Vista Ridge point guard Japreece Dean didn't take long to earn her spot in the Lady Rangers starting lineup. Her advanced skills as a ball handler and playmaker made an immediate impact on team.
"She's a sophomore, but she doesn't play like one," Vista Ridge Head Coach Pecos McDaniel said.
While only a sophomore, Dean fit right in with her highly ranked teammates whose reputation she knew before ever stepping on campus.
"I knew defense was a big part of their system before I came here and I watched them a year before I came in my 8th grade year," Dean said.
Japreece played varsity ball as a freshman and matured into the everyday starter this season. During this year's playoffs, she led the team in scoring and assists while pacing Vista Ridge to blowout wins.
"She's the best point guard I've seen this year. She does such a great job of getting the ball to people. She can score when we need her to score. She'd rather give it up than score herself," McDaniel said. "She's that quarterback that gets the ball where it needs to be and that makes us all a lot better."
In back-to-back seasons with Dean playing point guard, the Rangers won at least 30 games and a district championship. Dean's next goal is to get the team over the playoff hump and into the state finals.
"It would mean a lot to me. I would be so happy just helping my team get there. (It) would mean a lot to me and I'm sure it would mean a lot to the other girls, too," she said.
Vista Ridge lost in the Class 4A region final Saturday.
The Lady Rangers ended the season with a record of 33-4.