WASHINGTON, D.C.—Anytime someone in women’s basketball utters a reference to Title IX, it should be with the highest respect and reverence they can provide. There’s no doubt that our sport specifically, and women’s athletics in general, are forever indebted to the landmark legislation passed during the Nixon administration back in 1972. Since then Title IX has stood as the cornerstone protection for the rights, funding and support that has enabled the landscape young women live, work and play in today.
For the past nine years, the National Title IX Holiday Invitational Conference and Classic has represented an opportunity and reminder on and off the floor for each generation of scholastic girl’s basketball players. One of the premier holiday tournaments, the Title IX Classic also combines a banquet and workshops for the participating teams to help foster and maintain an awareness of the impact and continuing influence of that congressional amendment enacted over 40 years ago.
This year teams from 14 states, the District of Columbia and Canada made their way to the nation’s capital for three days of action in the iconic D.C. Amory. Competition was fierce for six different high school divisions, as well as junior varsity and middle school brackets along with eight individual junior college games. Needless to say, much more was getting done on the court than generally gets done in some of the more renowned chambers located here in D.C.
The eight bracket championship games were decided by a combined average of just 8.1 points per game with only one contest being by a gap of double figures while half we’re by four points or less. Riverdale Baptist, coming off a semifinal appearance in the Nike Tournament of Champions last week, claimed the high profile Pat Summitt Division. Their three wins came by eight, four and eight respectively with the final coming over an ultra-competitive South Shore team out of New York, 70 – 62. Sophomore Liz Martino continued her strong play of late posting 20 in the championship game and garnering MVP honors for the division. Senior post Lauren Ebo added 15 in the final while classmate Shakira Austin chipped in 11 more. South Shore had four in double figures led by senior wing Diamond Shavis with 14.
Equally competitive was the Bob Headen Division whose championship game featured some Southern flavor as Westridge Academy (N.C.) took on highly regarded Hamilton Heights (Tenn.). When the smoke had cleared Delaney Rudd’s team knocked off a Hamilton Heights team that had won their first two Title IX match ups by a combined 78 points. Westridge’s victory was an exciting 63 – 59 back and forth affair that even had players on adjoining floors glancing over to check out the excitement. K.K. Dean, a 2019 guard, was relentless (and fearless) in her attack posting 28 points in the win while claiming MVP bragging rights. Fellow junior backcourt mate Jordan Tuff lit it up from long range nailing six three pointers while adding 22 more in the winning cause. Hamilton Heights was paced by 6-7 sophomore Kamilla Cardoso who finished with 20 in the loss while Tennessee signee Jazmine Massengill contributed 15 more.
Frederick won the Patsy Mink Division by way of a 55 – 51 win over Monsignor Scanlan. Junior point guard Makayla Daniels was named MVP. In the Edith Green bracket Most Valuable Player Chloe Chapman, a junior, led her Good Counsel team past Georgetown Visitation 55 – 31. Anacostia edged The Bullis School 54 – 50 to nab top honors in the Bernice Sandler Division. Mya Moye, a 5-6 senior point guard, took home the MVP hardware.
A 55 – 45 win over Bishop Loughlin gave Pikesville top honors in the Dennis Thompson bracket. Sophomore guard Tyra Thompson was name Most Valuable Player. National Christian claimed the Simmeon William Junior Varsity crown while Riverdale Baptist took the title in the Jerry Kelly Middle School Division. Though there was no Allen Chin Junior College bracket champion, ASA College’s Kiara Smith was recognized for her performance.
Here are just a few of the outstanding individual performers we caught while in D.C. As always, there were many, many more than we could see and no doubt we caught some players on their best day or a few others on their worst. They’re in alphabetical order and represent no more that our thoughts on what we had a chance to see during the 9th annual National Title IX Holiday Invitational Conference and Classic.
Zenzelle Apesemaka-Vital – 2018 – 5-7 – Point Guard – National Christian – Cincinnati signee…Strong and aggressive at the point…Attacking mentality…Accelerates on the catch…Change of speed is mixed up well…Gets off the floor on her shot…Pull up is on a dime…Gets up in your face defensively…A little more patience would come in handy on occasion
Krislin Arjukese – 2021 – 5-10 – Wing – The Bullis School – Young…Has some size on the wing…Decent strength…Form is sound with time to set up… Tools are there to work with
Brea Beal – 2019 – 6-1 – Swing – Rock Island – Established top tier player who continues to improve her game…Strong and physical but still fluid and smooth…Strength comes with the college size and frame…Ability is there create and improve her options on the catch…Change of speed and direction get her to the rim on a regular basis…First step is quick and lengthy…Good vertical helps her defensively and makes her a presence on the glass at both ends
Rose Brubaker – 2021 – 5-10 – Guard – Frederick – Athletic young guard…Had some moments…Decent form is there but a narrow base is under the shot…Skills are just beginning to sharpen but potential is there…Watch
Kamilla Cardoso – 2020 – 6-7 – Post – Hamilton Heights – Continues to be a rare combination of size and skills…Plays with effort and gets up and down the floor with a high speed, fast paced offense…Has an advanced understanding of her role and the game for her age…Biggest issue is rushing her shots at times around the rim…Makes some easy looks much tougher than they should be…Not afraid of contact and for the most part keeps her composure with physical play…Quick on the outlet to trigger the break…Communicating more on the floor
Chrislyn Carr – 2018 – 5-5 – Point Guard – Rock Island – Texas Tech signee…Lots of speed and quickness in all that she does…Pushed the ball at opportunity…See the floor…Strong passer in transition…Hesitation move gets defenders up on their toes…Form and stroke are there on her jumper…Feisty on ball defensively
Chloe Chapman – 2019 – 5-8 – Point Guard – Good Counsel – Playing strong and consistent…Shot continues to show focus and repetitions are paying off…Added strength as noted before make her more challenging off the drive without taking away from her speed…Pushing the ball but reading the floor and making more consistent decisions…Hands and feet on defense set her apart from the crowd…Dictating the game more and more from the point
Emily Chapman – 2018 – 5-5 – Point Guard – Fairland – Small but skilled and effective…Instincts allow her to make plays both in the halfcourt or in transition…Sees the floor and reads defensive movement…Stroke and range keep defenders closing out…Assertive on defense despite giving up size at times…Makes plays
Promise Cunningham – 2019 – 5-10 – Guard – National Christian – Physically strong and attacking guard…Individual skills serve her well…Has that hard to find shot fake…First step off the move is quick…Pulls up well and has a mid-range touch…Build and willingness let her take on contact off penetration…Playing with much more confidence
Kristen Dean – 2019 – 5-7 – Point Guard – Westridge Academy – Took it to another level…Attack became relentless yet still well read and effective…Ability to accelerate with the ball is elite…Strong body control and instincts allow her to get shots off in traffic but still draw the contact and foul…Will take over when needed but also able to kick for teammates with better options or defensive breakdowns…Same assertive mentality serves her well on the defensive end of the floor…Improves each time we see her
Aquira DeCosta – 2018 – 6-2 – Forward – St. Mary’s – Stockton – Baylor signee…Struggled early in the event…Travel and zone defense were a speedbump…Still had those moments that always set her apart before all was said and done…Despite dominating at times the possibilities are there for even more…Shoots a high percentage but lets some chip shots get away from her on occasion…Owns the glass at times…In traffic she can rise above the crowd…Produces on defense but again, could do more…Not a criticism but a recognition of possibilities at her disposal
Lacha DeLosSantos – 2019 – 5-4 – Point Guard – South Shore – More than compensates for size with attacking mentality…Pushes the ball at every opportunity…No hesitation about taking it into traffic…Looks to create offense off defensive steals…Reads the floor off the drive…Head fake and hesitation gets her by defenders often…Kept the opposition on their toes in transition defense
Aminata Dosso – 2018 – 5-10 – Guard – Bishop Alemany – Exceptional athlete…Quickness and speed without a lack of strength…First step is lethal…Can get to the rim…Elevates on all her looks…Basketball skills are catching up…Assertive on ball defender with tools to impact the game on both ends…Work in progress with huge upside
Lauren Ebo – 2018 – 6-4 – Post – Riverdale Baptist – Penn State signee…More consistent across three games…Smarter on the catch and reading more…Worked from the high post some…Effort is always there…Never backs down from contact and physical play…Knows what she’s looking for…Understands angles well for a high school post…Continued consistency will mean continued advancement
Infiniti Hammonds – 2018 – 5-2 – Point Guard – Murry Bergtraum – All the tools but size and frame…Fun to watch unless you’re her opponent…Speed and quickness are there… Ballskills let her push from make, miss and turnover…Sets up her passes and improves her teammates looks as well as anyone…Quick and aggressive on the ball defensively…Despite size impacts play on both ends
Jasmine Hardy – 2018 – 6-0 – Forward / Wing – Bishop Alemany – Long Beach State signee…Long and athletic…Deceiving strength…Lots of agility and fluid in all she does…Active without the ball…Cuts hard…15 footer was there…Sound passing…Got some second looks…Left hand has to evolve
Imani Harris – 2019 – 6-2 – Forward – Benson Tech – Has a good frame with size…Solid build with strength…Worked low and from the high post…Able to take one and two dribble drives…Set strong screens but impatient in letting options develop at times…Made some plays
Treasure Hunt – 2020 – 6-1 – Wing / Guard – Hamilton Heights – Missed her earlier this season due to ankle injury…Appears to be past it…Utilizing her size and physical strength on the perimeter much more effectively…The range and shot force opponents to be there on the catch…Showed off a more explosive drive on occasion…Still just scratching the surface but already long among the elite in the class
Nalani Lyde – 2019 – 6-1 – Forward – Sidwell Friends – Nice size and build…Potential to grow…Tools are in place to be an effective #4…Reads on the catch both in the high post and on the block…Some ballhandling is in her attack…Got to the rim well both in halfcourt and as the trail on the break…Active player on both ends…Watch
Liz Martino – 2020 – 5-10 – Guard – Riverdale Baptist…Continued strong play from the Nike TOC…Confidence is showing and in turn leading to even better play…Perimeter shots are dropping to go with established penetration attack…Pulled up and dropped off some passes this time around avoiding player control scenarios…On ball defense is sound but weakside needs some more assertiveness and anticipation
Jazmine Massengill – 2018 – 6-0 – Guard – Hamilton Heights – Tennessee signee…Explosive with the ball in her hands…Change of speed is on par with anyone on the scholastic level…Elevation on her jumper gives her plenty of clean looks at the rim…Can slash among the bigs…Occasionally is looking shot first versus setting up her teammates…Length, footspeed and hands give her the potential to be an impact defender now and at the next level
Chetanna Nweke – 2020 – 5-10 – Guard – Stone Ridge – Has size and some athleticism…Ballskills allow her to slash and develop options…Floater had some moments off penetration…Good awareness as she got into traffic…Form is sound but base is narrow…Decent passing moments…Got on the offensive glass…Has tools on defense
Keteri Poole – 2020 – 5-9 – Combo – Monsignor Scanlan – Showing off a little more size…Already established physical attack is even stronger…The tools are there to improve not only her looks but those of her teammates which is happening more and more…Change of speed and direction get her deep in the paint time and again…Can control the pace of a game…Competes both with the opposition as well as herself…Shows that “edge” on both ends…Advancing her intangibles
Eniya Russell – 2020 – 5-10 – Guard – Institute of Notre Dame – Dynamic athlete with the ball in her hands…Acceleration of any move is explosive and gets her past most opponents…Reads defenders on penetration and can get her shot off among the rotating bigs…Good vertical serves her well, too…Pull up and floater are in place but could use some consistency…Will need to become more of a factor without the ball in her hands…Tools are there to create looks off cuts and screens making her an even tougher match up
Clesca Sandrine – 2021 – 5-9 – Guard – E.S. St. Laurent – Very athletic and very active…Plays with effort and intensity…Looking to create off the dribble…Lots of speed with the ball in her hands…Hesitation move draws defenders out of their stance…Impressive footwork allows her to be a strong on ball defender…Quickness serves her well one and two passes away
Teylah Saunders – 2019 – 6-1 – Forward – Pikesville – Solid build…A little size…Will post up and look for the ball…Finished at times…Got on the boards…Had some moments…Needs to add depth top her offensive arsenal
Earlette Scott – 2018 – 5-10 – Wing – South Shore – Providence signee…Physically strong in the backcourt…Rip and go on the catch…Nice first step…Decent form on her spot up shot…Loves to take it into traffic…Handles contact…Consistency from the perimeter will keep defenders honest
Jessica Singletary – 2021 – 6-0 – Wing / Guard – Dunbar – Impressive size and frame for age…Decent perimeter skills allows her to play in the backcourt…Ballskills allow her to improve both shots and passes…Not destined for the point, more a #2 or #3…Will use her weak hand but needs to sharpen it to keep defenders honest…As she matures more explosiveness will make its way into her game on both ends
Grace Stone – 2018 – 5-11 – Swing – Long Island Lutheran – Overlooked at times…Physically strong with good size and skills…Smart and patient…Game has a methodical appearance but is efficient…Speed isn’t the first adjective but first couple of steps are very deceiving…Key player who can make some plays on both ends
Celeste Taylor – 2019 – 5-11 – Guard – Long Island Lutheran – Always adding just a little more each time out…Shot the ball well in critical win…Shot selection short circuited on occasion…Step back is becoming one of the toughest to defend on the high school level…Elevating on all shots, particularly on the mid-range pull up…Created some of her own offense by virtue of her defensive efforts…Focus and competitive edge set her apart
Jordan Tuff – 2019 – 5-8 – Guard – Westridge Academy – Stepped up and stepped out…Long range shooting was critical in championship match-up…Tools are there to create her own options as well…Solid build and strong attack off the dribble…Will take a chance or two defensively
Chloe Williams – 2022 – 5-11 – Wing / Guard – Carmel Christian – Size and build for age will catch your attention…Sound base already with some evolving perimeter skills…Looks to get to the rim and navigates traffic well at this point…Not overly fond of contact yet but has the size and build to make a difference with contact…Length and wingspan provide the tools to develop as an impact defender as well
Aujae Yoakum – 2020 – 6-0 – Wing – Benson Tech – Athletic…Has some length on the wing…Ability is there to create some…Individual skills…Physically strong on the perimeter…Got on the offensive glass…Has some promise as a sophomore