When you reach the end of something, it’s only natural to take stock of what came before.
Believe it or not, we’re coming to the end of a decade. (Are they the “Tens” or the “Teens?” I don’t know.) As such, it makes sense to scan the rear-view mirror and examine the 10-year journey we’ve just completed, and to bask in and celebrate the warmest memories.
is composed with significant input from local coaches. For each of our teams we seek nominations from our local coaches, and we respect their opinions greatly. Every Super Centex team in every sport
Granted, we assemble the teams ourselves and make our own decisions on award winners and first-team spots and so forth. But we couldn’t do it without the coaches — and I just wanted to put that out there up front.
Picking a Super Centex team is hard. No, it’s not baling hay or laying cement hard. It’s not advanced calculus, either. But it’s always a challenge to select a small group of elite athletes as the representatives of the best in the area. You have to make tough choices. Doesn’t matter the sport.
Now imagine doing that for a 10-year period.
What you will find on these teams is this: Truly great high school basketball players. Memorable ones. In fact, every player on both the boys’ and girls’ 12-member honor squads is (A) a Player of the Year, (B) a multi-time first-team Super Centex performer, or (C) in many cases, both.
OK, that’s enough build-up. Let’s meet the teams already.
— Brice Cherry
Juicy Landrum and Amy Gillum, La Vega
Juicy Landrum (left) dazzled in her four-year run at La Vega, to the point where the school retired her jersey earlier this year. Amy Gillum (right), meanwhile, directed the Lady Pirates to an undefeated state title season in 2014. They are the Trib’s Super Centex Player and Coach of the Decade, respectively.
Mystique Womack, Marlin
Mystique Womack, Marlin: A three-time Player of the Year, this supremely skilled ballhandler and scorer put up more than 3,000 points in her career. She’s got next in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as she’ll start her college career for the Crimson Tide in the fall.
Ann-Marie Dunlap, Crawford
Ann-Marie Dunlap, Crawford: Three-time first-team guard had stamina to burn, as she doubled as a distance runner in cross country and track.
Brechelle Beachum, Mexia
Brechelle Beachum, Mexia: Beachum sparked the LadyCats to their first state title in program history in 2013, and the clutch-shooting guard was rewarded as that season’s Player of the Year.
Armoni Pittman, Waco High
Armoni Pittman, Waco High: Three-time Super Centex first team guard spurred a Lady Lion renaissance, including helping the team win the program’s first district title in 24 years her senior year of 2013.
Makenzie Robertson, Midway
Makenzie Robertson, Midway: Before her days as a Baylor Lady Bears player and coach, Robertson ( now Makenzie Fuller) excelled as one of the best all-around athletes in the area. She also pulled off a rare state title trifecta, competing on state championship volleyball, basketball and softball teams for the Pantherettes in her career.
Jae Moore, Frost
Jae Moore, Frost: An all-around competitor who won Super Centex Girls Athlete of the Year in 2016, Moore overcame an ACL injury as a junior to finish as one of the top scorers and shooters in the annals of Centex hoops.
Ta’Naiya Norwood, La Vega
Ta’Naiya Norwood, La Vega: Three-time first-team honoree was limber and lithe in the post, but still managed to give team fits, and could also burn defenses with her mid-range jumper.
Erin DeGrate, La Vega
Erin DeGrate, La Vega: Opposing teams often had no answer down low for DeGrate, the 2015 Super Centex Player of the Year as a senior. That season she averaged 20.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Porsha Roberts, La Vega
Porsha Roberts, La Vega: Roberts flat-out commanded the paint area for the Lady Pirates at the turn of the decade. She averaged 19.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks as a senior, when she was Super Centex Player of the Year, before going on to a brilliant career at Stephen F. Austin. Little-known fact: She’s the older sister of Juicy Landrum.
Sha Brown, McGregor
Sha Brown, McGregor: She led Central Texas in scoring (22.4) and rebounding (12.1) her senior year, when she won Super Centex Player of the Year honors and directed the Lady ‘Dogs to the regional tournament.
Trajan Snell, Connally
Former Connally guard Trajan Snell helped the Cadets reach the regional tournament in each of his final two seasons.
Quinton Snell, Connally
Quinton Snell’s teams at Connally have made the playoffs in each of the past nine seasons, including three straight regional tournament appearances.
Antwan Stephens, China Spring
Antwan Stephens, China Spring: Small frame couldn’t hide his oversized heart. Stephens finished his career with more than 2,000 points.
Keshawn Rice, Teague
Keshawn Rice, Teague: Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore in 2017, Rice just kept growing his game and made two more Super Centex squads.
Umoja Gibson, University
Umoja Gibson, University: One of the most talented, hard-working players in the area, Gibson averaged 22.4 points and 11.1 assists an outing his senior year of 2017, when he was Super Centex Player of the Year. He has battled injuries in college, but led the University of North Texas in scoring this past season (12.6 ppg).
Ro’derick Calhoun, Coolidge
Ro’derick Calhoun, Coolidge: Few players could light up the nets any better than Calhoun, who averaged better than 28 points his sophomore year. By his senior season of 2016, he had discovered the art of passing, and his unselfishness fueled the Yellowjackets’ run to state.
Curk Harris, Mexia
Curk Harris, Mexia: Harris displayed admirable leadership his senior year of 2015, when he won Super Centex Player of the Year honors. That year Harris led a Blackcat team with four new starters to a regional tournament appearance. Harris just wrapped up a successful run at Division II power Oklahoma Wesleyan, where he was a hotshot guard and Dean’s List student with a 3.9 GPA.
Austen Bradshaw, La Vega
Austen Bradshaw, La Vega: Bradshaw, who went on to sign at MCC, could really fill up the nets. He rolled up a scoring average of 26.4 as a senior, including a 50-point game against China Spring, and was the 2011-12 Super Centex Player of the Year.
Ray Washington, University
Ray Washington, University: The Trib’s Newcomer of the Year in 2010, the ever-steady Washington made two additional Super Centex squads before his time with the Trojans was complete.
D.J. Weathers, Mexia
D.J. Weathers, Mexia: Weathers never lost a game in junior high and was no less legendary in high school. His peak came during his junior year of 2010-11, when he won Player of the Year while carrying the Blackcats all the way to the state tournament.
Erik Valdez, Temple
Erik Valdez, Temple: Valdez switched from post to guard his senior year of 2010, and the move worked. He was the district MVP and Super Centex Player of the Year, and caught fire in the playoffs in Temple’s sizzling run to the regional final.
Joe Schwartz, Vanguard
Joe Schwartz, Vanguard: The Vikings were one of the more consistently steady programs of the decade, and Schwartz helped bridge that tradition. He averaged a double-double his senior year (2014) and won Player of the Year honors, as the Vikings sailed the TAPPS state semis. Schwartz went on to walk on at the University of Texas.
William Stinnett, La Vega
William Stinnett, La Vega: The 2012 Player of the Year came from good basketball bloodlines, behind his referee father Earl and his Baylor legend mother Maggie. He provided reliable scoring and rebounding for the Pirates, and also claimed MVP honors of the THSCA all-star game as a senior.