ll know more after a challenging nondistrict schedule. Plano West faces North Crowley and Cedar Hill this week.
Coach: Cassandra McCurdy
2011-12 record: 28-5, area finalist
McCurdy is excited about Skyline’s size under the basket, and she has good reason. Forward Stabresa McDaniel, who is 5-10 and committed to Minnesota, averaged 15.4 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. She’s joined by 6-3 post Marina Lilly, who averaged just shy of a double-double with 9.7 points and nine rebounds. Dai’Ja Thomas, a 6-3 sophomore, averaged 8.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season. McCurdy has four guards to choose from, but she hasn’t figured out how best to use them yet. “If we can get our guard play going we can be really good,” McCurdy said. “The sky’s the limit. The potential is definitely there.”
Coach: Tammy Lusinger
2011-12 record: 37-3, 4A state champion
None of the starters from last year’s state championship team return, but there’s still plenty of talent at Summit. Lusinger expects her starting lineup to include guards Nia Jackson and Keanna Kelly, forwards Stylz Sanders and Ty Calloway, and post Destiny Strange. Kelly was injured last season, but the rest contributed to Summit’s 37-win season. “We may take some lumps early,” Lusinger said, “but I think we have plenty of talent to be competitive in district and make a run in the playoffs.”
Coach: Kit Martin
2011-12 record: 25-10, area finalist
Martin will have several future Division I basketball players on the court at any given time. Guard Lili Thompson, who is committed to Stanford, averaged 13.9 points last year. A shoulder injury may cause her to miss the beginning of the season, Martin said. Texas pledge JaLea Bennett, a 6-0 forward, is an impact player who averaged 9.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. Junior guard Terriell Bradley is drawing attention from the Big Ten and Big 12. “She’s an incredible scorer,” Martin said of Bradley. She has the ability to score off the pass and the dribble. She’s just an intuitive player and she’s going to be a lot of fun for people in the area to see.”
Coach: Vance Hughes
2011-12 record: 30-7, regional finalist
Kennedale is the TABC’s top-ranked team in 3A. It will have to survive the first two months without guard Jamaika Hughes, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during the summer. Hughes, a Texas Tech pledge, averaged 14.4 points last season. Junior guard McKinley Bostad led the team in scoring last season with 14.7 points per game. She has offers to Rice, UT-Arlington and North Texas. Senior forward Autumn Williams averaged 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds. Kennedale has been to the regional finals three years in a row. “I’m hoping now that with all these seniors we can try to get over that hump,” Vance Hughes said.