St. Frances Academy, winners of the 2019 John Wall Family Foundation Holiday Invitational (PC: Rick Crank Photography)
By Bob Corwin
In its 25 th year of having a girls division, the John Wall Family Foundation Holiday Invitational saw St. Frances Academy of Baltimore, Maryland, edge Southeast Raleigh High School of Raleigh, North Carolina, by a score of 34-31 in a battle of nationally ranked teams. This year, St. Frances made it to the winners’ circle after losing by a point in the final last year. The event consisted of one stronger eight-team bracket plus two separate groups of three playing in a round-robin format (14 total teams participating). Held between December 26-28, 2019, all games but the final (at Broughton High School in Raleigh) were played at Cary Academy in Cary, North Carolina. Presented by the Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation, proceeds from the event help fund scholarships for college students in the area. The John Wall Family Foundation continues to serve as its title sponsor.
Looking at the final…
St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Maryland) 34-31 Southeast Raleigh High School (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Both teams came into the event ranked in one or more national polls. Few if any teams play harder than Southeast which also is not lacking talent with multiple Division 1 prospects led by Anya Poole (Most Outstanding Player, see below). St. Frances countered with All-American candidate Angel Reese (Most Valuable Player, see below) and a quality supporting cast. The game was close start to finish with St. Frances up 17-16 at half but behind 23-21 after three quarters. The team from Maryland outscored the locals 13-8 in the final stanza of this low scoring contest. Southeast won the battle of the boards 30-22 but shot more poorly from the field (11/42 versus 13/37 for the winners). St. Frances was led by Aniya Gourdine (see below) with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Angel Reese with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Anya Poole led Southeast Raleigh with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Below in alphabetical order (with listed height, graduation year and school) are some of the players who stood out during our viewing at the event.
Iycez Adams 6-1 2021 Glenn High School (North Carolina)
Adams plays hard at both ends. A good athlete, she looks to attack the basket to score and shows good vision in passing on the fast break. More of a power forward, adding some shooting range would increase her recruiting stock.
Reiven Douglas 5-7 2021 Millbrook High School (North Carolina)
The older of the two sisters, Reiven, more of a point guard, has a strong build looking to attack the basket but also showed that she can hit the three.
Reychel Douglas 5-11 2023 Millbrook High School (North Carolina)
Reychel shows a Power 5 upside with her size on the wing and ability to run the court with purpose. She needs to become more consistent game to game.
Jada Douthit 5-7 2022 Heritage High School (North Carolina)
Playing some point, Douthit is more of a shooting guard. In one game at the event, she hit six three’s totaling 23 points.
Jayde Gamble 5-6 2021 Holly Springs High School (North Carolina)
Although the team has been struggling with injuries, Gamble continues to play hard. She looks to score primarily by attacking the basket.
Aniya Gourdine 5-8 2021 St. Frances Academy (Maryland)
Gourdine has a lot to offer for the next level. She plays hard, can shoot the three and initiate the offense. She has high mid-major offers and Power 5 interest.
Amiya Joyner 6-2 2022 Farmville Central High School (North Carolina)
Joyner has Power 5 offers in hand. She is a very mobile power forward running the court well with long strides. She has a mid-range stroke and can get to the rim off the bounce. Game to game consistency needs to be added.
Teonni Key 6-3 2021 Cary High School (North Carolina)
Key is an obvious Power 5 prospect. A forward with great size and mobility, she can handle the ball, attack the basket and even shoot the three. At times, she needs to be more active in moving without the ball to get open on a team where she is the featured player. In keeping with that, her teammates need to try harder to get her the ball.
Anya Poole (MOP) 6-2 2020 Southeast Raleigh High School (North Carolina)
Like the rest of her teammates, playing hard comes with wearing the Southeast uniform. Signed with North Carolina, Poole is an ever present interior force for her team. Her efforts at the event earned her “Most Outstanding Player” honors.
Angel Reese (MVP) 6-3 2020 St. Frances Academy (Maryland)
Discussed recently on this site, Reese, a Maryland signee, continues to dominate high school games with her high motor and athletic play in the paint. For her size, she handles the ball well. Her play at the event earned her the “Most Valuable Player” award.
Keanna Rembert 6-1 2021 Millbrook High School (North Carolina)
More of a power forward, Rembert is a good athlete who scores inside and attacks the glass. She also showed a mid-range face-up stroke for Millbrook (a young team which should be even better next year).
Saniya Rivers 6-1 2021 Ashley High School (North Carolina)
Rivers was the consensus top underclass prospect at the event, considered by many top 10 in the 2021 class. An athletic combo guard, she handles the ball well able to forcefully attack the basket. She has great passing vision and can create shots for herself and teammates. At times she forced up shots as help around her appeared lacking. Most impressive was her great patience with teammates in spite of them often failing to complete the scoring opportunity she set up for them.
Staci Williams 5-6 2023 Holly Springs High School (North Carolina)
Williams is a young combo guard with decent handles and stroke. She has a D1 upside.
Iycez Adams of Glenn High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Aniya Gourdine of St. Frances Academy (PC: Bob Corwin)
Teonni Key of Cary High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Saniya Rivers of Ashley High School (PC: Bob Corwin)