Canutillo girl’s hoops nets unforgettable season under All-City coach of the year
Canutillo girl’s basketball accomplished one of the most extraordinary seasons in school history this year and several on the Lady Eagles team are receiving recognition.
Posted on 03/23/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Canutillo girl’s basketball accomplished one of the most extraordinary seasons in school history this year and several on the Lady Eagles team are receiving recognition.The El Paso Times announced the All-City girls basketball teams on Monday. Varsity coach Anthony Lopez-Waste was named the 2021 All-City Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year. In his third season with the Eagles, Lopez-Waste, who is also the Canutillo ISD, Region 19, and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, is humbled by the honor.

“This is definitely an honor, especially with some of the other coaches that had amazing seasons across the city on the girls’ side,” Lopez-Waste said. “This is an award for our program and my coaching staff.”

The coach of the year selection came along with some of the players’ honors. The El Paso Times selected senior guard Alyssa Bonilla to the All-City first team with an exceptional average of 20.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Senior forward Sadi Clemons was selected to the All-City second team by averaging 10.3 points and 11 rebounds per game. Junior forward Wasté Little Spotted Horse was selected an All-City honorable mention as one of the most improved players of the season averaging 11.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Coach Anthony Lopez-Waste Coach Lopez-Waste said that he has worked really hard with this team the last three years and to see this season come to fruition is exciting. His first year they had a winning record. The second year, they made the playoffs. And, this year, had a nice playoff run.

The class 5A district champion Lady Eagles defeated Burges 66-65 in overtime on February 11 leading to a bi-district win. Then, Canutillo became area-round champions by defeating a tough 10th-ranked Amarillo High School team 60-59 also in overtime. The Eagles advanced to the regional quarterfinals for the first time in school history but eventually fell to Lubbock Cooper on February 24 in Ft. Stockton. The team finished the season with an overall record of 15-5, 12-1 in district 2-5A.
Basketball team with trophy
Lopez-Waste reflected on the success of this team during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was worried that they were not going to have a season as the volleyball and football seasons were shortened.

“We didn’t play any tournaments or preseason games. We weren’t even able to look at film this year,” he said. “We started the season a little shaky at 1 win and 3 losses with injuries that just totally threw off our confidence. We were really young. We had to get better in a hurry. But, the beginning is what really helped us in the end.”

Basketball playersCoach Lopez-Waste said that although it was a rough start to the season, the team had big contributions from its young sophomores.

“The young ones had to step up and figure it out quick. And that’s what allowed us to go on that run. We won 10 straight down the stretch,” Lopez-Waste said. “It’s very humbling coming in, taking a program that had struggled for about a decade. I knew what I had and I knew where I wanted to be in three years’ time. This is what I expected and now I want to maintain it.”

Also this week, Pass Tha Ball, a non-profit sports marketing and event management company, announced that Alyssa Bonilla has been chosen to play in the 2021 Pass Tha Ball WHO's NXT? All-American game at the George Gervin Center in San Antonio, April 2. 42 players were selected and the premier high school basketball event features top talent from around the nation.

Listed at 5-foot-3, Bonilla has signed to play at the next level with Division II Missouri Western. She was a two-time District MVP in 1-5A and 2-5A during her career and selected All-State last year.

Coach Lopez-Waste praised his senior team captains, Alyssa Bonilla and Sadi Clemons, for their contributions.

“Alyssa has an amazing opportunity to be playing in a showcase with the top players in the entire country. She earned it. She’s gone above and beyond. You’ll see her running early in the morning. You get out of it what you put into it,” Lopez-Waste said. “And Sadie is a rock. For the last three years, she has been the anchor for the team. She does everything. She rebounds, she plays defense, she’s arguably the best passer on the team.”

Basketball Players of the Year honorees will be named in June as part of the El Paso County High School Sports Awards, a student-athlete recognition program that culminates in a star-studded, on-demand broadcast show, featuring the biggest names in professional sports and the top student-athletes from El Paso County. The awards show will be free to watch June 29 at

Coach Anthony Lopez-Waste in classroomIn coach Lopez-Waste’s history classroom at Canutillo High School is a wall of photos of notable student-athletes whom he has coached in school or club teams around the city over the years. He says that he uses it as a reminder that it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are coaching, the standard is always the same. To push them to be the best version of themselves on and off the court.

“I’m big on character. (The wall of photos) means a lot to me,” Lopez-Waste said. “I refer to the student-athletes on my wall all the time. Sometimes it’s about character or grades. It’s important for the girls to see that they can be just like them.”

The Canutillo coach credits his entire team of players and coaches for their awards and success.

“A coach is only as good as the players and coaching staff on his team. It’s a team award. I don’t do all this by myself. Coach Flores and Coach Phillips, we’re very tight-knit. We’re a three-headed monster, the coaching staff. It’s not just me.”