1. Trinity Valley
7. Bossier Parish
9. Coastal Bend
2. South Plains
3. New Mexico
4. Western Texas
5. Frank Phillips
9. Southwestern Christian
Trinity Valley’s Lady Cardinals were doing what they usually do — hosting a media day to prepare for yet another trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.
The Lady Cardinals advancing to, previously Salina, Kansas, and now Lubbock on a yearly basis is like death and taxes — a life guarantee.
The Lady Cardinals, who have made 13 consecutive national tournament appearances and 25 overall — were on Leon Spencer Court inside of Cardinal Gym choreographing a TikTok video less than a week until their departure for Lubbock in search of their ninth national title.
This was on Wednesday, March 11. Later that night, the news that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the NBA to halt its season. In the following days, the NCAA canceled the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament. And then the NJCAA announced a postponement of the NJCAA National Tournament, which was later canceled.
Ta’Niya Jackson, Kaye Clark and Taiyanna Jackson are back for the Lady Cardinals, who went 32-1 a season ago. Trinity Valley has won 295 of its last 322 games. They have been made nine straight national semifinal games and hold a record of 8-6 in national title games. In their last nine national tournament trips, the Lady Cardinals have won three times, placed second four times and finished third once.
Elsewhere in Region XIV, Jacksonville welcomes Caleb Henson in as its new head coach. Henson was previously an assistant coach at East Texas Baptist University.
Kyla Higgs — a 5-foot-6 sophomore — is the lone returner for the Lady Jaguars.
Jacksonville welcomes 14 newcomers. The Lady Jaguars have added two East Texans — Brooklyn Allison of Van and Carleigh Reeves of New Boston. They’ve also added 5-foot-10 sophomore Lucy Threllfall of the United Kingdom. Pearland freshman Kyah Barlow (5-foot-2) and Graham freshman Cammi Teplicek (6-foot-4) are also among the newcomers to the squad.
“We have a completely brand new roster and coaching staff,” Henson said. “We are excited about changing the culture and creating a new identity for Jacksonville College women’s basketball, on and off the court. We have a lot of challenge’s ahead, and we look forward to embracing them.”
Cheyenne Brown — a two-time state champion at Martin’s Mill who played at Northwestern State and Harding — will be an assistant coach for Jacksonville.
Coastal Bend went 2-28 last season and returns Brianna Martinez. The Cougars will have 18 newcomers including Tunisha Strong, a transfer from Angelina College, which is not playing this season.
Brenda Welch-Nichols will be entering her third season at Bossier Parish. The former NCAA Division I coach at Mercer (2003-06) and Sam Houston State (2006-18) brings back Jazmin Sanders from last season’s squad that finished 3-26 and 1-17 in league play.
Bossier Parish welcomes 14 new faces, including two sets of high school teammates. Morgyn Payne, Danielle Burton and Makaila Lewis will join the team from Red River High School in Coushatta, Louisiana, and Kelci Wilson and Jaiya Carter come from Hallsville High School.
“With only one returning starter and player in guard Jazmin Sanders, the 2020-21 Bossier Parish Lady Cavaliers will be young and inexperienced,” Welch-Nichols said. “But, for the first time in my time here, we have a full complement of players who can play and contribute. I think top to bottom we’re more athletic than we were last year. Turnovers killed us last year, so we must do a better job of protecting the basketball to help us maximize our possessions. Our biggest task as coaches will be to find the right mix of players who will give us the chance to be successful.”
Kilgore enters its third season under Addie Lees. Returning are Jada Hood (14.7 points, 3.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds), McKenze Brown, Kai Finister, Vianey Galvan and Laraveun Randle.
Newcomers for Kilgore are Kerrighan Dunn, Maya Scheitel-Taylor, Rahmena Henderson and 6-3 post Tara Green.
In Region V’s Western Junior College Athletic Conference, Odessa is sitting the year out.
New Mexico is led by head coach Austin Mefford, who spent the last two years going 55-11 at Seward County Community College.
Eliana Cabral (9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds) and Caliana Fenceroy (5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds) are back for New Mexico.
Co-Freshmen of the Year of the Jayhawk Conference Leilani Augmon and Tianna Johnson have come with Mefford from Seward County, as did 6-foot-1 Ayanna Smith. Other newcomers are 6-foot-3 Marjama Sow and 6-foot-5 Madji Pene — both of Senegal and Duda Raimundo and Mariah Smith.
Cabral is committed to UTEP and Augmon and Raimundo are both Arkansas State pledges. Smith, Pene and Johnson all hold Division I offers too.
Howard (7-22 last season) was without a head coach as of late September with assistant coach Meesha Wade as the lone coach on the staff.
Tatym Barnes and Anais Bonnemaison are back for Howard. Newcomers are Charnay Robinson, Kiara Green, Mikayla Malik, Claudia Hernandez, Raegan Travis, Sumiyah Abdur-Rahim, Breeley Oakley, Hillary Broussard, Daniela Perdomo, Angel Jones and Sheridan Gamble.
Clarendon welcomes back Jayla Johnson (8.3 points, 5.0 rebounds), Taylor Sparks, Olivia Shannon and Jaclynn Black.
Notable newcomers are Emilia Axelsson, 6-4 Zariah Sango and Aileen Marquez.
“There is certainly some excitement within the program about the 2021 season,” Clarendon head coach Mark James said. “We believe we have the versatility within our roster to be extremely competitive in arguably the best conference in the entire country.”
In Region V’s North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference, Collin will look to build a 24-win campaign in 2019-20 that resulted in a conference title.
Notable players for Jeff Allen (334-159) are Mikayla Alexander, Skye Dugan, Tamia Miller, Peyton Rush, Emilie Ravn, Ada Waddell, Haley Jones, Imani Gatlin-Kilgore, Makia Moon and Noor Aranki.
Veteran head coach Ricky Rhodes and McLennan return Raija Todd, Jaidyn Fontenette, Mele Kailahi (10.8 points) and Marquise Nelson. Incoming transfers are Kinley Brown (Angelo State) and McKenzie Piper (St. Mary’s).
Freshmen are Miannah Little, Mya Booker, Ahlura Lofton, Mersadez Nephew, Heaven Butler, Brielle Dorsey, Da’Marreya Johnson and Madison Crowson.
“This year’s team will totally have to do the little things,” Rhodes said. “For example, blocking out, value the basketball, communicate and trust each other on the floor. This team has the potential to score with the best, but defense will be the key.”
Grayson went 22-8 last season and returns 6-1 forward Jane Asinde (16.0 points, 13.0 rebounds) and 6-0 forward Tailor Broussard (12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds). Mekayla Furman transferred in from Trinity Valley and will be joined by newcomers Chyvon Thomas and Diaka Berete.
Hill College head coach Scott Hyland is nearing the 300-win mark for his career with 287 total victories and is 155-90 entering his ninth season with the program.
Returning for Hill are Andreea Mancha, Destanee Roblow, Tyquanna Ross, Kamill Rangel and Kertisa Amos.
Newcomers for Hill are Jada Williams, Jasmine Bailey, Laylah Davis, Mariya Scott, Kaiden Lemaire, Kecie Langley, Matyha Thompson, Brendeja Holloman and Skye Thomas.