Basketball: After girls team folded, Jordan’s Hall finds a home on boys squad

Jordan senior Franeka Hall's high school basketball career nearly ended when her school's girls team folded earlier in the year, but instead, she has become a key component to the boys team. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Athletics)

By Jeremy Balan

Entering his first year coaching the Jordan School boys basketball team, Robert Sotelo asked for one thing from his players – commitment.

It’s hard to imagine a player with more of that value than senior guard Franeka Hall.

Hall, a star on the girls basketball team last season who averaged nearly 25 points per game, is now playing for the boys team.

Jordan senior Franeka Hall averaged nearly 25 points per game in her junior season on the girls team, but has gone toe-to-toe with some of the AAA's best boys players this season. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Athletics)

After low participation and academic ineligibility forced Jordan to cancel its girls season, Hall and her parents explored the idea of her playing on the boys team.

“At first, I was disappointed, because I’ve played basketball since sixth grade, every year,” Hall said. “Then they said there was a possibility I could still play with the boys and I got excited.”

The Jaguars, who are 1-15 this season and have struggled to score at times, welcomed her with open arms.

“She was kind of a folk hero,” Sotelo said. “We all heard about her and she came with great praise. Sure enough, it took a game or so for her to get involved, but everyone’s really rallied around her and everyone has a respect for her. She is that good and you get that respect from being a good ball player.”

Hall has also shown that she can lead the Jaguars on the scoresheet.

In a 58-24 loss to Galileo, she led the team with 10 points and in a 74-35 loss to Balboa, which features several athletic guards, she scored a season-high 12 points.

“On the girls team, I heard that she was really good,” said Balboa head coach Val Cubales. “We didn’t take her lightly. We defended her and she was left alone at the 3-point line a couple of times, and she hit three or four of them. I thought people would make a big deal about it, but we were more concerned with leaving her open.”

Hall admitted that she has gone through an adjustment period, but is no longer intimidated by the boys, some of which are more than a foot taller than her.

“I’ve adjusted now and I think this is going to prepare me for college ball, because they’ll be just as fast and as aggressive as the guys,” Hall said. “It was a little intimidating the first game, but after the first game and the first [blocked shot], I said, ‘It won’t happen again.’”

Sotelo admitted that he’s seen moments of apprehension from Hall on the court, but the players on the team have rallied around her, not only as a teammate, but as a viable player on the court.

“It was kinda weird at first, because I’ve never had that experience before on a team, but as time went by, we got comfortable, because we treat her as a teammate,” said Jordan junior Romari Collins, one of the captains on the team. “I’m not afraid to pass it to her, because I know she’s good with the ball and I trust her.”

Hall is embracing the opportunity with solid play, but the most important fact is that she remains on the court, where she belongs.

“I didn’t think it was even possible for me to play, to start, score or even touch the ball on the boys team, so it’s good,” Hall said. “I really love it.”

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14 Comments

  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Good for Franeka! I’m glad she was able to play. However, the sad thing is (which was brought up in a comment in an earlier post) is schools having to drop certain sports due to grades or lack of interest. I really hope the AAA finds a solution to this. There is no easy fix, but Mr. Collins is a great commissioner and will be able to get it done. Again, great job Franeka and I wish you the best in all that you do.

    • Nate says:

      While I’m happy for the young lady, i’m also dissappointed by Commisionor Collins decision to allow her to play when she could have easlily played on a girls team for another school. This young lady should have been able to showcase her talents especially this being her last year. I know this has been done before on the boys side when the school did’nt field a team, they were allowed to played for their district school.

      As an alumnas of the AAA, it is really coming to a sad state when it comes to fielding competitive teams. AAA should have stuck with the big8 instead of letting these smaller schools field teams, which in my mind “watered” down the playing level.

      • mger says:

        MR.Collins should let other students join another school team if the school that they are going to dosnt offer the sport that the person wants to do

        • jbalan says:

          I believe he does. It happens often for students that go to School of the Arts.

          • fan says:

            No, it doesn’t work that way. I go to Academy on sota and play for bal. If your school has one sport team you can’t play for another school. Even if your school doesn’t have the sport you want to play. The rule doesn’t really make sense but thats how it works.

            Good for her though. It’s sad that there is no girls team, but she’s doing her thing on the boys team against some great players and that takes a lot of courage.

          • GCJ 01 says:

            You are correct JB. If your school doesn’t offer the sport, you can play for another school.

      • JJ says:

        I’m really not sure, but maybe she did look into playing playing basketball for another school, but maybe she thought she should stay at “home” and play for her own school, rather than waiting for MUNI to take the bus for a Balboa or Burton basketball practice. It sounds like she wants to play ball in college, and playing against boys will only help her at the next level. And if she did play basketball at another school, maybe she wouldn’t get the publicity that SanFranPreps is giving her right now.

      • Airball says:

        I agree with the comment about a “watered” down level of play. The fact of the matter is that some of these smaller schools just have not been very competitive over the years. In my humble opinion the bigger question is why does the city even have these smaller schools? I realize that schools such as Lowell, Lincoln, and Washington etc. Are probably near student capacity. However I doubt Burton, Marshall, and mission couldn’t absorb some of those students from the smaller schools.

        • Raid says:

          Not everything is about athletics. Studies have shown that students learn more effectively in smaller schools. A lot of the smaller schools are more beneficial to many students.

      • GCJ 01 says:

        I wonder if she wanted to play for another school. Maybe she wanted to play for her school. Another possibility is that maybe the coach (or the school) didn’t know that she could go to another school and play. Jordan is still a young school and probably still trying to figure things out on the athletic side.

        I do agree with you that the competition in the AAA has decreased. Mr. Collins is doing his best though. Since his tenure he has upgraded school gyms and football fields throughout the City. I would think the next step is to upgrade the competition. However, it will be hard to do due in part because of the smaller schools which (in some cases) bring down the competiton just a bit. But another way of looking at it, is at least Mr. Collins is expanding our league. Now, if he could expand our league with competitive teams that would be great.

  2. Gabriel says:

    thats great good for her

  3. afan says:

    I wonder whether the lack of athletes at the public schools has something to do with the lack of organized sports in the park and recreation programs in the city. The cuts to park and recreation and the neighborhood centers over the years has caused many rec centers sports offerings to suffer. I don’t think that there is a lack of talent so much as there are a lot of kids that are not playing sports until they get to high school, and once there, the competition is stiffer from those that have been playing a sport for years.

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