Young Mustangs making their marks on league 

Kelly Huey could have guessed freshman Hallie Meneses would have no trouble adjusting to the varsity spotlight as a member of the Lincoln girls’ basketball team.

The Mustangs’ sophomore point guard just had to think back to the last time she played with Meneses, two years ago at Hoover Middle School. Played, of course, being a relative term.

"Back then, it was my first year of basketball and I never played — I was just a benchwarmer," Huey said with a laugh. "And [Hallie] was a superstar."

The duo may have arrived at Lincoln with different résumés, but their roles and responsibilities have become much more equitable this season. Huey and Meneses have asserted themselves as the leaders of a young team that has just one senior on its roster and often features a starting lineup composed of three sophomores and two freshmen.

Meneses (12.4 points per game) and Huey (10.0) are first and second on the team in scoring, assists and steals, and combined for 13 of Lincoln’s 29 fourth-quarter points in Friday’s 65-43 win over International Studies Academy in the San Francisco Section quarterfinals.

Third-seeded Lincoln (19-11) plays No. 2 Washington (14-14) in today’s 6 p.m. semifinal at Kezar Pavilion.

"A lot of times, freshmen and sophomores feel like they need to defer to other players and wait their turn," Mustangs coach Jason Lee said. "But I told these girls we couldn’t afford to do that. We might be the favorites for the next few years, so let’s sneak up on some people now while no one’s looking."

But as Lincoln has started to improve (the Mustangs have won four straight and eight of 11), coaches from around the Academic Athletic Association have started to take notice.

Top-seeded Lowell (27-2), the defending section champion, had to fight hard to hold off Lincoln 57-54 on Feb. 9 and Cardinals coach Aki Kuwada said he thought the game was played at a championship level.

"Man, that’s a dangerous team," Kuwada said that day. "A lot of people don’t have the quickness and guard play to disrupt us, but they did a great job."

Huey and Meneses took different paths to the Mustangs’ backcourt. Huey grew up playing softball and didn’t decide to play basketball until her aforementioned eighth-grade experience. Last season, she improved enough to start on Lincoln’s title-winning frosh-soph team and has used her speed, toughness and court awareness to develop even further this season.

"Kelly is a great player because of her smarts," Lee said. "She’s aware of everything that’s going on out there and has great instincts, which really helps us on defense."

Meanwhile, Meneses started playing AAU ball for prestigious Mission Rec as a sixth-grader alongside current Sacred Heart Cathedral stars Ki-Ki Moore and sisters Kamilah and Jazmine Jackson. The 5-foot-3 Meneses has done a little bit of everything for the Mustangs this season, leading the team in scoring, 3-pointers made (56) and steals (3.9 per game) and is second in rebounds (4.6), assists (2.4) and blocks (18 total).

"Playing [at Mission Rec] gave me the confidence to know I can play with anyone," said Meneses, who has already received a recruiting letter from UCLA. "And I learned you have to compete as hard as you can all the time. You can never slack off."

SAN FRANCISCO SECTION PLAYOFFS

At Kezar Pavilion

TODAY’S GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS

» Burton (14-13) vs. Lowell (27-2), 4 p.m.

» Lincoln (19-11) vs. Washington (14-14), 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY’S BOYS’ SEMIFINALS

» Mission (13-11) vs. Lincoln (21-11), 4 p.m.

» Wallenberg (22-7) vs. Lowell (26-4), 6 p.m.

FRIDAY’S FINALS

» Girls: Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.

» Boys: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

melliser@examiner.com

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

Bio:
A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of Sports

More by Staff Report

Latest in Other Sports

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation