695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
This year's Philly Face Off featured somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 teams. Organized by Ryan Garner of Philly Freedom Stars, the event has grown from around 40 teams to where it is now. It has quickly become a mandatory event for teams in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast who want to play top competition and just be a part of one of the hottest events of the spring. With strong marketing strategies and a no nonsense, straight forward approach, The 4th Philly Face Off was a success. Major girls basketball media outlets have started to flock to this event so the participants get plenty of coverage, even though the D2 and D3 schools have not yet shown up in droves.
With an admission fee of $10 and a weekend pass option of $15, the parents who attended felt a bit of relief from the recent price gouging they have been subjected to. Although spread out around Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the facilities were good and the competition was as well.
On the right is Nicole Hunter, 2018 forward from the Maryland Belles. She's 5'11" and is not afraid of contact. She put up some good numbers by using her strength to score inside.
I enjoyed this matchup between 2020 point guards. On the left is Nisea Burrell, 5'6" from Philly Freedom Stars. Hope Evans of Team Takeover is on the right. Burrell is a relentless lefty who plays without fear. I like the way she constantly touches her opponent while defending, either to keep track of her or to annoy her. She has a solid handle and a decent shot from the perimeter.
Hope is the ultimate competitor and I love how she runs the fast break with her head up at all times. She consistently got where she needed to go and tha allowed her to score or set up teammates at will. She makes it look easy.
Mir Mclean, Maryland Belles, 2020 forward. Mir's explosiveness is off the charts. Her emphatic blocks make opponents leery of driving the lane. Her offense is not polished yet but it is coming along. Tremendous potential.
Makayla Williams, Crossover Hoops, 2017 point guard. Makayla is a quick guard who throws excellent post entry passes. She moves well without the ball and makes good, decisive cuts to sell the play. She is dangerous in transition and mixes it up on defense.
Bianca Pendleton, Team Takeover, 2020 center. Ladies, bring your body armour when you have to square off with Ms. Pendleton. When she turns to make her move to the basket she is looking for contact first. There are no finesse moves, only power moves to the hoop. She has good footwork and she is hard to move so she is a classic post player. She stepped out and knocked down some jumpers too so that tells me she is working on her game.
Mykiah Ross, Power Move, 2020 center. Ms. Ross is a six footer who can finish with both hands. She has a very efficient game as she makes the most of her shot opportunities and passes well out of double teams. She can step out and hit mid range jumpers as well.
Kiera Baughman, York Lady Raiders, 2020 point guard. Kiera is a flashy guard that shoots lights out from behind the arc. She has an excellent handle and make several clutch shots during the tournament. She does not get rattled easily. Looking forward to watching her progress in high school.
Gemma Mochi, Power Move 2017. Gemma is a 6'0 junior forward/center with an awkward but productive style. She came off the bench to spark her team to win by rebounding, running the floor and finishing and providing immediate spark via hustle plays.
Kendall Hodges, Philly Triple Threat, 2020 PG. Good point guard with a nice handle. Smart player that finishes well in traffic.
Kendall Dailey, Alexandria Hustle, 2024 wing. Great size for a 4th grader and I was happy to see she was not relegated to strictly post play. She was able to rebound and go coast to coast several times in traffic. We'll be keeping an eye on her.
Jordan Smith, Philly Triple Threat, 2020 Shooting guard. Intriguing prospect with good length. She is a strong defender capable of guarding multiple positions.
Makayla Quimby, Power Move, 2023. Makayla usually plays with the 6th grade team but she did double duty for this event. At 5'9" she has excellent size for a 5th grader but her athleticism will allow her to emerge as one of the top players in her class if she keeps working on her game.
Zamara Haynes, Philly Triple Threat, 2020 PG. Tough guard that can shoot it, but looks to pass first. Looking to see more of her in July.
Courtney Shaw, 2018, 6'1" Power Move. Showed flashes of potential playing inside and on the wing. Very active on the boards and defense.
Julia Williams, 2020, 5'8 guard, MD Team Adidas. Excellent defender, can handle with both hands and has range out to the 3 point line.
Ashley Thomas, 2022, 5'5 forward, MD Lady Tigers. Very athletic player with excellent size. Makes strong moves to the hoop.
Sabria Royal, 2020, 6'0" combo guard. York Lady Raiders. Versatile player, long and agressive. Can play both guard spots and small forward. She should have a big summer.
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