East Central girls basketball star ‘still in shock’ over monkey-noises incident at Marble Falls

Asia Prudhomme ‘did not deserve this,’ her coach says

East Central High School girls basketball player Asia Prudhomme speaks to members of the media after being racially harassed during a tournament at Marble Falls High School.

SAN ANTONIO – Three days after being racially harassed during a basketball game at Marble Falls High School, East Central High School girls basketball star Asia Prudhomme still can’t believe what happened.

Prudhomme was preparing to shoot free throws in the first quarter of the Hornets’ game against the host Last Mustangs on Friday when feigned monkey screeches erupted from the Marble Falls student section. They persisted for nearly 10 seconds while the power forward readied her shot and followed through. She did not react in the moment and calmly sank the free throw.

“When I was at the free throw line, I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was always taught to ignore the stands, focus on the free throw. But after I saw the video, it really hit me in a soft spot. And I was very shocked,” she said Monday during a Zoom interview accompanied by her head coach and athletic director.

When asked how it felt to be publicly harassed, the senior said, “I honestly don’t know how I feel because I never had this to me before. So, I’m still in shock a little bit. But like I said, I’d rather have the support system that I have and the love that I’m getting from them.

“I’m just pushing through, trying to finish my senior year. And because it’s my senior year, I want to have fun. I’m still a kid, but it’s just stuff I got to get over.”

Prudhomme said she is grateful for the love and support she’s getting from her coaches, teammates and fans.

“It’s a lot of love, here, and I appreciate that. Without it, I don’t know what I would do. I really appreciate them in my life. It’s very special to have people like them on my side,” she said.

Head Coach Vanessa Villarreal said it’s hard for her to understand how adults who were near the kids making the noises didn’t do or say anything. Multiple adults, including coaches and trainers, can be seen on camera sitting feet away from the Marble Falls student section and doing nothing.

“It’s hard to watch it happen. It’s difficult to watch, it really is,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said she is grateful to an East Central parent who heard the noises in the moment and walked over to a Marble Falls administrator and asked them to speak with the students in question. The effort finally curtailed the noise. The Hornets ended up losing the game against the Lady Mustangs 58-50.

“It’s OK to speak up. It’s OK to let kids know the difference between right and wrong. I think that a lot of adults don’t want to do that. And fortunately for our program, we tell our parents that it’s OK to do that,” Villarreal said.

ECISD Athletic Director Suzette Arriola said she has had numerous conversations with high-level administrators at Marble Falls, including the assistant athletic director and principal, who assured her that appropriate action will be taken.

“I feel that they are serious about the actions they will take. I do trust them. We will trust but verify to make sure that they do,” Arriola said. “If this happened at East Central, we would have escorted those kids out of the gym. And definitely, they would not be welcomed back. They would have been given a criminal trespass warning and not be welcomed back in that gym.”

Marble Falls ISD has since released a statement regarding the incident on their facebook page.

Marble Falls High School Principal Damon Adams wrote that he “regret[s] that any player or guest in attendance at our tournament experienced anything from our student body that made them feel uncomfortable or devalued,” and he is “saddened that the behaviors of a very small number of students could tarnish the impression that others have of the incredible group of kids who make up our student body.”

Prudhomme said that basketball is her life. She plans to attend college to play basketball and learn how to be a coach.

She also wants people to know that she is “the sweetest person you’ll ever meet in the world.”


About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.