Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise, winners of 8th Grade National Division of Midwest Showdown 2019 (PC: Bob Corwin)
Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise nip West Virginia Thunder 23 Beacom to take 8th Grade National
By Bob Corwin
In part 1 (Elite), part 2 (10th grade) and part 3 (9th grade) other divisions of the 2019 Midwest Showdown (May 25-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio area) were discussed. Here the 8th Grade Division will come under review in similar fashion.
Picking up the action in the 8th Grade National Division final...
Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise 48-47 WV Thunder 23 Beacom
One might have expected this to be close with each side having two deserving all-tournament selectees (a post and perimeter scorer for each side). West Virginia jumped out early and led 17-9 at the quarter and 31-26 at the half. The Ladygymrats (from Indiana) trailed until the end of the third quarter when they used several run outs to tie the score at 39. It appeared they had finally felt more comfortable playing against the Thunder high trapping defense. The fourth quarter was close from start to finish without a lot of scoring or separation. The Ladygymrats took the lead in the last minute 48-47 and held on giving fouls to prevent the West Virginians from getting off a quality shot. Division MVP Chloe Spreen led the Ladygymrats with 10 points while the Thunder’s all-tournament selectee Jayda Allie led all scorers with 17 points.
Division MVP Chloe Spreen is very advanced for a seventh grader. She can hit the three off the pass and off the dribble. She can also penetrate to the rim. She showed well in multiple viewings. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her maturation.
Championship Game MVP Laila Hull may only have had seven points in the contest but held the middle together with rebounding and defense. She also had multiple blocks in the final. While at present primarily a post player, Hull can come out of the key and hit occasional shots from the perimeter. Power 5 programs should be monitoring her maturation.
Special thanks to Harry Elifson and Amber Gray who worked with me during the weekend to select the all-tournament teams.
Players are listed alphabetically with listed height, position, graduation year, and club team. Home town is in parenthesis.
2019 Midwest Showdown
8th Grade National Division
Laila Abdurraqib, 5-6, guard, 2025, All Ohio Blaze Onyx (Fishers, Indiana)
Jayda Allie, 5-7, shooting guard, 2023, WV Thunder 23 Beacom (Barboursville, West Virginia)
Dakota Alston, 5-6, shooting guard, 2023, Michigan Crossover 8th Grade 2023 (Taylor, Michigan)
Ja’Riyah Burnett, 5-11, forward, 2023, Cincy Lady Tigers 2023 (Cincinnati, Ohio)
E’Moni Finch, 5-5, point guard, 2023, Ohio Lady Hoopstars Kopyar (Westerville, Ohio)
Madison Greene, 5-5, point guard, 2023, All Ohio Jaybee (Blacklick, Ohio)
Laila Hull, 5-11, power forward, 2023, Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise (Zionsville, Indiana) Championship Game MVP
Dacia Lewandowski, 5-10, point guard, 2023, Team Cure 8th Grade (Butler, Pennsylvania)
Kimora Lockett, 5-6, point guard, 2023, Team B Wright 2023 Black (Nashville, Tennessee)
Jasmine Timmerson, 5-6, point guard, 2023, WPA Bruins 2023 – Stefko (Sewickley, Pennsylvania)
Jazmyn Wheeler, 5-10, power forward, 2023, WV Thunder 23 Beacom (Scott Depot, West Virginia)
Chloe Spreen and Laila Hull (#44) of Nike Ladygymrats Turquoise (PC: Bob Corwin)