WESTMINSTER, Md.– A quiet suburban escape from the nearby hustle and bustle of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Westminster hosted more than 65 teams for the business of USJN’s 2017 East Coast Clash. McDaniel College was the headquarters for all the action once again for the two days of competition.
For full complete participating teams, results, pool all stars and college coaches in attendance check out the post event page by following the link below.
Over the course of the weekend we got to see the growth and development of some players who we haven’t seen since the high school season or even when they last donned their club uniforms back in the fall. Those advancements bode well for the rest of the club season and beyond. Here are some of the programs and players who had strong showings this weekend.
Many of the Philadelphia Belles teams made the short trek down to Maryland, and it’s safe to say this group is deep with young talent that continues to improve. Skilled 6-2 2019 forward Anna Camden continues to show versatility playing two way basketball. Camden can be a difference maker on both sides of the ball for long stretches of a game. Ava Learn, a 6-1 2021 guard/forward is a name to know as well. She can score it in different ways at various levels and is just scratching the surface as she finishes up her middle school years. A 2020 6-3 post, Latonya Berry, is showing improvement in her offensive game knocking down the 15 footer and using some new back to the basket moves she’s added to the toolbox. This all goes well with her length and rim running ability. The play of fellow 2020 classmate Maniya Custis, a guard, also stood out. Currently small in stature at only 5-3, Custis has some real jets and some creativity finishing and passing. However, it’s her smooth mid range game that perhaps excites the most and, at times, includes a nice step back that she knows when to use.
The Germantown Lady Panthers organization had a strong weekend in their home state, with most of their teams in attendance. Brianna Crutchfield, a 6’1 2018 forward, continues to showcase some of the pure athleticism coaches love to see. She gets up off the ground with ease and shows some speed running the floor. However, the real growth in her game was on display in her ability to harness that athleticism and do some explosive things with the ball getting to the basket and in transition. Alexis Kuhlman, a 2021 5’8 point guard, continued her impressive spring leading the offense with precision ball handling and passing. That goes hand in hand with a beautiful lefty three point stroke. Her teammate Saylor Poffenbarger, a 2021 6’0 wing we have profiled before, has taken her game to the next level. At times the lanky versatile threat was running a lay up drill on opponents. She has great feet to side step help defenders and score in the post as well along with being a serious threat from beyond the arc.
We saw plenty of young ladies dawning the blue and orange of the Mid Penn Motion getting after it in Maryland, as the organization fielded teams in virtually every age group. One player who really got our attention was 2019 6’0 post Samantha Miller. Miller plays hard, sticking to a blue collar brand of basketball. She does a lot of the basic things well, running the floor, boxing out, rebounding, finishing inside, and playing team defense. Also she’s very vocal. It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference.
In contrast, Pax Premier had just their 14 year old team in attendance, but they fought it out with some of the better young teams in the field. Toyin Allen, a 5’11 wing in the 2020 class is an aggressive, strong prospect who plays with explosiveness at times. Allen got to the basket often, especially in transition thanks to her anticipation to shoot the gap on defense. She also knows when to share the ball as a savvy, creative passer. Add in the multiple threes she knocked down, and you have yourself a weekend. Two of her backcourt mates, Dazjanae Greene (2021 5’7 guard) and Imani Eubanks (2021 5’4 point guard) also show some good potential.
Another young team that caught our eye was the Winchester Rising Stars out of western Virginia. Christyan Reid is a young post player to know in the class of 2020. Standing at the 6-3 mark, Reid has a college-ready build already with some athleticism and knows how to use both. She can finish inside with both hands and even has a little short corner face up game that is likely to gain fluidity in the months ahead. Her front court battery mate, a 6-2 forward by the name of Alison Hauck, is a rebounding machine and at times a relentless force to be reckoned with. Hauck’s a blue collar kid, strong and athletic while making things happen on both sides of the ball. Janaia Fargo is a feisty 2020 point guard who can drive and shoot the three while playing good, fundamental defense on the other end.
Tara Cousins – 2020 – 5-8 – Point Guard – Germantown Lady Panthers 14 Cook — Loud and vocal floor general…Plays with good pace and under control…Quick release on the three…Scores the ball on the drive…Nice prospect
Nadja Gray – 2019 – 5-5 – Point Guard/Guard – Foundation Academy 17 – Creator…Has some shake and sizzle to her game…Hard to stay in front of her…Shoots the three when it’s there…Can drive to score or set up others
Makenzie Helms – 2019 – 5-8 – Point Guard/Guard –New Heights 17 — Can handle the ball effectively…Impressive mid range game…Can hit the pull up off the hesitation or simply stop on a dime in transition…Competed
Ellie Mitchell – 2019 – 6-0 – Guard/Forward – Germantown Lady Panthers 17 Elite — Long and deceptively fast…Great energy every time out…Max effort on both sides of the ball…Continues to use her length in the passing lanes…Showed improvement in her ball handling…Picked up some good speed pushing in transition…15 foot jumper is good…Can work in the high post as well
Anna Nnabue – 2022 – 5-5 – Point Guard/Guard – 1 On None 12 — Driver…Showed off a nice over the top split of two defenders to finish…Quick young kid who can handle the rock…Rebounded some at the guard spot
Kemari Reynolds – 2020 – 5-6 – Guard – Philadelphia Belles 14 Lee — Driver…Smooth handles and quickness to get to the rack…Strong…Pounds the ball and won’t be bumped around…Gets lots of lay ups…Has a small arsenal of finishes in her bag
Lindsey Rinker – 2020 – 5-6 – Guard – Winchester Rising Stars 14 — Stockier guard…Light on her feet…Has some advanced handles…Deceptive first step beats defenders…Can hit the mid range jumper or floater at the second level…Feeds the post well
Bella Runyan – 2020 – 5-11 – Guard – Philadelphia Belles 15 Steidle — Nice, smooth handles in transition…Taller guard…Showed some versatility to defend inside and out…Plays with energy and excitement…Likes to get to the basket…In turn gets to the line often
Naia Saddler – 2019 – 5-8 – Guard – Fairfax Stars 16 Ellison — Good on the drive…Has some range out beyond the arc…There’s another gear in there for her to tap into…One to watch
Jaden Walker – 2019 – 5-9 – Guard – York Thunder 15 Fancher – Strong…Fast…Bigger guard…Really pushes the tempo…Forces turnovers and takes it herself…Played the point some as well…Explosive player