The UIL girls basketball season begins today, and the spotlight should shine brightest in North Texas on 5-foot-9 point guard Terriell Bradley.
Heading into her senior season, Bradley has already pledged her commitment to Kansas while holding the No. 53 spot on the 2014 ESPNW 100 as one of the top recruits in the nation.
Area teams, with 2012-13 records, in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason polls:
• Southlake Carroll (23-10): Class 5A No. 18
• Mansfield Timberview (29-7): 5A No. 22
• Arlington Seguin (28-8): 4A No. 2
• Aledo (30-8): 4A No. 3
• Mansfield Summit (23-13): 4A No. 15
• FW Trimble Tech (27-7): 4A No. 17
• Stephenville (28-9): 3A No. 15
• Kennedale (31-7): 3A No. 18
Players to watch
• G Cierra Johnson, 5-8, Sr., Hurst L.D. Bell: 15.6 ppg, 3.7 apg., 4.8 spg
• P Mackenzie Hailey, 6-1, Jr., Burleson: 15 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 spg
• G Aundra Stovall, 5-5, Sr., Arlington Seguin: 12 ppg, 3 spg
• F Alarie Mayze, 5-11, Jr., Arlington Seguin: 14.7 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 spg
• G Laurynn McGowen, 5-8, Jr., Arlington Seguin: 10 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 spg
• G McKinley Bostad, 5-7, Sr., Kennedale: 15.9 ppg, 3.7 apg., 3.2 spg
• G Kennedy Leonard, 5-9. Jr. Southlake Carroll: 12.7 ppg., 7.5 rpg., 6.3 apg., 3.9 spg
• G Gretchen Morrison, 5-9, Jr., Southlake Carroll: 11.8 ppg., 61-120 3-pt. FGs
UIL key dates
Monday: Regular season begins
Feb. 10-11: Playoffs begin
Feb. 27-March 1: State tournament, Austin
But at Mansfield Timberview, Bradley is just one-fourth of the NCAA Division I talent in her senior class and sharing that spotlight is just fine with her.
“She’s a very modest and quiet kind of player, so I think she’s glad to have teammates that are also in the spotlight so she can share it,” Timberview coach Kit Martin said. “I don’t think any of them are thinking I want to be the one, and that’s a blessing. She doesn’t feel the burden that, ‘Man, I’ve got to carry this team,’ because she’s got a tremendous amount of spread-out talent that makes it very nice.”
Along with Bradley, 6-foot Arizona commit JaLea Bennett, 6-foot-2 Texas Tech commit Dayo Olabode and 5-foot-8 SMU commit Aurmani Degar make up the quadruplets of collegiate talent that Bennett hopes will push them further than the regional quarterfinal exit the Wolves took last season.
With that core of talent, Bennett’s dreams are far loftier than the regional quarterfinals.
“It feels really good [to share the spotlight] because I think we have a very good team and we have potential to get really far in the state tournament,” Bennett said.
From last season to this season, not much has actually changed other than collegiate commitments with these four. Martin, however, hopes two things will put this team on top of Region I and then the state.
First, as seniors, these players realize the window to win a state championship is narrow. As they looked and saw the talent, making the most of it will fuel Timberview’s fire, Martin said.
Second, through their playing years to date, the Timberview quadruplets have always been the younger players on their teams. Their talents forced them to play with older competition.
This season, they are left to lead their team, and it’s a role they have embraced from Day One, Martin said.
“All of a sudden it’s the last shot they can win a state championship and now they have to be leaders,” Martin said. “They’ve really gotten together and decided this is how we want our legacy to be left. We want it to be as strong as previous senior classes that they’ve played with. With it’s all on them, the time is now.”
And that sense of urgency is evident.
Friday, a day before Timberview’s preseason scrimmage, Bradley calmly reflected on past seasons and her commitment to Kansas. However, when asked about her thoughts on beginning the regular season her tone changed immediately in one simple statement.
“Fire it up.”
Special to the Star-Telegram
Mansfield Timberview point guard Terriell Bradley, right, is pledged to Kansas and ranked No. 53 in the ESPNW Top 100.
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