Lady Mustangs Set For Season, Experience Roller Coaster Beginning
The McKinney Christian Academy girls basketball season has gotten off to a roller coaster beginning with plenty of ups and downs already in establishing a 1-2 record. The Mustangs opened the season on the road at Ovilla and — despite playing without starting guards Sarah Grubbs and Julie James — played well enough for 30 minutes to hold a 50-41 lead with 2 minutes to go. Unfortunately, high school basketball games are 32 minutes in length and the Mustangs made just enough mistakes in crunch time to lose at the buzzer, 52-51.
The Mustangs bounced back from that disappointment with a 66-17 thrashing of the visiting Paris Home Schoolers in the Mustangs’ home opener as Grubbs returned for her first action of the season. The 3-A Mustangs followed that victory with a match against 4-A power Grapevine Faith and for one half were holding their own as Hannah Wilks scored on a putback at the half-time buzzer to pull the Mustangs within two at 25-23. However, the Mustangs lost two starters to fouls early in the second half, committed a number of turnovers and gave up several offensive rebounds as Faith ran away with a 62-40 win.
The Mustangs will return three starters this year — Grubbs, James and Wilks — who are all first team all-district selections from last year’s District Champion and Regional Finalist team as they look to get past the regional block and return to the state tournament. To do so, they will have to develop more consistency, especially in the second half. Wilks, last year’s district 4 3-A Freshman of the Year, has been the one spot of constancy thus far, averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds a game. The Mustangs have yet to have these three starters on the floor at the same time this year, but that is to be remedied soon. The Mustang attack will be enhanced with the return of James to the point against Leonard high School Tuesday night. Leonard narrowly trumped MCA last year in the championship game of the Bland tourney, so it should be an interesting rematch.
Several Mustangs are competing for playing time and the other two starting positions. Shooting guard Kaycee Zanetell had 10 points with two three-pointers against Ovilla and has started all three games thus far. Lily Thompson has been running the point in James’ absence add pitched in five points with a trey and a deuce against Faith. Makenna Schulte has been anchoring the post and averaging four points a game. Katie Pawlish backs up the frontline.
Newcomers to the team include forward Makenna Hubert and guards Anna Keebler and Lexi Vance. Hubert, an all district volleyball player on the Mustangs’ District Champion, Regional Finalist team, is returning to basketball after a two-year hiatus. She scored eight points in the second quarter versus Paris Home School. Keebler, a Lacrosse player at heart, has shown good promise off the bench as well , averaging six points per game and playing some tenacious defense.
In addition to the Leonard game, the Mustangs are scheduled for some stiff competition prior to district play including tournaments at S & S, Prestonwood, and MCA’s own Roundball Round Up Christmas Tourney as they prepare to defend their district title. The strongest competition in district play is expected to come once again from Dallas Lutheran. MCA defeated Lutheran twice last year en route an unblemished district title, but Lutheran returns several starters and always poses a tough match for the Mustangs.