Victoria East junior Kendall Carter, left, fights for a rebound with Goliad sophomore Bailey Janssen. The Lady Titans begin District 30-4A play on Tuesday against Tuloso-Midway.
• Record: 7-6
• Returning Starter: Sonya Acuna
• Notable Wins: Goliad, CC Moody, San Angelo Central, SA MacArthur, SA Roosevelt
• Notable Losses: Duncanville, The Woodlands, SA Churchill, CC Ray.
• Record: 12-5
• Notable Wins: Bay City, Sweeny, Needville, McAllen, Flour Bluff
• Notable Losses: Goliad, Cedar Park, Houston Dickinson,
• Returning Starters: McKenna Villegas, Bryanna Delgado, Jordan Edison
• Record: 15-5
• Notable Wins: El Paso Jefferson, El Campo, Ingelside, Katy, CC Moody
• Notable Losses: Fort Bend Elkins, Alief Esiek
• Returning Starters: Treka Franklin (Injured) *, Mercedes Ellison, Allyson Dlouhy
*Franklin will likely miss the season with a knee injury sustained in November.
In some ways its fitting the first game of the district basketball season for Victoria East will feature the most imminent threat, at least on paper, to the Lady Titans superiority in District 30-4A.
Tuesday, East (7-6) will host No. 18 Tuloso-Midway at 8 p.m. to start the first round of district play. Victoria West (15-5) had the bye, but will play state-ranked Corpus Christi Carroll in a final tune-up game.
"There are no easy games in our district," said Victoria East girls basketball coach Yulonda Wimbish-North. "Every game is going to be a challenge. You have to show up every day ready to play. Hopefully, you are at the top of the game and can come out with a victory."
The Cherokees (11-5) join the district along with Calallen. Meanwhile, Floresville leaves to join District 29-4A.
Victoria East ran away with the district last year on its way to an appearance at the state tournament. The Lady Titans return just one starter from that team, in forward Sonya Acuna.
Victoria West and Beeville will look to return to the playoffs, after missing out in 2012. Calhoun, under new head coach Donna Williams, looks to build around underclassmen McKenna Villegas, Bryanna Delgado and Jordan Edison.
Williams was the junior varsity coach last year, but was elevated to the top position when Sherman Chew left the program.
"They know my coaching techniques," Williams said. "I can tell them one time and they will say 'Yeah, we remember that.' I've never coached McKenna. Other than that, the ones on varsity know my coaching technique and how I've run things. It's made it a whole lot easier for me."
Villegas, a sophomore post, has been a two-year start for the 12-5 Sandies.
Williams said Villegas, Delgado and Edison have started to push their teammates and develop into leaders. She said that belief will serve the Sandies well as they try to return to the playoffs for the second straight year and just the third time in 26 years.
West's playoff drought isn't nearly that long, but the Warriors (15-5) enter district with an uphill climb. Senior post Treka Franklin will likely miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. West basketball coach Sandra Jimenez said no individual can replace Franklin's contributions, but collectively the Warriors can.
Sophomore Tiana Davila has replaced Franklin in the starting lineup, while Mercedes Ellison and Allyson Dlouhy and others have chipped in.
"I think we started out strong," Jimenez said. "There was no doubt in each and every one of our minds that we would have a good year with Treka. When we lost her, I think the coaching staff as well as the players had to accept the injury and accept whatever success we have after that will be directly attributable to the ups and downs we go through."
East has also sustained its ups and downs, but that may be due to rigorous non-district schedule. The Lady Titans played Duncanville, the No. 1 team in Class 5A, as well The Woodlands, San Antonio Churchill and Corpus Christi Ray.
However, the Lady Titans, winners of four straight games, are beginning to round into form. Wimbish-North said this year's team is still quick and that will help on the defensive end.
"We have to have a good defensive showing," Wimbish-North said. "To me, defense and rebounding wins games and championships. There are going to be those days you are not shooting well. But there should never be a question about your defensive intensity and the ability to make it difficult for your opponents to score."