Art Turner Memorial 2016 (part 1) : Paul VI beats Centennial in match-up of national powers
By Bob Corwin
The 2016 (8th Annual) Art Turner Memorial Tip Off Showcase, presented by Paul VI High School on December 2-4 in Fairfax, Virginia, put both big time prep talent and national level team play on display. Several national scouting services and about 58 college (mostly Division I from the eastern half of the USA) were present for one or more days of the event. With several of the top prep players in the country present, numerous Power 5 schools were included in the above number.
The big match-up…
Paul VI (Fairfax, VA) 66-59 Centennial (Las Vegas, NV)
Both teams finished high in our final consensus (four polls) Pass Tha Ball Prep Polls in Review last April finishing #2 and #3 respectively. Starting out this year, the PVI (as Paul the VI is referred to in Metro DC) Panthers look to be #1 and the Centennial Bulldogs top 10 (probably top 5 if this weekend was any indication). As to talent, PVI has at least eight future Division I players and Centennial perhaps six. The Panthers are taller with four listed as six footers or better compared to two for the visiting Bulldogs. The hosts also had more players considered to be future Power 5 players (at least five with several ranked top 30). Centennial had two distinct edges in that they play together year round (legal in Nevada but not all states) and have three seniors in its top six to just one for Paul VI.
Coming out the visitors’ big game experience showed leading 19-8 after one quarter. Bulldogs’ point guard Pam Wilmore (see below) pushed the tempo by repeatedly attacking scoring six of her 11 points in the quarter.
The second quarter finished with Centennial lead cut to 32-28. The Panthers started to gain some traction with Panther guards Honesty Scott-Grayson (see below) and Ashley Owusu (see below) combining for 10 points and assisting on others.
The third quarter saw the home team take control leading by four (45-41) as Scott-Grayson and Owusu continued to lead the way
The Bulldogs leveled the score at 48 with 4:41 remaining in the game thanks to contributions from multiple players. The Panthers’ Kate Klimkiewicz (see below) hit a dagger three-ball with 3:44 left giving her team a 53-50 lead and visitors never got even thereafter.
Bottom line difference between these two well coached teams was superior play making guards for the home team.
Both teams won their two other contests at the event by 20+ points against well above average opposition.
Key players on each side…first for PVI…
Ashley Owusu, 5-11, guard, 2019, Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
Owusu led all scorers with 20 points in the featured contest and was our unofficial event MVP. Strongly built but mobile and well skilled, Owusu can beat you with passing, driving and perimeter shooting. She is considered one of the top guards in the 2019 class.
Amira Collins, 6-3, power forward, 2018, Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
Collins was in foul trouble in this contest but posted 19 points in the her team’s 77-35 win over Millbrook (one of the top teams in North Carolina). Collins likes to face up in and out of the key but is not shy about hitting the boards. She is getting high major D1 offers.
Kate Klimkiewicz, 6-1, small forward, 2018, Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
As one PVI observer pointed out, Kate finds a way to put points on the board whether by hitting threes, getting out on the break or driving the baseline. She has numerous D1 schools after her.
Honesty Scott-Grayson, 5-10, guard, 2018, Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
Honesty (as she is often referred to in basketball circles) posted 15 points, hitting several threes in the contest. An all-around guard new to this program, she should not worry about whether she scores a lot as in this game or just facilitates for others. She is considered one of the top guards in the 2018 class.
Mikayla Vaughn, 6-4, center, 2017, Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
Vaughn, committed to Notre Dame, is an agile lefty who finishes well around the basket. In this contest, she posted 10 points with six of them in the critical fourth quarter.
and for Centennial…
Justice Ethridge, 5-8, guard/forward, 2018, Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Ethridge had a big game (28 points) in a 78-55 win over Christ the King (NY) hitting a handful of threes and 18 points in similar fashion in Sunday’s 67-42 victory over Good Counsel (MD). In the game versus Paul VI, she posted a team leading 14 points but took a high volume of shots. Like a lot of other shooters, hitting or missing her first couple of shots can set the tone on that night.
Sam Thomas, 6-0, power forward, 2017, Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Thomas was Centennial’s most consistent player posting 12 points versus PVI. A lefty, she can hit threes but is more of a high post operator (favorite spot). She is not afraid to play down low on offense or block shots on defense. Committed to Arizona, she is one player you need to see over several games to appreciate her “always give you something” way of playing.
Eboni Walker, 5-11, power forward, 2019, Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Whether scoring or not, Walker is always active in the paint on offense. In the win over Good Counsel, she led her team with 19 points scoring all over the key. Division I schools should be monitoring her progress.
Pam Wilmore, 5-6, point guard, 2017, Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Wilmore, committed to New Mexico State, is the straw that stirs the Bulldogs’ drink. When she pushes the pace and can attack the basket, she appears at her best. She is also an aggressive on ball defender.