07/28/2015 2:21 PM
It’s safe to say that Suzette Matejowsky is well-rounded.
The former player at University of Texas San-Antonio, where she graduated with an English degree, currently works as an engineering operator for the Houston Fire Department.
She also spent more than 10 years coaching and teaching at Galen Park, Clear Creek and all across Houston.
Starting a premier women’s basketball team is just another check mark on her to do list.
The Katy Rebels have seen success throughout all age groups.
“I started the Katy Rebels in 2008 following a season where I was coaching in Katy,” Matejowsky said. “The kids selected the team name and colors. We had a sponsor and started with one team in 2008 and then ended with five in the first year. That translated to 11 the following year, then 13, and at most we had a total of 17 teams at one point.”
Now, the Rebels organization has 12 girls-only teams. It is the largest one in Houston and is a level three club member.
“We do not have a boys’ team,” Matejowsky said. “I average between 30-40 coaches and have girls within the ages of third and varsity level. We have four national travel teams this year and we are traveling outside to be a part of the NCAA viewing tournaments.”
The Katy Rebels Girls Basketball Association is a non-profit organization that supervises the selection and exercise of grassroots basketball teams for girls in grades 4-12 in the South Texas region.
“Our two varsity level teams in 2016 have a lot of looks,” Matejowsky said. “Jazmine Kirby, Kendall Rollins, Brittany Panetti, Alison and Sarah Goss are just some of our impact players.”
One young lady in the sixth grade starts at point guard for the eighth grade team, and handles opponents like she is a junior in high school.
“Rori Harmon is a definitely a prodigy,” Matejowsky said. “We will be watching her on TV one day. She is amazing.”
In the 2014 season, 14 Katy Rebel teams competed in the top tournaments around the country receiving top honors in many of them. All the coaches partake in the Positive Coaching Alliance program and complete training programs, Levels I - III, before communication with players.
“We grow kids in our program,” Matejowsky said. “We are extremely organized. There is not another organization like ours. Many kids and parents stay with us.”
The mission is to help each player prepare herself physically, mentally and emotionally to advance to her next level of play.
“Whether that is a local recreation league, a Junior High, High School team or a College team,” Matejowsky said. “Each player will not only improve her basketball skills each season, but will also develop a strong work ethic while learning about the concepts of teamwork, dedication, and self-discipline.”
With those three ideals in place, success normally follows.
“We usually come in the top three of the tournaments that we enter whether it is playing on level or playing up,” Matejowsky said. “Our varsity team averages 30-50 coaches that come to watch us play. We strive to put these kids up to the challenge. We had several teams win third place and fourth place with PrimeTime Nationals. Our goal is to grow these kids properly in the game so they are close to what the colleges want. We do not chase hardware.”
Though bringing home the highest place in every tournament is a goal for this organization, turning their players into young women is more important.
“We had kids come from College Station and Navasota come play for us,” Matejowsky said. Helping these kids prepare for college and have kids come back to coach in the future means a lot.”
The Rebels run the “Read and React” offense, which is new to the game of basketball.
“Many colleges converted to this style and these offenses adjust to what the defense does by penalizing the defense by what they do,” Matejowsky said. “This offense teaches these kids high level basketball IQ.”
This organization delivers the chance for girls, based on their skill-set, to play with and against girls of comparable skills.
“Each player in our program will improve her fundamental skills, in addition to learning advanced skills, through multiple practice sessions each week,” Matejowsky said.
“Our goal is here for the kids and it is time for the girls to grow up as athletes and students by emphasizing grades,” Matejowsky said.
The Rebels were in full force at the PrimeTime NBC this year, sending nine times to compete.
As usual, many of the Rebels’ squads were near the championship game, including a third place finish by their 2017 squad.
“Our organization prides itself on its family-type environment and advance communication with parents and players about policies, payments, practices, tournament schedules, etc.,” Matejowsky said. “When you join the Katy Rebels, you become part of our family and our primary objective is to make your daughter become a better basketball player, student-athlete and community member.”