ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in this area:
Girls' Basketball -- Madison
Coach Tracy Hastings loves for the Mavericks to get up and down the court and push the tempo whenever possible. This winter, that's going to be a necessity for Madison, as the team's tallest player, senior Monica Engelman, stands just 5-foot-11. But with four starters back from a team that reached the Region IV-5A title game last season, there's no doubt the combination of speed and experience can make up for any size concerns. "Speed is our strength, and we like to capitalize on it every way possible," Hastings says. "From getting out on the break to pressing whenever possible, we're never going to slow down." Junior Charlicia Harper has started since Day 1 as a freshman and is the team's ringleader. The 5-foot-6 guard led the team in points (18.1) and assists (3.9) per game last year to earn San Antonio Express-News Super Team honors. "She sees the floor well and always makes great decisions," Hastings says. "That's exactly what we need."Engelman may be the tallest member of the Mavericks, but she's also one of the team's best in transition. She recorded 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last winter and can play both in the paint and on the perimeter. Senior Alisha Crump led the team in rebounds last season with 10.1 despite standing just 5-foot-8. Senior guard DeJaune Alexander, a heady floor general, rounds out the returning starters, and senior Chelsea DiMarco will round out the starting five after playing big minutes as the team's sixth man last year.
Boys' Swimming -- Boerne
Boerne won last year's Region 7-4A championship and went on to place sixth at the Class 4A state meet. The Greyhounds were young last season and should be able to improve on their success this winter. Key seniors Paul Bove and Miles Zander return after leading the 200 medley relay team to a thirdplace finish at state. Bove posted top-eight finishes in the 50 and 100 free at state after winning both events at regionals.
Girls' Swimming -- Vista Ridge
The Rangers were triumphant at last year's Region 4-4A meet, toppling their next-closest competitor by 20 points. Junior Megan Ziemann led the charge by winning the 200 free and taking second in the 500 free. Senior Shelby Green added a victory in the 100 free and a third in the 200 IM, while sophomore Hannah Kiser took third in the 100 free and fourth in the 50 free. That trio also helped Vista Ridge go on to finish seventh at last winter's Class 4A state meet.
Boys' Soccer -- S.A. Central Catholic
The Buttons capped their two-season run of dominance with another TAPPS Division I state title last winter. Central Catholic placed a mind-boggling seven players on the All-State first team and an eighth earned All-State second team honors. The Buttons finished the 2007-08 campaign 22-1-1 after posting a 22-0-0 mark the previous year. The team also answered any questions about its standing in the S.A./Austin area by knocking off area UIL powers S.A. Reagan, Boerne and Lee.
BREAK OUT TEAMS
BOYS' BASKETBALL -- WESTLAKE
Guard Cody Doolin and forward Connor Kemper form a terrific inside-outside duo.
GIRLS' SWIMMING -- ST. STEPHEN'S
The Ergin sisters, Zeynep and Ayse, are on pace for great senior seasons.
WRESTLING -- BOWIE
Senior Greg Gogonas and sophomore Dustin Stiegemeyer are two of the state's best.
GIRLS' BASKETBALL -- PFLUGERVILLE
Reigning District MVP Kaylan Martin looks to lead the Panthers to state.
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