Battle in the Boro 2016 (part 1): Team Penny Pruitt 2017 triumphs in strong Boro Junior Showcase
By Bob Corwin
The 12th annual Battle in the Boro, presented by National Exposure Basketball, saw Team Penny Pruitt 2017 (based out of the Memphis, Tennessee, area) win the Boro’s Junior Showcase (top division of players of rising senior status or younger). All told 642 teams gathered in Metro Nashville, Tennessee, from July 10-13 for the event with over a 1000 college coaches (NCAA Divisions 1, 2 and 3, NAIA and junior college) from all over the USA present to dissect the vast pool of talent ranging from middle school to rising senior age.
Picking up the action in the Division’s Gold Bracket semi-finals…
Sports City U (Ohio) 77 – 54 WP Celtics (Georgia)
Early on the favored Sports City fell back 10 but soon the Ohio-based squad got used to the quicker pace favored by the Georgians. The second half saw Sports City pull away thanks to its deeper, more talented squad. Taylor Mikesell (5-9, guard, 2018) led Sports City with 14 points followed by Zia Cooke (see below) with 10. Lyndsey Whilby (see below) led the Celtics with 21 points but did not have enough help once Sports City got rolling in the second half.
Team Penny Pruitt 2017 (Tennessee) 69-49 AD Elite – Peterson (Texas)
This one was over early as the Tennesseans had legs while the Texans, who survived overtime the prior night, didn’t Frustration built in half two as the AD head coach was ejected with a second technical. Tesia Thompson led Team Penny (sponsored by former NBA play Penny Hardaway) with 22 points. AD was led by Adriana Whitfield (5-6, guard, 2018) with 18 points.
Team Penny Pruitt 2017 70-55 Sports City U
This was something of an upset as Sports City is stocked with Power 5 talent including a couple of USA National 16U team members. Conversely, Team Penny is perceived to have primarily mid-major talent but in this match-up had an edge in quickness, particularly when it came to penetration. As in its semi, Sports City fell back early but closed to 36-34 at the break. Key to Penny’s first half success was 3 three’s by guard Selena Pruitt (5-6, 2017) keeping the Ohioans from thinking zone. Half two was marked by repeated successful drives by Penny’s All-tournament guards (see below) Tesia Thompson (finished with 14 points) and Jireh Washington (finished with 10 points). When not scoring themselves, they dished to center Antionette Lewis (6-1, 2017) who finished with a game high 20 points. Using successful delaying tactics down the stretch, Team Penny was not threatened in the last four minutes. Sport City was led by All-tournament team member Zia Cooke (see below) with 14 points.
Selecting the all-tournament team
Numerous other players besides those below were considered for all-tournament honors. With so many to choose from, who to take and who to leave out was no easy decision! Special thanks to Joe Fenelon, Jack Harlow, Tim Lownsdale, Darby Maggard and Kyle Turnham who served on the Boro All-tournament Selections Committee with me.
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 Battle in the Boro
Junior Showcase Division
Joanne Allen-Taylor, 5-6, point guard, 2018, AD Elite – Peterson (Houston, Texas)
Allen-Taylor is a good athlete who can rip apart opposing defense with penetration but also has a perimeter stroke. Keying her team’s upset over a strong FBC Mo 2017 got her notice by all-tournament selectors. She is being recruited at the Power 5 level.
Fransesca Belibi, 6-1, power forward, 2019, Mile Hi Magic Gold (Centennial, Colorado)
Belibi, from Cameroons, is a young player who carried her team into the Gold Bracket. She likes to face up with the ball and attack from near the foul line. Reported to be a good student, look for high academic Power 5 schools to be in the hunt for this quality forward..
Payton Brotzki, 5-10. small forward, 2018, CSS UA Bison Elite (Springfield, Nebraska)
Strongly built, Brotzki repeatedly showed an ability to create off the bounce and get to the rim. She also showed a spot-up three t keep the opposition honest. Power 5 schools should be monitoring.
Christianna Carr, 6-0, shooting guard, 2018, 43 Hoops Carr (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
A nice athlete, Carr is a well-known player out of Minnesota. A coach’s daughter, she understands how to pick her spots to attack the basket. She has been on Power 5 radar for a long time.
Zia Cooke, 5-9, point guard, 2019, Sports City U (Toledo, Ohio)
Cooke showed herself to be one of the top point guards at this event. She has a pretty full package of scoring and passing ability.
Gabrielle Crawford, 6-3, power forward, 2018, Memphis Elite – Daniels (Cordova, Tennessee)
Crawford is a physical athlete with size and strong body. She can get close to the rim to score plus she hits the boards hard. Look for her in the Power 5 down the road.
Cymone Goodrich, 5-11, small forward, 2017, X-Citement Joi (Matteson, Illinois)
Goodrich is a steady performer who finds ways to get to the rim from the perimeter, often in eye-catching style.
Destiny Harden, 5-11, small forward, 2017, Mac Irvin Godfather (Chicago, Illinois)
Harden’s specialty is to get out and score in open court settings. In the half court, she will look to attack off the bounce. Power 5 schools are monitoring.
Bianca Jackson, 6-0, shooting guard, 2017, FBC Mo 2017 (Montgomery, Alabama)
Jackson, whose parents are college coaches at Alabama State, couples athleticism with a fine middle distance jump shooter. She has several Power 5 offers in hand.
Tameria Johnson, 5-4, point guard, 2017, Jacksonville Lady Rams 11th (Ocala, Florida)
Orally committed to Florida, Johnson is very quick with good handles on offense and quick hands on defense to turn over the opponent and go. She can hit the three to keep the opposition honest.
Sayawani Lassiter, 5-11, point guard, 2017, Boston Showstoppers (Dorchester, Massachusetts)
Lassiter has a pretty complete offensive arsenal. She is quick on the attack but also can hit the perimeter stroke. She has multiple Power 5 offers.
Jasmine Massengill, 6-0, point guard, 2018, FBC United Hunt (Harrison, Tennessee)
Massengill is a tall lead guard with handle and stroke to beyond the arc. She has been on Power 5 radar for some time..
Braxtin Miller, 5-10, point guard, 2017, Cincinnati Angels Blue (Centerville, Ohio)
Miller is a field general with size. She helped lead her team to taking the Division’s Silver Bracket (third and fourth place pool teams). Currently Minnesota and Oklahoma State are the two schools she is considering most closely.
Abby Prohaska, 5-10, small forward, 2018 ( Sports City U (Liberty TWP, Ohio)
Prohaska, recently a member of the USA National 16U team, has a nose for the ball. A lefty baseline player, she prefers to attack the rim but can hit the three over the top. She is getting Power 5 looks,
Tesia Thompson, 5-9, shooting guard, 2017, Team Penny Pruitt 2017 (Memphis, Tennessee) MVP
Thompson is right-handed but loves to attack going left. She is drive and dish ,or drive and score. Her consistency throughout the event gained her MVP honors having led her team to the division title. She has several D1 offers on the table.
Jireh Washington, 5-7, shooting guard, 2018, Team Penny Pruitt 2017 (Memphis, Tennessee)
Washington is a glider with an ability to shoot the ball. On penetration, she is more than willing to dish but also has a nice spin move to score herself. D1 schools should be monitoring her progress.
Lyndsey Whilby, 5-11, small forward, 2017, WP Celtics (Powder Springs, Georgia)
Whilby is an aggressive attacker who can also shoot the three. On Power 5 radar, she needs to become more consistent to maximize her potential.