— By GREG WEBB
The North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) released All-Conference selections this week, further confirming reasons for the lofty perch, i.e., the conference championship, the WC women earned.
The Lady Coyotes begin their 2014 campaign at the Region V tourney on Thursday. The postseason event, to be held at Lubbock Christian University’s Rip Griffin Center, pits the top four seeds from the NTJCAC against the top quartet from the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC). Weatherford enters the tournament as the overall top seed.
For the second consecutive year, WC guard Bre Brooks was named the women’s Player of the Year. A sophomore guard from Tyler Lee, Brooks scored 18.6 points per game in the regular season, second in the NTJCAC. She also led the conference in assists, averaging 7.0 per game.
For a third consecutive season, WC head coach Bob McKinley received the nod as Coach of the Year. McKinley, the winningest active junior college basketball coach in the nation, earned his 11th top coach award from the NTJCAC. His Lady Coyotes won their third straight conference title with a 20-3 overall record, 12-1 in conference play. Sophmore forward /post Itiana Taylor joined Brooks on the conference’s First Team. Taylor featured dominating performances in most of her conference contests, leading the league in scoring (21.1 points) as well as rebounds (13.1).
Rounding out the WC women’s presence on the all-conference rolls are Jacqueline Chandler, Toma Zaleckaite and Cierra Johnson, who were named to the NTJCAC Honorable Mention roster.
The NTJCAC Tournament begins on Thursday for the women’s basketball division. Midland College, the fourth-place finisher from the WJCAC, will face the WC women in a 5 p.m. match.
In other action for Thursday in the single-elimination brackets, Odessa squares off against McLennan. The winner will play WC in the conference semi-final match on Friday, if the Lady Coyotes handle Midland.
The championship match for the women’s Region V is set for Saturday, with tipoff at 4:30 p.m.
Although finishing “out of the money” for postseason play, the Weatherford College men were also well-represented in the all-conference rolls. All four honorees are freshmen boding well for the Coyotes’ future.
WC’s Tonko Vuko was named Freshman of the Year and earned a slot on the First Team. A six-foot-eight-inch forward from Croatia, Vuko averaged 16.8 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Coyotes, finishing in the top five of the conference in both categories.
Sam Osina was a Second Team selection. WC’s honorable mention honorees included Quentin Henderson and Anthony Roberson.
For folks who cannot attend the Region V Tournament, the contests will be streamed live at www.psblive.com.