ATLANTA, Ga. - The Adidas Nationals were truly national in scope this year, as the title game pitted the New Jersey Sparks Gold Elite -- from, obviously, New Jersey -- against the Northwest Blazers Orange from Spokane, Wash.
Although 2,563 miles separated the two teams geogrpahically, the championship game was much closer. The Sparks finished a seesaw first half on top 34-31, and an 8-0 run midway through the second pushed the Easterners to a 56-48 win.
Myisha Hines-Allen topped the winners with 14 points while Blazer Brittany McPhee led all scorers with 17 points and Chandler Smith added 14. The following players caught our attention:
Tyra Buss, 5-7 guard, Indiana Elite-Swish Saiko
The Indiana commit showed why she was named 2013 Illinois Miss Basketball as Buss had her complete game on display, knocking down threes, generating steals and finishing off the break. She even completed a vintage Steve Nash behind-the-back pass to slashing a teammate for two. uss does a excellent job creating for herself or her teammates, and the multi-sport athlete flat out gets it done and should be highly considered for WBCA and McDonald's All American games.
Quanetria Bolton, 6-2 post, AL Southern Starz 16U
Versatile bigs who can run floor and have an array of moves are rare -- and in huge demand. Quanetria Bolton, a 6-2 post, fits the bill for all of the above and will be a good get come signing day. Bolton played extremely well, showing herself to be a low-post presence at both ends of the floor. She has a really strong interior game which blends athleticism and power. Bolton also showed that she has a nice face-up attack with an effective midrange jumper that extends out to the three-point line. The rebounding is there and with the ability to put the ball on the floor, she does a great job initiating the fast break. Bolton was new to the travel circuit but her impressive showing this summer has created quite the buzz among several BCS schools. Stay tuned.
Kristine Anigwe, 6-4 post, Arizona Elite Black 17U
Anigwe has a long athletic college body, runs the floor extremely well, and battles for position on the low block. Anigwe uses her long arms to grab rebounds at the highest point, and after she gets the board, she does a great job on keeping the ball up high, away from smaller defenders. Anigwe has good hands, finishes in the paint and does a great job protecting the rim. Anigwe is a definite BCS prospect with a tremendous upside.
Kierra Anthony, 5-5 point guard, Louisiana Lady Heat
Anthony is a true point guard with a solid frame and excellent command of her dribble. She has a nice midrange jumper and likes to attack the paint looking to dish or score. Look for her at a mid-major.
Jasmine LeBlanc, 5-10 wing, Louisiana Lady Heat
LeBlanc, a long athletic wing, does a good job attacking off the bounce and finishing in traffic. She's an exceptional leaper and really elevates on her jump shot. She rebounds well and is a good on ball defender though she must continue to develop ballhandling skills. Nice upside.
Taylor Brown, 6-0 forward, New Jersey Sparks 2015
Brown is a an athletic wing with long arms who loves to attack off the bounce. She either scores in traffic or gets to the charity stripe. Brown has average ballhandling skills and likes to get the rebound and push the ball on the break. The lefty is a solid defender and if you're not careful, will block her fair share of shots in help position or running an opponent down on the fast break. Brown is an intriguing prospect who has a chance to be a mid-major or higher prospect. Watch.
Jackie Young, 5-10 guard, Indiana Elite-Swish Saiko
Really enjoyed watching Young, who has nice size that she uses to her advantage when she attacks the paint looking to score or dish to slashing teammates. Young has great court vision which she uses to keep everyone involved. Young plays with no fear, and simply put, she gets buckets. A must-watch with BCS potential.
Lauren Cox, 6-4 post North Texas United 16U
Cox is long athletic post with an impressive 6-10 wing span. She runs the floor extremely well and finishes in the paint with either hand. Cox is a good ballhandler who's not afraid to handle the rock in the open court. She has excellent timing on blocking shots and also showed the ability to finish at the rack with contact. Lauren has a nice low-post game with a smooth midrange touch that extends out to the three-point arc. She rebounded the ball well, and despite her size she consistly boxed out her opponents. She needs to add strength to help battle in the paint but all in all, Cox has a lot of tools that college coaches crave -- she’s a surefire BCS prospect.
Kiana Williams, 5-8 point guard, San Antonio's Finest Blue
Williams is floor general and speedy cat quick. She runs the show by communicating with her teammates, putting them in the right spots. Williams also leads by example, playing good on-ball defense as well as boxing out to fight for rebounds. Offensively, she has a nice midrange stroke and a nice scoop shot in traffic. Williams does a great job forcing the tempo, has exceptional court vision and is an excellent passer. She needs to add strength to her frame, but is definitely one to watch.
Desiree Caldwell 5-5 guard, SA Finest Blue
It's always hard to fill the shoes of successful older siblings but I think it's safe to say Desiree is well on her way to follow in the footsteps of her sister Recee, who this time next year will be suiting up for UCLA. Desiree is an athletic point guard with excellent command of her dribble with a shooting touch that extends out to the three-point line. She also has a nice stepback jumper. Desiree loves to attack, looking to score using a sweet teardrop floater. She uses her great court vision to drop dimes to slashers. With continued development, Desiree has all the tools and athleticism to more that fill big sister's shoes.