AUSTIN, Tex. -- The Tyrone Johnson Showcase Varsity Elite Championship was competative until the very end as DFW Elite T-Jack defeated Austin Elite RFW 57-43. T-Jack almost didn’t make it to the finals after close calls against Team Xpress and Team Ichiban, while RFW cruised to the title game with solid wins against DFW Elite 2014 Houston and the Houston Insiders. In the championship game, T-Jack held a slight 29-24 lead at the half until McKenzie Calvert went off for 12 of her 22 points in the second half, she was high scorer for the game, while Kennedy Harris was high scorer for Austin Elite RFW with 14.
From what I saw, July is going seal deals for many outstanding players from this event, here are a few of the standouts:
McKenzie Calvert, 5-8 guard, DFW Elite T-Jack
I’ve loved watching this young lady through the years and she’s a perfect example of what hard work can do, especially if you comprehend what’s being taught. Calvert played all five positions over the weekend for T-Jack and played them well however her blue collar effort is why T-Jack was in a position to win the championship. When you talk about players who will never quit, Calvert will immediately be one of the first names that pop into my head and even more importantly she has not peaked, which is good news for her at the next level.
Jalea Bennett, 6-0 guard, Team Ichiban Genesis
Talk about stock about to go through the ceiling, if Bennett shoots the ball like she’s been shooting it lately she’ll have even more options waiting on her when she returns home from the July events. A college ready body is something she’s already equipped with and she's difficult to defend as she elevates around the rim. When she’s on, she can score in a variety of ways including off the dribble, off the midrange or just overpowering smaller and sometimes bigger players in the paint.
Tyesha Taylor, 6-3 post, Austin Elite RFW
Taylor’s strength in the paint is one of her assets, as she simply overpowers players on both ends. Sometimes it appears she doesn’t want to hurt anyone because of her physicality but once she gets in that zone, she’s virtually unstoppable. Another asset that caught my eye is her ability to face the basket and hit the short jumper, a skill that will be valuable at the next level.
Francesca Patrick, 5-6 guard, Sophia Young Elite Black
I have a saying: “it’s not what you do, it’s who you do it against”. With that in mind, I took a good look at Patrick against Team Xpress, a squad that is filled with high level intense players that can defend, but that meant nothing to Patrick as she battled right there with them and proved her worth. I loved watching her go to the rim and with her frame, she converted easily. But what really stood out was her long-ball shooting and I’m talking six feet from behind the line.
Arianna Marks, 5-9 guard, Austin Elite Black
Marks' name was "Marksman" at this event as she simply showed she could shoot the ball very accurately. It was even more apparent during the Varsity Open Division title game as she was on fire scoring 13-of-her-16 points in the second half, including three from behind the arc. Her three-point shooting enabled runs in the second half for a come from behind win for the championship title.
Kyra Lambert, 5-8 guard, Team Xpress
I knew she was good as a 7th grader and would play D1, one year later I knew she could play almost anywhere, and after this weekend any doubt about her abilities have been erased. Talk about putting on a show, she attacks and finishes with flair and acrobatics as her body control is second to none.
Najaa Howell, 6-0 guard, DFW Elite Marques Jackson
Talk about getting better every time I see her would apply to Howell as she looked good in high school but has improved each tournament I’ve watched her play in this AAU season. With her size and ball handling ability, she can be difficult to hold and she’s stronger than she appears and knows how to use her body in the paint. Throw in her ability to shoot, I’m talking mid or long range and you see why I describer her as difficult to contain.
Quatera Limbrick, 5-5 guard, Houston Lady Road Runners
Each time I watch Limbrick I’m noticing transformations and so are many others as she’s a scoring machine. She dropped five threes in the Varsity Open title game and finished with 24 but her 16 first half points helped get her team going. Her release is quick and she also knows how to get to the rim and I’m talking exploding.
Jazzmine Harris, 6-0 forward, Houston Lady Phenoms
There was little I saw that she couldn’t do last season and now it’s really hard to find flaws in Jazzmine's game. She tall and long, very athletic and can score just about any way you want. Her defense is good whether it’s perimeter or under the basket and watching her grab a rebound and go coast-to-coast is simply a joy. The three ball can be deadly and her court awareness continues to get better as she observes any mistake by defenders she can take advantage of.
Chennedy Carter, 5-7 guard, Arlington Swoosh
This young lady adds to an already impressive Texas 2017 class that’s loaded. She’s strong and simply has no fear, this was evident as her team played against many players that about to be seniors. She handles the ball with either hand, quite well and can make passes in traffic with ease. She understands the game at a young age which is always a plus and even more importantly is her upside hasn’t been reached.