Winter Series Session III

Winter Series Session III

May 2, 2022

8th Grade Division

Ava London (A2D Elite): Ava did a great job being clutch for her team all weekend. After dominating the B division session 2, A2D Elite decided to challenge themselves and play in the top bracket. They proved to be the real deal and almost pulled off two big upsets during day 1 of session 3. Ava was contributing with her aggressive attacks to the basket and making tough moves to weave through defenders. Ava has a unique skill of playing hard for the full 32 minutes.

Brooke Nunnally-Gardner (Bay State Jaguars): Brooke is an absolute dog on the boards. She is a relentless rebounder, does a great job positioning herself and attacking the rebound off the glass. She excelled in finishing the second chance points around the basket, also she was a physical off ball defender inside for this team, bumping people out the paint and fronting any post player she was guarding.

Zoe Osby (Fairfax Stars): Zoe was ½ of the Fairfax Stars dynamic duo that was completely dominant the entire weekend. She is physically gifted and uses her strong frame in all facets of her game. She has no problem playing in the post offensively and defensively. If you choose to use a bigger defender on her to try and slow her down she will just blow right by them to the basket or square them up and knock down the jumpshot. Coaches good luck figuring out a defensive matchup for her. Defensively she is very active rebounding and blocking shots and starts the break herself which usually leads to a bucket.

Alyna Rachmat-Jones (Fairfax Stars): Lala was the other ½ of the dynamic duo for Fairfax Stars. She dominated the game in ways most people her age can’t. What I like about her most is her poise and decision making with the ball. She rarely turns it over because she isn’t fazed by the defense, she’s under control the entire time and knows where to get her teammates the ball and when it’s time to call her own number to get a bucket.

Taniyah Davis (Florida Lady Huskies): There was a lot of anticipation leading up to session 3 about this Florida Lady Huskies team and they did not disappoint! Taniyah Davis was lights out when shooting the ball this weekend. She can catch and shoot or shoot it off the dribble but know once she sees a little ounce of daylight that shot is going up and more times than not it’s going in. Defensively she is a high motor player and a pesky defender, she puts a lot of nonstop pressure on the ball handler.

Jaelynn Housey (Florida Lady Huskies): Jaelynn was one of the more athletic players in the league. She explodes to the basket when driving and is seeking contact, always trying to get that extra point. She does a great job anticipating and playing the passing lanes, she creates instant offense without needing any plays called for her.

Anari Winston (Team Providence): Anari is a do it all wing player for this Team Providence team. Defensively she does a good job protecting the basket from anyone trying to score inside. Offensively she has a great shooting touch on the perimeter and she rebounds well to get herself or her team second chance points. She also does well scoring inside, she does everything textbook as far as getting inside position and feeling the defense to know which way to turn. The next level to her game is developing that nonstop motor, once she gets that the sky’s the limit.

Caitlin Boyle (MCW Stars): Caitlin impressed me with her activity and impact inside the paint. In today’s game it’s very easy to not want to play inside because of positionless basketball but she embraced her role and excelled at it. She did well clogging up any driving lanes early and protecting the paint.

Offensively she positioned herself well for dump offs and for a lot of rebound putback situations.

Emma Yogis (Mid Atlantic Magic): Emma knew exactly how to play her role for her team and whenever her number was called she delivered. She was a knock down shooter and did well moving without the ball to either get herself open or create driving lanes for her teammates because teams couldn’t help off her.

Sophia Topakas (Mid Atlantic Magic): Sohpia was the other half of the Mid Atlantic Magic and you might as well call them the Splash Sisters the way they were both knocking down shots this weekend. Sophia did more of the ball handling and playmaking for the team. She was able to display her high basketball IQ by reading the defense and running the system while knowing what to look for and how to take advantage of the defense’s mistakes. She was the primary ball handler and did a great job breaking down the defense and getting in the lane to make plays.

Jasmine Butler (K Low Elite): Jasmine is an example of someone who knows their strengths and does what they are good at. She is a foul line down player that can make great play with a little bit of space. She gets to the basket efficiently and when the lane isn’t there she passes well and makes a couple of good interior passes high-low and to cutters in the lane.

Camden Epstein (John Blackgrove Basketball): Crafty ball handler that can flat out shoot the ball. Off the dribble or off the catch it didn’t matter either way it was going in. Even when she missed her form was so consistent that I thought it was going in everytime she shot the ball. She is a good athlete and has decent size at the guard position and showed some explosiveness in transition getting to the basket and finishing.

Daiya Anderson (New Heights): Daiya is a master at being active and playing without the basketball. She is always crashing the boards for offensive and defensive rebounds, finding open areas on the floor, and finishing at the basket. She is a streaky shooter but when she has it going the points are coming in bunches. Defensively she is an animal, all over the place there is nowhere safe for the offenses to throw the ball if she is in your area on defense.

London Caldwell (New Heights): London showed great growth from session 2 to session 3. She was able to play off the ball more which put her in more scoring positions and it made her game look more natural. She was in attack mode the entire weekend and did the majority of her scoring, getting tough buckets either in transition or hard drives to the rim.

Jada Lynch (New Jersey Rise): Jada has such a mature game for someone her age, it’s like she sees and processes the game much faster than everyone around her. She is very physical on both ends of the floor but has the finesse and body control to take the bumps and pushes and still finish through contact. She has great size at the guard position and is versatile offensively as she can score and make plays from inside the post or out on the wing.

Taylor McKinzy (Essence): Taylor is just a gifted scorer. She mixes up her game well and can score at all three levels and efficiently and just does a little bit of everything. She has great size at the guard position and utilizes her floaters on her drives to finish against bigger defenders and does great at shooting off the dribble. In transition she uses some fancy finishes around the basket, this is someone I can’t wait to see over the next few years.

Jazmine Jones (Essence): Every good team needs someone like Jazmine on their team. She does the dirty work, defensively she’s like a gnat always on top of you, pressuring you full court and eventually she will make you turn the ball over. On the other end of the floor she is a physical downhill guard that uses speed and power to get through the driving lanes to the rim. She also hit some big three point shots down the stretch of a few games and always kept her team in it. She is a natural leader on the floor not only vocally but also a lead by example player on the floor.

Lexi Carnegie (New Jersey Sparks): Lexi is another kind of player every good team has, she is what I call a glue player. She does everything this team needs to be successful, she is one of the more talented players but she doesn’t do too much to force things that don’t need to happen. She always takes the right shots, makes the correct pass, is in the right position defensively, and guards whatever player 1-5 the coach asks her to guard. Draymond Green showed us you can be dominant in multiple roles and that still makes you an all star caliber player and that is the role that Lexi plays for her team, dominant in multiple skills besides shooting the ball.

Ryan Carter (Philadelphia Belles): Ryan was in full beast mode all weekend, this was the Ryan Carter that I was waiting to see. She was efficient offensively, she didn’t take as many shots as she normally does because she was being selective and efficient in the shots that she did take. Defensively she was an absolute animant guarding on the perimeter, you forget she’s only a 7th grader because of her size and athleticism and she uses both to shut down players whenever they have the ball.

Jordan Speller (Princess Warriors): You can make an argument that Jordan was the best guard in Winter Series this session 3. She has elite level athleticism despite only being 5’7” there was a couple of times where she would elevate on her layups and her hands were right at the backboard. She is lightning fast and got to the rim whenever she wanted to, once she got in the lane she was either finishing over defenders or dropping dimes to the open defender. Once she develops a consistent jump shot there’s going to be no way to stop this kid.

Josephine Pinnock (Positive Direction): Josephine was in full Steph Curry mode this weekend. She was the primary ball handler for this Positive Direction team and controlled the offense for this group. She did a great job utilizing screens this weekend and making the proper read, when a defender was over aggressive she used that to her advantage and hit the roller with great pocket passes. When a defender went under the screen she was shooting it from wherever (and I mean wherever) on the floor and was knocking it down. She has 4th level shooting range already as 7th grader and is going to only get better as her game continues to mature like it has in session 3.

Jaida McClure (Queen City): The Queen City guard was in attack mode all session 3. She uses her strong frame to get to the rim and finish through contact at the basket. She is the controller for this team as well and has strong passing vision and deep range on her shot. She can throw some sweet dimes when breaking down the defense either in transition or in a half court setting.

Janyia Cunningham (Queen City): Janyia was dominant on both ends of the floor in terms of controlling the paint. Any rebound she wanted she got, she does a great job carving out her space early and then attacking the rebound.

She showed the ability to handle the ball and play like a foul line down kind of player. She can hit the short jump shot and finishes everything around the basket.

Jessie Moses (Top Notch): Jessie laid her offensive repertoire on the floor this weekend. She can fall in love with jump shot because she has such a good shot but she did a good job mixing it up this weekend. She also took some pride on the defensive end of the floor, she did well playing the passing lanes getting a few off ball steals and turning them into some transition points for herself. She also battled on the boards and cleaned up some tough rebounds for her Top Notch team.

Autumn Fleary (Team Thrill): Autumn was on a different kind of mission in session 3, she led her team to take care of business early Saturday and then came in on championship Sunday looking to run through whoever to get that championship. She took a couple of bumps and hard falls in her championship campaign but she displayed true toughness and resilience, willing her way to lead her team to that highly anticipated championship game vs Team Takeover. She was able to get whatever shot she wanted on the floor at all times whether it was for herself or for her teammates. I can’t wait to see her and Team Thrill go after the championship at the finale.

Arianna Harris-Mott (Team Thrill): Arianna showed me that she has been putting in the work to get better and it showed session 3. She was one of the tallest players in the Winter Series and she played like it, protecting the rim, snatching rebounds at its highest point, and finishing around the basket were some of the things she was doing to display her improvement. Her biggest development has been her aggression, she was playing like she had a chip on her shoulder and did so each game.

Jordyn Jackson (Team Takeover): Jordyn was in rare form this weekend, her confidence was up and it showed in her performance. She had the mindset that she is the best player on the floor and she played like it, she was attacking the rim aggressively but if the defense collapsed on her she would transition seamlessly into her pull up or her floater. If they made the mistake of giving her even the smallest of windows to get to the lane she was capitalizing and scoring at the basket. Her shooting touch from beyond the arc is becoming more consistent which means she is starting to tap into her potential and the kind of player she can be. Defensively all weekend she was plucking the ball away from everyone, even players that I would consider strong ball handlers had no chance on dribbling with the ball in front of her.

Demi Johnson (Team Takeover): Demi is an unsung hero for this Takeover team this weekend. She provided an extra ball handler when needed but her main contribution was her ability to shoot the ball from the three point line. Anytime Takeover was in some kind of a drought scoring wise or just needed a basket it seemed like Demi for three was always the answer. She also provided some defensive pressure on the ball which made it tough for any team to score on them with that many athletes that commit to the defensive end.

Makenzie Grant (WPA Bruins Black): Makenzie is an athletic rebounder that does a great job impacting the game without the basketball. She gets her points from the hustle plays she makes like offensive rebounds, loose ball steals, and aggressively attacking the basket. She is a wing that drives the lane through contact well and makes plays for others. Defensively she is very active and can guard 1-5 and pressure you full court.

7th Grade Division

Gabby Middleton (Bay State Jaguars): Gabby was a do it all player for this Bay State Jaguars team. At 5’8” she has great size and her skill set is that of a guard, she also has a very strong build which she utilizes when driving to the basket. She is very physical on the offensive end of the floor and can play both outside and inside. She isn’t afraid to post up and make plays from the post but she can also stretch out and shoot the three.

Brezhae Davis (Comets): Brezhae was one of the more poise and patient players that I saw in the whole tournament. When she has the ball the pressure doesn’t seem to affect her at all and she stays true to her fundamentals. If her spot is the middle of the floor she catches the ball, keeps it high, and turns and looks opposite or keeps it and makes a play. She was efficient on the offensive and aggressive on the glass. She is the kind of kid that knows her role and wants to do the best at that role.

Brooklyn Stewart (Glen Arms Gladiators): Brooklyn was a scoring machine this weekend scoring in bunches and in a variety of ways. She had the three ball going early and she was hot all weekend, she is naturally athletic and aggressive so getting to the lane was no problem for her, and she thrived in transition all weekend. She uses her athleticism to mix it up in the paint and rebound amongst the bigs and start the offense for her team herself. The next level to her game is going to be developing that elite level passing vision which will keep the defense more honest and make scoring for her a lot easier.

Kourtney Goens (Lady Storm): Kourtney is a player with a lot of raw potential. You can tell she is a kid that follows instructions and does exactly what the coach asks of her. Defensively she is always in the right position and does a good job of challenging and blocking shots without fouling. Offensively everything she does is predicated on keeping the ball high which is great, she rebounds and finishes high and has a high release on her shot. I look forward to seeing her development as time passes.

Layla Wagner (Exodus): Layla is a do it all finesse player that scores in a variety of ways. She does an excellent job of running the floor and finding the open areas to get her shot off. She has a quick release and she doesn’t hesitate to shoot it. She also did the majority of the ball handling and decision making for this exodus team. Defensively she is versatile and a catalyst as she speeds up the offense with her heavy ball pressure and activity.

Meleah Wagner (Exodus): Meleah is the bruiser of the two her game is more predicated on power and physicality on both ends of the floor. She can still stretch out and shoot the ball but her strength is attacking the lanes and finishing through traffic. Defensively she did a good job of mixing it up on the glass and rewarding herself for her hard work by starting the break and making plays in transition.

Mia and Kate Spain (Lady YKS): There is only so much I can continue to say about this twin backcourt but I never seem to run out of things to say. They are two players that compliment each other and the team so well. They do a tremendous job of putting pressure on the ball defensively and rotating to the correct spot. When they turn their offense to defense they run the floor hard. They are always ahead of the pack and they are so unselfish when they are in transition they move the ball so seamlessly it’s almost like they overpass. Offensively they are aggressive drivers in the lane and they often make the right play whether it’s a dump off, kick out, or a finish themselves they always get the job done.

Micah Ojo (Lady YKS): Micah once again proved why she is the best player in Winter Series and one of the nations best prospects in the 2027 class. This weekend was all about finesse for Micah; she displayed an improvement on her three point shooting as well as an improvement in confidence in her ball handling ability. As usual she did a great job rebounding and protecting the paint. In transition she runs the floor hard and is usually rewarded for running the floor. This kid is someone that is going to have a long career in the game of basketball if she continues to develop the way she has.

Destini Collins (Lady YKS): Destini is turning into a superstar in her own way. She has mastered the craft of playing hard and positioning. Offensively she makes her money working hard on the offensive glass and finishing plays. She is always in the right place at the right time and is the beneficiary of dump offs and finishes at the basket. She also displayed the ability to step into the high post and knock down some mid range shots and even put the ball on the floor and get to the basket herself.

Kennedy Broughton (New Heights): Kennedy brought the excitement and the flair for this New Heights team. She played with a lot of confidence and displayed her ability to break down the defense with her shifty handle and quickness and make plays in the lane for herself and her teammates. When it came time to shoot the three ball she did it with no hesitation and consistently knocked it down. The future is bright for this young 6th grader as she is already one of the top floor generals in the 7th grade division.

Kayla Snyder (New Jersey Sparks): Kayla was an absolute sniper all weekend for this New Jersey Sparks crew. They have a lot of crafty ball handlers and she does a great job moving without the ball and positioning herself to be seen by the ball handlers. When it’s time for her to do her job she does so and shoots it with deep range as well. She also showcased her ball handling abilities in transition and made some nice moves around the basket.

Tyeera Howard (Riverside Hawks): Tyeera was another 6th grader playing in the 7th grade division but you wouldn’t be able to tell that just by watching her play. She’s got great size at the wing position and she is a very scrappy player defensively. She doesn’t mind banging with the big girls down low but she has a high motor and athleticism to match. Multiple times she snatched a rebound and went coast to coast usually resulting in a strong move to the basket and finish by her. She has a lot of upside potential to tap into.

Naveah Roberson (Team Takeover): Neveah has the potential to be the next young prospect for Team Takeover. She has the qualities of all the best players from Takeover long, athletic, positionless players. She has a raw skill set that she is starting to develop and polish into something serious. She blocks shots at a high level, high points all rebounds, and isn’t afraid to go coast to coast. Her ball handling is exceptional for her size and as the years go on she will be the next big player from the DMV.

Dottie Eatmon (Team Takeover): When Dottie comes checks in the game the energy and the pace changes immediately. She provides instant offense and speeds the game up which always plays in her team’s favor. She is exactly what you want from someone coming in off the bench, leaving your mark on the game and she does just that. She is a downhill player that can stop on the dime and pull up at any moment. She also can shoot the three ball at a high efficiency.

6th Grade Division

Taylor Stanfield (All Ohio Xpress): Taylor showed growth from session 2 which is scary because I thought she was phenomenal then. She is starting to trust her jumpshot more which makes her that more dangerous because now the defense has to be a bit more aggressive, and she takes advantage. Once she has any kind of driving angle on you, she is going to take advantage and use her athleticism and strength to finish you. Defensively she is so versatile she can literally guard anyone on the floor and when she’s on the top of that diamond press it’s almost an automatic turnover for the other team.

Janiyah Hargrave (All Ohio Express): Janiyah is just a flatout bully on the court, but in a good way. She is so physical and strong that she overpowers people sometimes by accident. She does a great job battling down low and finishing around the basket. She has guard skills and she makes crafty moves to get to the basket and uses her strength to finish in traffic. She also has the ability to stretch out and shoot the three ball.

Cam Carrington (Glen Arm Gladiators): Cam has great size for her age as she is only a 5th grader and uses it well in her game. She has the ability to battle on the box but also to play on the perimeter as well. She does a lot of the ball handling for this team, she made some physical drives to the basket and took a lot of beatings on her way there but she always found a way to get a bucket. She does a great job controlling the glass and starting the offense immediately after securing the rebound.

Kimora Smith (Harlem USA): Kimora was the focal point of the offense for this Harlem USA team. She has a tall and husky frame and has a guard skill set. She can shoot the three consistently and her ball handling is unlike most kids her age and size. She is what most people in the generation would consider a big guard.

Dianny Amaro (New Jersey Sparks): Dianny is a do-it-all player for this Sparks team that really carries the bulk of the scoring for them. She scores in a variety of ways but her best attribute is her 4th level shooting range. As a 6th grader it is rare to see a kid that can shoot from that far with that level of accuracy. She has a good change of pace when moving in transition and changes direction in the blink of an eye. She is a scoring machine.

Dallas Cooke (Team Takeover): Dallas did a great job being a floor general for this Takeover Team. She was constantly in communication with her teammates and made sure she got them the ball in the spots they needed to be in. When it was time to get her buckets she did so with no problem getting deep penetration in the lane and scoring at will with the floater or just getting all the way to the basket.

5th Grade Divison

Anaya Davis (Bustleton Lady Bengals): Anaya is the definition of a player whose greatest skill is their heart and hustle. She does the fundamental things that you are taught when you are younger but tend to forget over time. She utilizes her v-cuts to get open, advances the ball in transition, always comes to the ball when her teammates get a rebound. To some that may seem like nothing but to be able to play hard on both ends of the floor and be pristine on your fundamentals is a skill most players don’t possess. She is very scrappy defensively and puts a lot of pressure on ball handles. She also drives to the basket aggressively and either finishes or dumps it off to the open man.

Giselle Smith (Delaware Swarm): Giselle has elite level size and athleticism for a 5th grader. She excels at anticipating on the defensive end and is aggressive in the passing lanes which often resulted in easy transition points for herself. She was explosive when attacking the rim and getting to the basket. She was getting buckets in many different ways including shooting three’s and consistently knocking them down.

Braylin Booker (Glen Arm Gladiators): Braylin is a tough, shifty, and physical ball handler. She is the player that makes this team go, she has a great motor and serves as the catalyst role. Once she gets by her defenders she does a great job keeping her head up and making some amazing passes.

Mackenzie Larkins (Queen City): Mackenzie is a tough kid both mentally and physically. She completely controlled every game for her team offensively and got whatever shot she wanted for herself and for her team. She was completely unfazed by whatever pressure the defense put on her and she used it to her advantage.

Aliyah Hariston (Queen City): Aliyah is an athletic wing with a high basketball IQ. Oftentimes she was able to see what the offense was doing and anticipate the next play and cause the offense to turn the ball over or at bare minimum she is getting a deflection. Offensively she does well moving without the ball and cutting to make herself open in the half court and in transition she runs the floor hard in order to make her teammates pass her the ball because of how open she is.

Brielle Bennett (New Heights): Brielle is one of those hard working kids that does whatever it takes to get the job done.She is extremely athletic and utilizes it on both ends of the floor. Offensively she can get by her defenders whenever she wants and defensively there is nobody that can get by her without making several counter moves because the initial move won’t faze her.

Melody Vaughn (Top Notch): Melody was ½ of a backcourt that led Top Notch to the 5th grade championship. Melody is an extremely hard worker and the talent that she displayed is a testament to that hard work. She was living in the lane and got the basket whenever she wanted, no defender was quick enough to stay in front of her. When she got to the basket it was almost an automatic two points for her team. She was also hitting on her three point shots this weekend and when she has that going she is impossible to stop.

Leah Dukes (Top Notch): Leah was the other ½ of that championship backcourt for Top Notch. She is a smooth guard that is one of the best rhythm scorers I have seen in the 5th grader division. Her combination of moves and mixing it up with her pull up jump shot makes her hard to read as a defender. At any given time she will let her shot off if she sees even an ounce of daylight. If you make the mistake of pressuring her she will drive right by you and finish at the basket.