By Tom Behrens
“The Lady Lions lost on Thursday evening to Duquesne Academy, 49-33 but the season is still going,” said AD Bobby Jackson in an interview on Friday morning. The girls were scheduled to play St. Pius X at Strake Jesuit Saturday morning. The girls are battling it out with the other teams in TAPPS District 6A District 3 season ending tournament.
Concordia Lutheran rules the District at 8-0; Village close behind at 8-1; St. Agnes Academy, 6-2; and St. John XXIII with a 6-2 district record. Rounding out the District roster are St. Pius X, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart; Incarnate Word Academy; Awty International; and Kelly Catholic.
As at press deadlines, St. John’s overall record stands at 15-13.
“No playoffs yet,” said Jackson. But, the girls’ basketball team has clinched a spot in the second round of the tournament with a convincing 66-16 victory over Beaumont’s Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School along with a second consecutive trip to the TAPPS State Playoffs.
Win or lose, the Lady Lions played a third match Saturday, February 11 at Strake Jesuit against St. Pius X.
“Our team is coming off a 22-10 season from last year along with a first round playoff win vs. John Paul II – Corpus Christi in TAPPS 4A,” said Coach Villasana in an interview on Thursday evening.
This season the team barely moved up to TAPPS Division 6A. “We are by far one of the smallest schools in this top 6A division within our district,” continued Vaillasana.
“We knew it would be a difficult task, and our team stepped up to the challenge finishing as the 5th seed of nine teams.”
Villasana said the goal for this year was finishing the regular season once again with a more wins than losses and qualifying for the TAPPS Playoffs. This year’s team played a tough and competitive schedule throughout the season and lost a few closely contested games with some of the top tier teams in the district along with 10 losses to top ranked teams in the state.
“Our team’s motto and battle cry is “Hard Work”! Our team believes that this is the foundation of our Success.” Following last year’s success, this year’s team, participated in Summer League and Fall League schedules, attended Team Camp at the University of Texas – San Antonio (UTSA) and off season workouts.
“It’s this hard work and dedication that lead us to shout “Hard Work” after each break, practice, and game. Our team is dedicated to “Hard Work”, in the classroom, in our faith, in the community as well as the basketball court.”
The Lady Lions are led by two outstanding posts. Senior Rebecca Costello, a 6’1 Center. She averages 13 pts. a game along with 10 rebounds and five blocks. Junior Kelli Teal is a 6’1 Forward averaging 8 pts. a game, 6 rebounds, and two blocks.
The rest of this year’s starting lineup is freshmen point guard Skyler Kutra, sophomore shooting guard Megan Thorseth, and senior guard Abigail (Abbie) Pierce.
This is Coach Villasana second year as head coach at St. John XXIII. Previously Coach Vee, as he is known around the Lion campus, has 22 seasons of coaching experience at Incarnate Word, St. Pius X, and Logos Prep. He has compiled 324 victories over 17 seasons as a Head Coach, averaging 19.5 wins a year. He was awarded the Gatorade Coaches Sportsmanship of the Year Award in 1999 and was selected to Coach the TAPPS All-State Team (South) in 2011.
St. John XXIII caps regular season with a win
The Lady Lions held on for 36-33 win over St. Pius X Saturday morning at Strake Jesuit High School.
“It was 23-10 at the half. Maybe we backed off a little bit, but we never lost or conceded the lead,” said Coach Villasana. The fourth quarter began with St. John XXIII leading 28-19. “They closed on a big run toward the end of the game making it a little too close for my comfort.
“One of my key players, (Rebecca Costello), my most valuable player, fouled out with four minutes left in the game and I think that probably had something to do with making the end score pretty close.
St. John XXIII finished in fifth place in their district, and also earns a playoff seeding. The Lady Lions will travel to College Station Friday for a game against an undetermined opponent at press time. Coach Villasana said he does know it will be against a second place team from the Dallas area. Check with www.tkn2017newthm.wpengine.com for updates on the Lions’ game.