Girls basketball preview: Hightower shapes up as No. 1
1. Will the area get two 5A teams to state again this season? For the past two years, with Cy-Fair in Region II, the area has had two of the final four teams in 5A at state. Cy-Fair is back in Region III and has a new look — for the first time in six years, the Bobcats don’t have an Ogwumike on the squad. Cy-Fair will contend for a spot at state, but the Region III race is wide open. In Region II, The Woodlands, College Park, Klein Collins and Atascocita are all threats, but the road will be tough.
2. Will there be any private school state champs from Houston this year? Barring a surprise, you can mark down Westbury Christian as the TAPPS 4A champions. With guards Amber Orrange and Fallon Ellis and newcomer Brianna Turner, the Wildcats will be the team to beat. St. Agnes may be without star Chelsea Bass (Texas), but the TAPPS 5A Tigers still have an array of weapons. Concordia Lutheran is a team to watch with guard Taylor Schippers leading the way.
3. Who will come out of Class 4A Region III? Huntsville is the team to beat after a deep run in 2009-10. Several key players are back, including Ronisha Major, who is committed to Texas and considered one of the best post players in the state. Barbers Hill also will be a factor but may have some growing pains with a new head coach. Angleton will be strong again and so will La Marque despite losing several key players. In HISD, Yates and Worthing should be strong.
4. Can Hightower make it back to state? The Hurricanes are the favorite to make it out of a stacked Region III. With three starters back and five others who played a lot of minutes, they have the talent and experience. Cy-Fair has been to state four years in a row, and although the Bobcats lack a post presence, they have one of the top coaching staffs in the state and two of the area’s best guards — Cassie Peoples and Tara Warren. North Shore will be a team to watch, as will last year’s surprise squad — Bellaire.
2. North Shore
6. Cypress Falls
10. College Park
1. Westbury Christian
4. Barbers Hill
6. St. Agnes
7. Concordia Lutheran
9. La Marque
Preseason All-Greater Houston
Tyler Gilbert, Jr., Post, Hightower
At 6-3, Gilbert is half of a powerful inside duo that led the Hurricanes to the Class 5A state championship game last year.
Taylor Gilbert, Jr., Post, Hightower
The other half of Hightower’s duo. The Gilbert twins are great on the defensive end, whether it’s grabbing rebounds or blocking shots.
Courtney Williams, Jr., Guard, North Shore
At 6-1, Williams, who is committed to Texas A&M, is tough to guard. She averaged 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds last season and is rated as a top 20 player in the class of 2012.
Cassie Peoples, Sr., Guard, Cy-Fair
The future Texas Longhorn helped the Bobcats to a Class 5A state championship last season. She averaged 14.9 points and more than three steals per game.
Amber Orrange, Sr., Guard, Westbury Chr.
Orrange, who will play for Stanford, is rated the No. 15 player in the country. She had 16 points, seven rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.3 steals per game to lead the Wildcats to a TAPPS 4A state title last season.
Ronisha Major, Sr., P, Huntsville
Kendall Shaw, Jr., P, Barbers Hill
Shernise Robertson, Jr., G, Cypress Falls
Curtyce Knox, Jr., G, Atascocita
Donielle Breaux, Sr., G, Elkins
Rachel Mitchell, Sr., P, Atascocita
Megan Shafer, Sr., P, College Park
Deann Darjean, Jr., G, Yates
Taylor Schippers, Sr., G, Concordia Luth.
Nicole Blaskowsky, Jr., G, FB Austin
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