Holguin at home with Tigers

More news about: Trinity (Texas)
Holguin is one of four Tigers averaging double-digit scoring, leading the way with 14.6 points per game.
Trinity Sports Communications

Monica Holguin planned to play college basketball at UTEP. She was promised a chance to try out for the team as a freshman but the opportunity never materialized.

As disappointing as it was to have things play out the way they did, the dream of playing college hoops didn't end there for Holguin.

"I always had my eye on Trinity," Holguin said. "I went on a recruiting visit there when I was a junior (in high school) and loved the program. I had no doubt that was the place I wanted to go."

Her brother attended Trinity, too, and told her about the success of the basketball program. So she reached out to the head coach, Cameron Hill, about playing for the Tigers and the rest is history.

"It was the right spot for me," Holguin said. "I have the opportunity to play for a great team and go to a school with rigorous academics."

Three years later, Holguin is a star for the Tigers, playing a pivotal role on a team that is 16-1 and has its sights set on an SCAC championship and a third NCAA tournament berth in the last five years.

The talented 5-foot-9-inch guard is averaging 14.6 points per game, knocking down 20 3-pointers.

"I've been playing well and our team has, too," Holguin said. "The experience of the past couple of years has been a big part of my success and knowing this could be my last season is also motivation. I'm leaving it all on the floor."

Holguin notes that it could be her last year because there is a chance she'll get one more year of eligibility as she didn't play as a freshman.

For now, she's just doing what she can to make the most of this season and enjoy the opportunities in front of her.

"I try to bring excitement to the team," Holguin said. "We're all very positive and we never make anyone feel like they aren't a part of the team no matter how many minutes they play. We emphasize that everyone has a role to play."

For Holguin, that means not feeling that she always has to be the top scoring threat on the floor. With teammates such as Micah Weaver (14.5), Mollie Hughes (12.7), and Abby Holland (10.8) playing instrumental roles in the Tigers' offense, Holguin has less pressure on her shoulders.

"We have such a great offensive team, and I don't feel obligated to be the go-to scorer all of the time," Holguin said. "Assists are just as important and so I try to make that extra pass and give other teammates a chance to make the big shot."

Holguin has come a long way from her first season when she averaged just 6.6 points per game. She admits it took a couple of practices and games for her that first season to get her feet back under her in a gym.

In the end, the adjustment wasn't too difficult and she has been making strides ever since, not only from a skill standpoint, but from a mental aspect as well.

"I've gotten a lot stronger mentally," Holguin said. "I used to get frustrated if I made mistakes. Coach always tells us there are no mistakes and that has made me feel more comfortable out there."

Holguin and the Tigers suffered their only loss of the year Jan. 14, falling 85-78 to Texas Lutheran. But the Tigers didn't spend much time dwelling on it, pushing forward and winning their last two games.

A rematch with the Bulldogs is set for Feb. 4 at Trinity. It's a big game for sure, but not the only game that carries importance.

"We'll be ready to battle, but we have to focus on every game on our schedule. We can't look past anyone," Holguin said. "We're focused on our goals and the most important thing for us is to keep doing what we have been and have a positive attitude for every game."

Regis shines for Wildcats

Raheem Regis is on quite a roll for Louisiana College. He came through with back-to-back double-double efforts last week, including a 14-point, 11-rebound effort against Dallas Saturday. The performance wasn't enough, however, to lead the Wildcats to a third consecutive win as the Comets prevailed 69-54 in ASC action.

Lejawon LeBlanc, who has played in just nine games this year, recorded his first career double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 boards.

Regis is leading the Wildcats in scoring, putting up 17.5 points per game, and he's grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game. He has also made an impact on defense, blocking 11 shots for a Wildcats team that is 4-11 overall and only 1-8 in conference play.

No sophomore slump for Ransom

Lauren Ransom poured in 17 points in Oglethorpe's 53-45 win over Hendrix Sunday in SAA action. Ransom connected on six of her 12 attempts from the field and also blocked three shots as she led the Stormy Petrels to their third consecutive victory.

Oglethorpe is 12-6 overall and 6-1 in the conference, thanks in part to the play of Ransom, who has helped the Stormy Petrels grab sole possession of second place in the standings.

Ransom is only a sophomore and has picked up from where she left off a season ago when she averaged 13.5 points per outing. She is averaging 13.2 points per game this year and has been a force defensively in the paint, blocking 33 shots.

Streak continues for Piedmont

Piedmont is in the midst of its best win streak during the NCAA era of the program. The Lions won their seventh consecutive game Monday night, knocking off Maryville 91-82 in a USA South Athletic Conference game at home.

Justin Vallejo paved the way for the Lions, lighting up the scoreboard for 26 points. He connected on eight of his 11 attempts from the field and helped Piedmont overcome a 10-point deficit to pick up its fifth consecutive win against the Scots under the direction of head coach Greg Neeley.

Piedmont is 11-7 overall and 5-2 in the conference. The Lions are four wins shy of matching last season's win total.

Vallejo has played a key role in the success the Lions have enjoyed. Playing in all 18 games this season, Vallejo is putting up 16 points per outing.

Chase England is having quite a year as well for Piedmont, ranking second on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game. He is second on the team in 3-pointers made as well, drilling 31.

Piedmont lost four of its first five games but hasn't tasted defeat since an 85-83 double overtime loss to Sewanee on Jan. 3. Six of the Lions' seven wins during the streak have been at home.

Panthers on a roll

Once sitting a game under .500, Ferrum has turned its luck around, picking up its sixth consecutive win Sunday with a 79-60 victory over Averett.

The Panthers improved to 11-6 overall and are unbeaten in USA South Athletic Conference action. Zarkia Mattox rose to the occasion for the Panthers, pouring in 29 points to lead all scorers. She nearly came through with a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds. She also tallied eight steals.

Leading the team in scoring a total of 13 times this season, Mattox is averaging 22.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. She has been a force on defense as well, racking up 53 steals for a Ferrum team that is holding opponents to 60.4 points per outing.

Already a 1,000-point scorer and the 2015 rookie of the year in the conference, the junior guard continues to live up to her potential. She is shooting 51.6 percent from the floor and averaging 4.4 assists per game.

Setting records

James Sapp of Centenary became the leading rebounder in SCAC history, grabbing six rebounds to push his career total to 861 in a 105-88 loss to Southwestern Friday night.

Sapp leads the conference in rebounds per game (10.3) and his scoring average (21.4) is also the best in the conference. He has made 146 field goals on the year.

Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Florida. He has 15 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending 10 at The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for D3football.com and wrote the book Perfect Run as No. 1 about the 2009 Division II men's basketball champions University of Findlay. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois.