Jumping at an Opportunity

Cy Springs’ Mansa El takes leap into coaching boys

Mansa El charged into coaching boys at Cy Spring

Mansa El wasn’t supposed to be a Cypress Springs’ boys’ basketball coach when the school year began.

After being hired as an English teacher in September, El heard about an opening for the Freshman A head coach and varsity assistant positions. She nailed the interview for both.

“It kind of just happened,” El joked. “I’m not one to back down from an opportunity, so I went ahead and took it.”

El was a good fit for the roles because she played at Cy-Fair High School, and later North Texas, Tallahassee Community College and South Alabama.

She was also an assistant coach for West Virginia Wesleyan College and the University of Houston girls’ basketball teams.

She hopes her past experience guides her players to individual and team success, whether it’s winning district titles before high school graduation, or being recruited and playing in college.

“I was happy to share that with them, having been there in the past,” she said.

Even with a transition period, El found early success in year one.

It started with her competitive nature, which implemented the necessary winning mentality that will help her players make the jump to varsity. She also used her straightforward, tell-you-how-it-is coaching style to critique her players’ games. She made adjustments for the faster boys’ game, as well as developments in player mentality and athletic abilities.

It resulted in a winning record for the freshman A team, which went 14-11, and the varsity’s second-straight playoff berth.

“It was really fun for me to be so hands-on with everyone,” El said. “Once [varsity head] coach [Sam] Benitez told them that I was going to be there, they all bought into the idea of me being there. Varsity has really taken advantage of me being around. I think the freshmen are still getting used to me.”

This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy when issues hit stands next week! 


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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.

Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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