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Friday, July 19, 2019

Holiday Tournaments Spotlight Prep Standouts: East

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Photo Caption: Kayla McBride of Villa Maria Academy, MVP of the Dunbar Classic’s top division, has signed with Notre Dame.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Villa Maria Academy

By Pat McKee

Special to Full Court Press

Editor’s Note: The holidays are now behind us, but both coasts featured tournaments that will have repercussions for the lives of young players for some time to come.  This week and next, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top prep talent at two of those tournaments, the Dunbar Lady Tiger Invitational/Aspire Elite Classic in Fort Myers, Florida, and the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the biggest benefits of these tournaments is that they give us a chance to observe young players against top quality competition on something approaching a level playing field. Up first, Full Court correspondent Pat McKee takes a look at some of the top talent at the Fort Myers event.

Notre Dame signee Kayla McBride of Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria Academy, Maryland-bound Alicia DeVaughn of Pompano Beach Ely, Auburn recruit Jassany Williams of Davie Nova and Miami signee Krystal Saunders of Hollywood South Broward.
    Led by McBride and Saunders, who earned MVP honors in the top two divisions the 48 team, six-division event, those were just a few of the outstanding players who graced the courts Monday through Wednesday during the Dunbar Lady Tiger Invitational/Aspire Elite Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. Each division was a separate eight-team bracket.

    The 5-11 McBride averaged 20.3 points and 13 rebounds in leading Villa Maria, Pennsylvania’s defending Class AA champions, to the Division I title. It was a three-game run that included wins over Orlando University (68-35), Davie Nova (51-49 in OT) and Warminster (PA)‘s Archbishop Wood (39-37).

    “Kayla’s a player who easily could average 25 or 30 points, but she always puts the team first,” Villa Maria coach Scott Dibble of McBride, last season’s Pennsylvania Class AA Player of the Year. “She’s someone who has a great understanding of the game and is effective inside and out.”

    Saunders averaged 21.7 points in propelling South Broward, the No. 8 team in the USA Today Super 25, to the Division II crown. The 5-8 guard was spectacular in the title game, a 58-41 win over Tampa’s Sickles, led by standout junior Amber Henson. Saunders scored 24 points, including five three-pointers, in that game despite missing 6-1/2 minutes of the second and third quarters after a loose-ball collision resulted in a bloody lip.

    “This means a lot,” Saunders said of the MVP accolades. “I didn’t feel very good for awhile, but I knew our team would still come through. Our team has so much heart, and I knew we’d play hard. And I gave my all.”

    DeVaughn displayed outstanding ability in leading Pompano Beach Ely to the title in Division III. Her athleticism sets her apart, and the 6-4 forward was remarkable in a 36-21 semifinal win over Ocala West Port with 23 points and 18 rebounds.

    Williams, a 6-2 post player, was a powerful inside presence in keying Nova to a third-place finish in Division I. She averaged 20.7 points and 11 rebounds over three games, including 20 points and 11 rebounds in the semifinal loss to Villa Maria.

    That quartet headlined a group of 15 seniors on tournament teams who are headed to NCAA Division I programs. One, Lauren Avant of Memphis (TN) Lausanne, signed with Tennesee, did not play because of injury. Others included Jade Cargill of Vero Beach (Jacksonville), Tiffany Charles of Miami’s Monsignor Pace (Winthrop), Arielle Durant of Lakeland Tenoroc (Florida International), Oriana Ellis of Nova (Army), Jade Givens of Tampa’s Jefferson (Florida International), Brittni Montgomery of Fort Pierce Central (Virginia Tech), Alexis Parker of Vero Beach (Florida Atlantic), Katlyn Payne of Fort Myers’ Bishop Verot (Florida Gulf Coast), Breanna Williams of Lausanne (Houston) and Jenae Wilson of St. Petersburg’s Lakewood (Jacksonville).

    As good as those college-bound seniors were, a number of underclass standouts also shined. Foremost among them was Henson, who is considered one of the nation’s top five players in the Class of 2011.

    The 6-4 forward—who said her current favorites in recruiting consideration are Duke, Florida, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina, Stanford and Texas—averaged 25 points and 15.3 rebounds in leading her team to a runner-up finish in Division II. She had 28 points and 20 rebounds in 52-31 first-round win over Fort Pierce Central, then followed with 28 points and 18 rebounds in a 54-45 semifinal win over Miami Dr. Krop. She closed with 19 points and eight boards in the loss to South Broward.

    “Amber just goes so hard, and she understands the game,” Sickles coach Mark Key said. “She has such a good basketball IQ that she just knows what she has to do to help us win.”

    Two more South Broward guards, Danielle Robinson and Kiara Shoats, were among other juniors who played to rave reviews. Robinson, a 5-8 lefty, averaged 11.3 points and displayed outstanding slashing ability. The 5-6 Shoats is a steady ballhandler and defender who can score when needed.

    Other juniors who excelled were 6-1 forward Kaila Callendar of Stuart Martin County, 5-10 guard-forward Clarissa Coddington of Nova, 5-6 guard Dasia Daniels of Tampa Bay Tech, 5-8 guard Shaunice Hobbs of Tampa Freedom, 5-9 guard Steph Keyes of Archbishop Wood and Jordan Mosley of Orlando Boone.

    One junior who made a statement by her absence was Laurie Beaty of Tampa Jefferson. Her team entered the event 12-0 with the 5-7 guard averaging 15.7 points. Without her, the Dragons went 0-3 in Fort Myers.

    January Miller of Orlando University was a standout from the Class of 2012. The 5-8 guard showed a strong scoring ability, netting 36 points against St. Petersburg Lakewood in a Division I second-round game and recording 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists against Lausanne in the bracket’s third-place game.

    Other sophomores who thrived included 5-5 guard Taylor Shade of Boynton Beach, 5-7 guard, 5-4 guard Shade Williams of Tampa Freedom,  Kelsey Mitchell of Fort Myers, 6-1 forward Kayla Bivins of Gainesville and the Tampa Jefferson duo of 5-6 guard Shayla Upshaw and 6-1 forward Shayla Williams.

    A quartet of freshmen also showed significant potential. Tops among them was 6-4 forward Erica Young of Tampa Blake, who averaged 17 points in the first two rounds before suffering an ankle injury and scoring just two points in her final game. Other Class of 2013 players to watch were 5-6 guard Jessica Thomas of Gainesville Buchholz and 5-10 forward Ieshia Small and 5-11 forward N’Kiru Anyagaligbo of Miami Dr. Krop.

    Of course, the players just named were just the tip of the iceburg in terms of the talent that appeared in this tournament. Below is a list of those singled out for All-Tournament honors in each of the Dunbar’s six divisions:


Division I
  MVP: Kayla McBride, Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria - Signed With Notre Dame
  Kaylyn Maruca, Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria – Class of 2010
  Cait McCartney, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood - Class of 2011
  Jassany Williams, Davie Nova - Signed with Auburn
  Mariah Harris, Gainesville Buchholz – Class of 2012
  January Miller, Orlando University – Class of 2012
  Breana Williams, Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne - Signed with University of Houston
  Taye’lor Trotter, St. Petersburg Lakewood – Class of 2011

Division II
  MVP: Krystal Saunders, Hollywood South Broward - Signed with University of Miami
  Jasmine Walker, Hollywood South Broward – Class of 2010
  Amber Henson, Tampa Sickles – Class of 2011
  Ieshia Small, Miami Dr. Krop – Class of 2013
  Carlayna Stone, Jupiter - Class of 2010
  Jordan Mosley, Orlando Boone – Class of 2011
  Leonella Montalvo, Orlando Boone – Class of 2010

Division III
  MVP: Alicia DeVaughn, Pompano Beach Ely - Signed with University of Maryland
  Mariel Mayo, Ocala West Port – Class of 2010
  Jade Cargill, Vero Beach – Signed with Jacksonville University
  Aimee McCann, Fort Myers Cypress Lake – Class of 2010
  Erica Young, Tampa Blake - Class of 2013

Division IV
  MVP: Maria Fernandez, Stuart Martin County – Class of 2010
  Kaila Callender, Stuart Martin County – Class of 2011
  Dasia Daniels, Tampa Bay Tech – Class of 2011
  Kayla Bivins, Gainesville – Class of 2012

Division V
  MVP: Aimee Osceola, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons – Class of 2010
  Tianna-Hali Garcia, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons – Class of 2010
  Kaitlynn Pacholke, Tampa Freedom – Class of 2011
  Arielle Durant, Lakeland Tenoroc - Signed with Florida International
  Kelsey Mitchell, Fort Myers – Class of 2012

Division VI
  MVP: Katlyn Payne, Fort Myers Bishop Verot - Signed with Florida Gulf Coast University
  Deborah Gordon, Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian – Class of 2011
  Courtney Snowden, South Fort Myers – Class of 2010
  Kelsey Steinke, Orlando First Academy – Class of 2010
  Mazel Huyler, Lehigh Senior – Class of 2010

  Brittni Montgomery, Fort Pierce Central – Signed with Virginia Tech
  Taylor Shade, Boynton Beach - Class of 2012
  Kadiedra Burger, Fort Myers Dunbar – Class of 2012
  Antonella Marino, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman - Class of 2010
  Alexis Nelson, Tallahassee Florida High - Class of 2013
  Shayla Upshaw, Tampa Jefferson - Class of 2012
  Milan Clayton, Tallahassee North Florida Christian - Class of 2012
  Shanovia Dove, West Palm Beach Palm Beach Lakes - Class of 2013
  Chelsea Williams, Riviera Beach Suncoast - Class of 2010
  Tiffany Charles, Miami Monsignor Pace – Signed with Winthrop
  Jessica Montalvo, Naples Palmetto Ridge - Class of 2012
  Jomaris Vasquez-Lopez, Cape Coral – Class of 2010
  Shelia Cruz, Orlando Freedom – Class of 2010
  Riki Carach, Naples Gulf Coast - Class of 2010

Originally published Sat, January 16, 2010

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
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11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
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19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
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24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.