Midwest Showdown 2016: Ohio teams come up BIG!
By Bob Corwin
Sponsoring host All Ohio’s 10th Grade Team defeated Kentucky Premier 15U EYBL Milby to win the 10th Grade Division (30 teams). Cincinnati Heat Premier Sanders triumphed over BWSL Red Tide, based out of the Hampton, Virginia, area to win the 9th Grade Division (32 teams). In its 15th year, the Midwest Showdown had 142 teams, broken into divisions based on graduation year. Running May 28-30, the event was held at multiple sites with main facility in Mason, Ohio (just north of Cincinnati). Even though NCAA Division 1 schools were not allowed to attend, 45 schools from NCAA Division 2, Division 3 and the NAIA were present for one or more days according to event organizers.
Familiar issue re-surfaces
Kelsey Mitchell, who grew up in the All Ohio club, visited the event on Sunday. The Ohio State superstar is one of the very top players in college basketball but she walked around the event barely recognized. Once again, it was shown the high school players of today do not follow the women’s game on the next level (college or pro) very closely. Until the young ladies learn to appreciate those who came before them, it will continue to be difficult to grow the sport.
Taking a brief look at both division finals…
10th Grade final: All Ohio 10th Grade 70-57 Kentucky Premier 15U EYBL Milby
Most of the time, it helps to have the top difference maker on your side! The first half saw neither team dominate with Kentucky (a team of likely 100% D1 prospects but no superstars) up 31-28. The second half was dominated by the all-around play of division MVP Jordan Horston, who scored 15 of game high 22 points after the break. When she was not scoring, she was creating for teammates. When it seemed Premier was going to make a run, a play by Horston would snuff it out. Kentucky Premier was led by Ciaja Harbison (see below) and Emma King (5-10, small forward, 2018) with 11 points each.
9th Grade Final: Cincinnati Heat Premier Sanders 55-36 BWSL Red Tide
The Heat got off to a great start and led 28-19 at the break, never seriously threatened in half two. The Red Tide is a much smaller team and fell victim to MVP Sammie Puisis all-around play (more below) posting 22 points (11 per half). Red Tide was led by Azia-Monet Johnson (5-6, shooting guard, 2019) with 10 points.
Players below are listed alphabetically with height, position, graduation year, and club team with home town in parenthesis. The criteria for selection was performance at the event in conjunction with success of the team. Congratulations to all selected!
2016 Midwest Showdown
All Tournament Team
10th Grade Division
Adrian Crockwell, 5-7, guard, 2018, All Ohio 10th Grade (Reynoldsburg, Ohio)
Crockwell can play either guard slot. In the final, she scored 15 points hitting shots from behind the arc, mid-range, and attacking the rim. She assisted on several others.
Tihanna Fulton, 6-0, power forward, 2018, All Ohio Express 2018 (Mason, Ohio)
The Express is a team which prides itself on balance with no superstars but a lot of contributors. Fulton was one of the most consistent scoring in the paint and rebounding the ball. Adding some range would raise her prospect stock.
Ciaja Harbison, 5-6, point guard, 2018, Kentucky Premier 15U EYBL Milby (Louisville, Kentucky)
Harbison is one of the flashier players on the Premier team. Attacking the rim and finishing even with contact is her primary scoring option thanks to a strong build. Plan two is the floater. Getting Power 5 looks, she needs to add more perimeter range to her game. In the final she tallied 11 points using plans A and B above.
Jordan Horston, 6-0, guard, 2019, All Ohio 10th Grade (Columbus, Ohio) MVP
Horston was clearly the dominant player in the division. A good athlete, her handles are strong, and court vision is very good. It is hard to stop her penetrations to the rim, but if that is unsuccessful, she is very adept at dishing off to open teammates. She was a run buster to her team’s opposition the entire weekend. A high major prospect, she needs to become more confident in her outside shooting (perhaps the mid-range) as she successfully did spot up for three several times. If this weakness gets addressed, we could be looking at one of the best 2019 prospects in the country.
Maliya Perry, 5-11, small forward, 2019, All Ohio 10th Grade (Pickerington, Ohio)
Perry was a consistent contributor to the team’s championship run. In the final, she posted 14 points, both shooting from the wing/baseline area and driving to the rim. Power 5 programs should be monitoring her progress.
Ellen Ross, 5-11, forward, 2018, Nike Gold Ladygymrats Elite (Roanoke, Indiana)
Ross is a physical, high post operator with good basketball understanding. Her contribution helped her team reach the semi-final in bracket play going 4-1 for the event.
Molly Sharman, 5-7, shooting guard, 2019, Matrix Black (Springfield, Virginia)
Sharman, a future division one player, may not be the top prospect on the team but at this event, she was Matrix Black’s most consistent player. She looks to attack the basket as opportunity arises playing hard and smart.
Paige Shy, 5-9, shooting guard, 2019, West Virginia Thunder Navy (Huntington, West Virginia)
Shy was one of the top scorers for the Thunder at the event. She has a nice stroke off the catch from inside and beyond the arc knowing when to take the shot.
Alexis Starks, 5-11, forward, 2018, Cincinnati Finest Sophomores (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Starks is strongly built as perimeter players go but still is relatively light on her feet. She can hit the baseline shot but also post up successfully in spite of being a bit undersized.
Macey Turley, 5-6, point guard, 2018, Kentucky Premier 15U Erin McClain (Mayfield,Kentucky)
Turley is your heady field general point guard passing and handling well. She can hit the three if left unguarded.
Lyza Winston, 5-7, guard, 2019, Michigan Crossover 15U Nike EYBL (Muskegon, Michigan)
Winston was impressive at the Boo Williams Invitational in April and showed well again here. She has great speed with the ball but can also hit the outside shot. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her progress.
2016 Midwest Showdown
All Tournament Team
9th Grade Division
Devin Biesbrock. 5-5, point guard, 2019, Midwest Takeover 2019 Take 1 (Maineville, Ohio)
Biesbrock, a coach’s daughter, wore multiple hats at the event. At times she played the point. At others, she would slide over to the wing to help with scoring, as she can shoot the three-ball off the pass.
Jasha Clinton, 5-6, guard, 2020, BWSL Red Tide (Norfolk, Virginia)
Clinton played both guard slots at the event. With flashy handles, she showed she can get to the rim and was a consistent performer for her squad. At times she needs to not force the action so quickly thus cutting down on turnovers. Regardless, Clinton is advanced for a rising freshman and worthy of monitoring by Power 5 programs.
Makira Cook, 5-5, point guard, 2020, Cincinnati Angels 15U (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Cook is a playmaker who can also shoot the three-ball. Decent athletically, she is capable of leading her team in assists and points and should be monitored by Power 5 programs.
Maori Davenport, 6-4, center, 2019. All Alabama (Troy, Alabama)
At this event, Davenport at times looks like she could play harder. Sometimes that may be due to being double-teamed so often plus not getting the ball when open in the paint. What cannot be denied is her ability to control the paint on defense via shot blocking and rebounding. Already getting major division one offers, I would be buying, not selling this stock.
Gabby Hutcherson, 6-2, power forward, 2020, Ohio Lady Hoopsters (Columbus, Ohio)
Hutcherson is very light on her feet and can already get to the rim via a few dribbles. In watching her a second time, she seemed to become more comfortable and able to outplay other posts of similar height and age. Power 5 programs should have this player on their watch lists.
Makenna Marissa, 5-10, shooting guard, 2019, Western PA Bruins – Tate (McMurray,Pennsylvania)
A Power 5 prospect, Marissa is non-stop motion on offense with or without the ball. Although she appears to be more of a driver, she also showed a nice perimeter stroke. This is a player who helps you win whether or not she scores. Here, she helped her team to the semi-final, losing in overtime (63-62) to eventual champion Cincinnati Heat Premier, in what was possibly the game of the tournament.
Gabbie Marshall, 5-8, point guard, 2019, Cincinnati Heat Premier Sanders (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Marshall is a fearless competitor who handles the ball well and is not afraid to take big shots having range to beyond the arc. If anything, at times she needs to not rush to force the action. A division one prospect, she tallied 16 points in the final.
Sammie Puisis, 6-1, small forward, 2019, Cincinnati Heat Premier Sanders (Mason, Ohio) MVP
Puisis put up 22 points in both the semi-final and final. She is able to score in the key, mid-range and behind the arc. She has quick hands on defense. A high major prospect, she is already being viewed as one of the best players of the 2019 class.
Nyam Thornton, 5-7, 2020, point guard, 2020, All Ohio 9th Grade (Columbus, Ohio)
Thornton shows poise for such a young player running a team of players mostly a grade ahead. She has good feet to defend and good passing/IQ on offense. Scoring was primarily by attacking. Shooting range is one area that appears to need improvement but Power 5 programs should be monitoring this prospect regardless.
Dontavia Waggoner, 5-10, forward, 2020, Tennessee Flight 2020 Silver (Nashville, Tennessee)
Waggoner knows how to finish at the rim. If not posting, she showed a strong drive from the high post. Range needs to be added as she is undersized at current height. With fine touch, Power 5 programs need to monitor for improvement in the years ahead.
Del’Janae Williams, 5-7, guard, 2019, Michigan Crossover 14U (Detroit, Michigan)
A good athlete, Williams can shoot the three or attack the basket. At the event, she helped her team go 4-1.