Score: White 101, Blue 64
ATLANTA – It was showtime in Georgia at the Full Court Fresh 50 Invitational, as 40 of the nation’s top high school players were selected from a field of 120 at the Super Showcase Select with Ganon Baker to play in two featured events.
The top 20 participants in the camp played in the National game, and Sierra Calhoun, who came all the way from New York, was named MVP of the winning White team. Calhoun, whose game has grown exponentially in her three years at the Christ the King High School, displayed three-point range plus the ability to finish – and made some observers wonder if her No. 11 ranking in the Full Court Fresh 50 was a bit too low. Calhoun finished with 22 points on the night, connecting three times from behind the arc and also sinking 12 of 13 from the free throw line. Calhoun fittingly accepted the MVP trophy from Tennessee legend and Christ the King alum Chamique Holdsclaw, who as a special guest at the event.
Sierra Calhoun accepts the MVP trophy of the National Game from basketball legend Chamique Holdsclaw (photo by Andrew Snook)
The No. 2 player, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson, did plenty to justify her ranking, dominating the boards with 18 rebounds and posting nine points -- but it was more her laser-like outlet passes, ability to handle in midcourt and smooth all-around game that wowed an impressive collection of college coaches in attendence.
While Wilson is uncommitted and will certainly make a huge impact wherever she lands, Calhoun’s ability to shine against elite competition is good news for Joanne P. McCallie who has also received a verbal commitment from Lynee Belton (No. 14) who posted six points, nine rebounds and two assists in the contest.
Victoria Vivians, last year’s top high school scorer and a recent commit to Mississippi State, showed why she’s ranked No. 6 in the Full Court Fresh 50 with a complete tool kit of offensive skills, from power moves to the hoop to long three-pointers. She finished as the leading scorer for the Blue Team with 11 points, two rebounds and an assist. 2015 Tynice also Martin held her own posting 10 points for the Blue Team.
Still, her Blue team couldn’t keep up with the White team, which had four players in double digits and got strong play from 2015's Te'a Cooper and Jordan Hosey who both showed why they belonged at this level. No. 4 Cooper, who is uncommitted, was the second leading scorer with 15 points, meanwhile No. Hosey, who's committed to Texas, posted 13.
UConn commit Courtney Ekmark, ranked No. 31 in the Full Court Fresh 50, was the other player from the White Team in double figures. She dropped three, three-pointers and tallied 14 points in the game.
On the Blue team, only two other players have committed, and both gave reason for their college coaches to look forward to their arrival. Guard Gabby Ortiz (No. 20, Oklahoma) displayed both grit and skill, making threes as expected from a small guard, but also showing no fear about going into the paint. She posted four assists and two steals to go with her nine points.
While Bree Horrocks, a 6-4 post off to Purdue next fall, drained a pair of three-pointers as well as playing tough inside. She finished with eight points, six rebounds and three steals.
Shakayla Thomas has not committed, but she showed why any college coach in the nation would love to have her with her off-the-charts athleticism, tremendous toughness and willingness to bang in the paint at just six feet. Thomas finished with seven points and five rebounds. The crowd was also impressed by future Georgia Bulldog Jasmine Carter, who had several nice assists and finished with four points.
Erykah Davenport had her moments, but her biggest moment came after the National Game, when she announced to the crowd that she will attend Miami (FL) next year. She chose the 'Cains over Florida State, N.C. State, Georgia and Texas A&M.
Again, listing the standouts would simply list the rosters, but it should be noted that Kaitlyn Rodgers of Alabama was the youngest player on the roster and more than held her own -- she will just be a sophomore at Wenonah High School this year.
Score: White 82, Blue 78
In the Regional game -- which didn’t turn out to be that regional as there were players from Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and Arkansas -- the most impressive player was 6-4 Amiray (Mimi) Collins from Maryland. We can’t tell you what high school she plays for, as she is just an eighth grader, and delivered a big-time performance against girls several years older, finishing with 12 points.
Collins runs the floor very well, handles the ball, shoots threes and showed off a nifty back-to-the-basket left-handed hook (she’s right-handed). In many events such as this one, the college coaches leave when the top players finish up, but not Sunday – they stayed to be dazzled by Collins and more than a few other young talents.
The MVP of this closely contested game was Aliyah Mazyck of North Carolina, who will be a junior at Myers Park High School. Mazyck wasn’t afraid to look for her own shot from the point guard position, and though she, like many of the players, had trouble converting from distance, she got to the rim regularly with a combination of strength and quickness. She walked away with a game high 24 points, five assists and five steals.
Aliyah Mazyck accepts the MVP trophy of the Regional Game from Full Court Editor Kelly Kline (Photo by Andrew Snook)
Destinee Walker from South Carolina also had the hot hand and was in the running for the MVP trophy after posting 20 points, six rebounds and two steals. Small forward Dejoria Howard turned in a nice performance with 13 points while Meredith Schulte added 10 points for the winners. But as is usually the case, everyone played about the same amount, and everyone showed why they were chosen.
Also of note for the winners was another eighth grader, Tyler Collins of Georgia (no relation to Mimi), who overcame a size deficit to handle herself extremely well with the big girls.
Anriel Howard, a junior at host Westlake High School, did a tremendous job rebounding pulling down a game high 13 rebounds, to go along with 13 points for the Blue team.
Dejah Williford-Kelley posted 15 points, including connecting from downtown on three occasions and Baltimore’s Pere Alexander also had some nice moments.
Fatigue was a factor, however, as the girls had been at the camp and clinic since Friday night, working on skills and playing camp games to earn selection to the Sunday afternoon feature events. But there was no doubt all played hard, as the presence of Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Sue Semrau (Florida State), Vivian Stringer (Rutgers) and a host of other college coaches kept everyone focused.
The Full Court Fresh 50 Invitational was sponsored by the Mall of Georgia Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, with supporting sponsors Under Armour and Ignition APG. Event partners were the Atlanta Dream, Warfield Media, SnapNFrame and Elev8 Ganon Baker Basketball.