It is no mystery that the Humble Independent School District is growing at a rapid pace. A recent demographic study suggested that more than 3,500 new students will be jamming the halls of our schools in the near future. That number is enough to completely fill a new high school, or two. With numbers like that, you have to wonder if the school district will become large enough to support its own University Interscholastic League (UIL) district for their athletic teams. "It is not likely, but not impossible," HISD Athletic Director Zoe Simpson said. To form a new athletic district in UIL sports, the athletic district must have at least six schools in the same school district, but seven or eight would be optimal. Counting Atascocita, Humble, Kingwood and Kingwood Park, you have four schools. Add the new high school scheduled to open in 2009 and that makes five. "Kingwood Park will be a 4A school next year and remain that way for the foreseeable future," Simpson said. "It was never our intention to make Kingwood Park a 5A school." So that creates four, 5A schools in 2009. The latest demographic does present the possible need for more, so could there be any more on the drawing board? "After the 2009 high school (which has not been named), the latest numbers suggest the need for an additional high school in 2017," Simpson added. Those numbers basically shoot down the idea of Humble ISD creating its own district. However, that does not mean that excitement is out of the picture for HISD athletic teams. The current lineup of schools will be realigned in "There is speculation that we may go back to a district that features the Aldine schools," Simpson noted. "That would certainly alleviate those long trips to East Texas during school nights and actually reduce some of the transportation costs the district incurs." Not having to travel to Beaumont for a Thursday or Friday night game? Now that is something we can all cheer about.
Fall sports are behind us; basketball is the flavor of the winter; soccer and baseball are waiting in the wings. It has been an interesting year in the Lake Houston area and 2008 promises to be just as exciting. If one sport characterizes the state of Texas, it is football. High school football got under way in August and there were high expectations for Atascocita and Humble high schools. Coming off their inaugural year where they only claimed one victory, the Eagles were looking to rebound and take advantage of returning the entire team from last year. A strong 2-1 start had the community buzzing, but our district proved to be too tough for the young team and; though their record improved, a winning season escaped their grasp. Coach Walt Beasley's Wildcats expected to contend in the strong district, but no one expected them to dominate. One of the area's top defensive units posted three consecutive district shutouts on their way to finishing as the runner-up, next to Westbrook. Quarterback Keith Baker and running back Jarret Malone provided the offensive firepower that rode the back of the defense straight into the playoffs. A first-round win over Deer Park pumped up the boys, but regional semifinalist Hightower ended their run. Winning team of the week was a big highlight for the Wildcats and added to Beasley's legacy. Refusing to be upstaged, the Lady Eagle volleyball team rolled through their regular season, making a name for themselves and destroying all competition. An upset win at Kingwood High School set the stage for a perfect district run, but the Mustangs got their revenge and stole the district title from their grasp. A first round exit in the playoffs was disappointing to the team and the fans, but as we reported before the season began, they will be able to cheer on Katelynn Norris and Christina Hobbs as they suit up for Alabama and Ole Miss in the fall. Huffman Hargrave entered the picture late in the year as our coverage area expanded. The Falcons endured a rough year on the gridiron on the varsity level, but their freshmen teams rolled through the season giving hope for the future on the varsity level. The Lady Falcon volleyball team battled hard and just missed the playoffs. Successful district runs by the Eagles, Wildcats and Falcons could make for a busy playoff season on the hard court, proving that though the year may end, the excitement never does The community and fans have to be excited about the future of Falcon sports. Basketball is well underway and all three schools are doing their best to represent strong and make the community proud. (photo captions) The entire Wildcat defensive unit led the way for the football team, shutting down opposing offenses, capped off with a trip to the playoffs. Photo by Joseph Little
Kingwood Park athletics are having an interesting year as they find their identity and take on all-comers regardless of their classification. As they try to settle in to their 22-3A district, the Lady Panther basketball team is earning valuable experience against tough opponents and turning heads in their victories. "We are focused on being the best we can be and these girls work real hard day in and day out," Panther coach Angela Gober said of her team after their dominating victory over the Eagles of Pearland-Dawson. Her squad, largely freshmen and sophomores, took a break from district play and challenged three tough teams from higher classifications and held their own. "We lost to Lamar Consolidated, The Woodlands and New Caney, but none of the games were blowouts and the girls did real well," Gober said. In fact, playing "giants" like they have, has made the Lady Panthers a better, more confident team. The fourth quarter of their game against Dawson began with Kingwood Park in a comfortable 42-29 lead, but they never let up. Executing a full-court press to perfection, the Lady Panthers created turnover after turnover and took advantage with fast-break opportunities. When they missed their shots, Larla Brown was there to grab the rebound and score on a second-chance basket. Brown finished the game with 19 points and teammate Lesley Curphy added eight points. "We run a motion offense and that creates mismatches and easy scoring chances for our team," Gober affirmed. The Dawson Eagles indeed looked dazed and confused and Kingwood Park took advantage, proving their point emphatically when Brown blocked what appeared to be an easy layup for Dawson. The Panthers broke the other way and the entire team raced toward their basket for the easy lay-up, capping off a dominating win and staying perfect in district play. "Cleveland, Cold Springs and Tarkington are strong this year, but we are a confident, focused team and are ready to make some noise,"Gober said. They may be younger than most teams, but the Lady Panthers have proved they are no pushovers and hope to show the community that they are indeed the hunters and not the hunted.
The Kingwood Mustang swim team trampled Katy's Cinco Ranch at the Dec. 6 varsity meet with a combined team score of 213-127. But that wasn't the only excitement for the Mustang fans in attendance at the home pool that evening. The Kingwood freshman girls set their second relay record of the season. Shannen Wehrman, Ashley Vance, Danielle Meara and Lisa Swank swam the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:42.66, eliminating the old freshman school record of 1:44.21, set in 2003. Talk on deck quickly turned to the next challenge for the freshmen; the 400-yard freestyle relay freshman record which is 3:48.00, set in 2000. Kingwood head swim coach Russell Duin knows that they're capable of meeting that challenge. "This group of girls has been fun to work with," said Duin. "They have great personalities and are very hard workers. They were so excited to get those relays. I told them that there are some big names up on that board and that is what the record board is for -- for records to be broken!" Adding to her record relay performance, Vance recorded two best times in her individual events. She won the 200-yard IM, shaving a second off her seed time, and the 100-yard breaststroke, lowering her best time in her best event by half a second. Junior Kim Summers also cut time to win the 100-yard backstroke, taking half a second off her seed time. The break-through swims for the boys came from junior Bobby Harrison and senior Ryan Cox. Harrison won the 200-yard IM sneaking a first-out-of-lane-one and cutting three seconds off his seed time. Cox, typically a top sprinter for the Mustangs, went the distance instead to win the 500-yard freestyle as a "no timer" which means that he had not swam the event this season. The Mustang boys faced some tough competition from Cinco Ranch in the relays. They lost the 200-yard medley relay, but came back to win the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays. In both cases, they finished just 0.30 ahead of Cinco Ranch. Trey Woodward, Cox, Kyle Sorge and Austin Wilson teamed up for the win. Cox and Wilson were also part of the winning 400-free relay, joined by Sam Deaton and Ryan Glander. Kingwood's girls ended up easily winning all their relays. In addition to the record-breaking 200-free, the girls won the 200-yard medley with the team of Michelle Gean, Merritt Krawczyk, Chelsie Kidd and Dannye Osburn. Gean and Kidd teamed up to also win the 400-free along with Swank and Summers. The pair didn't stop there; they both won an individual race as well. Gean was first in the 100-yard freestyle and Kidd was the top swimmer in the 100-yard butterfly. (photo cutline): Smashing records: Mustang freshmen, from left, Shannen Wehrman, Danielle Meara and Ashley Vance celebrate with teammate Lisa Swank, center, after the record-breaking 200-yard freestyle relay at Kingwood's swim meet against Cinco Ranch. The girls swam the relay in 1:42.66, eliminating the old freshman school record, set in 2003. This was the second-record breaking relay performance for the freshman girls this season.
Freshman Jamal Branch (15) drives to the hoop laying in two points. Photos by Wesley Orton A slow start and a tie ballgame at halftime did not stop the Eagles from earning another victory as district play looms in the near future. Despite being a 4A team, Crosby came to play and matched Atascocita shot for shot during the first two periods of play. Thanks to the clutch shooting of T.J. Shaw and Shaun Toran, the Eagles head into their final tournament of the preseason with a 9-3 record. The Eagles grabbed an early 11-4 lead as they rode the back of Austen Nickell. Nickell had a layup followed by a blocked shot and assist to Toran and then a put-back basket in three consecutive series to post the 7-point lead. A 10-2 run by the Cougars, facilitated by a tough half-court trap, had the Eagles down 16-15 at the end of the first period. The second period began as a complete opposite of the efficient first period. Missed shots and turnovers by both teams dirtied the game until Atascocita tied the score with a free throw two-and-a-half minutes into the period. The ensuing possessions had both teams trading 3-pointers and the lead. Every time the Eagles tried to pull away, Crosby answered keeping the score tied at 27 at halftime. The Eagles troubles were highlighted by quick shots, turnovers and not grabbing defensive rebounds. “I told the guys we had to do a better job crashing the boards and sharing the ball,” Eagle coach John Castles said. His team heard the message loud and clear as Atascocita came out firing in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Mick Hoffman provided the punch with consecutive free throws and an open shot as the Eagles opened up a 40-32 lead. Crosby took a timeout to stop the momentum, but Shaw began to exert his will on the Cougar defense with consecutive jump shots, including a 3-pointer, as the lead increased to 50-36. “We did a much better job moving the ball and finding gaps that could produce points,” Castles said of his team’s third- period spurt. The fourth quarter began with Atascocita ahead, 54-40, thanks to Shaw hitting two free-throws. After a Cougar basket, Toran nailed a fade-away exciting the crowd and forcing a Crosby timeout. Despite their large lead, the Eagles defense continued to pressure the Cougars, causing turnovers and offensive opportunities. Nickell made his presence known again another basket in the paint and a 60-47 lead. Free-throws by Hoffman, Pleasant and a Shaw layup added the final nails in the Crosby coffin with a 68-50 win. “I truly believe we have the deepest and perhaps the toughest district in the entire state,” Castles boasted. “So there is more emphasis once the district play gets here and the true test begins.” The Eagles have shown that they can run with anyone so far, and hope that carries over into the first two district games against Baytown Lee and Beaumont West Brook.
Kim Ginste attempts a free throw in the Lady Mustangs 58-47 victory over Atascocita. Photo by Clint Reynolds The Lady Mustangs of Kingwood High looked as calm and cool as the other side of the pillow Dec. 11. The girls built substantial leads in all quarters before the visiting lady Eagles from Atascocita High School climbed their way back each time. However, the Eagles couldn’t climb back a fourth time as the Mustangs shot the lights out, going home with a nice 58-47 victory. “We started out slow, but we picked it up in the end,” assessed junior Michelle Price, whose star power rises with every game. Price’s leadership evidenced itself immediately in the first quarter as she helped Kingwood take an 11-1 lead. While the offense was only getting warmed up, the defense stole the show by limiting the Eagles to only three points in the first period. The second period began to look like more of the same. Price got it going by driving to the hoop and forcing a 3-point play. Atascocita quickly turned the ball over and Caitlin Gillespie took it to the rack for two more as the Mustangs handed the Eagles five unanswered points. The Eagles finally found their shot in the middle of the second quarter, but outstanding shooting by Kingwood’s Kim Ginste helped fend off their attack. The Mustangs led 26-20 at the half. “We have a talented new point card, good confidence, and strength everywhere you look,” commented Price. Price could not have been more accurate. The Eagles came out strong after the break and brought the score within two at 28-26. However, the Kingwood girls kept their cool again. They bounced off the Eagles points and took their comfortable lead back to 39-33 by the end of the third period. By the fourth period, the ladies of Atascocita were out of come backs. Rachel Raught and Molly Wesley added fine shooting and the Kingwood Lady Mustangs walked away with a 58-47 victory. Still smiling after the game Price said, “Our ultimate goal is to win district.” So far things look very good for Kingwood. Come see the Kingwood Lady Mustangs take on the girls from Kountz High School on Dec. 21 at 4 p.m., and Baytown Lee on Jan. 2 at 2 p.m.