Four Rattlers were named to the All-Heartland Conference Women’s basketball teams and three were named to the All-Conference Men’s basketball teams while Erin Griffin was named to both the Daktronics and the Kodak All-Region teams. Ben McCain was picked as the Heartland men’s freshman of the year and Neno Anguiano is the Heartland women’s newcomer of the year.
Griffin, a Kodak All-American in 2002, was picked for both the Daktronics-CoSIDA D-II South Central All-Region second team and the Kodak/WBCA Region 6 All-Region team for the second straight year. As a Kodak all-region selectee, Griffin is again a finalist for all-american honors. The Daktronics all-region and all-american teams are selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America while the Kodak teams are selected by members of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Billy White, a sophomore wing from Gonzales, was named to the men’s all-conference first team and Pedro Brito, a junior post from Margarita Island, Venezuela, and Ben McCain, a freshman post from Kerrville, were taped for the men’s second team. This is the second straight year a Rattler has been the Heartland’s top frosh; Billy White received that honor in 2001-2002.
Erin Griffin, a junior forward from San Antonio, and Martha Brinker, a senior post from Corpus Christi repeated as women’s All-Conference first teamers. Meosha Nash, a senior guard from Bryan and a 2001-02 first team selectee, and Neno Anguiano, a senior guard from San Antonio, were both selected for the women’s second team.
These All-Conference honors follows a season in which both Rattler teams advanced to the D-II National Tournament after winning the Heartland conference championship. This year’s Heartland league crowns are the second Heartland titles for both teams. The women were champions last season, with a 10-0 conference mark and the men were co-champions in 2000-2001 with 9-3 record. However, this season was the first year the Conference decided its champions – and thus the automatic bid recipients – via a post season tournament. The Rattler women entered the inaugural Heartland Tournament as the second seed and beat #3 Lincoln at home and #1 Drury to take the crown, while Buddy’s Boys finished the regular season in first place and beat #4 Drury and #3 Incarnate Word at home to take the championship.
This year’s conference title had extra meaning for the Rattler men, who rebounded from a 4-9 start to finish with a 15-2 regular season record and beat arch-rivals Incarnate Word three times this year – including twice in consecutive Saturday’s at Bill Greehey Arena. This is Buddy Meyer’s 16th conference titles in 25 years as the Rattlers’ head coach. Under Meyer’s leadership the Rattlers won seven Big State Conference and seven Heart of Texas Conference titles in addition to the two Heartland crowns.
This season marked the Rattler women’s fifth national tournament trip in nine years. They competed in the 1995, 1996 and 1997 NAIA tournaments, establishing their status as a regional and national competitor in the NAIA just in time to make the transition to the NCAA’s Division II Under second-year coach Paige Clawson, the St. Mary’s women have averaged 24 wins over the past two seasons while winning 18 of 20 conference games.