GIRLS HOOPS: New Caney, Patton lead Montgomery County charge in 21-5A
Coming off the program’s first playoff appearance since 2011, the hope for New Caney coach Tricia Mize was for a full roster of players to replenish what graduated and to try sustain success.
Four players who were likely to play key roles left the team though, leaving Mize short on numbers this season.
“You would think going to the playoffs last year that our program would have the numbers and be bigger than what it is,” Mize said. “It’s been a struggle.”
Two seniors and two players Mize was going to promote from the junior varsity all decided not to play.
That left the roster with just two seniors and eight players total.
The good news is one of Mize’s returning players is Skylar Patton.
The senior point guard is coming off a season in which she garnered The Courier’s Offensive Player of the Year superlative after averaging 16.4 points per game, 4.3 steals and 3.2 assists.
“I expect big things from her this year,” Mize said of Patton. “She played AAU this summer and she really grew up from her junior year to her senior year. She has some big leadership shoes to fill in losing Yasmine Johnson who graduated last year.”
Patton shot 46 percent from the floor and has improved both offensively and defensively since the end of last season.
Mize talked about how they will depend on her with the ball in her hand.
“She’s going to have to step up and communicate and be more vocal,” Mize said. “Playing and being in that role during the summer and coming in this fall, she is really coming into her own.”
Junior Samantha Mathews also returns to the team with varsity experience.
“She’s a junior this year,” Mize said. “She reads the floor really well and her and Patton work really well together.”
New Caney also adds a move-in from Jasper in senior Alexa Payton. Mize expects her to play the two-guard spot.
Sophomore Abi Lynch will also factor in New Caney’s starting five.
“I’ve been working with her since seventh grade,” Mize said. “She is a player that just is naturally talented. First time she ever picked up a ball was in seventh grade and she automatically knew what to do with it.”
Mize has also brought on a freshman in Tori Garza. Garza played AAU with Patton this summer.
“I look for big things from her,” Mize said. “She can run, she can jump and she has long arms and is tall.
“She loves the game and puts in the extra work. I think she’s going to be a standout in the district for us.”
Last year, New Caney 22-20 overall and made the playoffs with a fourth-place finish in an extremely tough District 21-5A. The Lady Eagles won five of their last eight district games.
CANEY CREEK LOOKING TO IMPROVE IN WHITE’S THIRD YEAR
After just a pair of wins a season ago, Caney Creek is looking forward to adding some more to that column this coming season.
Lady Panthers veteran coach Jay White is hoping his team can get off to a good start.
“I’m expecting more wins,” White said.
White, who has had coaching stops at Barbers Hill and Huffman-Hargrave along the way, is comfortable with the direction his program trending entering this year
“This is my third year here so I feel like I’ve got them trained pretty well,” White said. “We’re still small as far as height goes.”
Senior Erica Strawn, a second-team All-District selection last year, will be looked upon to lead the way.
“She is a four-year letterman,” White said. “We are really going to rely on her a lot.”
White expects to start junior Daniella Faz at point guard and Strawn at the shooting guard spot.
Senior Tania Ortega moves up to varsity as a senior will play small forward.
“She’s pretty scrappy,” White said. “She’ll be fun to watch. She’s one of those late bloomers.”
Junior Ke’Yonia Smith will factor in at the power forward spot and 5-foot-10 senior Zoe Meyer is in the post.
PORTER LADY SPARTANS LOOKING FOR SECOND POSTSEASON ACTION
The Porter Lady Spartans are still in search of its second postseason berth in program history.
Porter was 13-14 a year ago under coach Angela Bell and were 9-9 in District 21-5A.
The Lady Spartans last made the playoffs in 2012.
SPLENDORA UNDER NEW COACH
The LadyCats enter the 2017-18 season with new coach Oscar Kendall.
Last year, Splendora’s five-year playoff streak came to an end as it had a 7-22 record overall and 3-16 in district play.
Splendora ended last season on a seven-game slide.