Ohio kicks off with visiting Hamilton Heights looking best and Newark pulling biggest upset
By Bob Corwin
In its second year presented by Ohio Girls Basketball Report (OGBR), the event was held November 25 and 26 at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. About 31 colleges attended one or both days of the event, which consisted of 14 pre-set contests. OGBR, which also puts on the must-see Classic in the Country (nothing else like it) in January only does things one way – at top efficiency. As is usual at their events, media got college-style box scores at half and after each game. There are tables and chairs set aside for media and players are available post-game for interviews.
The event had a lot of good teams but two won our award for best performers at this event.
The team is one of the most talented in the USA with its players having been discussed here previously. In West Chester, they played with one starter out and trailed versus Lakota West (host school), one of the best team’s in Ohio. Making critical half time adjustments (see below), they turned a 23-22 deficit into a comfortable 55-40 victory. On Sunday, a young but talented Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) was no match for Hamilton Heights, losing to the visitors from Chattanooga 62-29. One comment on press row summarized the in-state media feeling about Hamilton Heights. “If they are number 4, I need to see the first three!”
The game between Newark and Mount Notre Dame (Ohio defending large school champions) was expected to be a battle between two talented, well coached, structure-oriented teams. Mount Notre Dame with more Power 5 prospects was considered the favorite going in. Newark, employing delaying tactics almost from the outset, quickly changed that perception going up 18-13 after one quarter. Falling behind early, Mount Notre Dame was forced to come out of its zone and Newark would then isolate an opponent and attack off the dribble. Attempts to collapse on drivers were met with kick-outs to open shooters. The lead grew to 34-24 at half and the defending state champs could never catch up losing 60-48 (see more on individual players below). Newark’s patient style frustrated its opponents into taking quicker off-balance shots as they looked to catch up. Chasing the ball appeared to fatigue Mount Notre Dame’s players as much mentally as physically. Newark’s extreme patience (isolate and attack) executed by at least four likely future D 1 players makes them hard to deal with if you have not experienced this before.
Looking at some of the individual talent in alphabetical order with height, position and school within graduation year. A few players who were written up in the last few months were left out. Location of school is in parenthesis.
All players discussed below should be considered as prospects at some level of NCAA Division 1.
Naz Hillmon, 6-2, center, Gilmour Academy (Gates Mills, Ohio)
A Michigan commit, Hillmon plays with a high motor, making her the equivalent of a worker bee in the lower key. She posted two double doubles (points and rebounds) as her team split its two games at the event.
Abby Prohaska, 5-10, small forward, Lakota West High School (West Chester, Ohio)
A Notre Dame signee, this lefty would easily be “all refuse to lose” as she does not know how to take plays off. A baseliner, Prohaska seems to be broadening her game as to other areas of the court to score from. She posted two double doubles (points and rebounds) as her team (host school) split its games.
Marta Rodrigues, 5-6, guard, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
An unsigned senior from Portugal, Rodrigues can hit the three and has a nice right-handed drive move which she will use to draw defenders and kick to open shooters. Her 11 points with 8 rebounds helped her team pull off a come from behind 55-40 (much closer than the score) win versus host Lakota West.
Zia Cooke, 5-9, point guard, Rogers High School (Toledo, Ohio)
Cook is considered one of the top guard prospects in the 2019 class. She has the full offensive arsenal being able to drive, hit in the mid-range or shoot the three. Her court vision is good and she is an above average rebounder for her height.
Madison Greene, 5-8, point guard, Pickerington Central High School (Pickerington, Ohio)
Greene is a steady leader who can hit perimeter shots, drive some and run the offense. She had seven steals to go with 14 points in her team’s victory over Fairmont High School. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her progress.
Jordan Horston, 6-1, point guard, Africentric High School (Columbus, Ohio)
Horston is a tall, major D1 lead guard prospect. She is most dangerous when she gets into the key, then shooting or passing off. Given her height and athleticism, she is a strong rebounder out of a guard slot. Her shooting range could still stand improvement.
Gabbie Marshall, 5-9, guard, Mount Notre Dame High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Orally committed to Iowa, Marshall is her team’s primary ball handler and number one scoring option. She plays some at both guard slots. At the event she posted 29 points for two games as her team went 1-1.
Sammie Puisis, 6-2, small forward, Mason High School (Mason, Ohio)
Orally committed to Florida State, Puisis likes to attack along the baseline but can hit the perimeter shot. She read the passing lanes well on defense as she added six steals to go with 21 points and seven rebounds in her team’s loss to Africentric.
Morgan Sharps, 5-10, shooting guard, Newark High School (Newark, Ohio)
Orally committed to Miami of Ohio, she is aptly named being one of her team’s perimeter shooters. She moves well without the ball looking to get open looks. She posted 14 points in her team’s win versus Mount Notre Dame.
Katie Shumate, 5-10, forward, Newark High School (Newark, Ohio)
Orally committed to Kent State, Shumate posted 27 points and seven rebounds in the Mount Notre Dame victory. Her offense was based on moving without the ball. She would get into the lane, receive the ball, attack the basket, score or get to the foul line.
Madison Bartley, 6-3, center, Fairmont High School (Kettering, Ohio)
Bartley is your solid low post, not flashy but consistent. In her team’s win over Hiland, she made 9 of 11 foul shots in scoring 17 points. Adding more range would probably improve her stock with Power 5 programs.
Nyla Hampton, 5-7, point guard, Wayne High School (Huber Heights, Ohio)
A good athlete, Hampton has decent handles and court vision. She has perimeter stroke and can attack the basket. In her team’s win versus Gilmour Academy, she posted a solid stat line of 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.
Alexia Smith, 5-8, shooting guard, Africentric High School (Columbus, Ohio)
An above average athlete, Smith showed a solid mid-range stroke in posting 18 points (along with 8 rebounds) in her team’s win over Mason. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her maturation.
Madeline Westbeld, 6-2, forward, Fairmont High School (Kettering, Ohio)
Having a sister playing at Notre Dame, Madeline had someone to model her game after. Already taller and with perimeter skills that her older sister only picked up later in her high school career, this Westbeld is also likely to someday play in a Power 5 conference. In a 44-41 loss to a talented Pickerington Central team, she posted 19 points and 10 rebounds showing both perimeter stroke and driving ability.
2021 – these players more stood out for upside than domination at the event
Kailyn Dudukovich, 5-11, shooting guard, Lakota West High School (West Chester, Ohio)
In the first half versus Hamilton Heights, they struggled to guard her while I struggled to pronounce her name. An unknown to in-state scouts, it turns out she is one of the best soccer players in her class nationally with hoops (could play D1 in this too) just an off-season sport. She runs well (of course as a soccer player) but has a nice stroke with good size for a wing. Probably the next time you see this player it will be on a soccer field but it should be noted this is one good all-around athlete.
Bree Hall, 5-11, shooting guard, Wayne High School (Huber Heights, Ohio)
Hall is considered one of the best players in the Ohio’s 2021 class. She is athletic with a long build and can shoot the three (19 points including 3 threes’ in win over Gilmour Academy).
Zoe Miller, 5-11, forward, Hiland High School (Berlin, Ohio)
Although her team lost its game to Fairmont, Miller impressed with her toughness and driving action (also spin move) in the key. Word in the gym was that she can shoot the three but that was not her assignment in this contest.
Laila Phelia, 5-10, guard/forward, Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Another of Ohio’s top freshmen on display at the event, she showed poise and above average basketball IQ as she attacked the basket but also demonstrated perimeter stroke. She still needs to fill out but is already receiving Power 5 offers.
Madison Royal-Davis, 5-8, shooting guard, Rogers High School (Toledo, Ohio)
A decent athlete with a nice stroke, Royal-Davis often moved without the ball to find spots for open looks. In her team’s victory over Princeton, she posted 10 points including a pair of three’s. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her maturation.
Emma Shumate, 5-11, shooting guard, Newark High School (Newark, Ohio)
Like her sister above, she is the coach’s daughter and understands the game better than most freshmen. With good size and perimeter stoke, Power 5 schools should be monitoring her development.