Football: 'Cats surprise to all but themselves
It's no surprise to find Cy Creek and Cy Ridge among the 17-5A postseason qualifiers, but with Cy-Fair, that's another story.
The Bobcats were picked ninth out of 10 teams in the preseason by Texas Football Magazine, and even locally, nothing much was expected of Cy-Fair, which was coming off a 0-10 finish.
Starting in the spring, and continuing with a first-ever 7-on-7 state berth, Cy-Fair coach Ed Pustejovsky saw a new attitude in his Bobcats, and that carried over, and now into, the state playoffs.
"We told them from day one in the spring that last season had come and gone," Pustejovsky said, "and they listened and followed through in a big way."
Cy-Fair and the rest of the 17-5A postseason contingent match up in the first round against the top teams from 18-5A including Alief Taylor, Hastings, Eisenhower and Elsik, and the coaches know it's a mighty challenge right out of the gate.
"All of those teams can play, and they can beat anybody, so you can't look ahead, not even for a series," Cy Creek coach Greg McCaig said. "It's all back to zero in the (playoff) openers, and it's all at a different level."
The playoffs begin later this week.
Beyond the Game of the Week
Cy-Fair and Hightower met in the final girls basketball game (state championship) last season with Cy-Fair taking a 65-41 title triumph, and now, the state-ranked programs are squaring off in the first week of this season.
Hightower, ranked No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 5A preseason poll, hosts No. 9 Cy-Fair at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, in a contest that goes beyond 'Game of the Week' status, and is one of the most-anticipated of the season, at least in hype.
These are new teams, but both have returning players, and coaches, who have memories, and Hightower is out for revenge after going 0-2 against the Lady Bobcats in 2009-10.
Cy-Fair held on for a 66-61 victory during the opening week of the season a year ago, and four months later, Cy-Fair won again on the grand stage.
District 17-5A volleyball
All four 17-5A postseason qualifiers opened the playoffs with victories with district champion Cy Woods, runner-up Cy-Fair and third place Cy Falls sweeping into the second round.
Cy Woods beat MacArthur, Cy-Fair topped Alief Taylor, and Cy Falls blanked Eisenhower, while Cy Ranch also moved on with a 3-1 victory against Elsik in the program's first-ever postseason win, and one that completed a clean sweep in the opening round for 17-5A.
Eagles no longer rebuilding
Eric Boettcher became head girls basketball coach at Second Baptist four years ago, the Eagles were in rebuilding mode.
"I remember our first summer-league game and only having four girls," Boettcher said. "I had to recruit one athlete each from the soccer and volleyball teams just to have enough in uniform."
Second Baptist has indeed come a long way. After finishing 18-13 and missing the TAPPS Class 4A playoffs in Boettcher's initial season at the helm, the Eagles have logged back-to-back records of 30-7 and 29-8.
"It's hard to believe where we started and where we are today," Boettcher said.
But Second Baptist can't afford to be complacent. The Eagles compete in TAPPS District 4-4A, unquestionably the toughest league in TAPPS, against the likes of two-time defending TAPPS Class 4A state champion Westbury Christian and highly ranked Tomball Concordia Lutheran.
"On one hand, it's a downer knowing how tough it is to win a district championship, especially when we have to play two of the top teams in the state," Boettcher said.
"At the same time, it forces us to take our game to the next level."
Boettcher hopes that eventually will translate into postseason success, possibly even a trip to the TAPPS Class 4A State Tournament. Second Baptist was upset in the area round last year by Austin Hyde Park.
While Boettcher is confident in his players' abilities, he thinks they could get off to a slow start. The Eagles return only a handful of varsity players and will rely on athletes from other sports.
"It's kind of an unusual year in that several of our players are coming from volleyball," Boettcher said. "We probably will have only four or five practices with them before our first game."
Second Baptist opened the season last week with a home game against SATCH before competing at the Charlie Thomas Classic at the University of St. Thomas. Next up for the Eagles is a road game at Incarnate Word at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Eagles graduated four seniors, but they welcome back Taylor Barnett, their most gifted player. The 5-foot-9 junior point guard averaged 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals while earning first-team, all-district and second-team, all-state honors a year ago.
"Taylor is one of the most talented athletes I've had the privilege of coaching," said Boettcher, who previously coached at Marble Falls.
"She has the quickness and jumping ability. She can shoot, rebound and play defense. And I just love her intensity."
While pleased with Second Baptist's growth over the past few years, Boettcher isn't satisfied. He firmly believes the Eagles are capable of much more.
"I think this year's team can be even better than last year's," Boettcher said. "It might take us a couple of weeks, but we'll eventually get there."