West Virginia Thunder captures Elite and 8th grade divisions; Alabama Southern Starz takes 9th and 10th grade titles
By Bob Corwin
The 17th addition of the Midwest Showdown saw the West Virginia Thunder and Alabama Southern Starz each take two divisions in this prestigious event. The event, presented by the All Ohio Basketball Club, was again held over the Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) at multiple sites in and around Cincinnati, Ohio. A total of 132 teams were placed in divisions based on a combination of age and strength of team. All-tournament teams were selected for the Elite (top division of rising seniors or younger), 10th grade, 9th grade and 8th grade divisions. Quite a few talented teams “played up” to get more competition at the event. Approximately 50 colleges (NCAA D2, D3 and NAIA) and six scouting services/media attended one or more days of the event. NCAA Division 1 schools were prohibited from attending due to NCAA “dead period” rules in effect during this time period.
Great job on rosters
Sadly, many club coaches refuse to realize that there are scholarship offers (be they not D1) on the line at these dead period events and fail to submit an up-to-date roster. Also, the various scouting services are eager to put out the word to the absent NCAA D1 schools regarding players being viewed. Having an accurate roster in hand gives all evaluators more time to watch with fewer interruptions needed to find who is really playing. Special commendation to Kelly Peek (part of the organizing committee) for tracking down rosters to the extent that very few were missing at this year’s event. Great job!
In part 1, the Elite Division will be discussed. Parts 2, 3 and 4 will in succession discuss the younger division.
Thunder strikes at the top – West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson 54-41 All Ohio Black
The Elite Division of the Midwest Showdown had more than its share of quality Division 1 talent even with several standouts attending USA Basketball try-outs in Colorado. The final marked a second hard fought game within a couple of hours for these squads stocked with future D1’s. Going in, the biggest question might have been which team would be first to hit the wall of fatigue.
Thunder relies more of structured ball movement while All Ohio (host club) looks to be more physical and up tempo. The first quarter saw the hosts take a 16-10 lead based better control of tempo and a West Virginia scoring drought in the latter portion of the quarter. The second quarter saw the fatigue set in on All Ohio (only 11 points) combined with no answers for Thunder’s Madison Green (8 points of 13 in half) giving West Virginia a 28-27 lead at halftime.
The third quarter saw the Thunder out-execute All Ohio which struggled to finish, trailing 42-35 at quarter’s end. Greene, whether dribbling to clear pressure or scoring (7 more points) controlled much of the action. By the fourth quarter, both teams seemed fatigued. While West Virginia added to its lead, they too seemed to struggle. For both teams, missed shots were more often on themselves than caused by stout opposition defense. All Ohio never threatened the lead in final stanza. Madison Greene led all scorers with 22 points. West Virginia’s Paige Shy (5-11, shooting guard, 2019) and All Ohio’s Alexia Smith (see below) posted 10 points each and were the only other double-digit scorers. In winning the Elite Division, this West Virginia Thunder team built on last year’s success when the core of this team won the 10th Grade Division. For All Ohio, this was another second-place finish (fourth time recently in this event) having last won the Elite Division in 2013.
For her efforts Madison Greene (see below) was named both Division and final game MVP. Greene was a consistent contributor scoring via the drive and perimeter stroke. She also aided in the ball handling and running the offense. Capable of playing either guard slot, she has numerous Division 1 offers.
Special thanks to Harry Elifson who worked tirelessly with me throughout the weekend to select the all-tournament teams. Also, thanks to Destiny Pitts who contributed to Elite Division selections below.
Players are listed alphabetically with listed height, position, graduation year, and club team. Home town is in parenthesis.
2018 Midwest Showdown
Azana Baines, 6-0, small forward, 2019, Books and Basketball (Clemonton, New Jersey)
Shelby Calhoun, 5-10, guard, 2020, Nike Ladygymrats Silver EYBL 17U (Prospect, Kentucky)
Yaubryon Chambers, 6-1, power forward, 2019, B Wright 2019 Gold (Antioch, Tennessee)
Krystyna Ellew, 5-10, small forward, 2021, IL-Lady Lightning Platinum Martinez (Chicago, Illinois)
Obianuju Ezeudu, 6-0, power forward, 2019, All Ohio Black (Reynoldsburg, Ohio)
Madison Greene, 5-7, guard, 2019, West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson (Pickerington, Ohio) MVP
Mya Jackson, 5-7, point guard, 2019, Cincinnati Angels Basketball Club Blue – Platinum (Wilmington, Ohio)
Dena Jarrells, 5-6, point guard, 2019, West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson (Huntington, West Virginia)
Makenna Marisa, 5-11, shooting guard, 2019, WPA Bruins 2019 Lewandowski (McMurray, Pennsylvania)
Jasmine Powell, 5-7, point guard, 2019, Michigan Crossover 17U EYBL (Southfield, Michigan)
Alexia Smith, 5-9, shooting guard, 2020, All Ohio Black (Columbus, Ohio)
Jeanae Terry, 6-0, guard/forward, 2019, 1 Nation Elite (Detroit, Michigan)
Treasure Thompson, 6-1, forward, 2020, Bolingbrook Panthers (Bolingbrook, Illinois)