In an area filled with numerous well-known high schools, it becomes extremely difficult for players at smaller schools to get recruited.
MaST Community Charter School, a Class 3A school in Northeast Philadelphia, is a great example of this.
Edwin Vazquez Jr. has done an outstanding job of turning around the girls’ basketball program, which he took over four years ago. The Panthers went from the basement to the best season in school history. Vazquez led this season’s team to 11 wins overall, including six in the Bicentennial League Independence Division.
In his first season, Vazquez had only about 13 girls try out for the team. Now, the program is starting to draw scouts to some of its games.
“It really shows the work that we put in during the offseason,” Vazquez said. “Everything that we’ve done has paid off.”
Senior Allyson Holtz, who also plays soccer, has been the point guard since Vazquez took over when she was a freshman. After not even breaking 80 points in her first season, Holtz scored more than 200 in each of the last two seasons. The feat is impressive considering that MaST put up about 800 points as a team this season.
Just 5-foot-3, Holtz also bounced back from a broken ankle that shortened her sophomore year.
“To see where she’s come from, it really makes me feel good,” Vazquez said. “I run a system with a lot of plays and she picks up on them very fast.”
Holtz has received interest from a few Division III schools, mainly for soccer, but Vazquez has been sure to show those coaches her basketball highlights. She plans to make a decision by the end of next week.
“If I could play both sports, I would love to,” Holtz said. “I guess right now it comes down to the fact that I’ve been playing soccer longer.”
Junior Katelyn Fowler is another player to watch. This season, she averaged 11.1 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 steals. Fowler finished second in scoring in the Bicentennial League behind Jenkintown’s Jennifer Kremp.
Both Holtz and Fowler were named first-team BAL Independence Division this season.
Freshman Alexa Murphy and incoming freshman Molly Farrell are also key components to a small school looking to get on the recruiting map.