“Everyone already getting better every time we go out there,” DeLeon said. “There’s still definitely work to be done and growth we need to have as a team, but this kind of tournament is going to help the underclassman with their confidence a lot."
Tompkins is using every opportunity they can to grow as a team.
The Falcons will enter next season with a number of new faces that haven’t gotten used the rigors of varsity and a young core overall. While there will be plenty of time for the group to grow together, the Falcons are taking any and every opportunity to gel together and continue to gain experience.
That includes taking part in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Showcase this summer.
The TABC showcase is held over the summer each year and is an event where college coaches from Division I through Junior College can come and see top high school teams from around the state of Texas compete under one roof, with it being held at Tompkins and Jordan for the girls teams this year.
“Getting this extra time and playing teams is huge for us,” said Tompkins junior Rihanna DeLeon. “Our team chemistry is still developing and we are working on how to play off of each other and how to make everyone feel comfortable in their positions. So having this extra time with the TABC Tournament and playing against other teams is a really good thing for us.”
The Falcons went 1-1 on the first day of the tournament, dropping their first game 47-26 to San Antonio Warren before bouncing back with a 4-47 win over Laredo United South. A number of young players were able to find their footing in the games and figure out how to be effective for Tompkins, and it resulted in a big comeback in the second half of the United South game, where Tompkins erased a double digit deficit to earn the win. That was the goal for Falcons head coach Tamatha Ray, who wanted to put the younger players in a position where they could show what they could do.
“We know what the returners can do and they’re very capable, but it’s about getting those youngsters out there,” Ray said. “We had four sophomores on that court sometimes today and it’s just a different level. It’s so much faster and this is another place where they can experience that and learn how to play at that speed.”
One of the biggest standouts out of the sophomores was Sascha Coughran. Coughran was passive in the first half against United South but took things to a different level in the second half during the Falcons comeback, cutting passing lanes and being aggressive on defense while pushing the pace and being a strong distributor at the point guard position on offense.
“She settled it down really well in that second half,” Ray said. “Sascha does a really good job of handling the ball and she has really good chemistry with Rihanna and that’s just going to continue to develop with everyone else. It’s just all about getting the dust off. She’s going to have the ball in her hand a lot and she has to command the floor.”
The tournament also gives the coaches and players an extra look at what needs to be worked on once the school year gets going, and the whole team is ready to get to work and keep improving.
“Everyone already getting better every time we go out there,” DeLeon said. “There’s still definitely work to be done and growth we need to have as a team, but this kind of tournament is going to help the underclassman with their confidence a lot. It’s all about experiencing that pace and knowing you can keep up with it and I think they see they can do that now.”