Jamia Hazell of Southeast Raleigh High School, Diamond Johnson of Neumann-Goretti High School, and KN'isha Godfrey of Tampa Bay Tech (PC: Bob Corwin)
By Bob Corwin
During the weekend of December 13-15, the DC area was mostly cold, dreary and damp but the talent was shining brightly in the beautiful St. James Sports, Wellness and Entertainment Complex (a new multi-court facility) in Springfield, Virginia (very close to Washington, DC). There were 155 coaches representing 115 colleges (some sent more than one coach) that attended one or more days of She Got Game Classic DC (11th year). This event allowed teams to play one, two or three pre-set games as they desired.
Most coaches were from NCAA D1 schools from the eastern half of the USA with a few present from the Big XII and Pac 12 conferences. In addition, at least 15 media/scouting outlets were present at the event including individuals who vote for selection of the McDonald’s All-American team. The event was like being in a large shopping mall. With over 100 teams participating, if you did not like the action on one court, it took but a few seconds to be observing another.
Teams of the tournament (alphabetically listed)
There were quite a few that could be named but these four stood out as discussed below.
Long Island Lutheran (New York)
Some may say Lu Hi (as the locals refer to the school) underachieved last year with high quality talent. Perhaps this year the opposite might be true as a youthful squad defeated two quality teams (remaining undefeated) in St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) 81-73 and McDonogh School (MD) 66-52.
Paul VI Catholic High School (Virginia)
This has been a high quality program for years loaded with Power 5 prospects. This year’s team may have no future Power 5 players but is loaded with at least a half dozen future D1 mid-majors. The spectators of its games in this event were impressed with the superior team chemistry, superb sharing of the basketball and well choreographed movement without the ball. They play with confidence but not cockiness and the team justifiably is now ranked nationally. Here they defeated a young North Raleigh Christian (NC) team 53-22 and a talented Blair Academy (NJ) with multiple Power 5 prospects 57-37.
Southeast Raleigh (North Carolina)
Southeast won both of its games at the event and probably gained a national ranking in the process. On Friday, it defeated ranked Tampa Bay Tech (FL) 57-52 by playing more cohesively and hustling more quickly to loose balls. Tech could be argued as being more talented but the big stage got to them against a team that had been on it before.
On Saturday, Southeast was not at its best playing a top level high school player in Neumann-Goretti’s (PA) Diamond Johnson (see below). Trailing most of the game and still down with four minutes left in the contest, Southeast used a combination of maximum team effort and senior leadership (see below) to turn the game around and win 62-52.
Winston-Salem Christian School (North Carolina)
New school but same old successful program as the Coach Delaney Rudd has moved his private school operation to a new venue. As before, his squad is loaded with various levels of D1 talent and plays well together. At this event, the team posted quality wins over Bradford Christian (MA) 43-33, Bishop McNamara (MD) 37-29 and Bishop Ireton (VA) 48-41. While the team is of national top 25 prep level, some polls may not rank the team as the program re-classes (opportunity to play five years of high school ball).
Looking at some of the talent below alphabetically within graduation year with height, position and school…
Aurea Gingras, 5-6, point guard, Thomas Edison High School (VA)
Signed with George Washington, Gingras is a field general most prep teams would love to have. She handles the ball, initiates the offense (good IQ) and scores (drives, spot up on the perimeter) in the flow of the offense. She works on defense setting a good example for teammates.
Jaye Haynes, 5-10, small forward, Germantown Academy (PA)
Signed with LaSalle, Haynes posted two double-digit scoring performances as her team split two games at the event. Her specialty is to shoot the three (several in each game) off the catch in the wing to baseline area. A decent athlete she can also attack the basket as a second option.
Jamia Hazell, 5-7, point guard, Southeast Raleigh High School (NC)
Signed with James Madison, Hazell was one of the top performers at the event leading her team to two wins. She has a high motor and rarely gives up on a play. While playing the point, she posted 34 points total in the two wins, both driving to the rim and shooting from the perimeter (including three’s).
Diamond Johnson, 5-5, point guard, Neumann-Goretti High School (PA)
In the loss to Southeast Raleigh, Johnson (Rutgers signee) was the proverbial one-person band posting 33 points. She shot the ball from the perimeter but also used her strong build to get to the rim.
Bella LaChance, 5-6, point guard, St. Thomas Aquinas High School (FL)
Signed with Vanderbilt, LaChance runs her team’s offense but also does a large chunk of its scoring (three’s and drives to rim). She posted 35 points (nine three’s) in her team’s 81-73 loss to Long Island Lutheran and 16 points in her team’s 53-46 win over Germantown Academy.
Taliyah Medina, 6-0, forward, Bethlehem Catholic High School (PA)
Signed with Villanova, Medina is a physical inside/outside forward. She is capable of posting up or hitting a three in the course of a game. She scored 27 points in her team’s 61-58 win over the youthful but talented Sidwell Friends.
Anya Poole, 6-2, center/power forward, Southeast Raleigh High School (NC)
Signed with North Carolina, Poole worked hard to rebound at the event. She posted 35 points at the event, mostly in the lower key.
Angel Reese, 6-3, power forward, St. Frances Academy (MD)
Signed with Maryland, Reese can dominate a game with her defensive presence altering if not blocking shots. She handles the ball well for her size and spends a fair amount of time offensively on the perimeter but does most of her scoring near the rim. She posted 22 points in the 46-43 win over Lake Highland Prep (FL). Somewhat unusual, she can shoot with either hand although currently shooting foul shots left-handed.
Eniya Russell, 6-0, guard, St. Vincent Pallotti High School (MD)
For shear talent, Russell (signed with South Carolina) is close to the top of the 2020 class. She can hit deep threes and explode to the rim. The downside is that at times she appears almost disinterested and does not play hard. In her team’s win over youthful Springfield Central (MA), she posted 26 points (four three’s) and nine rebounds. If you want to be positive, call it greatness in spurts.
Kiandra Browne, 6-3, center/power forward, Winston-Salem Christian School (NC)
Originally from Quebec, Browne is strongly built but moves well and can finish with either hand near the rim. Although not option one, she can face-up on the perimeter. Word in the building is that she has Power 5 offers.
Sania Feagin, 6-4, power forward, Forest Park High School (GA)
A high major prospect, Feagin scored 18 points in a 55-44 loss to nationally ranked Riverdale Baptist. She has to do a lot for her high school team including helping to bring the ball up and initiate the offense and then head into the key to try to score.
Phoenix Gedeon, 6-1, forward, Life Center Academy (NJ)
Gedeon does not shy away from physical play and uses her strong body to attack the basket. She needs to build shooting range. Word in the gym is that she currently has mid-major offers, not bad for someone who has only been playing the game for just a few years.
KN’isha Godfrey, 5-7, shooting guard, Tampa Bay Tech (FL)
Godfrey was one of the stars at this event. She posted 19 points in her team’s loss to Southeast Raleigh and 25 points in her team’s 60 45 win over New Hope Academy (MD). She has improved her perimeter (particular threes) shooting, has a good basketball IQ and works hard on defense often guarding the opposition’s best perimeter player. Word in the building is that she has Power 5 offers.
Isabella Perkins, 5-9, shooting guard, Paul VI Catholic High School (VA)
Like her teammates, Perkins plays with high motor within the Paul VI system. In this game the shots (and makes) came her way. She posted 17 points with three triples included.
Sanaa Redmond, 5-5, point guard, The Shipley School (PA)
Teams normally go up or down from year to year and with two players off to D1, Shipley is not as strong this year. As the only remaining D1 prospect on the team, Redmond has to do a lot more than last year ranging from bringing the ball up to initiating the offense and as possible, leading her team in scoring. She has a mid range stroke but looks first of to attack the basket. In a 63-32 loss to National Christian Academy (MD), Redmond scored 22 of her team’s points. Word in the gym was that she has no D1 offers. Not saying Power 5 but some D1 program needs to step up to the plate here.
Bella LaChance of St. Thomas Aquinas High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Taliyah Medina of Bethlehem Catholic High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Kiandra Browne of Winston-Salem Christian School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Sanaa Redmond of The Shipley School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Mikaya Tynes, 6-2, center, Norview High School (VA)
Tynes is your prototypical D1 low post. She has strong body, good hands and is adequately mobile, scoring near the rim. Her play helped contribute to a 66-57 win over Jordan High School (NC).
Ryanne Allen, 6-1, forward, Archbishop Wood High School (PA)
Allen jumps out at observers pretty quickly. She runs well with a medium-solid build. She has a nice stroke from the perimeter but also is willing to go inside to score the ball. Power 5 programs are already lining up.
Janiah Barker, 6-2, power forward, Tampa Bay Tech (FL)
Considered one of the very top recruits in the 2022 class, Barker showed strong rebounding, shot blocking and scoring both in and out of the key. Her passing seems to have improved as she made several “prime time” dishes. However, she still settles for too many outside shots (hitting some) when she could be dominant in the key if only she would spend more time there.
Paris Clark, 5-10, guard, Long Island Lutheran High School (NY)
Due to injuries and graduations, Clark, a Power 5 prospect, is being asked to do more for her team this season. Last year, she showed she could score the ball from the wing. Now she is helping more with ball handling and initiating the offense.
Ny’Ceara Pryor, 5-4, point guard, Baltimore Western High School (MD)
Pryor is small but makes up for it with speed, quickness, good motor and basketball IQ. She looks to drive to the rim or dish off along the way. Only lack of height (and relatively thin frame) may keep her out of the Power 5 level.
Kiki Rice, 5-9, point guard, Sidwell Friends School (DC)
Considered a high level Power 5 prospect, Rice combines above average athleticism with skill and basketball IQ. She looks to penetrate to score and is dangerous starting or finishing on the fast break. Still, she could improve by building more consistent perimeter shooting range.
Kaylene Smikel, 6-0, small forward, Long Island Lutheran High School (NY)
Smikel is deadly shooting the three off the catch in the wing to baseline area. She posted 35 points (seven triples) in her team’s win over St. Thomas Aquinas (FL). 2023 (these players showed flashes of their futures but were not primetime stars)
2023 (these players showed flashes of their futures but were not primetime stars)
Julie Bahati, 6-1, small forward, Springfield Central High School (MA)
Bahati’s game is just developing but that did not deter scouts from writing her name down. With trim build and above average athleticism, she moves well.
Kendall Bennett, 6-1, center/power forward, Germantown Academy (PA)
Bennett moves well and shows good hands. She appears to have potential to play further from the basket but currently her game is near the rim.
Maggie Grant, 5-11, forward, Archbishop Carroll High School (PA)
Grant showed division 1 potential with a nice perimeter stroke combined with adequate mobility for her size. She needs to get stronger.
Jaylin Hartman, 6-0, shooting guard, Blair Academy (NJ)
Hartman moves well and has a nice perimeter stroke. Her passing/court vision seemed above average, particularly for such a young player. Strength needs to be added.
Drew Jordan, 5-10, small forward, Maret School (DC)
Jordon will quickly catch the eye of the basketball scout. She is lean in build with bouncy feet. She seems to have a feel for the game and ok stroke but like most her age needs to fill out and get stronger.
Kiki Rice of Sidwell Friends School (PC: Bob Corwin)