The Mansfield girls basketball team picked up its second District 4-6A win of the season last Friday, defeating Arlington Sam Houston 57-43. In a season where wins are proving tough to come by, it was a highlight for sure. Perhaps even more importantly for head coach Kate Goldberg than seeing the final score, though, was seeing one of her young players step forward.
Sophomore Adyson Bustillos has been in and out of the starting lineup this season. She may spend more time in going forward. The 6-footer played all but about three minutes of the victory against Sam Houston, scoring 10 points.
“We saw it Friday night for the first time this year,” Goldberg said. “There’s just a new air about her — a new-found confidence. It’s not cocky, it’s very poised and humble. She’s leading on the court with what she’s doing and I saw her get a little vocal.”
Goldberg has been waiting for Bustillos to bloom, as have her teammates. The coach said it has started lately in preparation.
“She’s really stepped up in practice,” Goldberg said. “The upperclassmen love her, but they’ve really been on her because we all see that she has something really special. She’s one of those players that, when she figures it out, she’s going to be extremely good. And she’s starting to figure it out.”
Bustillos attributes her progress primarily to simply feeling more comfortable.
“I think I’ve just got more comfortable playing with the girls,” she said. “I think my confidence level has gone up a bit since that [Mansfield Spring Creek] tournament. I feel like I’m helping the team out more.”
“I just think she’s more confident and, being a sophomore, that’s a big deal,” Goldberg added. “It’s kind of hard to jump from the freshman level to the varsity level. It’s just a whole new ball game. Sometimes it does take half a year to get there. But I just see confidence in her practice play, which gives me confidence to keep her in the game.”
With size and athleticism, Bustillos has the potential to play any number of roles on the court, though she presently feels most comfortable as a shooting guard.
“She can do anything, Goldberg said. “She’s a tall guard. She’s good at shooting 3-pointers, but when she gets in the lane, if she’ll look for herself, she’ll make every shot. She’s smart academically and she’s smart on the court. She sees things and is extremely good at feeding the post. She’s kind of an all-around athlete who’s growing into the varsity role.”
Bustillos could be a star in the making for the Lady Tigers, but also knows her place in the present.
“Being a sophomore on the team, it’s a little hard, but I’ve adjusted,” Bustillos said.
“She still knows she’s a sophomore on a varsity team,” Goldberg said. “So she’s not going to step on anyone’s toes. She’s very smart about that.”
But if Bustillos’ trajectory continues to point up as her potential indicates, teammates might not mind having their toes stepped on.