With the district season more than half way over, most of the Mansfield ISD girls basketball teams are still well within playoff contention.
Mansfield is a school district that has always produced excellent athletic talent, but there’s still always something that coaches do not anticipate heading into the season that turns out to be a pleasant surprise.
Below, MISD girls basketball coaches discuss what, perhaps unexpectedly, made things just a little bit easier for them this season.
School: Mansfield High School
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Coach: Kenni Patton
Pleasant Surprise: For first-time head coach Kenni Patton, the season has been full of surprises.
“Throughout the season, the team has developed a genuine feeling of family supporting each other through them all,” Patton said. “From a Player of the Week recognition, to a top 30 3-point shooter, to a deep-rooted connection with a local assisted living facility, we are counting our blessings.
Senior Bailey Downing earned the dfwVarsity Player of the Week award in January after receiving nearly 9,000 votes following her 26 point game against Sam Houston.
“She is one of our most vocal senior leaders and she loved representing her team and community with this honor,” Patton said. “Another pleasant surprise has been in the scoring of junior guard Adyson Bustillos. We have seen her develop into a confident shooter and, at this point in the season, she is 29th in the area with 46 3-pointers scored.”
The Mansfield girls players have also impressed their coach with their community service efforts.
“Our most exciting surprise has been the relationship we have developed with the residents at Cedar Bluff Assisted Living here in our community,” Patton said. “Our girls spend a few hours every Saturday after practice playing bingo and visiting with the residents.
“Their activities director has even loaded up their activity bus and the residents have attended two of our home games, yelling and supporting us throughout the entire game with their homemade signs and pom-poms. It has been wonderful to see the girls support each other and their community in such a positive way.”
School: Mansfield Summit
Coach: Dawn Mailloux-Smith
Pleasant Surprise: “I would say our most pleasant surprise has been the leadership and play of senior Kristen Evans,” Mailloux-Smith said. “She starts in our four position and is undersized for that position, but her work ethic and commitment to do the small things right and lay it all out for her teammates has played a significant role in our season thus far.”
School: Mansfield Timberview
Coach: Kit Martin
Pleasant Surprise: “This team has a close-knit vibe that surpasses most teams I’ve ever had,” Martin said. “It’s fun to coach them every day whether it’s a grueling, grind-it-out practice or a game day.”