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USJN National Championship

NATIONAL HARBOR Md.– The 30th year of the USJN National Championships offered up a new and exciting view, without sacrificing the traditional unparalleled play on the court.  With picturesque basketball on the floor, athletes, fans and college coaches alike enjoyed a gorgeous view of our nation’s capital reflecting off the Potomac River in the National Harbor.

This year’s edition found an impressive new home at the Gaylord National Resort. Hundreds of teams, college coaches, and basketball fans once again travelled from across the country for the storied event.

If you missed our initial coverage, follow the link below for results, images and evaluations of over 40 players.

Today we offer up some new, young faces who played a prominent role for their teams while playing “up” in D.C. earlier this week and all still having at least three high school seasons in front of them.

Amani Bartlett – 2021 – 6-3 – Forward – CyFair Skyrise Elite 15 Wheatfall – Has the look and the length…Runs well…Gets favorable position inside…Moves without the ball to score…Back to basket game is coming along….Lots of potential

Sonia Citron – 2021 – 6-0 – Guard/Forward – Hudson Valley Elite 16 Gold – Interesting mix of post and perimeter skills…Will hit the three off the jab…Comfortable handling the ball to score off the bounce…Comes to a jump stop and utilizes pivot foot to score

Brynn Farrell – 2020 – 5-11 – Guard/Forward – Team Miller Lightning 14 Barton – Scores in multiple ways from the wing spot…Has a really nice build…Great feet inside…Plethora of post moves…Consistent scoring factor

Alexandra Giannaros – 2021 – 5-6 – Guard – Bay State Jaguars 14 Lamb – Strong built guard…Quick feet for her build…Plays with intent and purpose…Pushes the ball out in front of herself in transition…Vocal…Strong jumper…Hits on the move with regularity…Court vision is excellent…Zips passes around

Aniya Gourdine – 2021 – 5-9 – Point Guard/Guard – Maryland Pride 16 Edison – Bigger young guard…Can also play some point…Nice jump stop…Has step through finish…Hits the three…Floater game is there…Promising start to high school years

Harley Herndon – 2021 – 5-8 – Guard – Philadelphia Belles 15 Gerson – Strong, physical guard…Showed well playing up…Tough kid…Type of player that’s always on the move…Does the little things that don’t always show up in the box score…Put the ball in the basket with consistency

Jennah Isai – 2021 – 5-10 – Forward – AZ Select 15 Rising – Young player to see…Versatile offensive game…Scores in the post…Can also shoots the trey…Takes it herself in transition…Flashes of that “extra gear”…Will also do the dirty work off the ball

Brenna McDonald – 2020 – 6-1 – Forward – Bay State Jaguars 14 – Tall…Well built…Moves like a guard…Can handle it herself in transition….Can create on defense and convert on the other end …Has a back to the basket game…Leadership qualities are there

Zoe McRary – 2020 – 6-2 – Forward – Nike CyFair Shooters 15 Anderson – Young size…Mobile…Gets into a stance and pressures the ball in the high post…Will take 2-3 dribbles to drive…Good passer inside…Likes to throw the dump downs and last second dump offs

Claire Neff – 2020 – 6-2 – Guard/Forward – Maryland Belles 14 – Size and length on the wing…Rebounds at a high rate…/Can take it down court on her own…Scores in different ways…Runs and finishes through contact in transition…Competes every play

Aysia Pink – 2021 – 5-8 – Guard – City Rocks 14 – Plays with that “New York” toughness…Gets to the basket to score often…Shooting range necessitates closeouts beyond the arch…Monito closely for continued to develop

Kiki Rice – 2022 – 5-7 – Point Guard – Germantown Lady Panthers 16 Kimbrough –Lanky young lead guard….Holds her own against older competition…Can’t bump her off the ball…Contact does not bother her…Gets to the rim and finishes…Will box and rebound from the point guard spot

Mariah Roberts – 2021 – 5-7 – Point Guard/Guard – Nike CyFair Shooters Hawkins 14 – Fast on both sides…Aggressive mentality…Hits the three point shot…Great control…Knows when to go and when to pull it out…Will put shoulder into the defender and back her down…Shot blocking threat at guard

Avianna Thompson – 2023 – 5-11 – Guard/Forward – QC Bluehounds 15 – Impressive build on the wing…Athletic tools are there…Elevates to board and score…Rip and go in the mid post…Quick burst on the drive…Forward with guard skills at the moment…Sound 15 footer…Double-double productivity already

Demi Washington – 2021 – 5-10 – Guard/Forward – Triangle Lady Knights 16 – A “do it all player”…Has some nice hops…Great handle to break down defenders…Strong and physical to finish the play…Physically gifted

Travis Ponton first joined the Blue Star family in 2016, and brings with him a decade of women's basketball coaching experience across multiple levels. A 2018 WBCA Thirty Under 30 Award recipient, his most recent stint was on the bench as an Assistant Coach at LIU Brooklyn. He's also served on the staff at Loyola University, Charleston Southern, Southeastern Louisiana University, and Mount St. Mary's. As a successful high school coach for four years in Virginia, Ponton had a hand in helping over 30 athletes take their game to the college level. With a degree in Journalism from Radford University, he has also previously worked with WTVR/CBS 6 Television in Richmond. Ponton still calls central Virginia home.

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