Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wesley Chapel came from out of nowhere to embrace success

WESLEY CHAPEL

More than once, first-year Wesley Chapel girls basketball coach Karim Nohra has suggested he'd sooner have pictured himself as the next American Idol before picturing the Wildcats as state tournament contenders in 2009. As the 'Cats (26-2) kept winning, some probably began discounting Nohra's shock as cautious coaching rhetoric. It wasn't. Consider where Nohra's players — and Nohra himself — were a year ago at this time (we did, as documented below). Six had recently finished junior varsity seasons. Three had recently finished middle school seasons. Zero were regular starters for Wesley Chapel. Yet 12 months later, the 'Cats' collective glass sneaker remains in one piece. Tonight, they host Winter Park Lake Howell for a state tournament berth. "I honestly thought we had the potential to do it," sophomore Jeileen Mas said, "but I knew we had to work for it."

The projected starters (with current grade)

Gabbi Brown, So.

This season: Averaging 6.4 points, 5.4 rebounds

Last season: Played for Land O'Lakes junior varsity; was promoted late in season

Jeileen Mas, So.

This season: Ranks third on team in scoring (9.3 ppg) and second in 3-pointers (30)

Last season: Member of Wildcats JV who was promoted late in the season; scored two points for varsity

Hannah Noble, So.

This season: Averaging 8.4 points, team-high 5.2 assists; leads team with 32 3-pointers

Last season: Another late-season JV callup; broke her collarbone in a game at River Ridge

Shantel Houston, Jr.

This season: Averaging nearly a double double (16.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg); one of three Wildcats to play in all 28 games

Last season: Like Mas and Noble, a JV player promoted late in season

Janelle Mills, Sr.

This season: Averaging a double double (15.5 ppg, 11.7 rpg) through 10 contests; missed two months with broken wrist; had 27 points, 10 boards in a playoff win against Armwood

Last season: Occasional varsity starter; averaged 5.3 points, seven rebounds

Coach Karim Nohra

Nohra, who took 11 teams to the postseason in stints at Cambridge Christian and Tampa Catholic, was out of coaching. "I went to the Sickles (playoff) game when Sickles played (Sarasota) Riverview. I actually saw this team play Tampa Bay Tech in the region (quarterfinals)," Nohra said. "I just went around watching games."

The backups

(with 2007-08 whereabouts)

Sr. Alexis Braynen: Played for Wesley Chapel JV

Fr. Brittany Byrd: Starter at Weightman Middle School

Jr. Dana Cannon: Starter for Wharton's varsity, which won one game

Fr. Raven Gilbert: Starter at Greco Middle School, Temple Terrace

So. Tranisha Henry: Backup for Wesley Chapel JV

Jr. Phylicia Lennox: Played for Ridgewood JV

Fr. Nece Reynolds: Starter at Weightman Middle School

Wesley Chapel came from out of nowhere to embrace success 02/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 20, 2009 6:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays journal: Rookie pitcher Austn Pruitt taking latest callup in stride

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Rays rookie RHP Austin Pruitt is pretty low-key, so it's no surprise he is taking in stride being called up to fill in for injured RHP Jake Odorizzi and start tonight against the Yankees in a fairly important series.

    HERE COME THE RUNS: Brad Miller follows through on a two-run double during in the fifth inning against the Yankees.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays a better team.

    Lucas Duda
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard (20), the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.