West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson, winners of Elite Division of Midwest Showdown 2019 (PC: Bob Corwin)
West Virginia Thunder, Alabama Southern Starz, All Ohio Xpress, Indy Gymrats capture division titles
By Bob Corwin
Four different clubs each captured one of the four most prestigious divisions of the 19th annual Midwest Showdown. The event, presented by the All Ohio Basketball Club, was again held over the Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27, 2019) at multiple sites in and around Cincinnati, Ohio. A total of 105 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; won by the West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson), 10th grade (won by the Alabama Southern Starz 2022-Bush Nike), 9th grade (won by the All Ohio Xpress) and 8th grade National (won by the Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise) divisions. Quite a few talented teams “played up” to get more competition at the event.
Approximately 17 colleges (mostly NCAA D2 as this was a “dead period” event for NCAA D1) and eight scouting services/media attended one or more days of the event.
The event report will be broken into four parts.
In part 1, the Elite Division will be discussed. Parts 2, 3 and 4 will in succession discuss the younger division.
These two clubs (with different players) met in last year’s Elite Division final with the Thunder prevailing on that occasion. The question going in was who would control the tempo with All Ohio wanting it more up tempo/physical and the Thunder a bit more moderate pace/finesse allowing them to run their patterned half-court offenses.
Out of the gate, things broke well for host All Ohio going up 17-12 largely on the 11-point outburst by Anyssa Jones (5-10, forward, 2020) hitting threes and attacking the basket. The pace of the second quarter seemed to favor the Thunder. All Ohio went cold while the Thunder began to execute its half-court offense like a well-oiled machine with six different players scoring in the quarter, up 32-22 at half.
All Ohio began the third quarter with more focus at both ends and did score 15 points in the quarter. However mid-way through the quarter, Madison Mace (see below) hit a pair of threes and the defense of All Ohio went absent thereafter with the lead approaching 20 late in the period, ending 52-37 favoring West Virginia. A late fourth quarter run made the final margin respectable but the Thunder lead was never threatened. Mace led West Virginia with 14 points while All Ohio’s Anyssa Jones led all scorers with 18 points.
Division MVP Taziah Jenks only scored six points in the final but was consistent throughout the weekend in her contributions (always playing hard, rebounding and scoring mostly via attacking the rim). Since last seen, her perimeter shot does appear more effective to beyond the arc, making her more of an overall offensive threat. Having mid-major offers, Power 5 programs should be monitoring her performance this summer.
Championship game MVP Madison “Madi” Mace continues to come up big in big games as she has in the past for the Thunder. Hitting three third quarter threes provided key separation in achieving the win. Orally committed to Ohio University, Mace could be best described as a bit undersized playing both inside and outside the key. Bottom line is she has helped her team win titles on more than one occasion.
Madison Mace (#35) and Taziah Jenks of West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson (PC: Bob Corwin)
Players are listed alphabetically with listed height, position, graduation year, and club team. Home town is in parenthesis.
2019 Midwest Showdown
Kate Bullman, 6-1, power forward, 2020, The Truth Black (Grayslake,
Abrie Cabana, 5-10, shooting guard, 2021, Michigan Premier 2020/2021 Blue (Grass Lake, Michigan)
Allison AJ Ediger, 6-2, center, 2021, West Michigan Drive (BSTTL) (Hudsonville, Michigan)
Keiara Griffin, 6-0, small forward, 2020, AL Southern Starz 2020-Bush Nike (Birmingham, Alabama)
Jazmyn Harmon, 5-8, shooting guard, 2020, B Wright 2020 UAA (Brentwood, Tennessee)
Taziah Jenks, 6-1, small forward, 2020, West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson (Louisville, Kentucky) Division MVP
Madison Mace, 5-11, forward, 2020, West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson (Parkersburg, West Virginia) Championship Game MVP
Alexia Smith, 5-9, shooting guard, 2020 All Ohio Black (Columbus, Ohio)
Laila Phelia, 5-10, small forward, 2021, Angels Basketball Club Blue (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Sakima Walker. 6-5, center, 2020, All Ohio Black (Columbus, Ohio)
Makennah White, 6-0, power forward, 2020, Western PA Bruins – Cash 2020 (Farrell, Pennsylvania)
Morasha Wiggins, 6-1, shooting guard, 2021, Michigan Crossover 17U EYBL (Kalamazoo, Michigan)