SHE GOT GAME CLASSIC
Upper Marlboro, MD
The She Got Game Classic went down in history as the most covered high school girls basketball that the DMV has ever had. In fact with over 17 media and scouting services in the house, the 2016 She Got Game Classic may possibly be the most covered girls basketball event ever. All of the usual suspects were present, but there were also a host of newer media entities that made an appearance. With it all said and done, you had plenty of tweets and video streaming to follow along with the action. Now as everyone awaits the string of recaps that can sometimes become redundant with multiple eyes watching the same thing, Next Sports Phenom will take a different route and talk about some of the lesser important things.
There were 7 locations with ascetically pleasing Dr. Henry Wise High School acting as the main hub. Most of the media and college coaches camped out at Wise for the most part, however, an intriguing Friday night matchup between two nationally ranked top 20 teams in Monacan (VA) and National Christian Academy (MD) which brought many of the media to St. John's College High School in Washington D.C. as NSP's top ranked player in the class 2017 Megan Walker * (Monacan/UConn) went head to head with NSP's second ranked player 2017 Mykea Gray (NCA/Miami). Walker had one of the weekends most impressive performances scoring a game high 36 points and the player of the game award, while Gray mounted an outstanding second half comeback scoring 26 points of her own. 2017 Olivia Martino (NCA/Lafayette) scored 14 while going 5 for 6 including 4 out of 5 from way beyond the arc, leaving me wishing to see her shoot more. In the end it was the Chiefs of Monacan cruising to victory over the favored Eagles.
Saturday had many of the college coaches parked at Wise H.S. and for good reason, they love to eat. There was plenty of food at Wise in their hospitality area as many were tempted by hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Chic Fila meals they also got to watch some good basketball games as well. Good Counsel (MD) lost an early Saturday morning game to St. Anthony's (NY), but made up for it in one of the best games of the weekend by defeating Neumann-Goretti (PA) after trailing the entire game on Sunday. The Falcons of GC were lead by 2017 Lindsay Pulliam * (GC/Northwestern) who was spectacular in the mid range making basket after basket during the game. 2019 Brianna Forbes made big plays down the stretch to help the Falcons hold on in the fourth. 2017 Chyna Nixon (NG/Ole Miss) had a very good game doing most of her damage in the first half.
Next Sports Phenom TV did some streaming of the games but the primary stream team was Monumental Sports Network, most of the streams are archived videos that you can watch at a later date. Paul VI (VA) was one of the teams that many tuned in to see. The nationally #1 ranked Panthers were the most watched team in the streamverse. PVI who sports a full roster of division 1 talent had standout performances by 2019 Ashley Owusu * and 2018 Honesty Scott- Grayson. Both players were instrumental in helping PVI mount come from behind victories to keep their undefeated season intack.
The check-in process went as smooth as silk thanks to the behind the scenes work of the She Got Game Staff led by Afiba Fairnot and Meri Davis. After checking in I was able to get a close look at St. Frances Academy (MD) and their freshman phenom 2020 Angel Reese (SFA) as they took on Northwest Guilford (NC). Reese's length was a problem for NG as she repeatedly disrupted the flow in the backcourt leading to multiple steal/layups for her. Figuring out how to get past Reese was the least of their worries as 2017 Mia Davis (SFA/Temple) had an easy double-double and carried off the player of the game award.
There were several games and performances that stood out over the weekend as was the case with back to back standing room only games featuring Bishop McNamara (MD) vs Bishop Loughlin (NY) and Rock Creek Christian Academy (MD) vs Life Center (NJ). Bishop McNamara's 2019 Aliyah Matharu and 2019 Jakia Brown-Turner both had excellent showings as BMac overwhelmed Loughlin. Matharu carried home the player of the game award and her Mustangs posted the win. Rock Creek also got a win as well behind the solid play of 2019 Anissa Rivera * and 2018 Carrie Gross.
The DMV teams showed well the entire weekend winning 85% of their games against the out of area opponents proving to be one of the top regions in the country and Roland Park showed why they are considered one of the top teams in the area. The Reds only have two seniors on their roster with 2017's Jeydah Johnson and Liz Schlerf, but they have a handful of underclassmen in lead guard 2019 Ja'Niah Henson who is one of the areas top point guards and the high flying 2020 Mir McLean who had college coaches in awe of her arial acrobatics. 2018 Aniyah Carpenter played a spectacular all around game Coach Scott Buckley left the tournament with a pair of victories and a group of kids that will keep Roland Park in title talks for the next four years.
The She Got Game International Classic ran simutaneously with the She Got Game Classic as a seperate event, but it all came together beautifully. Canada was well represented playing all of their games at Gwynn Park and Frederick Douglass high schools and college coaches took the 10 minute drive up to check out the foreign kids which has been a hot commodity in the last few years. Next Sports Phenom was able to get his international fix watching 2019 Jennifer Ezeh of Riverdale Baptist School, at 6'1" she had a good mix of athleticism and skill that made her a scoring threat around the rim and in the high post. I was very impressed with the Crusader's 2018 Rochelle Norris, at 6'4" she was very powerful inside and finished well by the basket. She had great footwork and was dominant in their game against Archbishop Wood (PA).
NSP has covered the She Got Game Classic for the last 8 years and it gets better each year. The 2016 version was the best one yet and once again shows that the DMV is the place to be in December as the home to 4 major tournaments (She Got Game Classic, Title IX Classic, Art Turner Memorial Classic and Under Armour East Coast Challenge), there are plenty of opportunities for players and college coaches to connect their futures.
* denotes Player of the Game recipient