Host Mesquite takes Anderson Division
By Bob Corwin
In part 2, the Smith Division was reviewed. In part 3, some of the bigger winners and losers of the Nike TOC will be discussed followed by a review of the Anderson Division results and all-tournament team.
Winner and losers from Nike TOC
Clovis West coach Craig Campbell was not sure how his team would fare against elite national competition. Wins over St. John’s College of DC (went 3-1 and also a winner here), Centennial of NV (went 2-1 plus a bye), previously undefeated teams St. Mary’s of Stockton and Miami Country Day will probably land Clovis West into the top three nationally. Having one overtime loss to Archbishop Mitty will likely keep them out of the top spot at least for now.
Grandview of Colorado came into the event not ranked by all national prep polls. They should be somewhere in the 5 to 15 range after wins over Archbishop Mitty, Seton Catholic of Arizona (also a winner with a strong 2-2 showing that should get them into the bottom half of all top 25 polls) and St. Mary’s of Stockton.
Mesquite (loss only to fellow Arizona school Seton Catholic) may not make the top 25 nationally, but should get some regional ranking love and be in position to start next season in the top 25 as its starters are all due back for next year.
Another winner was NorCal (as the locals refer to Northern California) which won two divisions thanks to Bishop O’Dowd High School and Sacramento High School. St. Mary’s of Stockton (young team which should be very strong next year) finished fourth in the Smith and Miramonte finished third in the Desper.
A winner not present in Arizona was undefeated Paul VI High School (of Fairfax, Virginia; consensus #1 USA) which now has the edge over Duncanville (Texas) and all teams that were in TOC Smith Division and now have one loss. Another plus (assuming it wins over them in the upcoming two or three [playoff] meetings) is that fellow league member St. John’s College HS showed well in Arizona and any wins over this team will be a rating plus.
Normally stronger Southern California did not fare well at TOC compared to its NorCal cousins.
St. Francis of Georgia and Riverdale Baptist of Maryland were both ranked in one or more early season national polls. The Georgians went 1-3 and Riverdale Baptist had no wins on the court and a bye. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Maryland) was thought to be a borderline top division team coming off some injuries but now healthy. They posted a disappointing 1-3 record in the Anderson Division.
Riverdale of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, won the dubious distinction of being the first paired team ever to have to drop out of the top (Smith) division of the Nike TOC as its plane flight out of Nashville got cancelled and a satisfactory re-booking to Phoenix could not be found. Now the team has four open dates and a strength of schedule (assuming no power opponent additions of note) that probably makes it fall (in chasing the mythical national title) below a few one loss teams that played a significantly tougher schedule.
Nike TOC trivia
There may have been one some years ago but Mesquite High School of Arizona has the rare distinction of winning a TOC division [Anderson] on its home court. Sadly, few Mesquite students or supporters showed up to root for them in a national final. Unfortunately, this is the nature of girls basketball in much of the USA. No boys playing equals no show!!
On a brighter note, for the first time anyone can remember, the MVP of both top sections (Smith and Anderson) were the daughters of its team’s head coach. Madison Campbell (discussed in part 2), daughter of Clovis West Coach Craig Campbell, won the honor in the Smith and Shaylee Gonzales (discussed below), daughter of Mesquite Coach Candice Gonzales, won the honor in the Anderson Division.
Hard luck team of the TOC 2016
Mercer County of Kentucky scrambled to get to Arizona a day late (Tuesday) as its original flight was cancelled. It had to forfeit game 1 and after coming back from 17 down lost on the buzzer to St. John’s in its Smith Division game 2. Thus Mercer Conty earning a third round bye (Riverdale of Tennessee’s absence). The team then beat St. Francis (GA) to finish 1-1 on the court. While they didn’t play enough games to get an all-tournament team member, junior guard Seygan Robins (has oraled to Louisville) deserves to be recognized for scoring 20+ points in each of the team’s two official TOC games.
Picking up the Anderson Division action in the semi-finals…
Mesquite High School (Arizona) 65 – 41 Christ the King High School (New York)
When first seeing Mesquite a round earlier, I wondered where in Arizona this quality team came from. Someone kind of woke me up and informed me that was one and the same school that was hosting the Smith Division where I had come over from. I soon found out (as did Christ the King on this date) that Mesquite is considered by many the current #2 team in Arizona (Seton Catholic [#1] beat them).
The score was tied at half (22 all) but the third and particularly fourth quarter belonged to the locals. Mesquite is older (heavy to juniors) and has strong point guard play while Christ the King is heavy to sophomores, strong up front but inexperienced (or just weak) at point. The Mesquite guards dominated in half two as their team pulled away. Yes, Christ the King was stronger up front but it did not matter here as the New Yorkers were blown out down the home stretch (21-7 in the fourth). Mesquite all-tournament team members Shaylee Gonzales and Lindsey Vanallen posted 22 and 19 points respectively. Christ the King was led by its all-tournament member Klarke Sconiers with 15 points.
Incarnate Word Academy (Missouri) 51- 43 Brentwood Academy (Tennessee)
Brentwood Academy arrived just hours before game one. Somehow the Tennesseans found the reserves to win its first two games in Arizona. On this date, they collectively played like the tank was reading “empty”. All reactions seemed the proverbial half step slow and shots were just not falling. Meanwhile, Incarnate Word (IWA) players had pep in their steps and ended the first quarter ahead 16 to 6. The lead barely moved the rest of the way with IWA up 13 at half and 12 after three quarters. The closest Brentwood Academy got was six with just under four minutes left in the game. Brentwood Academy’s Sydni Harvey led all scorers with 20 points but on a greater volume of shots than on earlier games at the event. On this date she had little help from what appeared to be fatigued teammates. IWA placed three players in double figures led by all tournament team member Sonya Morris with 18 points.
Mesquite High School 60 – 50 Incarnate Word Academy
Playing the final on its home floor (and perhaps most importantly being in their own beds), Mesquite took command in the second quarter after trailing 13-11 after one period. Mesquite junior post Lauren Gustin (6-2) outscored IWA by herself (five points) as the hosts led 23 to 16 at half. The IWA all-tournament tandem of Morris and Warren could not get their offense going (9 and 3 points respectively for the game). The lead hovered around 10 most of the second half where Mesquite appeared to be moving better. Mesquite’s Gonzales led all scorers with 20 points followed by her teammate Gustin with 17 points as she set the tone early in this contest. A perhaps fatigued Incarnate Word was led by sophomore forward Kiki Britzmann (5-11) with 16 points.
Give credit to Mesquite, which took down girls basketball blue bloods Mater Dei (CA), Christ the King (NY) and Incarnate Word (MO). Assuming good health, Mesquite, a team heavy to juniors, will get to play in the top division of TOC next year, not bad for a public school with little reputation in the sport outside of Arizona.
Congratulations to Clay Kallam, MaxPreps Xcellent 25 editor, who correctly picked Mesquite as the Anderson winner on the Pass Tha Ball Nike TOC podcast prior to the event.
Below in alphabetical order (with height, position, graduation year and school) are the all-tournament team members for the John Anderson Division of the 2016 Nike TOC.
Nike Tournament of Champions 2016
John Anderson Division All-Tournament Team
Juia Blackshell-Fair, 5-11, small forward, 2017, Vanden High School (Fairfield, California)
Signed with Houston, Blackshell-Fair can go to the basket with authority. She had several double digit games in helping her team to a 2-2 record at the event.
Taylor Chavez, 5-10, shooting guard, 2018, Valley Vista High School (Surprise, Arizona)
Chavez, being recruited at the Power 5 level, carried her team to a 2-2 record as the team was playing without two starters. She is a master driver with nice change of pace. When least expected, she will step back and hit an outside shot.
Aleah Goodman, 5-9, guard, 2017, La Salle Prep (Milwaukee, Oregon)
Goodman, committed to Oregon State, is likely a shooting guard at the next level. She blasted down deep multiple threes when viewed at the event. A 20+ point outing is a common occurrence for her. She helped her team to a 2-2 record including an upset win over a more talented Our Lady of Good Counsel squad.
Shaylee Gonzales, 5-9, point guard, 2018, Mesquite High School (Gilbert, Arizona) MVP
The more you see Gonzales play, the more you appreciate her continuous thinking on the court and her willingness to hurl her body into contact to draw fouls going to the basket. A pass or drive mentality, the future BYU player rarely looked to take an outside shot. Double digit scoring was a regular occurrence with quality leadership no extra charge. She was an easy pick to make for Division MVP once her team won this bracket.
Sydni Harvey, 5-8, point guard, 2018, Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tennessee)
Harvey returns as an all-tournament performer for the second year. She was one of the most productive players in the event with regular double digit scoring (threes, attacking the rim) while being the team’s primary ball handler. She continued to give a good effort game to game in spite of logging heavy minutes.
Cydni Lewis, 6-1, center, 2017, Mater Dei High School (Santa, Ana, California)
Lewis showed a strong build with scoring around the basket. Her efforts helped Mater Dei to a 3-1 record at the event.
Sonya Morris, 5-9, shooting guard, 2018, Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis, Missouri)
Morris was IWA’s primary perimeter scorer. She showed the ability to come over the top or attack the basket.
Klarke Sconiers, 6-2, center, 2019, Christ the King High School (Middle Village, New York)
Sconiers has an offensive game that is just developing with scoring primarily close to the rim, posting several double digit results at TOC. She is a most proficient shot blocker with at least five in one contest.
Alaysia Styles, 6-2, power forward, 2017, La Jolla Country Day School (La Jolla, California)
Styles, committed to California at Berkeley, does a bit of everything usually starting with double digit scoring (primarily in the paint). She is very strong on the glass but also helps with ball handling as needed, Her efforts helped her team to a 3-1 result at TOC.
Lindsey Vanallen, 5-8, shooting guard, 2018, Mesquite High School (Gilbert, Arizona)
A regular double digit scorer for the division champs, she appears to look to drive to the rim or spot up for the three ball. All this appears is done within the context of the offense.
Marisa Warren, 5-8, point guard, 2019, Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis, Missouri)
Warren, a lefty, is a willing driver to the rim but also will kick out to shooters spotted up if the defense collapses on her. She can also hit the three if left unguarded. The team’s primary ball handler, she also showed she is also capable of posting a double digit scoring effort.