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

Cougars’ Bala reaches 1,000-point career mark

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 1/29/20

On the play which she scored her 1,000th career point, Abby Bala’s skill as a basketball player—like astute decision-making and crafty playmaking ability— was on display.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Cinco Ranch High School, Cougars, Abby Bala, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Cougars’ Bala reaches 1,000-point career mark

Posted

On the play which she scored her 1,000th career point, Abby Bala’s skill as a basketball player—like astute decision-making and crafty playmaking ability— was on display.

Late during the third quarter against Tompkins on Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Cinco Ranch junior point guard read the Falcons’ 1-2-2 zone. To get by the initial defender, she faked a dribble right and crossed over to her left. She went over the top of the defense, through it and hit a floating midrange shot.

Bala scored 12 points against Tompkins to give her 1,0003 career points in her 95th career varsity game as a Cougar. She is averaging 16.2 points this season to go with four assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.

“I was very excited,” Bala said of reaching the milestone. “It was a different type of adrenaline through my body. It was amazing. It makes me feel like all the hard work I put in is paying off.”

Bala has been on varsity since her freshman season. Two significant improvements to her offensive repertoire have been a boon in becoming one of the top players in Katy ISD: a better jump shot and better decision-making.

Cougars coach Dwayne Archangel said Bala has progressed from hardly making any 3-pointers during her sophomore season to shooting 40 percent from deep this year.

“I’ve worked so hard on it,” Bala said of her jump shot. “That’s what I did all summer and into this year, working and practicing on my jump shot. It’s opened so many doors. The defense has to pick the way they defend me, and I can take what they give me.”

Bala has also improved in making smarter plays.

“I definitely make better decisions, as far as reading defenses and knowing where they’ll be,” she said. “That was major between my freshman year to now. I can see the floor and find the open man a lot better.”

Bala is a natural talent attacking the basket, often beating her defender with ease because of her blow-by speed. She has an impressive first step, thanks to countless reps perfecting her footwork via ladder drills.

It’s that work ethic, Archangel said, that stands out. Bala is the first player Archangel has had reach the 1,000-point career mark since he took over the Cougars prior to the 2017-18 season.

“Abby puts in a great deal of work on her own time,” Archangel said. “She attends workout sessions twice a week with her trainer. She also switched to a solid AAU team with several collegiate players who she has had to compete against. It’s helped her game tremendously.”

Off the court, Bala has also become a leader of the team, taking on that responsibility once she realized there was a void.

“I’m more comfortable leading the team,” she said. “Now that I’m a junior, I feel I have that voice on the team. Freshman year, we had a lot of injuries. Half of the team was JV players. Sophomore year, we had more injuries and it was to where no one knew who was going to lead the team. I kind of stepped into those shoes, I guess.”

Bala’s play has helped keep Cinco Ranch steady despite the absence of senior guard Catherine Hursh to injury during the first round of district play.

The Cougars are currently tied for third place in District 19-6A with Seven Lakes. After missing out on the playoffs by one game last season, Bala said making it this year is critical.

“Things are different for everyone,” she said. “These seniors have never been to the playoffs. So, a team goal, and definitely one of my goals, is to help as much as possible to get my seniors to the playoffs so they have that experience.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment