695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
695hoops.com presented its fifth annual Senior Shootout where girls high school basketball players came from the Maryland, Washington D.C, Virginia and Pennsylvania area to showcase their basketball talents. Players had the opportunity to participate in one of four games at Dr. Henry Wise High School in front of a large crowd integrated with college coaches, family and friends.
The fun filled day of great basketball kicked off with the DMV Showcase featuring unsigned seniors. Thefollowing game was the Mid-Atlantic Challenge, which starred a combination of signed and unsigned players. The last two games of the day were the Girls Middle School All Star game and concluded with the highly anticipated Beltway Clash game with committed seniors from D.C. and Baltimore competing against each other for the Beltway Cup.
The first game of the day, the DMV Showcase, gave unsigned players a chance to dazzle and impress college recruiters. The Royal team defeated the Red team 59-53. A jumper made by guard Simone Smith from Bishop McNamara and free throws made by shooting guard, Theda Jackson in the last minute helped the Royal team pull away and clinch the win. Jackson from the Royal team and Kenisha Afi, from Old Mill high school on the Red team earned MVP honors. Jackson said, “ I was surprised when I got the MVP. Towards the end of the game- making my free throws I thought it could be a possibility, but I am just happy I got it. My goal really was just to go out and play basketball, so I am happy I could come out with the MVP as well.” Afi, MVP winner of the Red Team said, “ I was a little nervous, but I think I played good, you know just making sure I moved the ball around attacking the basket as strong as I can.”
Theda Jackson and Kenesha Afi
In the Mid Atlantic Challenge, Coach Devone William, head coach from Oxon Hill high school, lead the grey team to a dominating 75-55 performance over Coach Hackett’s green team. Mariah Gray from the grey team and Dajah Gee from the red team garnered the MVP award. Gray, unsigned guard from Good Counsel led the grey team with 14 points. Gray said, “ I played with the team got other people involved, got myself involved and I just looked to score. I really just wanted to come out here and show coaches I can score, defend, rebound, and just play every aspect of the game." Players from the green team who had solid games were unsigned shooting guards, Ama Mitchaul from St. Maria Goretti and Dayona Godwin from Stephen Decatur high school who both had 9 point performances. Grey team players, Shelbi Harris–Mowatt, guard of Bishop McNamara high school had a great offensive game with 12 points. Ebony Pitt, point guard from National Christian high school displayed her ability to find the open player as well as get herself going offensively by contributing 7 points to the Grey team's win. Pitt said, “ I just wanted to make sure that an all star game like this, that I have fun, but at the same time, I wanted to show the college coaches that I could do something.”
Mariah Gray and Dajah Gee
The third game, The Girls Middle School All Star game, was a game full of high-energy aggressive basketball. Coach Felicia Hardy’s Navy Blue team won 65-53 against Kevin Glover of York Lady Raider's squad. The Blue team always led, but the white team never went away. The MVPs for both teams were, Kayla Cooper with 13 points for the Blue team and center Madyson Hinton of who scored 10 points for the White team. Hinton said, “I came out and just played relaxed. This is my third time winning the MVP in a row throughout the All Star games, so I knew I was going to come out and win.” Other players with solid performance were shooting guard Rain Green from The Navy team with 8 points and wing Angel Reese from the white team with 8 points as well. Green said, “ I was proud of just being able to get out on the floor and getting shots up…I think I did a really good job of moving the ball and making smart decisions.” Green’s AAU Maryland Belles teammate, Angel Reese said, “ Even though, I was playing against a lot of my teammates, I still went hard on them and tried to block as many as their shots…. I know most of their moves, so it’s not hard to play against them.” The middle schoolers played a high quality game.
Kayla Cooper and Madyson Hinton
The headline game, The Beltway Clash, was between 495 All Stars and 695 All Stars. Players from the 495 team were commits from the Washington D.C. region and the 695 team consisted of commits from the Baltimore region. Coach Henry Anglin of National Christian coached his 495 All Star team to a 71-62 win over CJ Scott’s (MATHS) 695 Squad. 695 All Star player, Kendall Bresee of Urbana (George Washington University) had an outstanding offensive performance with 16 points; 12 of her points were from shooting 3-pointers. 495’s Kieche White of Friendship Collegiate (North Carolina Central University) scored 10 points. Kaila Charles of Riverdale Baptist (University of Maryland) with 6 points and center Sofilia Ngwafang of Paint Branch (La Salle) with 7 points both had impressive performances. Ngwafang did an excellent job with her aggressive rebounding and defensive play. Maryland commit Charles said, “The main thing today for me was to have fun. I mean they are bringing all these good players just to play basketball and do what we love to do.” Ngwafang, said, “ I think we played really together. We had a lot of good passes, we had a little breakdown towards the end of second quarter and beginning of the third quarter, but we pulled it together and played better defense and got the win at the end.”
Tyeisha Smith of St. Frances (Seton Hall) and head coach, Jerome Shelton was presented with the 695hoops.com, “Player and Coach of the Year Award” respectively, before The Beltway Clash game began. Smith said, “ This whole season I worked hard, sacrificed and put in the work and dedication. I put my all into everything, so I guess that’s why I got this award.”
Player of the Year Tyeisha Smith
Coach of the Year Jerome Shelton
There were many college coaches scouting at the 695hoops.com Senior Shootout. Hood College, Penn State Lehigh Valley, Montgomery Community College, Lackawanna College, Harford Community College, Felician College, Lincoln University, Bridgeport, University of DC, Bloomfield and many other institutions were in attendance. Coach Jack Mehl from Hood college, said “ When I come to showcases like this we look for kids that have a good basketball IQ, play hard, support their teammates and run the floor well. All the little intangibles that you like to see, especially since they are playing with kids they haven’t played with before.” Penn State Lehigh Valley Head Coach Lorie Khalil said, “ There have definitely been players who display what I want in a player. The games have been awesome. The first set of games-the unsigned Senior Showcase was a great game. It was competitive all the players played hard, they displayed good sportsmanship, so it was great to watch.”
Coach Al, founder of the 695 Hoops Showcase, was pleased to see that the event has been growing in success each year and providing last minute exposure opportunities while also bringing the best players from the Mid Atlantic area together. Next year's celebration of the class of 2017 is already being planned.
Written By: Katia Jordan
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