Winter Series Session II

Winter Series Session II

May 2, 2022

8th Grade Division

Featured Team :Team Takeover Jr. EYBL

Team Takeover was in championship form all session 2. There is no secret to what you’re going to get from this group yet they execute their game plan every time and get it done. Offensively they are as fundamental as it gets, they are turning their defense to offense and looking to get easy transition buckets. When it comes to their half-court offense they are exploiting mismatches in every way possible. Defensively they are a non-stop pressuring machine, whether it’s in the full-court or the half-court, just know if you have the ball you will be harassed, trapped, or a combination of both. This group is led by Jordyn Jackson, she was the most talented player in the 8th grade division, her size and length mixed with her skill set made her a tough matchup for anyone tasked with guarding her. This group has a couple of key role players that will be major players to watch for as they progress during their careers. Qandace Samuels, Lebrea Carter, and Reneyia Pickering all played major roles in leading the group to the championship this weekend. I look forward to seeing Team Takeover take on some new competition session 3 and defend their title.

Jordyn Jackson (Team Takeover): Jordyn Jackson is a name you’re

going to want to remember for years to come. She was this weekend’s MVP for me. Her offensive game is very simple but effective, she uses her athleticism to make quick moves and she plays downhill. Once she has an angle on you she is hard to stop because she is coming fast and strong. She is developing a good rhythm shooting of the bounce which is one of the hardest things to do in basketball. Defensively she has such quick hands and instincts, she often strips people in the open court and gets easy transition points. Because of her size at 6’0” and athletic ability she rebounds with no problem.

Qandace Samuels (Team Takeover): Qandace was one of the few 7th graders that played up in the 8th grade division and dominated her role for her team. Often she draws the toughest offensive assignment for the other team and holds them well below their average. She has elite level size and athleticism at the guard position and her effort is what makes her a next level player. She was able to knock down some key shots during Team Takeovers championship run and does a great job finishing around the basket in transition.

Lebrea Carter (Team Takeover): LB was more than just an inside

presence for her team; she does a lot of the things that don’t show up in the stat sheet but are known as winning plays. Taking charges, hard box outs, running the floor hard, and finishing around the rim are such simple things that anyone can do but that she embraces and does so well it is becoming a skill. Competing and hustling are two things that you just can’t teach either you want to do or you don’t and she does both at a high level. You can tell she has been working on her offensive game as she is taking a lot more shots away from the basket than I’ve seen in the past.

Reneyia Pickering (Team Takeover): Every good team needs a player that can settle things down and be an extension of the coach on the floor and that’s what Reneyia is for this team. She brings natural leadership and has respect from her teammates that’s rare to see from a kid so young. She did a grab job making timely baskets and using her dribble to create shots for herself and her team. She is going to be needed for this team to defend their title during session 3.

Sidney Smith (NJ Cardinals): She is what I would call the instant

offense. She came out the gate rolling and got the offense going early for her team. She has a great shooting touch and her passing vision was also on display this weekend. Defensively she likes to pressure the opposing team’s ball handler and she racked up a lot of on ball steals which often left her being the beneficiary of a lot of transition lay-ups.

Jayla Koser (A2D Elite): What a player! She has elite level athleticism and uses it in every facet of her game. She uses her explosiveness to get to the rim and has great body control so even if there is some contact she finishes through it with ease. She finishes around the rim with both hands and defensively she always finds a way to get her hands on the ball.

Erica Gribble (WPA Bruins Black): She was one of the best pure

shooters in the entire gym. She moves well without the ball and she knows exactly when and where to be so that she can get her shot off quickly. She also has decent ball handling so when the defense closed out hard she was able to put the ball on the floor and find an open teammate or an open shot for herself.

Kamryn Derba (MCW Stars): This girl is a left handed shooter who only needs a little bit of room to get her shot off, and when she does more times than not that ball is going in. She shot the ball extremely well all weekend and with range. She saw a lot of full-face guard deny defense all weekend because she was scoring in bunches!

London Caldwell (New Heights): London did a great job establishing herself as a premier player in the 8th grade division. She has good size at the guard position and can be considered a combo guard because she does both jobs in one. She does a great job finishing around the basket through contact and has a high basketball IQ. Her leadership abilities were also on display as she did a great job directing traffic and positioning her teammates so she could orchestrate the offense.

Zoe Osby (Fairfax Stars): Zoe looked like a woman amongst girls all

weekend. She plays with such power inside the paint it’s almost as if she’s unstoppable if you let her get the ball anywhere near the block. Even if she doesn’t get the ball she is going to attack the offensive glass and score it immediately. She showed signs of improvement in her perimeter game as well she was hitting beyond the arc a few times and if she is making shots from their consistently good luck figuring out a way to stop her.

Genesis Schneeberg (Fairfax Stars): She is the frontcourt mate to Zoe and together they complement each other’s game so well. When Zoe wants to stretch out to the three-point line Genesis has no problem stepping in and doing the dirty work inside the paint. She brings the physicality that every good team should have, she gets the tough rebounds, finishes in traffic, and wins all the 50/50 balls. She also has no problem putting the ball on the floor and making a play for herself.

Alyna Jones (Fairfax Stars): Alyna is another 7 grader that is playing

up in the 8th grade division and doing well as the floor general. She is very selective in the shots that she takes but is always in attack mode. She does a good job of being aggressive while also surveying the defense and making the right play. Her poise at such a young age is an attribute that is going to pay off throughout her career.

Ashley MacCalla (Top Notch): Potential is starting to be a word of the past for this kid, another 7th grader who dominated the 8th grade division in only the way she could. She made the highlight of the weekend for me running ¾ court on a chase down block, made the play, and then grabbed the ball and started the break the other way. Her skill set is starting to catch up with her athletic ability and that is a dangerous combination. She is getting to the rim with ease now and once she’s there it’s almost a guaranteed basket.

Jezelle Banks (New Jersey Sparks): Some kids are born to be stars and I believe Jezelle is one of them. She is another 7th grader who was pretty much unstoppable all weekend, she has a natural feel for the game and when she plays she just makes it look so easy. Her change of pace and explosion in and out of moves in a half-court set or the open floor makes it hard for anyone to stay in front of. As her jump shot continues to develop she is going to become more and more dangerous.

Claire Kangg (Elevate Elite): Clair did a good job leading her under-manned Elevate Elite team to the semi-finals. She made some huge plays for this team in some clutch moments including a 7-0 run herself in the final 2:30 of a pool play game against D.C. Premier that propelled them to a 1 point win to get to the semi-finals. She displayed a high basketball IQ and some good shot making abilities from the three-point line.

Autumn Fleary (Team Thrill): Autumn once again showed why she is

considered one of the best if not the best point guards in the class of 2026. She made big play after big play and proved to be a 4 level scorer hitting shots from WNBA range. Her ability to get by anyone and get in the paint at will is amazing and once she gets to whatever spot she wants on the floor she is going to make a play, whether it’s for herself or for a teammate that’s the only question I have. Autumn has a skill set well above most in her class.

Dahni Suggs (Team Thrill): I remember first watching this kid play when she was with Maryland Belles as a 6th grader playing up, to see the growth she has made in such a little bit of time is amazing! Her confidence on both ends of the floor, ability to dribble and get to the basket aggressively, and her development in her mid-range shot have been some of the key improvements I’ve seen. If she continues to develop at the pace she has then the sky’s the limit for this kid.

Olivia Vukosa (Philadelphia Belles): Olivia had another dominant

performance this weekend at session 2. She was unstoppable in the paint finish with both hands and on either side of the basket. She can easily be considered one of the most skilled post players in the class of 2026. A couple of things she does well is run the floor, even if she takes a couple of dribbles she passes the ball ahead and rim runs. If she doesn’t get the ball on her initial cut she’s going to keep running and pin you under the basket. She also hit a couple of crucial late free throws in their overtime victory against Team Thrill in the semi-finals.

Jessie Moses (Top Notch): Jessie was the leading scorer in the 8th grade division for session 2. She is a flat out scorer and she does a good job mixing up her game. She is a pure shooter and has a quick release, she also has a good handle on the ball and she uses it to create space and get her shot off. She does a great job making moves and mixing up her finishes around the rim and has great body control when finishing through contact.

Atlee Vanesko (Philadelphia Belles): Atlee picked up right

where she left off from session 1. She started off the first game with a game winning three point corner shot in overtime vs Fairfax Stars, and she just kept flowing the entire weekend. She did a great job playing off the ball and finding ways to contribute scoring and mixing it up keeping the defense off balance. If she continues to play this way she may be in the running for MVP of the league, lets see how she responds in session 3.

7th Grade Division

Featured Team: YKS Bulldogs

This team is such a joy to watch playing, not because they are fancy and flashy, and not because they score a lot of points every game…simply put… they play the game the right way! Offensively they move the ball better than I’ve seen any 7th grade team move it. They are efficient with everything they do, no wasted dribbles, no wasted motion, they cut with a purpose, and they always find the open player. Defensively their rotations are spot on, they beat you to the spot, they turn you, and when they feel the time is right they are going to trap and take away the next two passes. This team starts with their twin backcourt of Mia and Kate Spain. They are the tone setters on offense, they move the ball quickly, they move without the ball well, and when they are in attack mode they are going to get a great shot. Defensively they are all over the place, you would think there are four of them the way they rotate. Alongside them is my MVP for the 7th grade division Micah Ojo. She has a chance to have a very long basketball career if she continues to develop the way she has. Lastly, they have someone who does all the little things every great team needs to win Destini Collins, she does all the dirty work for this group and reaps the benefit of great ball movement often. This team has a good chance to repeat as champions of session 3.

Mia & Kate Spain (YKS Bulldogs): The twins are two players that complement each other extremely well and I don’t just mean because they look alike. Mia is more of a pure shooter of the two sisters, she plays off the ball more which allows her to catch and shoot or read and react to the defense from the wing. She can put the ball on the floor so you can’t be nonchalant when she has the ball either. Kate is more of the ball handler/tough bucket getter. She uses her crafty dribble to get in the lane and make plays for herself or others. She made one euro-step against Team Durant in the championship and I thought for sure we would see it on ESPN the next morning. These kids have some real game!

Micah Ojo (YKS Bulldogs): My MVP for the 7

just does everything so efficiently and with a purpose, she doesn’t over dribble, she cuts hard whether or not she is getting the ball, she’s decisive with her decision making when she has the ball, and she is all over the place defensively. She literally can play every position on both sides of the floor at a high level.

Destini Collins (YKS Bulldogs): She is the glue player for this YKS team and they probably wouldn’t have been able to win the championship session 2 without her contributions to the game. She is someone that does a little bit of everything, she can score without needing any plays run for her, she rebounds on both ends of the floor, and she can defend multiple positions.

Ailynn Macauley (Lady Storm): She was the secondary ball handler for this lady storm team, what impressed me was at her size she was very skilled and patient whenever she had the ball. At that age most kids are erratic and just looking to go, she was very poised, and when the opportunity presented itself for her to make a play she did just that. She was also very aggressive on the glass as she snatched down a couple of rebounds that made me stand up with excitement.

Nyair McCoy (Team Durant): The definition of a point guard. She just

knows how to play the game, she gets by any single defender using her fast-twitch and shifty ball handle, and her greatest attribute is her ability to find open people no matter where the defense is. I’m willing to say she was the best passer in the 7th grade division. In transition with the ball in her hand, you are almost guaranteed a basket one way or another. She made tough finishes around the rim and did a great job displaying her shooting abilities as well. She is a well-rounded offensive player.

Marlee Williams (Team Durant): She impacts the game with her activity on both ends of the floor. She moves well without the ball and follows every shot that is put up by either team, she’s looking to rebound and make another play. She empties her tank every time she’s on the floor and gives 100% effort.

Naomi Koldobskiy (Maryland Belles): Naomi gets her buckets in bunches. It might take her a little while to feel the game out and figure out how she is going to score but when she gets it going the points don’t stop for a while. She can score in a bunch of ways her shooting touch manufacture points without needing to hold the ball for too long.

Nhyla Morgan (GTS Fusion): She is a good mix of great composure and a good skill set. She’s a taller guard that doesn’t get rattled by pressure, she always has her head on a swivel when she has the ball and she’s completely unselfish. She also does a great job defensively being active and challenging shots without fouling.

Lauren Rodriguez (Staten Island Liberty): Small guard but she is

tough as nails and her motor never stops. She will harass a ball handler full-court then when a shot goes up challenge a big for a rebound and win it. Offensively she has no problem blowing by a defender and getting into the paint to make a play. She does a bunch of her scoring in transition coming from steals or from grabbing a rebound and pushing it herself.

Brooklyn Stewart (Glen Arms Gladiators): Another tough-nosed kid that just knows how to play the game. She’s got a great skill set and her pace is well above everyone else’s pace. She does a great job finishing through contact and picking up full court defensively after she scores.

She thrives under pressure as it doesn’t seem to faze her; she accepts it and still can make a play.

Sage Baggot (CT Elite): Sage is a guard that loves to play downhill. She does a great job breaking down her defenders using her dribble and finishing around the rim. She excels in transition making finishing moves to avoid defenders and get to the rim.

Leyana Dorville (NJ Sparks): Leyana was the force in the middle for this NJ Sparks team. She battled against some of the best bigs in the 7th grade division and made a name for herself. She is from the rim and makes them guard her on the perimeter which they might not be comfortable with. She also has a nice shooting touch which I’d like to see her showcase more consistently to make her a well-rounded player.

Sanai Yates (Exodus): Sanai is what every team’s point guard needs to

emulate. She is a fourth level scorer as she pulled up from the volleyball line a few times and hit that shot consistently. She is very crafty with her ball handling, combined with her quickness she is hard to stay in front of and once she gets by you, you don’t know if you’re going to get a floater, a counter move with a finish at the basket, or a fancy drop off pass. As her team gets stronger you will be able to see how she is a great leader and can also create shots for others.

Kennedy Broughton (New Heights): Kennedy has a game that is well beyond her years. So imagine my surprise when I found out she’s only in the 6th grade. Her maturity while playing the game is amazing, very calm and poised while being pressured and she has the ball on a string. She’s always in attack mode and puts a lot of pressure on the defense to pay a lot of attention to her when she has the ball because if not she will make a play. Her court vision on the open floor is phenomenal and if you give her the opportunity she will take advantage of any lane to the basket you give her.

5th & 6th Grade Division:

Featured Team: All Ohio Express

This All Ohio Express team impressed me last session but made an even bigger impression on me in session 2. They’re only in 6th grade so they’re going to make some mistakes but the resiliency they play with even after their mistakes is a testament to their true character. Janiyah Hargrave is the heart and soul of this team, defensively she can play any position on the floor at an elite level and she can score in a variety of ways. Taylor Stanfield is the go-to bucket getter for this team. She has a full offensive repertoire and gets a score any way you want. Brielle Comer was the lead guard for this team, whenever she had the ball in her hand’s coach was at ease and she knew the team would be led well. Although they came up short in the championship game this team played hard and played together and their talent did not go unnoticed.

Janiyah Hargrave (All Ohio Express): She was a complete beast this

weekend during session 2. When it comes to energy and effort look no further than Janiyah Hargrave. She’s an athletic wing who is explosive in transition and does a great job finishing around the rim. Defensively she is like a one-man press and she gets at least half of her points from making girls turn the ball over then either finishing with a layup or getting to the line shooting free throws. She is a dynamic rebounder on both ends of the floor and if it’s an offensive rebound it’s almost a guarantee she’s going to get some points from it.

Taylor Stanfield (All Ohio Express): I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a more versatile scorer at such a young age than I have Taylor. I watched her score every way possible from posting up, stretching out to the three-point line, finishing at the basket, and even some mid-range shots. She is such a gifted scorer it’s amazing to see at such a young age. She also does a great job working on the defensive end turning offense to defense quickly.

Mackenzi Jackson (Team Durant): Her character is going to take her

far in this game. She was an absolute beast on the floor during session 2 and earned my MVP honors for session 2 but what impressed me the most about her is after every game no matter the outcome she made sure she went to each coach and congratulated them on their effort and thanked them. Basketball wise in the championship game she made some huge plays to help them secure the championship for session 2.

Cidney Stanfield (Philadelphia Belles): She showed her versatility early during the games. She started off the game with a couple of hard post ups, as the game progressed she moved further from the basket and still maintained her aggression the entire time. She showed the ability to step out and shoot the ball confidently and made some tough moves around the basket. When she was on the perimeter she did a good job putting the ball on the floor and getting to her spots.

Dianny Amaro (NJ Sparks): She was in attack mode all weekend and

her team needed her to do so. She did a great job using her ball handling to attack the lanes and score in transition. She also displayed some good shooting range and hit a couple of shots from well behind the three-point line.

Aaliviah Green (Harlem USA): Aaliviah did a great job running the show for this 6th grade Harlem USA team. She did a great job mixing her game between facilitating and scoring and made some big baskets down the stretch of their semi-final game. She was the catalyst and the control for this team and almost propelled them to a huge comeback victory vs Team Durant.

Nicole Ramero (Top Notch): At her size, she can be compared to a Jokic kind of player. She guards the post players but is also the primary ball handler for this team. She also does the bulk of the scoring, she’s a hard driver to the rim and can shoot the three ball. She also did double duty as she was playing in both the 5th and 6th grade division and never looked fatigued at all.

DaCota Little (Gladiators): She did a great job knowing her role and dominating her position.

She was a catch-and-finish player around the basket and was dominating the glass all weekend. She did a great job clogging the paint defensively and helping early to limit the number of layups her opponent got. She did a good amount of her scoring, cleaning up offensive rebounds.

Kam Gallis (Team Outcasts): Kam was a jack of all trades during session 2 for her team. She played a Draymond Green kind of role, she was very active rebounding and has the ability to start the break herself and make plays for others. Offensively she was able to find some open shooters in transition, stretch out and knock down some three point shots, and was a reliable ball handler for the team as well.

success Castle had this weekend. She was one of a few 6th graders playing in her age group and playing up in the 7th grade division and the physicality and speed of the game didn’t effect her at all. She is skilled and her size and strength make her a mismatch nightmare for anymore having to guard her. She was an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor and did a good job rebounding for her team as well.