West Virginia Thunder 2019 takes 10th Grade Division in close battle
By Bob Corwin
In part 2 of our expanded four-part coverage of the 2017 Midwest Showdown, the 10th grade Division (40 teams) will be discussed. Players here were rising juniors and younger.
Rosters or lack of
Unfortunately, all too many club coaches/administrators do not appear to realize how important it is to submit rosters for their teams even though NCAA Division 1 coaches are not allowed to be present. There were at least a half dozen scouting services represented at the event, not to mention the approximately 40 college coaches outside of NCAA Division 1 looking for prospects. While many club coaches may not want think so, most large clubs have players whose height/body type/skill set will put them below the D1 mark. In spite of pleas from event organizers, a large number of rosters were not turned in, particularly for younger aged divisions. With so many teams to watch, roster-less teams often do not get watched as closely as those submitting an accurate list of players. So do your players a favor and always submit a roster when attending any event!
Picking up the action in the 10th Grade Division Platinum Bracket final…
West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson 76-71 All Ohio Lavender
Word in the gym was that these teams had met twice earlier this spring with the Thunder winning both contests. These teams have very different make-ups. All Ohio Lavender consists totally of class of 2020 players and essentially a team of quality athletic guards while West Virginia Thunder 2019 is a class ahead grade-wise, had more height and better skilled (but less athletic) perimeter shooters.
The first half saw the athleticism of All Ohio prevail being up 26-16 after one quarter and 41-32 at half. All Ohio was finishing more consistently on the fast break whereas Thunder would get to the rim but miss on several occasions. All Ohio was led by Nyam Thornton’s 14 points while Paige Shy led West Virginia Thunder with 11 points for the half.
The second half saw the game become more of a half court affair with tempo now favoring the Thunder. Over the course of the next period and a half, the lead was gradually reduced as the West Virginia side hit perimeter threes and two’s. With about four minutes left, the score was tied at 66. Down the stretch the Thunder held a slim lead. All Ohio was able to get multiple shots on several possessions but could not make the stick-backs.
For the game, Paige Shy led the Thunder with 25 points. Dena Jerells contributed 20 points plus handled the ball versus intense pressure and thus was awarded the trophy for Finals Game MVP. Nyam Thorton led All Ohio Lavender with 20 points.
Thunder’s Nila Blackford was named the 10th Grade Division MVP for her all around play over the weekend. She defended inside and out plus rebounded the basketball while also contributing some interior scoring on a team whose offense was primarily perimeter oriented.
Players below are listed alphabetically with listed 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!
Special thanks to Harry Elifson, Tim Lownsdale, Matt Shewmake and Sean Williams who served with me on the All-Tournament Selections Committee.
2017 Midwest Showdown
10th Grade Division
Nila Blackford, 6-0, power forward, 2019, West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson (Louisville, Kentucky) – 10th Grade Division MVP
Alona Blackwell, 5-10, shooting guard, 2019, Michigan Crossover 15U EYBL (Caledonia, Michigan)
Jenna Clark, 5-7, point guard, 2019, WPA Bruins Murray (Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania)
Ashland Hardin, 6-0, power forward, 2019, Team Brandan Wright 2019 Gold (Franklin, Tennessee)
Laya Hartman, 5-11, small forward, 2019, Nike LadyGymRats Gold 15U (Okemos, Michigan)
Kennedy Igo, 5-8, point guard, 2020, Kentucky Premier 15U EYBL Cann (Mount Sterling, Kentucky)
Dena Jerells, 5-5, point guard, 2019, West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson (Huntington, West Virginia) – Finals Game MVP
Eylia Love, 6-0, forward, 2020, Missouri Phenom Sug (Kansas City, Kansas)
Destinee McGhee, 6-2, center, 2020, AL Southern Starz 2019 (Madison, Alabama)
Paige Shy, 5-10, shooting guard, 2019, West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson (Huntington, West Virginia)
Alexia Smith, 5-8, shooting guard, 2020, All Ohio Lavender (Columbus, Ohio)
Nyam Thornton, 5-8, point guard, 2020, All Ohio Lavender (Columbus, Ohio)