Thursday, October 15, 2020

6TH ANNUAL EST FALL SHOWCASE: Full Info W/ Registration Links

*** THIS EVENT IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT AS OF OCTOBER 20!!! SUBMITTING REGISTRATION WILL ENSURE A SPOT ON THE WAITING LIST. I will contact you directly through the email listed on the form after submission for further communication and/or instruction, as there usually are at least a few that back out over time. I'm also trying to avoid the process of taking payment & refunding if space doesn't open up, so if you haven't already registered... DO NOT PAY THROUGH PAYPAL UNLESS I SAY YOU CAN!!! Thank you for your understanding! ***


Site: Riverfront Sports Complex (AKA Backcourt Hoops); Scranton, PA
Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020
Times: 2:30-5:30 PM (Session 1), 6:00-9:00 PM (Session 2) - athlete's choice, first-come first-serve
Cost: $80
For: Classes of 2021-2024
Registration Form (completed & submitted online):
PayPal payment link ($83 if PayPal due to service charge)

Didn't think I'd be able to make one of these posts this year... but here we are!

EST events have been a wash in 2020 to this point due to COVID and NY's restriction on indoor athletics as a whole. After some thought and a lot of inquiry about the annual fall event, I decided to try & make it happen across state lines in PA... thanks to the crew at Riverfront Sports Complex, that's become a reality.

The 6th Annual EST Fall Showcase will take place on Saturday, November 7 in the afternoon & evening hours at Riverfront, located not far off the highway in Scranton, PA. Session times will run from 2:30-5:30 & 6:00-9:00, and the event is open to girls in the 2021-2024 classes.

Reese Vaughan putting it on the deck at the 2019 EST Fall Showcase. Reese, a standout 2021 from the Binghamton area and multi-year participant at both the Fall Showcase & Summer Kickoff, is committed to Division I NJIT.

Each session includes a heavy dose of controlled, competitive 3v3 & 5v5 play along with an individual skill work session. The format is constructed to allow players to show their ability in a variety of outlets. With the combination of those three specific pieces, it provides a chance to not only get noticed and compete with & against many of the region's best players, but also to get better in the process! The skill work has typically been coordinated by current or former collegiate coaches, and alongside the traditional 5v5 action, 3v3 play has been noted by many attending college coaches as extremely beneficial in the evaluation process.

College coaches, scouting services, and basketball-specific media outlets from throughout the greater region will be invited to attend. Along with that, all 3v3 & 5v5 play will be recorded with game film easily accessible directly after the event - extremely important given our current situation in 2020 and many college programs facing travel limitations or freezes. EST events have always been geared toward providing maximum exposure for all of its participants, and by adjusting to the times and 'finding a way', this year will be no different.

Now to bring up the elephant in the room... COVID. It's obviously a concern for many, and rightfully so. Even though I've been traveling the last couple months, considering my family medical history and living a life around immunocompromised people (which has been well-documented this year), it will always be a thought that weighs heavily on me. This is why I haven't made a push to do anything in 2020 until now, whether it be outdoors in NY or indoors anywhere else. If I'm doing it, I'm going to control what can be controlled and make it as safe & low-risk as possible. Sterilizing benches between 5v5 games, sterilizing basketballs, limiting the amount of people at one court or basket as much as possible and amount of court to court traffic, utilizing separate doors at different parts of the building for entrance & exit... no stone will go unturned. Also, in the few times I've been to Riverfront Sports this year, I think they've done a fantastic job running a tight ship and providing as safe & secure of an environment as possible. If the concern is too great for someone to participate, I completely understand and always will. However, I'll make sure to be as thorough as possible to help provide the safest possible setting.

Maddisyn Mahoney finishing at the rim at the 2019 EST Fall Showcase. Maddi, a Capital Region standout and longtime EST participant (Summer League, Summer Kickoff, Fall Showcase), is committed to Division I Fairleigh Dickinson.

A total of 155 players from the Classes of 2016-2020 that participated in EST one-day showcase events have moved on to play at the college level - the vast majority of those from 2018-2020 as EST events have moved forward. They span all levels of college basketball, from Power 5 conferences at the highest levels of D1 ball to nearly every D3 conference in the Northeast. In addition, 22 members of the Class of 2021 have committed to play at the next level so far - 17 of them to D1 programs. As D3 prospects begin to commit, that cumulative number will skyrocket. A full list is always available upon request. In short, the level of competition at this & all EST events is strong, and prospects of all levels have proven themselves on event day. Will you be next?

I anticipate this year's installment of the EST Fall Showcase to fill up quickly. My advice: don't wait until the last minute to register! This event has sold out the last two years and the waiting list was nearly 20 deep last fall. I don't want to have to turn people away, but my goal has always been to maximize the benefit & experience which means to limit participants... and that sentiment is only amplified this year. A player list will be added to this post soon and will be updated daily. If there are any questions, feel free to contact me directly. Hope to see you in Scranton on November 7! UPDATE... AS OF OCTOBER 20, THE EVENT HAS SOLD OUT AGAIN!

Anna Eng bringing it up at the 2019 EST Fall Showcase. Anna, a Hudson Valley standout in the 2021 class, made her EST debut at this event. She's committed to Division I Fairfield.


Jenalyse Alarcon (5'9", 2021)
Brianna Basile (5'7", 2021)
Dezia Becker (5'2", 2021)
Taylor Brenneman (5'7", 2021)
Morgan Brewer (5'10", 2021)
Molly Brophy (5'11", 2021)
Rylee Carpenter (5'11", 2021)
Laycee Drake (5'6", 2021)
Syrita Faraj (5'8", 2021)
Jenna Faulkner (5'10", 2021)
KJ Gordon (5'3", 2021)
Jenna Granger (5'9", 2021)
Zavia Jaime (5'8", 2021)
Anna Jankovic (5'9", 2021)
Sarah Lanphear (5'11", 2021)
Julia Mann (5'9", 2021)
Sarah Mattfeld (5'10", 2021)
Katie Moravec (5'6", 2021)
Kelly Moravec (5'6", 2021)
Lauren Petrie (5'8", 2021)
Aysia Pink (5'9", 2021)
Sidney Tomasso (5'10", 2021)
Delimar Vega-Haley (5'7", 2021)
Emily Wentworth (5'10", 2021)
Alexandra Bednarczyk (6'0", 2022)
Alexis Belrose (5'5", 2022)
Taylor Benjamin (5'8", 2022)
Kayleigh Bryant (5'10", 2022)
Kayla Campbell (5'10", 2022)
Marissa Campbell (5'10", 2022)
Kaelah Carter (5'7", 2022)
Anaya Coleman (5'6", 2022)
Catherine Dadey (5'8", 2022)
Emily Delisle (5'6", 2022)
Melanie DeMeo (5'7", 2022)
Margaret Dougher (5'7", 2022)
Bella Doyle (5'10", 2022)
Stasia Epler (5'8", 2022)
Hannah Ferguson (5'8", 2022)
Lauren Filien (6'0", 2022)
Morgan Giancaterino (5'9", 2022)
Mackenzie Hess (5'3", 2022)
Jillian Huerter (5'11", 2022)
Sydney Huhtala (5'10", 2022)
Teagan Kamm (6'1", 2022)
Adrien LaMora (5'11", 2022)
Alexandra Levine (5'10", 2022)
Sylvia Liddle (5'11", 2022)
Maren Louridas (6'0", 2022)
Alexa Lucia (5'2", 2022)
Ashlyn Marron (6'0", 2022)
Kortney McCarthy (5'9", 2022)
Maddie Meyer (5'5", 2022)
Arianna Myers (5'11", 2022)
Kate Peek (5'10", 2022)
Jackie Piddock (5'8", 2022)
Claire Pikett (6'0", 2022)
Abby Rice (5'11", 2022)
Kristin Riggs (5'8", 2022)
Vivian Sanchez (5'7", 2022)
Ruby Santos (5'11", 2022)
Carly Scott (5'3", 2022)
Jenna Sloan (5'9", 2022)
Kyla Smith (5'4", 2022)
Morgan Tompkins (5'10", 2022)
Macie Trimarchi (5'10", 2022)
Giavanna White Principio (6'0", 2022)
Alexis Wright (6'0", 2022)
Jalea Abrams (5'9", 2023)
Madalyn Barrows (5'8", 2023)
Sophie Bissaillon (5'10", 2023)
Molly Boek (5'11", 2023)
Hannah Bonczkowski (5'8", 2023)
Janay Brantley (5'11", 2023)
Brianna Carey (5'7", 2023)
Maya Carpenter (5'6", 2023)
Ella Chandler (5'11", 2023)
Natasha Chudy (6'2", 2023)
Karly Fischer (6'2", 2023)
Isabella Franchi (5'8", 2023)
Isabella Gilmore (5'10", 2023)
Kaylee Krysztof (5'8", 2023)
Ariana Kupi (5'11", 2023)
Kaetlyn L'amoreaux (5'6", 2023)
MacKenna LaBarge (5'6", 2023)
Lauren LaFountain (5'4", 2023)
Jazlynn Logan (5'7", 2023)
Madison Lusk (5'6", 2023)
Amya McLeod (5'6", 2023)
Kaleigh Montanez (5'11", 2023)
Norah Niesz (5'7", 2023)
Schuylar Nolan (5'4", 2023)
Ava Pearson (5'5", 2023)
Maddy Ramsgard (5'5", 2023)
Emma Simmons (5'5", 2023)
Clara Strack (6'3", 2023)
Amarah Streiff (5'11", 2023)
Hannah VanDerzee (5'9", 2023)
Jaiden Williams (5'8", 2023)
Nevaeh Wingate (5'11", 2023)
Katie Boyd (5'5", 2024)
Natalie Bush (5'6", 2024)
Sierra Carter (5'7", 2024)
Ellie Cerf (5'4", 2024)
Ellie Clearwater (5'6", 2024)
Ella Corry (5'8", 2024)
Katie Cunningham (5'4", 2024)
Sydney Delisle (5'2", 2024)
Myanna Faraj (5'8", 2024)
Adriana Fontana (5'6", 2024)
Makana Gardner (6'1", 2024)
Kyla Hayes (6'0", 2024)
Taylor Holohan (5'10", 2024)
Amaia Jackson (5'7", 2024)
Lena Lipani (5'10", 2024)
Alexandra Moses (5'8", 2024)
Emily Mountain (5'7", 2024)
Allison O'Hanlon (5'8", 2024)
Mackenzie Owens (5'8", 2024)
Adrianna Rojas (5'7", 2024)
Aniya Rowe (5'8", 2024)
Sophia Serravillo (5'8", 2024)
Hailey Shalor (5'7", 2024)
Audrey Shields (5'11", 2024)
Marisa Smith (5'10", 2024)
Allison Stank (5'9", 2024)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Back to the Nook: Hoop Group Spooky Nook Jam Fest Notes & Standouts

Another weekend, another Spooky Nook trip. My 5th trip to the 717 in 8 weeks was for the Hoop Group Spooky Nook Jam Fest, an event in the HGSL circuit - a well-established avenue for boys' basketball that has recently jumped into the girls' end. This stop included plenty of teams & programs from my coverage region, more than enough to keep me attached to a court from start to finish.

The event started with a light Friday evening, with some teams getting their first game in over the three time slots. Saturday was a marathon in itself, with 11 time slots spanning 8:00 AM to approximately 10:15 PM, and Sunday started early again & went into the evening. Because I had over 25 teams in my primary coverage region to try & catch over 22 time slots, this post will mainly focus on players from that region (think the 315, 518, 570, 585, 607, 716, 845, 914 area codes for the sake of this tournament).

Kylie Lavelle, one of the 570's finest, made her presence felt with NEPA Elite.

In case anyone's checking, these were my primary games and the ones I'm going off of for the comments below:

Electric City Surge 2021: vs. Utica Lady Knicks and Syracuse Royals 2022s
Elmira Fusion 2021: vs. Keystone Karma and Utica Lady Knicks
Elmira Fusion 2022: vs. New Hope Academy - Daley
Empire 2022: vs. I-90 Elite Pinkerton 2022
Empire 2024: vs. I-90 Elite
I-90 Elite Wright 2021: vs. NEPA Elite - Clark and NJ Belles - Fagan
I-90 Elite Pinkerton 2021: vs. Team Lady Push and Havoc Blue
I-90 Elite Pinkerton 2022: vs. NJ Shoreshots and Empire
I-90 Elite Goode 2022: vs. Team Miller and NEPA Elite
I-90 Elite 2023: vs. NY Havoc
I-90 Elite 2024: vs. Empire and NY Havoc
Keystone Karma 2021: vs. Elmira Fusion
NEPA Elite Clark: vs. I-90 Elite Wright 2021 and New Hope Academy - Caldwell
NEPA Elite Genco: vs. Team Miller
NEPA Elite Lewis: vs. Jersey Shore Rebels
NEPA Elite 2022: vs. I-90 Elite Goode
NY Havoc Blue: vs. I-90 Elite Pinkerton 2021 and Crown Lightning
NY Havoc 2023 Silver: vs. LI Lightning Flynn and I-90 Elite
NY Havoc 2024 Silver: vs. I-90 Elite
Syracuse Royals 2021: vs. Team Miller
Syracuse Royals 2022: vs. PV Thunder and Electric City Surge
Syracuse Royals 2024: vs. Mid-Atlantic Magic
Utica Lady Knicks 2021: vs. Electric City Surge and Elmira Fusion

Some players that caught my eye with their play at the Nook:

Jalea Abrams (5'8" PG, Elmira 2023; Elmira Fusion) - Jalea, already a well-known player in the Southern Tier, put her game on display in a 4-0 weekend for the Fusion. In the one I saw, a blowout W, she fueled her team's transition O with both her scoring ability & court vision. She pushed at every opportunity. When the ball wasn't stopped, she didn't stop and looked to score. When they made an effort to stop the ball, she got it where it needed to be. She also showed the vision & ability to hit teammates early in transition with the long advance pass. In the half-court, she got room to fire and made the defense pay, hitting threes & pull-up midrange Js. Defensively, she plays more like 5'11" than her listed 5'8" with her superior length & athleticism and uses active hands to get deflections. Another good weekend for one of the 607's top up-and-comers.

Jenalyse Alarcon (5'9" WF, Troy 2021; NY Havoc) - Jenalyse is the queen of standing out by doing all the little things. She often fills a stat sheet with her contributions and makes winning plays that don't show up in the box score, and I thought she brought the tool box with her when I was able to see her Havoc squad play. She scored in different ways - around the rim off basket cuts, rolls to the rim, or offensive boards, drives from the perimeter, threes & long twos off the catch, and in transition. She battled on the glass at both ends, often grabbing rebounds out of her area or among bigger players. She showed the ability to defend multiple positions and, as usual, she played with a relentless motor and made hustle plays. In my eyes, Jenalyse is one of upstate NY's top uncommitted 2021s; whoever gets her at the next level, above all else, is getting a winner.

Meghan Andersen (6'0" WF, Our Lady of Mercy Academy 2023; LI Lightning) - Meghan previously caught my eye at the NYG Hoops event in July, and she put her assets on display once again in the one Lightning game that I caught. She's a long, fluid athlete that covers a lot of ground quickly. Her defensive impact is wide-ranging. She reads eyes well, jumps passing lanes, and turns D into transition O. She can block shots. She defends multiple positions. All in all, she's a defensive playmaker. She also showed the offensive versatility - tough in transition, deceptively quick off the dribble & can get to the rim, and also hit a three off the catch. Meghan's ceiling is very high and should have her share of D1 suitors in years to come.

Meghan Andersen (Our Lady of Mercy Academy 2023; LI Lightning)

Kiara Anglin (6'0" WG, Brighton 2022; Syracuse Royals) - Kiara has a high ceiling & great deal of upside, and she showed flashes of that throughout the weekend, particularly in a Saturday morning victory. She's an athletic wing that often makes the most impact on defense, which she did in this game by jumping passing lanes and turning people over. However, the shot was the star in this performance. She got hot from deep and teammates recognized it, eventually knocking down 4 in the 2nd half off the catch. This isn't the first time I've seen her get it going from the perimeter, and she becomes a can't miss upstate NY target in the 2022 class if that piece gets consistently added to her athleticism & natural tools. Kiara's another one in the Rochester area with D1 potential in the 2022 class.

Jenna Beach (5'5" G, North Pocono (PA) 2021; NEPA Elite Lewis) - I've watched Jenna several times in the last couple months and she hasn't disappointed once. This showing was no different, as she made her presence felt from the jump. The PG showed quickness off the dribble with the ability to get downhill going either direction. Over the course of the game, she showed the ability to either finish at the rim among the bigs or stretch the D with the perimeter J. She also kept her head up on drives and would hit the open teammate if she drew additional defenders.

Janay Brantley (5'10" G, Catskill 2023; NY Havoc) - I've posted numerous times on social media about Janay being as much improved over the last year as anyone that I cover, and she continued to show that meteoric rise over the weekend at Spooky Nook. I watched her Havoc team twice, and different things stuck out each game. First, it was the three-level scoring ability with a pure shooting stroke from three & midrange, an in-between game with short range floaters in her arsenal, or the ability to get all the way to the rim going either way. In the second game, her court vision in transition gave teammates layups, and she turned it up some notches on the defensive end, using her length & athleticism to keep a quick, impactful guard from getting paint touches. Janay's become one of upstate NY's finest in the 2023 class and will undoubtedly be a priority recruit for plenty of D1s in years to come.

Janay Brantley (Catskill 2023; NY Havoc)

Morgan Brewer (5'10" WG, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 2021; Utica Lady Knicks) - Although ULK was on the losing end of both games that I watched, Morgan once again made it perfectly clear that she could be an impact player at the next level. Her versatile scoring ability makes her tough to defend - she can stroke it from the perimeter and get to spots off the dribble, particularly in the midrange where she can rise over the top, but she can also take smaller matchups into the post and finish around the rim or with a turnaround jumper. She showed all of that in both games. A natural wing, Morgan has to play more of a forward spot as the biggest player on her team, and she again showed willingness to mix it up and be physical with the bigs. Her ability to produce offensively in the half-court is the shining part of her game to me, though. Not nearly as many players are half-court producers as they are in transition, and every winning team needs players with that ability - she has that, and that with the versatility should make her all the more enticing to college coaches.

Meghan Casey (5'9" G, Ursuline 2022; Empire State Blue Flames) - I only got to see the Empire 2022s once, on the 2nd half of a Sunday AM back-to-back, but Meghan definitely made her presence felt despite the tired legs that many were sporting. She can play on or off the ball and packed a scoring punch that her team needed in that game. The shooting stroke is pure - she shot the perimeter J well and hit threes off the catch & using ball screens. She also showed the ability to play off the shot, going off the bounce and finishing at the rim and with a short range floater going to her left. Overall, Meghan's a skilled guard with decent size, IQ, and capability of scoring in different ways.

Shay Ciezki (5'7" PG, St. Mary's Lancaster 2022; I-90 Elite) - Shay, who continues to pile onto her list of D1 offers, was one of the best guards in the gym this weekend. Already a standout with offers from mid-majors up to Power 5s going into this year, she's continued to make strides forward in her overall development. She's dangerous off the dribble and can break the D down consistently, and she's equally adept at finishing at the rim herself or creating for others. The midrange game is consistently there, she's a knockdown perimeter shooter, on-ball D is always strong... physically, there's no holes in Shay's game. I think the biggest growth she flaunted, though, relates to the mental piece. She's a vocal presence at the PG, understands the game, reads plays before they happen, picks her spots well, and is a thermostat on the court that helps set the tone for her team. Shay's as good as they come in my coverage region in the 2022 class.

Shay Ciezki (St. Mary's Lancaster 2022; I-90 Elite)

Anaya Coleman (5'7" PG, Pittsford Mendon 2022; Syracuse Royals) - Anaya, a Rochester area standout that recently picked up her 1st D1 offer, is one of the most skilled PGs in upstate NY. Must-see TV with the ball in her hands, she's electric with the handle, effective at getting to her spots, and adept at creating for herself or for teammates. She has the IQ and discipline to excel in the 5v5 game, but she can dance on the defense in a 1v1 situation just as well. Anaya's value really showed up on the offensive end in their last game, a physical contest that her Royals squad didn't start well. In the matter of 90 seconds late in the 1st half, she hit a deep pull-up three, zipped a 35 foot pass to a streaking teammate, and then drove right and finished over a crowd with a floater. Three-level scoring ability, crafty finisher at the rim, tight handle, good court vision, and fun to watch - Anaya checks the boxes and showed it all over the weekend.

Jess Cook (6'2" F, Cicero-North Syracuse 2021 & Toledo commit; I-90 Elite) - It's nice for a team to have both one of the best guards and one of the best forwards in an event. Already brought up the I-90 guard... now it's Jess' turn. Already one of upstate NY's top bigs, she clearly spent the spring/summer down time working, and it shows. Her consistently high motor, activity rate, and good mobility to go with the size & strength make her a monster around the rim at both ends. She grabbed boards in & out of her area at both ends, ran the floor hard seemingly every position, finished well around the rim and scored in the post. The improved mobility allowed her to step out & guard stretch forwards on the perimeter. Jess showed, in no uncertain terms, that she's become a truly dominant force.

Alicia Goldenziel (5'10" WF, North Pocono (PA) 2021; Electric City Surge) - This event was the first time I saw Scranton-based Electric City Surge or any of its players, and Goldenziel caught my eye for them from early in the first of two games that I saw. She slid across the basketball spectrum for them, going from the post to the wing and then playing on the ball some, and she also defended that array of positions, showing her versatility. She's decently athletic, showed a good midrange game with the ability to hit the 15'-18' jumper either off the dribble or off the catch (high post against a zone). She also showed a little explosiveness, getting to the rim off the dribble a few times. Good overall showing for Alicia, who helped her team go 3-1 on the weekend.

Alicia Goldenziel (North Pocono (PA) 2021; Electric City Surge)

Kaia Goode (5'3" PG, Bishop Kearney 2022; I-90 Elite) - The steady, consistent presence of Kaia running the PG helped lead her I-90 squad to success in the two games I was able to watch. 5'3" stature with 6'3" court presence, you seemingly always know what to expect with her. She controlled the tempo at the PG spot and didn't let the defense speed her up or slow her down. When given room, she consistently knocked down the three off the catch with college range. When she got downhill - and she has a quick burst that allows her to get paint touches - she flashed the in-between game, hitting a couple floaters over bigs closing in. Her combination of court vision, ballhandling ability, and IQ allows her to get the ball where it needs to be - whether it's getting to the spot herself or carving space with the bounce & finding a teammate. All winning qualities, a key reason why her I-90 squad went 4-0 on the weekend.

Caitlin Gresko (5'11" F, Howell (NJ) 2021; Jersey Shore Rebels) - Since I don't cover New Jersey, I wasn't familiar with Caitlin before this summer. However, she's another player that I've been able to see a few times this summer and left impressed each time, Friday included. She really got loose in the 2nd half, taking advantage of different matchups and scoring in different ways - drive & finish from the perimeter, a corner three, transition buckets, and a tough turnaround 12' jumper - as they broke out and gained separation in an eventual win. Caitlin has a strong build and is deceptively athletic with good speed/quickness & bounce, and she has perimeter and post skill - played more of a forward here, but she definitely could play at the wing too. Overall, a very solid performance.

Kayleigh Heckel (5'7" PG, Port Chester 2024; Empire State Blue Flames) - Kayleigh, already a standout with early D1 offers including a Power 5 program, made her return to the Empire lineup in her first tournament out of the handful I've seen them at. Her presence was definitely felt in the one game I was able to catch. In a battle that was close at halftime, she got it going in the 2nd half offensively and helped spring her squad to a 55-33 victory. She showed skill & craftiness with the ball in her hands, as she was able to break defenders down off the bounce and found her way to the rim around bigs once she got in the paint. When she got room on the perimeter, she showed the range with a consistent shooting stroke. I'm looking forward to watching this group some more as Kayleigh works back into action.

Leana Heitmann (6'1" WF, CBA Syracuse 2021; I-90 Elite) - Watching Leana in the past, it was clear that she had upside, but she's turned some of that potential into reality lately while blossoming into a legitimate scholarship level prospect. At 6'1" with her frame and skill set, she translates perfectly to a college-level stretch 4, though she can also play at the wing some. Her stroke is pure from deep, and she showed the ability to knock it down with consistency either off the catch or a rhythm dribble with range stretching to 25'. The range has always been there with her though; the most noticeable improvements have been made in her ability to play off the shot and willingness to put it on the floor & attack. Time and time again, she attacked poor closeouts or open areas with the dribble, and she finished with midrange pull-ups going both right & left, a couple runners in the lane, and a few finishes at the rim. She's also more willing to mix it up physically around the rim. She's recently earned a couple D2 offers, and at this rate, I think she'll quickly develop into an impact player at the college level.

Leana Heitmann (CBA Syracuse 2021; I-90 Elite)

Sydney Huhtala (5'10" WG, Baldwinsville 2022; I-90 Elite) - Sydney, who's started to make more of a name for herself in the last year, flourished this weekend as a utility player that can do a bit of everything. She brings it on the defensive end and has the ability to guard multiple positions & limit high-level offensive talent with discipline and decent length & athleticism. Offensively, she showed little pieces of everything in her scoring arsenal - capable shooter off the catch if given space, some post game, short/midrange jumpers, finishes at the rim with either hand - but perhaps the gold star of her offensive production is her ability to play off the ball & move without it. She seemingly got layup after layup on cuts - not a coincidence. Syd understands how to play the game without the ball in her hands, when/where to cut, and it makes her indispensable part of a team with other good players.

Kaci Kranson (5'10" G, Holy Cross (PA) 2022; NEPA Elite Genco) - Kaci's a skilled scorer that can play on or off the ball and knows how to manufacture points in the half-court & in transition. She plays with confidence and has a scorer's mentality, and she can fill it up in different ways. When given space, she knocked down the three, and when guarded close, she was able to drop the shoulder & get downhill, particularly going right. She also did well with picking spots of when to leak out in transition in the one game that I watched, and that helped generate easy buckets for her team in an eventual runaway W. That ability plus good positional size & room to continue developing makes Kaci someone to keep an eye on.

Adrien LaMora (5'11" WF, Indian River 2022; Syracuse Royals) - Skill & toughness don't always go hand-in-hand on a basketball court, but there's a happy marriage of the two attributes in Adrien's game. She showed both sides in the two Royals games I caught, both wins. She can play at the wing, in the post, or as a stretch 4, and she showed scoring ability in all roles with a back-to-basket & face-up post game, perimeter shooting stroke, and the ability to play off the perimeter J and hit the 1-2 dribble midrange pull-up. In the first game, it started with the three, hitting three of them early, and then she took smaller matchups into the post. In the second game, which was more of a rugby scrum than a basketball game at times, she was up for all the physicality and battled around the rim. She was also a strong & physical presence on the glass throughout for them.

Adrien LaMora (Indian River 2022; Syracuse Royals)

Kylie Lavelle (6'1" WF, Riverside (PA) 2022; NEPA Elite Clark) - Kylie, a recent addition to this NEPA group that brings her own D1 following to the mix, has already taken the team to another level with her athleticism & versatility. She took advantage of different matchups during the two NEPA games I saw, taking guards into the post and dragging forwards out to the perimeter, either blowing by & finishing off the dribble or hitting the catch & shoot three. She also turned them up a notch in transition, using elite athleticism to get out, run, and finish at the rim. Kylie, who's already the real deal now, has tremendous upside and I think has plenty of room for potential growth.

Jackie Piddock (5'8" PG, South Jefferson 2022; NY Havoc) - Whether she's the one scoring or not, Jackie seemed to usually have an impact on the scoreboard when she played. She showcased her exceptional court vision and nearly unmatched basketball IQ at the PG spot, consistently making good reads in transition and in their half-court sets. She was able to get the ball to teammates on time & on target, and when it was time to call her own number, she made that happen as well. She got to the rim & finished going either direction and hit a couple threes when the defense played off or went under a screen. Her IQ & awareness also came through on the defensive end, as she did a good job in one particular game keeping an athletic guard from turning the corner & getting paint touches, something she had done plenty of to that point. Jackie's often playing chess when others are playing checkers, and after some time settling in, I thought she showed some of that at the Nook.

Bella Pucci (5'7" PG, Fairport 2023; I-90 Elite) - I've seen the Rochester area up-and-comer have more eye-popping performances in the past, but she made plenty of impact without the highlights in the game I watched of her 2023 team. The quick PG wasn't able to get as many paint touches as usual vs. a long & athletic Havoc defense, but she got to spots that allowed her team to run offense while keeping turnovers down, a tall task against them. On a rare occasion where she got room, she showed the stroke by banging a three in a big 2nd half moment. She crashed the glass from the guard spot and kept numerous possessions alive, grabbing a handful of offensive rebounds, and she turned defense into offense by jumping passing lanes & getting a few steals, a couple turning into layups. It was the ultimate 'little things' game for Bella, and making all the important non-standout plays made her stand out.

Bella Pucci (Fairport 2023; I-90 Elite)

Kaeli Romanowski (5'4" PG, Western Wayne (PA) 2022; NEPA Elite Clark) - Kaeli made her presence felt in both NEPA games that I watched on the defensive end, a calling card of hers. Her speed, quickness, and high compete level make her a fantastic on-ball defender against opposing guards, and she did well to limit elite guards in both contests. In the second game, she added an efficient offensive contribution in big 2nd half minutes, showing not only that she could put pressure on the D by getting downhill & getting to the line, but also the ability to shoot the three when given space. On a team with three backcourt players currently D1 committed or with D1 offers, Kaeli's contributions may bubble a little under the radar sometimes, but they've never been more apparent than at this event.

Amarah Streiff (5'11" WF, Bishop Ludden 2023; I-90 Elite) - The Syracuse area standout made the most of her opportunities in the one I-90 2023 game that I paid full attention to. She was efficient, scoring in double figures while not taking too many shots & really not getting that many touches, and the different ways she scored showed her development from a powerful forward into a versatile offensive weapon. She hit a couple threes off the catch, attacked the rim from the perimeter off the dribble, scored in the post, and added points on offensive rebounds. Amarah's still as strong as they come and will bang around the rim with anyone, but the development of her all-around offensive game makes her a tough matchup for most teams.

Sidney Tomasso (5'10" WG, Waverly 2021; Elmira Fusion) - Sidney's been a main breakout performer among upstate New Yorkers in 2020, and she further cemented that tag in the two Fusion games I saw here. She made major impact in both games, which were two different styles - the first a half-court grind of a 38-34 W, the following much more uptempo as they pulled away for a 66-52 victory. What Sid brought to the equation was steady - she's a difference maker at both ends. In the first game, she showed the ability to shoot off the catch & off of dribble moves along with good defensive versatility. She went off in the second game - threes off the catch including a 25 footer, attacking the rim off the dribble & finishing, turning D into transition O, getting to the line - all to the tune of 33 points. She showed her worth on the defensive end again as well, doing a good job on the opponent's best player in the 2nd half as they turned a 2 point lead into a 12 point win. All-in-all, a fluid athlete with length, skill, and toughness to compete consistently at both ends, and I think about as underrated and perhaps under the radar as they come in upstate New York.

Sidney Tomasso (Waverly 2021; Elmira Fusion)

Ciera Toomey (6'3" WF, Dunmore (PA) 2023; NEPA Elite Clark) - Ciera, as a 2023, is a focal point of one of the best 2021 teams in my coverage region and for good reason. She already brings just about anything you could ask for from a skill perspective - post & perimeter versatility, three-level scoring & the ability to create for others, rim protecting, rebounding, you name it - Ciera's a rare breed. She put that offensive skill set on display, taking advantage of different matchups in the two NEPA games I watched, and really showed off good footwork in the post & a refined midrange game. She did a better job inviting contact around the rim here and spent a lot of time at the line because of it. Defensively, she's already proven her value as a rim protector, but she showed that length & timing even makes her a good shot blocker against taller players. Another weekend, another great showing for arguably the top 2023 that I cover. Expect her to have her share of Power 5s in the mix in the very near future.

Hannah VanDerzee (5'9" WF, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2023; NY Havoc) - Hannah's another player that stands out by doing the little things. She's a Swiss army knife on the court with her overall versatility - has the ability to guard multiple positions and will fill different roles on the offensive end. Where Hannah made her mark when I watched them was her impact in the transition game and her innate ability to play off of other players. She runs the floor hard on every possession and knows how to move without the ball, and she got several layups by excelling with those two things. At one point, she even grabbed a defensive rebound, led the break herself and finished around a defender at the rim. Hannah also showed a little post game and the ability to finish with either hand. She's starting to make her mark as a plug-and-play utility sort of player.

Hannah VanDerzee (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2023; NY Havoc)

Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott (6'1" F, Brookfield 2021; Syracuse Royals) - Jaelyn - who's been on my radar since junior high - came out of the pandemic break looking better than ever. In the one Royals game I caught, it was a balanced effort in the books that helped them to a win, but Jae's contributions and all-around game were noticeable. She was active on the glass, particularly on the offensive end where she kept several possessions alive in the 1st half. She maintained a high level of activity at both ends throughout the game, showing an improved motor. She also showed the soft touch around the rim and post game offensively, finishing around the rim with either hand & putting in a lefty jump hook. Jaelyn, who comes from one of NY's smallest schools in Brookfield, has the potential to be an impact player at the collegiate level.

Ella Wanzer (5'10" WG, Amherst 2021 & Binghamton commit; I-90 Elite) - Lighting up the gym & hanging 28 on a very good team should probably get you on this list, right? Agreed. When Ella gets going, she's perhaps the most dangerous scorer in my coverage region, and she was firing on all cylinders in an OT battle vs. NEPA Elite. With good positional size and a lightning quick release, she was able to get the perimeter J off - and knock it down (5 treys in that game) - over a good contest. She did well playing off the shot & going off the bounce too, showing the midrange game with the pull-up jumper, in-between game with the floater - including a short range one to send the game to OT - and the ability to get all the way to the rim & finish with either hand. Whatever it was, Ella had it clicking, and she showed not only why she's such an electric player now, but how her elite scoring ability can translate to the America East in coming years.

Kennedy Westbrook (5'5" PG, Waverly 2023; Elmira Fusion) - I've seen Kennedy a handful of times over the last couple months, but she really started catching my eye when dropping from the Fusion's 2021 team down to 2022 when their old unit got back together. The quick, athletic PG has really come into her own over the last couple tournaments, and she showed more strides at this event. She's scrappy, competes at a high level, and the motor & athleticism help make her a nuisance defensively. On O, she's quick off the bounce and gets to the rim, particularly going right, and she's also proving herself as a capable perimeter shooting threat. In my eyes, her growth in the last several weeks alone has been tremendous.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Back in Action: Scrimmage in the 607 Notes

Due to state regulations, nearly every weekend since early July has been spent out of New York for basketball events, so when the opportunity arose to watch some NY teams in action within state borders, it was a no-brainer to make the trip. I was able to spend the midday hours Saturday at a round robin scrimmage in the Binghamton area. The controlled event featured four teams, two coming from the host Alpha Tier Athletics program and the other two making the trip from the 518 - one being The Athenas, a new program with several recognizable local names coached by Eric Fluty, and the other a group of some of the area's notable 2023s. Here's a few players that stood out during game play on Saturday:

Brianna Beebe (5'10" WG, Newark Valley 2021; Alpha Tier Athletics) - Bri can be a lethal shooter when she starts to get it going, and the shot was falling on Saturday. She shot the three at a high percentage off the catch in both games, got it off quickly & shot it with confidence. She was also able to play off the perimeter jumper with a pull-up midrange J going to her left, and she got out and scored in transition as well. Good positional size, a stronger frame, and the ability to stretch the D will go a long way in making her an asset at the collegiate level.

Kayla Campbell (5'10" G, Franklin 2022; Alpha Tier Athletics) - Kayla, a longtime Oneonta area standout, is a new addition to the ATA fold. She didn't score much over the two games, but considering how much she does that at the high school level, it was good to see the impact she made on the court without scoring. Offensively, she can play both on or off the ball. She's unselfish, has decent basketball IQ, and moves pretty well without the ball. Even in a small sample set, she showed the ability to score in different ways. She also has good defensive awareness, showing it by making several good reads off the ball or in help D position, getting deflections/steals & making good rotations to prevent easy buckets. All-in-all, I thought they went up a level at both ends with her on the court.

Kayla Campbell (Franklin 2022)

Brianna Carey (5'6" G, Shenendehowa 2023) - Bri, who saw minutes as a freshman on Shenendehowa's Section 2 Class AA champion squad, is showing improvement on the ball - welcome growth for someone previously known more as a sniper. She still showed the shooting ability here, but ballhandling, court vision, and decision making with the ball in her hands were all notably sound in her team's two victories. In their second game, Bri was also making plays defensively, causing turnovers and turning them into transition opportunities. She's showing developments in the areas of her game that I thought were important for her to do so offensively, a good sign as she enters her sophomore year.

Natasha Chudy (6'2" F, Saratoga Springs 2023) - Tash, already a standout in the 518 and one of the top/most skilled forwards in her class in upstate NY, battled through a tough shooting start in their opener to make big plays by the end of it and then dominate offensively in their second game. She had righty & lefty finishes at the rim along with a handful of free throws in the latter moments of their first game, one in which they overcame a 20+ point deficit to come back and win. There was no 'off' to speak of in their second game though, as Tash scored in just about any way you could ask. Whether it was righty or lefty finishes in the post, the face-up game with drives or midrange Js, a couple threes off the catch, or running the floor and catching & finishing in transition, she emptied the bag to the tune of 29 points (by game film count - 20 1st half). With the skill, mobility, and some added strength over pandemic time as well, Chudy should wind up with her share of D1 suitors in years to come.

Natasha Chudy (Saratoga Springs 2023)

Laycee Drake (5'6" PG, Hancock 2021 & UMBC commit; Alpha Tier Athletics) - 'Laycee being Laycee' or 'Laycee doing Laycee things' are lines that have come from my mouth dozens of times over the years... so pardon me as I use it again, but Saturday was no different. Laycee was the definition of a standout. She made her presence felt from start to finish with her play at both ends. Whether it was using the unrivaled athleticism to make plays at the rim or rip down rebounds among the bigs, showing the deep range on the jumper, making her defender test the brakes with the handle, or getting paint touches and showing great court vision & unselfishness to hit teammates, she showed a bit of everything in a great individual showing. One of the most decorated players in area history (and a stellar multi-sport athlete), she has one more year to make it happen with her Deposit/Hancock squad before moving onto D1 play in the America East with UMBC, where she committed in recent weeks.

Laycee Drake (Hancock 2021; UMBC commit)

Mackenzie Hess (5'3" PG, Norwich 2022; Alpha Tier Athletics) - In my eyes, Mackenzie has improved a bit over the last year and she showed some of those strides in game play at this event. She's a pass first PG that generally makes the right read and has pretty good court vision, but she can also make the defense pay if they don't stay honest on her. In typical Norwich fashion, she brings it every second - up big, down big, or close game, it was noticeable that she played hard and gave maximum effort every possession on the court.

Sydney Hoefs (5'8" PG, Amsterdam 2022; The Athenas) - For Syd - and anyone else in an Athena uniform - it wasn't big scoring numbers that caught my eye, as they had a very balanced offensive attack in both games. What I liked with Syd's performance is the reads she made on the ball. She seemingly always made the right read & decision - attack the rim right/left, pull up and shoot the midrange J, when to give it up & who to give it up to. Also, her length & quickness on the defensive end was a problem for guards on both opposing teams. She was a key piece of The Athenas' success applying full court man-to-man pressure. Solid day overall for Syd, one of the 518's better prospects in 2022.

Sarah Lanphear (5'10" WG, Chittenango 2021; Alpha Tier Athletics) - I've been able to watch Sarah a few times with her ATA group, and each time, she's looked a little better. She has good positional height & length at the wing, and she's a little stronger than she may look with her wiry frame, which allows her to mix it up around the rim. She's made strides with the jumper and has become a reliable perimeter shooter, hitting multiple threes off the catch in each game. Although she's more of an off-ball player, she also showed some more comfort making plays with the drive, going downhill with the left a few times and finishing at the rim or with a floater. My notes on Sarah from both games include the phrase 'getting better' - work is paying off, and it looks like she may be a late bloomer that can continue to develop into & through her college years.

Anna Lee (5'7" G, Johnstown 2021; The Athenas) - Anna was consistently solid at both ends through both of her team's games, perhaps the steadiest player in an Athena uniform. The three was falling, hitting a couple in each game while shooting a high percentage, and knocking them down both off the catch and showing the stepback too. Besides that, she showed the ability to generate scoring opportunities for others by attacking, drawing extra defenders, and hitting teammates on time & on target. I thought she made a major impact whenever she was in Saturday.

Anna Lee (Johnstown 2021)

Madison Meyer (5'5" G, Duanesburg 2022; The Athenas) - In many ways, you know what you're getting with Maddie when she's on the court, and that was no different here. She brings the effort, toughness, competitive edge, and leadership qualities every game - vocal enough that you can even hear her on the game film. Her productivity really picked up in their second game, which was by far the closest of the two as it went down to the final buzzer. She showed the range with a quick release & deep three off the catch, in-between game with a two-foot righty floater on a left drive, and turned defense into transition offense with a couple steals and layups or assists to layups. She was at her most productive when the game was its most competitive - definitely a difference maker for her squad.

Ava Pearson (5'5" PG, Colonie 2023) - Part of the beauty of Ava is that she really doesn't stand out - sounds backwards for a standout article, but work with me. She's steady, consistent, can be counted on to make the right play, keeps turnover numbers down while running the offense, and finds ways to impact a game even if it's not a box score night for her. This was particularly evident in their first game, one in which they fell behind by 20+ early before storming back to grab a win. The lefty PG showed the range with a couple threes to help keep them afloat, then helped lead the comeback with court vision & decision making, finding teammates with scoring opportunities while making the right reads & taking care of the ball. The effort culminated in a bucket to give them the lead for good late, playing off the shot & hitting a high-arcing lefty floater. Ava's another one that has clearly put in some work over the last few months, coming out of the spring/summer months looking noticeably stronger. This was just another showing with Ava making positive impact for her team.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Same Face, New Place: NYG Hoops 'Friday Night Lights' Takes Over PA

My first out-of-state basketball trip since pre-Rona times was for a familiar name & a familiar event, but not at a familiar place for the occasion. Tropical Storm Fay was no match for the Corolla, as I spent the evening at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA for the NYG Hoops Friday Night Lights event.

Approximately 150 players, spanning the Classes of 2021-2026, took the court in four separate sessions. The sessions were largely separated by graduating class – 2024-2026 in Session 1, 2023 in Session 2, mainly 2022s in Session 3, mainly 2021s in Session 4 – although some of the younger standouts took the court in the late session to mix it up with the older crew as well. The entire Northeast & Mid-Atlantic regions were represented, with players representing a stretch from Massachusetts to Georgia in the building.

Although it was impossible for one person to get a truly in-depth look at every player (time constraints make that impossible for any showcase, really), it was more than enough to observe a wide swath of players. Some general notes & thoughts from things that I personally saw:

Meghan Andersen (6’0”, Our Lady of Mercy 2023): Meghan made her presence felt consistently and showed versatility & the ability to impact a game in different ways. She showed both perimeter & mid-post abilities offensively and at first watch, it looked like she could play at the wing or as a 4. She’s a skilled player that showed a good midrange game, and her athleticism took over as her team got out in transition with her ability to run the floor hard & finish high around the rim. She looks like she has plenty of upside and could blossom into a high-level prospect. I look forward to catching this Long Island native in action again in the near future.

Ciara Croker (5’11”, The Ursuline School 2022): Ciara’s a forward that can play facing up or with her back to the basket, and although it can be difficult for forwards to stick out at individual exposure events sometimes, she did it with the intangibles. She played hard, was tough on the glass, and ran the floor with purpose, beating her matchup down the court more often than not. Her team had a lot of success in 5v5 play during her rotations, which I don’t think was a coincidence.

Ciara Croker (2022)
Aisha Dabo (6’1”, Forsyth Central (GA) 2021; UMass commit): It was my first time watching the UMass bound talent, and it didn’t take me long to decide that Aisha’s a quality get for them. At 6’1”, she showed two-way versatility with the ability to play on or off the ball and defend nearly everyone on the court. She’s an explosive athlete that used her athleticism to impact the game in many ways – whether it was getting by defenders, attacking the rim & finishing, defending & turning ballhandlers over, crashing the glass from up top, she did some of everything. Aisha was getting up & pressing, and she made life difficult for opponents with a smile on her face – it’s a scary sight when someone with that athletic ability legitimately looks like they want to get after you on D. Lot of upside here and potentially an impact player in the A-10.

Aisha Dabo (2021; UMass commit)
Kyierah Dempsey-Toney (6’2”, Franklin (NJ) 2021): On the same team as the aforementioned Dabo, it was almost unfair for opponents with two players with this kind of length & athleticism able to patrol the paint. Kyierah held it down around the rim and made her presence felt from the jump. She finished around the rim, scoring off back-to-basket moves & offensive boards, and showed a quick first step on the drive when facing up. A lot of upside here, as I feel like with her physical tools & what looked like natural feel, she may continue to develop for years to come.

Kyierah Dempsey-Toney (2021)
Gretchen Dolan (5’10”, Williamsville South 2023): I had high hopes for Gretchen when first watching her back in 7th grade, and to this point, it looks like she’s matched my hopes and then some. She’s improved quite a bit, even over the last few months as it looks like she’s put pandemic time to good use, and she’s sprouted a little physically as well – hitting the next level in her game in every way. Gretchen’s a knockdown shooter with deep range & high basketball IQ, and she can play on or off the ball. Mark her down as another D1 bound talent, potentially Power 5 level, out of Will South & the Buffalo area in general.

Gretchen Dolan (2023)
Valencia Fontenelle-Posson (5'11", Guilderland 2021; Siena commit): I guess it'd be easy to talk about V's scoring prowess here - the Albany area standout, who's already scored 1500+ points in HS, was definitely in attack mode - but what stuck out at this event was everything else. She was tenacious defensively, seemingly turning ballhandlers over multiple times during every rotation, and her overall energy was infectious. V was basically a shot of espresso in the gym during the last session, and when her & aforementioned teammate Aisha Dabo linked up - who brought that same energy - it was game over. Fun to watch the Siena commit back on the court in the nightcap.

Valencia Fontenelle-Posson (2021, Siena commit)
Mckensi Forde (5’10”, 2024): This was my first time viewing Mckensi. At this stage, she’s a pretty athletic 4 that likes to face up on offense. That face-up game looks pretty solid, as she rips through, explodes on the attack (particularly going right), and has good footwork doing all of the above. Defensively, she did well protecting the rim. I’ll look forward to watching her development.

Sana’a Garrett (5’7”, Friends Central (PA) 2023): Sana’a got shot out of a cannon at the start of the event and rolled with it through the first game. She was absolutely killing it at the jump, as she scored close to 20 points in a pretty quick stretch (shooting it at a high percentage in the process). She’s an explosive athlete with a super tight handle – dynamic with the ball in her hands. She finishes around the rim however she needs to – a sampler set of what’s in the bag was on display early. She also showed a bit of an in-between game too, and she hit an 18 footer that I saw. Didn’t have to shoot much from the perimeter as she was blowing by anyone that guarded her. As an individual talent, few matched what she brought at the event.

Sana'a Garrett (2023)
Anaiah Jenkins (6’2”, McDonogh School (MD) 2023): I didn’t get to watch a ton of Jenkins, but she made her presence felt within seconds of me turning my head. She’s a bouncy, athletic 4 that played around the rim with tenacity, and she also made a couple particularly athletic plays with catches & tough extended left-handed finishes in P&R situations. She has a strong build with what looks like a world of upside.

Kymora Johnson (5’8”, St. Anne’s - Belfield (VA) 2023): Like so many others at this event from out of my primary coverage region, I had heard Kymora’s name in the past but hadn’t seen her play to this point. She’s a highly regarded player with several offers already, and she showed why throughout the night, standing out not just in the 2023 session, but also later with the 2021s. She has a strong build, good court presence & an advanced understanding of the game. She changes speed & direction to keep the D off balance, can knock down the J with deep range, and also put very good court vision on display. All-in-all, I thought Kymora was one of the standouts & one of the most well-balanced players at the event.

Kymora Johnson (2023)
Teagan Kamm (6’1”, Honeoye Falls-Lima 2022): The lone Rochester area representative at the event, I was really impressed with Teagan, as it looks like she’s made major strides since my last time seeing her back in the fall. It appears as though she’s taking the next steps forward in her game and growing into her tall, wiry frame. She’s becoming more assertive offensively with good touch around the rim and a short jumper to 12’, and she protects the rim & battles on the glass. With development continuing to trend in this direction, she’s looking more & more like a legitimate scholarship level prospect.

Teagan Kamm (2022)
Ariel Little (5’4”, South Shore 2024): Ariel doubled up, playing in both the opening session (2024-2026) and closing session (2021). To me, she honestly played better with the older kids, showing then why she's one of the more notable young names in NYC hoops. She controlled the tempo at the PG spot & has a good feel for the game. She got to the rim & finished, showed a good midrange game, and got the ball to others on time & on target. By the end of the night, she showed why she’s considered above the weight class of many her age.

Laine McGurk (5’9”, West Chester Rustin (PA) 2023): Laine, who has kind of a tweener skill set, showed the ability to finish at the rim among bigger, taller defenders on several occasions. She’s bouncy, can hang in the air a bit, and is willing to work through contact.

Alessa Mendoza (5’5”, Hackley School 2024): I was impressed with how this young guard competed at the event. She showed perimeter shooting prowess with a consistent stroke, hitting a few deep high-arcing ones that I saw. She also found ways to finish around taller & more athletic defenders in transition, and she really got after it on defense. I thought she stood out and produced one of the best performances that I saw in the early session.

Alessa Mendoza (2024)
Avery O’Connor (6’0”, Dedham (MA) 2022): Avery didn’t make the trip from Massachusetts to miss! She has good positional size and is a knockdown shooter with a quick, compact release that will suit her well at the collegiate level. She knocked down several threes off the catch in 5v5 game play and shot a high percentage from the field.

Paulina Paris (5’8”, Saddle River Day (NJ) 2022): Paulina did what’s so common for her when she steps on a basketball court – put on a show. She was dominant in nearly every fashion and electric with the ball in her hands. Kept the ball on a string, blew by the D when they got up, found teammates when she drew another defender even if they didn’t realize they were open, knocked down the perimeter J if she was given a little room. You name it, Paulina showed it, as this BCS level lock truly stood out from wire to wire in her session. Section 1’s loss is New Jersey’s gain, as it was recently announced that the former Albertus Magnus standout is transferring across the state line to Saddle River.

Paulina Paris (2022)
Priyanka Ponnam (6’1”, 2025): Usually at individual showcase events, it’s the guards that make more of a name for themselves. Here though, some bigs really caught my eye in the younger session, and Priyanka was one of the main forces. The NJ native has a good body already and is ahead of the curve at her size/age with coordination and ability to make fluid basketball movements. She can play with her back to the basket or face up, and she’s also comfortable stepping out to the 3 point line, where I watched her pull another big out to and attack off the dribble. Priyanka has major upside and if she realizes what I think her potential is over time, the sky's the limit.

Priyanka Ponnam (2025)
Ny’ceara Pryor (5’6”, Western (MD) 2022): Pryor was someone else that I’d heard the name plenty, but given my primary coverage region, I hadn’t really watched her play before. She showed why her name has made some waves with her play Friday, as she catches your attention with the ball in her hands. She’s shifty and shows good change of pace & direction to keep the D off balance. Despite being on the smaller end, she was able to get paint touches and make good on those opportunities for herself & others.

Amanda Rapel (5’6”, Phillipsburg (NJ) 2024): Amanda made sure to make herself known from the outset, as she was the first person that I pulled out the pen for in the early session. The handle is tight – kept the ball on a string, showed a little sauce but didn’t get too crazy with it – and she also showed some midrange game. She was part of a strong backcourt crew on her 5v5 team.

Amya Scott (5’2”, 2025): Amya, who hails from Philly, caught my eye as a crafty, skilled PG that keeps the D off balance. I didn’t see her shoot a jumper so I honestly couldn’t tell you if she’s a lefty or if she just finishes with her left like she’s a lefty, but she was very tough to contain once she got to that side. She’s already good at engaging the defender with her off hand while keeping it legal, warding off hands & creating a path, and she absorbed contact and finished well. Also, her court vision is very good and matched by her passing ability, as she was able to zip passes into tight windows to teammates that maybe didn’t even realize they were open until they got it.

Olivia Vukosa (6’3”, 2026): In a word, the young NYC native was fantastic. One of the true standouts of the entire night in any session. She’s big in general and much more so when considering her age, but she’s not only more coordinated than your general ‘young big kid’, she’s also exponentially more skilled. The first touch I saw was a right spin into a fallaway 12’ J that saw all net, which is a solid introduction as she showed skill in the move – it didn’t look like a fluke. She ran the floor well but was also able to stop quickly, shown with a made catch & shoot 15 footer trailing in transition. She was also willing to bang in the blocks, whether offensively trying to score or on the glass. She crashed the glass at both ends and was a problem particularly on the offensive boards, where she was able to collect rebounds, keep the ball high, and finish with a soft touch. I don’t like to come off as gassing young players too much and especially this young, but I left as impressed with her as anyone.

Olivia Vukosa (2026)
Makenzie Williams (6'4", Columbia 2024): Steady development. Thanks to her location in the Albany area, I get to see Makenzie play more than most in attendance and with that, I get to keep a pretty close eye on how she develops... she's coming along well. Makenzie, who grew so quickly for a while, is starting to catch up to her body. She provides great value defensively with her ability to block & alter shots going straight up, and she's getting stronger & more willing to battle physically in the post. Offensively, she's becoming more assertive and post moves are looking more comfortable & fluid. She's made major strides over the last year, and if the trend continues, the sky's the limit.

Kyra Wood (6’2”, City Honors 2021): It was good to see Kyra, a Buffalo area standout, in the building for this event. She played with a high motor from front to back and showed flashes during 5v5 play. She crashes the boards, runs the floor hard, and can score 1v1 in the post with decent footwork. Her athleticism & upside cement her as a bona fide D1 target that has potential to continue improving through her college years.

Kyra Wood (2021)
Meghan Yarnevich (6’1”, 2025): Meghan was another very impressive young forward that showed some real versatility. She has good size at 6’1” in middle school, with length & a good frame to go with it, but she also moves very well for that size & age. She showed that agility in transition, getting out & outrunning opposing bigs, even handling the ball in transition and finishing at the rim. She also showcased advanced defensive versatility with the ability to switch out on guards in P&R situations and stay in front. Meghan’s way ahead of the curve at this point & could end up being a major player in future years.

Sophia Yearwood (5’10”, Northport 2022): Sophia was another Long Island representative that caught my eye at the event. I liked that she consistently tried to make the right play, and it looked like she had an understanding of how to play off the ball & make a difference without the ball in her hands. At 5’10”, she has pretty good positional size at the wing, and she showed the ability to knock down the perimeter J off the catch with a good, consistent stroke.

Last but not least, a shoutout to all the upstate/western New Yorkers that made it through the rain to hit the court in Oaks. They included:

Capital District (Albany, etc.) (Section 2): Valencia Fontenelle-Posson (Guilderland 2021, Siena commit), Aysia Pink (Catholic Central 2021), Abby Ray (Saratoga Springs 2021), Makenzie Williams (Columbia 2024)

Abby Ray (2021)

Central New York (Syracuse, etc.) (Section 3): Suzie Nemec (Weedsport 2021)

Suzie Nemec (2021)

Southern Tier (Binghamton) (Section 4): Dezia Becker (Union-Endicott 2021), LJ Shabazz (Union-Endicott 2021)

Dezia Becker (2021)

Rochester Area (Section 5): Teagan Kamm (Honeoye Falls-Lima 2022)

Buffalo Area (Section 6): Quinn Benchley (Nichols 2023), Gretchen Dolan (Williamsville South 2023), Morgan Giancaterino (Sacred Heart 2022), Kaylee Krysztof (Depew 2023), Kyra Wood (City Honors 2021)

#44 Quinn Benchley (2023) and #9 Kaylee Krysztof (2023)

Plus: Morgan Lee (Kent School (CT) 2022 - by way of Poughkeepsie)

Morgan Lee (2022)

Friday, May 8, 2020

Over 100 ESTers, Including 55 Summer Leaguers, Earn NYSSWA All-State Honors

In a year that has been completely unlike any other in our lives, at least one thing has remained consistent - the release of the NYSSWA all-state selections effectively puts a bow on the high school basketball season. These all-state teams were released on Wednesday evening, and there was a great deal of representation from EST event participants. In all, 108 athletes that were in various 2019 EST events, including 55 that saw time in the 2019 EST summer league, received all-state honors. On top of that, an additional 32 that didn't play in any 2019 events but played in prior years garnered all-state selections as well, bringing the total number up to 140.

They were headlined by a few selections of note:

- One Player of the Year, as Cambridge 2021 Sophie Phillips earned the honor in Class C;
- one Co-POY, as South Jefferson 2022 Jackie Piddock shared honors in Class B;
- nine 1st team selections - 12 if including participants of prior years, including the whole Class C squad - led by large school selections Dolly Cairns for Class AA Saratoga Springs & Kelsey Wood for Class A Averill Park
- and 23 overall that were either selected as player of the year or earned mention as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team member - 32 if including prior year participants.

After another highly successful year at Cambridge, Sophie Phillips earned NYSSWA Class C State Player of the Year honors.

The entire list, separated by class, is below. Names in bold saw time in the 2019 EST summer league; italicized names didn't play in last year's summer league, but they were in at least one of the four one-day showcase/combine events.

Congrats to all receiving the honor of all-state selection!

Dolly Cairns capped an illustrious career at Saratoga Springs with a NYSSWA Class AA 1st team all-state selection.
Class AA

Dolly Cairns (Saratoga Springs 2020, Rhode Island signee) - 1st team
Meghan Huerter (Shenendehowa 2021) - 2nd team
Olivia Olsen (Niskayuna 2021) - 3rd team
Jill Casey (Horseheads 2020, Quinnipiac signee) - 5th team
Simone Walker (Shenendehowa 2020, Adelphi signee) - 7th team
Lexie Roe (Fayetteville-Manlius 2021) - 9th team
Sydney Huhtala (Baldwinsville 2022) - 10th team
Natasha Chudy (Saratoga Springs 2023) - 11th team
Amaya Williams (Nottingham 2021) - 11th team
Julia Rowe (Cicero-North Syracuse 2021) - 14th team
Jalea Abrams (Elmira 2023) - 14th team
Rylee Carpenter (Shenendehowa 2021) - 15th team
Sareena DiCerbo (Colonie 2020, Hartwick commit) - 15th team
Amya McLeod (Rome Free Academy 2023) - 15th team
Julia DeBeatham (Shaker 2020, Queens signee) - HM
Jillian Huerter (Shenendehowa 2022) - HM
Maren Louridas (Bethlehem 2022) - HM
Maddisyn Mahoney (Shaker 2021, Fairleigh Dickinson commit) - HM
Lauren Patnode (Saratoga Springs 2023) - HM
Bella Stuart (Shenendehowa 2020, New Hampshire signee) - HM
Victoria Morgan (Liverpool 2021) - HM
Ola Bednarczyk (Baldwinsville 2022) - HM
Lauren Nawojski (St. Mary's Lancaster 2020, St. John Fisher commit) - HM
Sydney Ottomano (St. Mary's Lancaster 2021) - HM
Carly Scott (Horseheads 2022) - HM
Nevaeh Wingate (Liverpool 2023) - HM

Kelsey Wood led the way for Averill Park in another sectional championship season, and she earned a NYSSWA Class A all-state 1st team nod to cap her high school career.
Class A

Kelsey Wood (Averill Park 2020, Sacred Heart signee) - 1st team
Kaia Henderson (New Hartford 2022) - 2nd team
Morgan Tompkins (Red Hook 2022) - 4th team
Amarah Streiff (Bishop Ludden 2023) - 4th team
Reese Vaughan (Seton Catholic 2021) - 5th team
Jenalyse Alarcon (Troy 2021) - 8th team
Anna Jankovic (Averill Park 2021) - 8th team
Madison Ansari (Franklin Academy 2021) - 8th team
Kaetlyn L'Amoreaux (Maine-Endwell 2023) - 9th team
Andie Gannon (Amsterdam 2021) - 10th team
Paige Keeler (Jamesville-DeWitt 2020, SUNY Cortland commit) - 10th team
Kiley Snow (Whitesboro 2020, SUNY Geneseo commit) - 11th team
Teagan Kamm (Honeoye Falls-Lima 2022) - 11th team
Amelia Wood (Averill Park 2022) - 12th team
Leana Heitmann (CBA Syracuse 2021) - 12th team
Julia Mann (Central Square 2021) - 12th team
Antonia May (Amsterdam 2021) - 13th team
Ruby Santos (New Paltz 2022) - 13th team
Makayla McCorker (Rochester East 2021) - 14th team
Emma Shields (Emma Willard 2022) - 15th team
Brinley Inglee (Hudson Falls 2020) - HM
Adrien LaMora (Indian River 2022) - HM
Jackie Stanavich (Amsterdam 2021) - HM
Allessia Carlo (Kennedy Catholic 2021) - HM
Morgan Giancaterino (Sacred Heart Academy 2022) - HM
Sophie Pelton (Maine-Endwell 2021) - HM
Lauren Petrie (Bishop Ludden 2021) - HM

Jackie Piddock, a longtime varsity standout already as a sophomore, earned NYSSWA Class B Co-Player of the Year honors after a huge winter for Section 3 champion South Jefferson.
Class B

Jackie Piddock (South Jefferson 2022) - Co-POY
Sydney Lusher (Oneida 2021) - 1st team
Avery Mills (Mekeel Christian 2024) - 1st team
Lindsey Lawson (Cazenovia 2020, Harvard signee) - 2nd team
Abby Flynn (Norwich 2020, SUNY Cortland commit) - 2nd team
Payton Graber (Schalmont 2022) - 3rd team
Mackenna Nechwedowich (Newark Valley 2021) - 3rd team
Payton Couture (Saranac 2021) - 4th team
Belle Kranbuhl (Adirondack 2020, Monmouth signee) - 5th team
Abby Lombardoni (Fonda-Fultonville 2020, Sage commit) - 6th team
Abby Racine (Northeastern Clinton 2021) - 6th team
Logan Thayne (Hoosick Falls 2020, Albany signee) - 8th team
Jenna Sloan (Bishop Grimes 2022) - 9th team
Kya McComb (Northeastern Clinton 2020, Western New England commit) - 10th team
Anna Eng (Croton-Harmon 2021) - 11th team
Kaylee Kryzstof (Depew 2023) - 11th team
Anna Lee (Johnstown 2021) - 12th team
Haedyn Roberts (Holland Patent 2020, Le Moyne signee) - 12th team
Giavanna White-Principio (Waterloo 2022) - 13th team
Mackenzie Owens (Springville-Griffith 2024) - 13th team
Margaret Dougher (Norwich 2022) - 14th team
Janay Brantley (Catskill 2023) - HM
Molly Brophy (Greenwich 2021) - HM
Madison Graham (Ichabod Crane 2020, Adelphi signee) - HM
Sabrina Pressley (Cobleskill-Richmondville 2021) - HM
Hannah VanDerzee (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2023) - HM
Brianna Beebe (Newark Valley 2021) - HM
Sydney Brown (Lowville 2020, Keuka commit) - HM
Bree Fargnoli (Chenango Forks 2020, Hartwick commit) - HM
Freey Pleasants (Syracuse Academy of Science 2020, Queens signee) - HM
Ally Shoemaker (Chittenango 2020, St. John Fisher commit) - HM
Arianna Stockinger (Putnam Valley 2021) - HM

Claire Pikett had a breakout sophomore season for Section 6 Class C champion Holland, and she earned a NYSSWA Class C all-state 1st team selection to cap her winter accolades.
Class C

Sophie Phillips (Cambridge 2021) - POY
Lilly Phillips (Cambridge 2021) - 1st team
Erin Fox (Millbrook 2020, Marist signee) - 1st team (missed league due to injury)
Laycee Drake (Deposit/Hancock 2021) - 1st team
Claire Pikett (Holland 2022) - 1st team
Suzie Nemec (Weedsport 2021) - 2nd team
Tessa Cole (Sherburne-Earlville 2021) - 3rd team
Alexis Wright (Berne-Knox-Westerlo 2022) - 3rd team
Katie Moravec (Newfield 2021) - 3rd team
Piper Seamon (Cooperstown 2020, Hamilton commit) - 3rd team
Maddie Meyer (Duanesburg 2022) - 5th team
Sylvia Liddle (Delaware Academy 2022) - 6th team
Kennady Amo (Thousand Island 2021) - 6th team
Natalie Fox (Millbrook 2024) - 7th team
Alexis Belrose (Northern Adirondack 2022) - 7th team
Kelly Moravec (Newfield 2021) - 8th team
Hannah Stack (Dolgeville 2020, Utica commit) - 8th team
Allison O'Hanlon (Duanesburg 2024) - 11th team
Sophia Wakin (Delaware Academy 2021) - 11th team
Stasia Epler (Cambridge 2022) - HM
Meagan Schuermann (Cooperstown 2023) - HM
Sophia Chevrier (Maple Hill 2022) - HM

Melanie Hoyt had a dominant junior campaign, leading her Stamford squad to the Section 4 Class D finals, and she earned a NYSSWA Class D all-state 1st team nod.
Class D

Melanie Hoyt (Stamford 2021) - 1st team

Prior Year ESTers

Ava Learn (Our Lady of Lourdes 2021) - 3rd team Class AA
Shay Ciezki (St. Mary's Lancaster 2022) - 5th team Class AA
Catie Cunningham (West Genesee 2021, Marist commit) - 5th team Class AA
Valencia Fontenelle-Posson (Guilderland 2021) - 7th team Class AA
Ahniysha Jackson (Albany 2020, Siena commit) - 7th team Class AA
Georgia Haverlock (Ithaca 2020, Roberts Wesleyan signee) - HM Class AA
Kiarra Kennedy (Middletown 2020) - HM Class AA
Brooke Jarvis (CBA Syracuse 2020, William Smith commit) - 2nd team Class A
Kelsea Demelis (FDR 2020) - 3rd team Class A
Teaghan Flaherty (Rye 2020, Georgetown commit) - 6th team Class A
Jae'len Daubon (FDR 2020, Springfield commit) - 7th team Class A
Erin Smith (Goshen 2020, Mount St. Mary commit) - 8th team Class A
Deliah Smith (FDR 2020) - 11th team Class A
Shamoni Berrios (Maria Regina 2020, Concordia signee) - HM Class A
Breanna Lott (Mohonasen 2020, Sage commit) - HM Class A
Kaci Donovan (Owego Free Academy 2020, Penn State commit) - 1st team Class B
Kelli Venezia (Putnam Valley 2020) - 2nd team Class B
Charli Goverski (Mechanicville 2020, St. Rose commit) - 4th team Class B
Katie Chisholm (Canton 2020, St. Lawrence commit) - 5th team Class B
Sarah Sieminski (Canton 2020) - 10th team Class B
Mikyla Mitchell (Mekeel Christian 2020) - 14th team Class B
Catherine Dadey (Westhill 2022) - HM Class B
Mara Donnelly (The Westtown School 2022, by way of Susquehanna Valley) - HM Class B
Alexius Pierce (Syracuse Academy of Science 2022) - HM Class B
Dani Haskell (Franklinville 2020, Canisius signee) - 1st team Class C
Fiona Mooney (Cambridge 2021) - 5th team Class C
Taylor Meacham (Berne-Knox-Westerlo 2020, SUNY Cobleskill commit) - 11th team Class C
Hope Boland (Warrensburg 2020) - HM Class C
Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott (Brookfield 2021) - 1st team Class D
Maria Baker (Bolton 2021) - 2nd team Class D
Katelyn VanAuken (Bolton 2021) - 3rd team Class D
Kelsey Bennett (Hammond 2020) - 5th team Class D