Courtney Latham, #33 of Clear Springs High School, scored 27 points in the Charger's five overtime loss to Plano West.  She was named to the All-Tournament Team. (Photo by Simmie Colson)
Courtney Latham, #33 of Clear Springs High School, scored 27 points in the Charger's five overtime loss to Plano West. She was named to the All-Tournament Team. (Photo by Simmie Colson)

Holiday tournaments bring out the best of Texas

January 1, 2013 - 10:53am

The talent in Texas is very deep this year, and has been for over a decade.  Even though teams can’t travel out of state, to say we have teams who can compete with any other state is an understatement. Over the holiday break some of the best squads in the state were on display at two major tournaments in Dallas – The Mansfield Rotary and the Sandra Meadows Classic.

The five best teams from district 7- the best district in the state - Duncanville, Cedar Hill, Mansfield Timberview, Desoto and South Grand Prairie all played well (the sad part is one of them won’t even make the playoffs) and there were numerous next level players who were impressive, we discuss ten in this article.

On a side note, fans witnessed what will forever be referred to as “The Game” in a thriller between Plano West and Clear Springs that needed five overtimes before Plano declared the 107-105 victory.  The combined 212 points is a state record and possibly a national record.


Kiara Perry, 5-10 forward, Duncanville

Perry is impressive for Duncanville, and can battle in the post against players three or four inches taller. Watching her this summer play all five positions solidified everything I loved about her game.  Her versatility is one of the reasons the Pantherettes may go undefeated this season. The SMU signee was named MVP of the Sandra Meadows Classic after helping Duncanville win the tournament.

Candace Adams, 5-7 guard, Cedar Hill

As a freshman, Adams was considered the best guard in the state however an ACL injury put her behind schedule. During the summer, the young lady showed she was back to full strength and played with a vengeance that will trickle over to North Texas after she graduates. Adams was named MVP of the Mansfield Rotary Tournament scoring 23 points in the championship game against district rival Timberview as she helped lead her team to the title.

Devry Owens, 5-9 guard, Plano West

I simply love watching this young lady shoot the ball, her stroke is one of the prettiest you’ll see and her ability to catch and shoot and more importantly make shots on a consistent basis is one of the best I’ve seen, men or women. The Utah signee helped lead Plano West, the second best team in the state, to the runner-up spot in the Sandra Meadows Classic along with being named all-tournament. Although she fouled out in her team’s 107-105 five overtime thriller against Clear Springs, they wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without her 27 points.

Lili Thompson, 5-8 guard, Mansfield Timberview

Thompson’s knockdown midrange jumper is one of the reasons she signed with Stanford, but first things first. Thompson has shown numerous skills: the ability to take over games at will, the ability to get her teammates involved and the ability to play lock down defense. She helped fuel a comeback in the title game of the Mansfield Rotary Tournament against Cedar Hill by erasing a double-digits deficit in the final quarter to lose 61-59. She finished with 17 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

AJ Alix, 5-8 guard, Bellaire

When I give a kid in the sixth grade a name like “The Real Deal” you better believe I did it for a reason. Nothing short of spectacular during her high school career, Alix is one of the reasons Bellaire has an outside chance of making it to Austin having beaten the top team in the region, Clear Springs, earlier this season. For the Sandra Meadows Classic, Alix averaged 22 points and 8 assists over the five games as the TCU signee continued to live up to her nickname and was named to the all-tournament team helping her team win the Silver Bracket.

Courtney Latham, 5-10 guard, Clear Springs

One of the most underrated players that have come from the Houston area, Latham does little things that may not appear in the box score for the best area team. She played every minute in one of the greatest games I’ve witnessed a 107-105 five overtime loss to Plano West scoring 27 points and was named all-tournament. Tulane is getting a steal with this signee.


Mackenzie Calvert, 5-8 point guard, Byron Steele

Calvert committed to Baylor as an eighth grader; do I need to go on?  Known primarily for her defense, she has consistently improved in all areas of her game and is a major reason why Steele may represent their region at the state tournament. On day one of the Mansfield Rotary Tournament, she had two turnovers in the first minute of the game, but after that she regrouped and played nearly perfect by scoring in every way imaginable and went on to be an all tournament selection.

Brianna Wise, 5-10 forward, Desoto

Long and athletic, Wise has the ability to score almost at will and. Named to the all-tournament team of the Sandra Meadows Classic, Wise scored 16 points to help Desoto stop a ferocious comeback from Overton TN to win third place. Of those 16 points, five were in overtime.

Amber Holmes, 5-8 guard, Overton TN

Electrifying is how I will describe Holmes performance against Desoto in the third place game of the Sandra Meadows Tournament as the young lady simply put her team on her back and almost singlehandedly dug her team out from a double digit deficit to almost win the game. Her 10 second-half points forced overtime as she stole, scored and assisted her way to being selected to the all-tournament team.

Ariel Atkins, 5-11 guard, Duncanville

As a freshman, I knew this young lady would play at the next level, as a sophomore it was obvious she was a D-1 player and now all bets are off on how high she can go. Atkins continues to improve each season, she can score at will yet is very unselfish, not to mention a true leader on the floor. Being named Outstanding Offensive Player of the Sandra Meadows Classic co-signs my assessment and she’s a big reason why Duncanville may go undefeated.

About Simmie Colson: Simmie has been involved in girl’s basketball for over 10 years as a coach, scout and writer of the You can follow him on twitter at @girlzprepreport.