By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
The Hightower Hurricanes are the consensus choice to win District 20-6A this year in girls basketball as they have six seniors returning, including last year’s all-district first-teamer Eneily Rodriguez.
With that experience, Coach Deborah Mize, last year’s all-district coach, is excited about this year.
“Every year is a new challenge, and every group of kids is a new challenge, but this year is my deepest team as far as players’ ability. All 13 team members can play,” Mize said.
The team leader is Treazure Mouton, a 5-foot, 9-inch senior.
“Treazure is our leader on and off the court. She played on varsity as a freshman and will be a four-year letter winner. She is the most natural defensive player I have coached. She is at the right place at the right time. She has the natural instinct as to where the ball is going. I put her on the other team’s best player. She is my go-to defender,” Mize said.
“I like the challenge of defending their best player,” Mouton said. “Before each game, we set a goal of what I need to keep their scorer under.”
Mouton comes from a family of basketball players. Her mother and father both played basketball at Stephen F. Austin State University, her older brother John plays at Temple Junior College, and her aunt, Cheryl Williams, is the girls basketball head coach at Elkins High School. Her mother, Trina Williams Mouton, was a high school All-American at Sweeny and went to the state tournament three years, where she was named to the all-tournament team.
“Sometimes I can see the pressure from this lineage gets to her, but we try to relax and let her be her own person,” Trina Williams Mouton said. “We asked her to play basketball when she was 6 years old, and she said no. After a few games, she started playing and then one game she made the winning basket and she has been hooked ever since. The biggest difference between her and me is that I was a scorer, and she prefers to pass the ball!”
Seniors Eneily Rodriguez, 5-foot-9, Jasmine Harvey, 5-foot-6, and Taylor Howard, 5-foot-11, will be counted on to lead the offense.
“Eneily is going to be great this year. Last year she had to play inside, but with Winnie Kuimi, our 6-3 sophomore post player, Eneily can step out to a guard position. Jasmine and Taylor are our sharp-shooters,” Mize said.
Howard, back from ACL surgery last season, is looking forward to her senior season.
“The rehabilitation was really tough. It takes a lot of dedication to come back and I worked hard to get ready for this season. It took about seven months before I was cleared to play basketball. The conditioning was the hardest part,” Howard said. “I still work hard on conditioning my quads and knees to avoid another injury.”
Howard would like to continue her basketball career in college, where she wants to major in cyber engineering.
Seniors Lenecia Mitchell and Brittney Grigsby also return.
“I expect big things from all of our seniors. I think all six of them will have opportunities to play beyond high school,” Mize said.
Winnie Kuimi, in her first season on the varsity team, provides the team with a true post player.
“There’s more competition and its more aggressive and fast-paced than junior varsity,” Kuimi said. “But after a few games, I’m getting used to the fast pace.”
Kuimi is a student in the Fort Bend ISD Medical Science Academy based at Hightower. The Medical Science Academy features a comprehensive program of courses ranging from basic medical concepts to advanced diagnostics, and prepares students for medical careers.
“I would like to be a doctor. I get to take classes in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology that prepare me for college and medical school,” Kuimi said.
The Hurricanes began this week with a 13-4 record. Jasmine Harvey is leading the team in scoring with 11.1 points per game, followed by Winnie Kuimi with 9.4 and Treazure Mouton with 8.9. Kuimi leads the team in rebounds with 8.1 per game.
Travis could be the team to knock off Hightower as Queen Egbo, a 6-foot-2 junior and last year’s district defensive MVP returns. Egbo averaged 14.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. First team all-district Ni’ya Samuels, 8 points per game, and second team all-district Delilah Van Campen, 6.7 points per game also return.
Ridge Point will also challenge for the top spot. The Panthers made the playoffs last season for the first time and return starters Haylee Washington (9 points per game), Taylor Thomas (18 points per game), Jada McHenry (15 points per game) and Lindsey Bush.
The pre-district records as of Dec. 11 are:
- Hightower 13-4
- Travis 8-3
- Clements 5-5
- Dulles 5-6
- Ridge Point 5-7
- Kempner 5-7
- Austin 2-5
- Bush 1-6
- District 23-5A
Manvel and Elkins are expected to compete for first place in District 23-5A. Elkins will be led by Janasia Cuney and Ashley Daniel, both second team all-district team members last year.
The pre-district standings as of Dec. 11 are:
- Ball 6-3
- Willowridge 6-5
- Texas City 6-7
- Manvel 6-7
- Shadow Creek 5-4
- Santa Fe 4-6
- Elkins 3-2
- Marshall 2-8
- Galena Park 1-31
@FtBendAthletics Athlete of the Week
The Fort Bend Star Athlete of the Week is Kealton Goffney of Willowridge. Goffney was voted District 23-5A Offensive Most Valuable Player of 2016.