Cinco Ranch High School, Cougars, Texas girls high school basketball, Abby Bala, Cat Hursh, Katy ISD

Bala, Hursh show off versatility in Cougars’ win

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 12/13/19

Senior Catherine Hursh and junior Abby Bala are the sort of do-it-all wings that can dominate a game with scoring, but in Cinco Ranch’s District 19-6A opener against Mayde Creek on Friday, Dec. 13, their playmaking showed off the depth of this year’s Cougars squad in a 59-14 win.

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Cinco Ranch High School, Cougars, Texas girls high school basketball, Abby Bala, Cat Hursh, Katy ISD

Bala, Hursh show off versatility in Cougars’ win

Posted

Senior Catherine Hursh and junior Abby Bala are the sort of do-it-all wings that can dominate a game with scoring, but in Cinco Ranch’s District 19-6A opener against Mayde Creek on Friday, Dec. 13, their playmaking showed off the depth of this year’s Cougars squad in a 59-14 win.

Cinco Ranch improved to 11-5 overall.

While Bala had 13 points, Hursh only had four. Still, both controlled the game’s tempo and allowed teammates to flourish. The duo combined to set-up 12 layups for teammates, typically as they rolled to the basket or ran the court in transition.

“We’re just trying to execute our offense the best we can,” Bala said. “I want to be able to see the floor more and read the defense, to see where to put the ball because I’m the point guard.”

Hursh added that one of her goals this year was to improve her passing.

“I wanted to improve my assists,” she said. “This year, I think I’ve bumped it up already. As far as a team goal, we want to win district and make it to the playoffs.”

The Cougars missed the playoffs by one game last season.

Cinco Ranch coach Dwayne Archangel said he was happy to see the progress from his two star players.

“Those two young ladies, we’ve been through the fire together,” he said. “Bala was a freshman and I put her on varsity, and I just had to throw her into the position of point guard, which she wasn’t accustomed to. She would average about 17 turnovers a game, but like I told her, ‘Don’t worry. We are building for down the road. The district should be yours, come junior year.’”

Archangel called Hursh a “gifted, athletic player.” She and Bala are attracting interest from NCAA Division I programs, and Hursh has visited several, although she hasn’t made a final decision yet.

“She loves the game of basketball,” Archangel said of Hursh. “She works extremely hard. From her sophomore year going into her junior year, I saw her really working on her shot and it improved tremendously. She just continues to get better and better, which is good for her because she has a lot of colleges looking at her right now. She can handle the basketball and run the offense, which makes things a whole lot easier.”

In addition to those two, sophomore Madison Mascorro had an impressive game, finishing with 13 points, all in the second half. Similar to Bala and Hursh, Archangel said he expected big things from her after she contributed as a freshman on varsity last year.

“Our last game (last year) was a play-in to get into the playoffs against Morton Ranch,” he said. “It was a big game and she was only a freshman at the time, but she put up 20 points. I was excited, because I knew it was a breakout moment. She’s another one of those players that we’re looking forward to constantly growing.”

Also contributing for the Cougars were seniors Riley King (six points), Kaitlyn Pimentel (6), Taylor Rowland (5) and Victoria Huggins (4). Freshman Dani Williams had four points, including a reverse lay-up in the game’s final seconds that brought the crowd to its feet.

Nine different Cougars had baskets, but Archangel said their focus in practice has been on the defensive end. Despite a large lead, he called two timeouts in the final 10 minutes to emphasize that point after Mayde Creek scored layups in transition.

“Defense, defense, defense. That’s all that we’re drilling right now,” he said. “Right now, we can score, we can shoot, but we’ve got to make sure we get back in transition defense and cutting off the driving lanes.”

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