Battle in the Boro 2016 (part 2): North Tartan Nike 10th EYBL wins Sophomore Showcase with Nike teams dominating the field
By Bob Corwin
The 2016 Battle in the Boro Sophomore Showcase Division was very strong. Within it, Nike EYBL related teams proved to be the picks of the litter. Play began in pools with Nike teams primarily grouped with rival Nike teams trying to build up wins to qualify for Nike National Juniors to be held July 27-30 in North Augusta, South Carolina. Once into bracket play, Nike teams went 8-0 against its non-Nike opposition, setting up all Nike semi-finals.
Taking a brief look at the action starting in the semi’s…
Essence Silver (Florida) 49-43 TN Flight Silver 2018 (Tennessee)
This was a close affair with Essence’s superior size and athleticism edging out the more structured Flight squad. Essence had improved greatly from the first round of games in April while Flight’s best post was promoted to the EYBL. Thus making the final four should be considered a success for this team short on height.
North Tartan Nike 10th EYBL (Minnesota) 61-36 Exodus 15U Nike (New York)
North Tartan’s depth and height proved too much for the usually competitive Exodus squad which fell behind early and never challenged in half two. A balanced North Tartan was led by Zoe Young (see below) with 12 points while Exodus was led by Dara Mabrey with 13 points.
North Tartan Nike 10th EYBL 39-35 Essence Silver
North Tartan led 32-21 at half and 34-23 with 10 minutes left in the game but got bogged down thereafter managing to hold on to take the title by four. North Tartan was deeper and took advantage when they got second shots. North Tartan was led by Raena Suggs (5-9, guard, 2018) with 17 points, the only double digit scorer in the game. Essence was led by Daisha Bradford (5-8, shooting guard, 2018) with nine 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
Sophomore Showcase Division
Aliyah Boston, 6-2, center, 2019, iExcel Horton 15U (Worcester, Massachusetts)
Boston is one of the best out-of-area rebounders you will find in prep ranks today. She also has terrific touch around the basket finishing well with either hand. One of the top post players in her class, high major schools are already lining up.
Jakia Brown-Turner, 6-0, guard/forward, 2019, Team Takeover 15U Nike (Temple Hills, Maryland)
A lefty, Brown-Turner has a sweet perimeter stroke and above average athleticism. She was a key component in helping her team win its pool and make the second round of bracket play. Power 5 schools are already monitoring her progress.
Maggie Connolly, 5-7, point guard, 2018, Comets – McFadden (Wilmington, Delaware)
Connolly was the leader of a system-oriented team which won its pool. Besides running the offense, she showed an ability to shoot the three and penetrate and dish. Word in the building was that she is attracting Power 5 interest.
Emily Engstler, 6-1, power forward, 2018, NY Belles – DeLuca (New York, New York)
Engstler helped lead her team to first place in its pool. She has a fine ability to create a shot almost any time she wants usually mid-range or getting to the rim. At times she could play harder and there will be many Power 5 schools which will hope to be the one to challenge her to do so.
Azzi Fudd, 5-10, shooting guard, 2021, Fairfax Stars 15U Showcase – Fudd (Arlington, Virginia)
Fudd was one of the younger stars of this division. Highly advanced for her age, she is well-skilled at scoring from mid-range, driving to the rim and passing off. At times, she was dominating versus players three classes ahead of her. Top programs are already monitoring her closely. Like her mother before her, she will play in the majors if she so desires.
Ciaja Harbison, 5-6, point guard, 2018, KY Premier – Milby (Louisville, Kentucky)
Harbison is a physically strong guard with flashy handles. She uses her body well to get to the rim but has a nice pull-up jumper if that path gets blocked. She is getting Power 5 looks.
Glenisha Harkless, 6-0, point guard, 2018, Essence Silver (Jacksonville, Florida)
Harkless is about as unselfish as point guards get. Her efforts helped her team reach the final of this division. Still her coaches are trying to get her to shoot the ball more. With court vision well above average and with great size for her position, lots of division one interest should be coming her way.
Allison Mayeux, 5-11, small forward, 2018, Tennessee Flight Silver 2018 (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Mayeux is an adept three-point shooter along the baseline. Her second option is to drive the baseline area being a physical player who does not shy away from contact. She is getting division one offers.
Kayla Mershon, 6-3, power forward, 2018, North Tartan Nike 10th EYBL (Chanhassen, Minnesota)
Mershon was one of several players off a balanced, talented North Tartan squad who could have represented the division champs on this all-tournament team. What was most impressive about this player was her ability to score in multiple ways hitting the three, mid-range shot as well as a nice hook in the key. Defensively, she showed the ability to block shots. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her progress.
Dara Mabrey, 5-6, shooting guard, 2018, Exodus 15U Nike (Belmar, New Jersey)
When your two sisters play for Notre Dame, that’s a lot to keep up with. This Mabrey has the same competitive spirit, just lacks the triple digit height of her siblings. She can hit the three and is also fearless going to the basket.
Javyn Nicholson, 6-3, center/power forward, 2019, FBC Black (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
Nicholson is strong-bodied not afraid to fight it out in the lower paint. She also has a nice mid-range face-up shot as a second option. She has been on Power 5 radar for some time.
Jordyn Oliver, 5-11, small forward, 2019, Texas United Nike 15U (Prosper, Texas)
Having watched this player a lot during this spring and summer, the one thing stands out is consistent production game to game. Oliver is above average athletically with good understanding of what she does well, namely attack the basket generally in the baseline area. She can shoot over the opposition but that does not appear to be option one. Baylor commit.
Sammie Puisis, 6-0, forward, 2019, Cincinnati Heat Premier – Sanders (Mason, Ohio)
Puisis is already considered to be among the best players in her class. Her skill package includes everything from posting up to shooting the three to mid-range stroke. She is a good passer and defensively can block shots. Power 5 schools should be offering soon if not yet so.
Samantha Schultz, 5-10, guard/forward, 2018, Riverside Hawks Green 15U (Kings Park, New York)
Schultz is a well skilled perimeter player with court vision. She can take it to the basket or shoot over the top. At the Boro, she was forced to play inside on defense as one of the taller players on her team. Division one schools are monitoring her progress.
Tyia Singleton, 6-2, center, 2018, Essence Silver (Winter Haven, Florida)
Singleton is your blue collar, show up each game, athletic low post player. Her moves around the basket are improving and she is a tireless rebounder. Power 5 schools should be monitoring if not yet offering.
Zoe Young, 5-10, guard, 2019, North Tartan Nike 10th EYBL (Urbandale, Iowa) MVP
Young is fundamentally sound and above average athletically. She played well in the North Tartan system but can take over a game shooting or driving dynamically as needed. She is getting high major looks.