Empire State Basketball Club '22, winners of the 2022 Affirmed Division of 2019 Battle in the Boro (PC: Kyle Turnham)
By Bob Corwin
In part 1 of our report on the 2019 Battle in the Boro, the 2020 Justify (rising seniors or younger) Division was featured. In part 2, the 2021 American Pharoah (rising juniors or younger) Division was reviewed. In part 3, the Affirmed (rising sophomores or younger) Division will receive our attention.
We are in horse country
This year all divisions in the Battle in the Boro were named after Triple Crown winning horses. For those of you unfamiliar, the task entails the rare feat of winning the three premier races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes) for three-year-old horse. In our four reports, the top division in each age group is discussed.
Picking up the action in the final...
2022 Affirmed: Empire State Basketball Club’22 (Yonkers, New York) 48-43 Michigan Premier Blue (Grass Lake, Michigan)
The teams in the final were probably not the most talented in the division, rather those who played best together. Of the two, Empire State was probably a bit more balanced in its scoring.
Oddly enough, this well-contested game may, on balance, have been won by Empire State’s hot start. This was triggered by shooting guard Dakota Corey (5-8, 2022) who hit a pair of threes on her way to a game high 22 points. With Empire up 8-2, Michigan began playing multiple zones to throw off the offense of the New Yorkers. At half Empire led 23-22.
Meghan Casey (#5) and Kianna Perry of Empire State Basketball Club '22 (PC: Kyle Turnham)
The second half remained within two possessions with Empire State leading pretty much all the way. One factor helping them was better finishing in transition when the game did open up.
Empire State’s Meghan Casey contributed 12 points in the final and was named MVP for her all-around contribution (ball handling, leadership and scoring). All-tournament selectee Gabrielle Lutchka and Hillary Griffin (5-11, small forward, 2022) led Michigan Premier Blue with 13 points each.
Special thanks to Kyle Turnham (who contributed to the above narrative and supervised all-tournament selections for the Affirmed Division) and Tim Lownsdale (who served on the all-tournament selections committee concentrating on the Affirmed Division).
Players below are listed alphabetically with 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!
2019 Battle in the Boro
2022 - Affirmed
Cate Carlson, 5-11, shooting guard, 2022, BWSL Boyd 9th (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Meghan Casey, 5-8, point guard, 2022, Empire State Basketball Club ’22 (White Plains, New York) MVP
Jacie Chesser, 6-1, center, 2022, Kentucky Premier Goodin Rogers (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)
Catara Dejarnette, 5-5, point guard, 2022, SMAC Elite (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Sophie Huffman, 5-5, point guard, 2023, Dayton Lady Hoopstars 2023 Black (Wilmington, Ohio)
Cea’Anai Jackson, 6-3, center, 2022, Philly Freedom Stars Red (Camden, New Jersey)
Katie Krupa, 6-2, center, 2022, Heart of Illinois (Morton, Illinois)
Gabrielle Lutchka, 5-11, power forward, 2022, Michigan Premier Blue (Grass Lake, Michigan)
Caroline Lyles, 5-11, shooting guard, 2022, Woods Elite (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Taylor McCabe, 5-9, shooting guard, 2022, Team Factory (Blair, Nebraska)
Kianna Perry, 5-7, forward, 2022, Empire State Basketball Club ’22 (Danbury, Connecticut)
Shailyn Pinkney, 5-9, point guard, 2022, CT Spirit (East Hartford, Connecticut)
Taryn Sides, 5-5, point guard, 2023, Ohlde Elite Pink (Phillipsburg, Kansas)
Zakiya Stephenson, 5-6, point guard, 2023, BWSL McCray 9th (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Avery Strickland, 5-11, shooting guard, 2022, TN Flight Silver (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Soraya Timms, 5-4, guard, 2022, Michigan’s Finest 15 Decook (East Lansing, Michigan)
Maddison Valentine, 5-8, guard, 2022, Michigan Premier Blue (Whitmore Lake, Michigan)
Gabrielle Lutchka of Michigan Premier Blue (PC: Kyle Turnham)
Taryn Sides of Ohlde Elite Pink (PC: Kyle Turnham)
Soraya Timms of Michigan's Finest 15 Decook (PC: Kyle Turnham)