Wellman-Union Wildcats and Lady Cats Basketball Preview
In the sports world, some want to imagine that their team has it all, and last season for the Wellman-Union Wildcats, that was kinda the case. When Isiah Hood stepped on the court and those who were returning starters, most folks believed that would help the Wildcats, however, someone forgot to tell them that Meadow, New Home, and Ropes were going to be in the way. Meadow, New Home, Ropes, and Wellman-Union were all poised to do great things last season. All four teams played each other as if they were in the playoffs and the Wildcats were on the losing end of those games and missed the playoffs by a combined four points against Meadow.
After a set of Seniors graduating and one player transferring to Frenship, the Wildcats have a lot of work and reloading to do. The only returning team members from last season are Sr. Brad Franke, Sr. Brian Armendariz, and Sr. Marcos Alaniz. New to the varsity level will be So. Michael Garcia, Jr. Jakob Hildebrand, Sr. Kaesen Vinson, Jr. Zach Ashford, Sr. Brennan Sessums, and Fr. Carson Sessums. Six out of the nine players will not have the experience like the other three, so there will be some growing pains associated with the Wildcats this season. After the realignment from UIL, the Wildcats are poised to make the playoffs if they can begin to mesh at the right time.
The Wildcats begin district play at home against O’Donnell Jan. 8th, then have an open date on Jan. 11th. They will get back on track staying home against Loop Jan. 15th. then will travel to their biggest test of district Ropes on Jan. 18th. The Wildcats comeback home on Jan. 22nd to play Meadow then back on the road against O’Donnell Jan. 25. The next Tuesday at home, Jan. 29th they will face off with a non-UIL and non-district opponent All-Saints. On Feb. 1st they travel over to Loop, back home against Ropes Feb. 5th and will finish out district at their inner-county rival’s home Meadow on Feb. 8th.
Watch and see the Wildcats make it hard for Ropes and Meadow in this league and punch their ticket to the playoffs.
WU LADY CATS
If there was ever a time that a team has all the elements to go places, then the Wellman-Union Lady Cats might just have that this season. Last season the Lady Cats ended their season with an overall 19-11 record. They jumped out to an early season ranking of #21 in the State and took on some great teams throughout pre-district and tournaments. So don’t let those 11 losses fool you. The Lady Cat traded wins and losses with a new found foe of the Whiteface Lady Lopes. Also, the Lady Cats took on Whitharral and lost by two points, which by the way, the Lady Panthers were Regional Quarterfinalist who lost to Jayton, which was the team who met Naz in the Regional Semis. Wellman-Union took on some tough 2A and 3A teams with very slim losses. For example, 2A Forsan ended up in the Regional Quarterfinals losing to Haskell, who lost to State Qualifier Claude.
Needless to say, that the Wellman-Union Lady Cats were a very good team last season and did share a district with Ropes and New Home of who both were in the top 15 in the state throughout the whole season, and the Lady Cats almost knocked off New Home to get a chance at a second seed. The Ropes Lady Eagle, of course, soared all the way to the Regional Semis against, what some would call the actual Class 1A State Title Game against Naz., and was undefeated till that one last game. The Lady Cats had a powerful schedule and they did pretty well.
Now the Lady Cats return almost everyone, except Jayleigh Hood who is now at Borger. With four returning starters Seniors Mercedes Alaniz, Michaela Horton, and Jacy Rowden and Jr. Carmalita Alaniz plus an additional player who two years ago was District Defensive MVP, Sr. Gracen Key. Although there is a lot of ammunition with these five girls, the issue for the Lady Cats is depth. Thus far in the new season, Coach Steve Osborn has had to bring up some JV players for a couple of games. With five on the court and two on the bench, there will be plenty of play time for these girls. Coach Osborn said,
“Our weakness is depth, but the outlook is promising if we can stay healthy. Our expectations are high and fully intend on a deeper playoff run.”
Don’t count these Lady Cats out at all. They look to go a bit deeper in the playoffs and they believe they can go far. Although the #3 Ropes Lady Eagles are in the backyard, the Lady Cats might just have an upset.
The Lady Cats begin district at Meadow on Jan. 4th and then they stay home against O’Donnell Jan. 8th, just like the boy’s team they have an open date on Jan. 11th. They will get back on track staying home against Loop Jan. 15th. then will travel over to their biggest test of the district the Ropes Lady Eagles on Jan. 18th. The Lady Cats comeback home on Jan. 22nd to play Meadow then back on the road against O’Donnell Jan. 25. The next Tuesday at home, Jan. 29th they will also face off with a non-UIL and non-district opponent All-Saints just like the boys. On Feb. 1st they travel over to Loop and come back home for their final district match-up against Ropes Feb. 5th.