After a month off Winter Series returned to Spooky Nook Sports complex for the Championship Finale. With the build up of the previous sessions it all boiled down to Session IV the finale and we were in the building to watch the next generation get after it. The anticipation of rematches, rivalry matchups and a number of new programs were at an all time high. CC Storm (Chester County PA), Lady Knox (Tampa, FL) and Team Final (Virginia) took the pilgrimage to put their bid in for a coveted Winter Series championship. With five championship titles up for grabs you can feel the intensity from the players, coaches, parents and fans from the moment you enter the building.
The pools were once again full of talented teams putting everything on the line as they all came to compete and close out as Champions. At the end of the weekend five champions were crowned, in the 8th grade division Team Takeover continued its dominance sweeping their pool and playoff ultimately securing their third championship while the New Jersey Spark squad got back to their winning ways capturing an 8th grade title after dominating pool play. In the 7th grade division Team Takeover and Top Notch were crowned champions, All Ohio Express brought the energy from eval weekend finishing with another 6th grade title while Fairfax Stars rounded out the weekend as the 5th grade champions.
Here are some top performing teams and standout players as well as honorable mention kids that will be added to our database.
8th grade Division Feature Teams
This crew came in on the same mission as the previous session which was to walk away as champions. They started strong and finished strong as they continued to use their formidable size as an advantage, shrinking the court and making it difficult for opposing guards to get their teams offense going. The team seems to be connected and understands the system implemented by coaching staff as they space the floor well, cut hard and look for the extra pass. The team's depth presents a problem as they can go to the bench and not drop off in size or skill, Jordan Jackson was the usual matchup nightmare but the tandem of Labrea Carter, Kai Powell and Reneyia Pickering were key pieces in the team's success and we look forward to seeing them compete during the AAU season.
New Jersey Rise
This team is well coached and seems to get better in a few aspects each time out. They have a swiss army knife in Jada Lynch as she does a bit of everything to get them moving in the right direction add in the crafty lefty PG in Ava Fajardo making a tough one - two punch. The impressive part about this team is their ability to adjust and execute their sets when they need to settle things down and get high percentage shots. The two stars are surrounded by able shooters and kids that simply know how to play. They had a number of solid wins on the way to the championship game where they eventually fell short to Team Takeover, as they continue to grow as a group they will be a handful for opponents during AAU season and we will be tracking their development.
New Jersey Sparks
The New Jersey Sparks squad played as if they had a chip on their shoulder and seemed to be clicking on all cylinders as they opened up pool play with a 58 point win and never looked back. They were by far the smallest roster in stature as they have no true post play but the Quartet of guards were too much to handle. They constantly applied full court pressure and played downhill offensively filling the lanes for rim finishes or secondary transition three pointers. The dynamic guard duo of Taylor Brown and Jazelle Banks got things going while Lexi Carnegie and Kamaria Bowens found their footing and played high level basketball throughout the weekend helping their team secure the championship. Looking forward to seeing these talented guards in a few weeks on the AAU circuit
Elevate Elite showed that you don’t have to be the most athletic, stronger or bigger team to compete at a high level. As with all of the Elevate elite teams these kids simply execute, they understand the importance of cutting to score, making contact on screens as well as space and pace on the offensive end. They play great help defense and communicate well. They consistently made the right plays on both ends of the floor during pool play and went into the championship game with a laser focus with solid play from Ava Paparello and Samantha Bevlo as they pushed a hot New Jersey Sparks team into overtime eventually losing in the extra period.
8th Grade Division Standouts
26’ Reneyia Pickering (Team Takeover)
Reneyia is a glue type player, watching her she seemed to always be in the right place at the right time whether it be a weak side rebound and put back or a rotation into help on defense to contest a shot or create a turnover. Physical combo guard with a nice handle and solid court vision that plays at a nice pace she did a great job picking her spots, getting into the lanes with purpose and finding teammates for easy opportunities. Solid prospect that we will be checking for during the AAU season..
26’ Jordan Jackson (Team Takeover)
Jordan proved to be one of the most talented, consistent and dominant performers throughout the winter series and session IV was no different. She scored on all three levels, used her quick first step blow by defenders and looks to be more comfortable with the physicality finishing in the lanes through contact. She looked to be more engaged defensively getting a number of blocks and showed great lateral movement and agility staying in front of much smaller guards. Already sought after by multiple P5 programs, she has unlimited potential.
26’ Ava Fajardo (NJ Rise)
Ava is a crafty lefty PG with tight handles, she can shoot the long ball at a high rate and has the knack of using the defense's aggressiveness to her advantage as she uses her body well and reads angles to get to her spots for pull ups. She has a high IQ and increased foot speed which shows as in her first step and she is becoming a better on ball defender. She had a strong showing and we will be adding her to the Next 100 list as we continue to track this young prospect.
26’ Jada Lynch (NJ Rise)
Jada was again simply a handful, a big guard with all the tools in her kit, she handles the ball well and her HS ready frame allows her to absorb contact on drives. She showed the ability to get to her pull up and has an array of finishes around the rim. She plays a physical brand of basketball and does a great job positioning herself for rebounds. She is obviously the grit of this team as she brings a high level of intensity each time out. Elite level prospect who we have on our radar.
26’ Monet Edwards (Team Thrill)
Monet is the anchor for Team Thrill as she seemed to always be in the mix, hard nose competitor with an endless motor and great on court demeanor.. She is a bigger guard that digs in on the defensive end, rebounds well and pushes the ball getting end to end on a few occasions. She has a solid mid range game and wasn't easily knocked off of her line when she attacked the rim. We look forward to seeing her development over the next few months.
26’ Kamaria Bowens (New Jersey Sparks)
Kamaria had it all going this session, a smooth guard that looked confident handling the ball under pressure as she played downhill and did a great job using her strong frame to search out contact and finishing over bigger defenders in transition. She utilized a crafty handle to get to her midrange or get herself to the foul line where she was very efficient. She also was able to consistently get paint touches opening things up for her teammates. We will continue to track kamaria’s development throughout the summer.
27’ Taylor Brown (New Jersey Sparks)
Taylor brought her usual energy on the defensive end applying pressure on opposing guards creating easy opportunities for herself and teammates. She was very efficient from 3 point range this session and is no doubt one of the best shooters in class. She was in full attack mode, it was good to see her attack for rim finishes where she typically would settle for jumpers. She displayed her ability to maintain her handle and probe the lanes to attack the paint as she utilized the cross float or got all the way to the rim for layups or kicks to available shooters. Elite level prospect that we will hear a lot about in the future.
27’ Jazelle Banks (New Jersey Sparks)
Jazelle plays with an unmatched intensity and she exudes extreme confidence when she is on the floor. Known as an elite scorer she was on a mission and had her full arsenal on display Session IV. She spearheaded her team's defensive attack with multiple steals in the open court to get herself going. She had the long ball going as she hit multiple shots from deep each game and when she got that going she was almost unguardable as it opened up the lanes where she excels with elite footwork and unlimited combos with great vision as she finishes in dynamic fashion open teammates for easy looks. Jazelle is already considered to be one of the best in class, we will definitely keep an eye on her.
27’ Jordan Palmer (CC Storm)
First look at Jordan and she was clearly the key to her team's success as she was the anchor for them on both ends of the floor.. At 5’10” she rebounded well and showed the ability to start the break with solid ball handling and great court awareness; she also played the guard position at times as she was a release valve against pressure as she made the right pass or pushed it herself finding open teammates or finishing at the rim. She has a nice touch around the rim and can finish with both hands equally. Defensively very sound and deceptively quick with her size and skill as she continues to develop she will be in the mix. She led her team to a number of huge victories over the weekend. We will be keeping a close eye on this one.
27’ Ashley Macalla (Top Notch)
We have had eyes on Ashley a few times and everytime out the first thing that stands out is her endless motor. She is a very athletic tweener who plays defense with reckless abandon. She uses her length and athleticism to clog up passing lanes creating multiple steals with the ability to push herself as she excels in the open court undeterred by defenders as she consistently finishes contested layups. She also rebounds well and with her quick bounce had multiple put backs. She can be considered a slasher now but as she develops a stronger handle and more consistent jumper she is gonna be a major problem. We will continue to track her development as she is a high potential prospect and will be added to the Next 100 watchlist.
27’ Jessie Moses (Top Notch)
Jessie is a flat out scorer and one of the best shooters in class which she proved throughout the winter series sessions. She doesn't force many shots as she shows patience finding space to get her shot off, she also plays well out of the triple threat utilizing jabs and ball fakes to create advantage. She makes the right reads of PNR either pulling for three on under or getting into the gaps on trails which is high level plays at such a young age. As a shot maker it opens up her driving ability and she showed great court vision with drop offs to post or kicks to shooters. As she continues to add to her game we will be watching.
26’ Monet Edwards (Team Thrill)
Monet is the glue player for Team Thrill as she seemed to always be in the mix, hard nose competitor with an endless motor. She played with a nice pace and constantly applied pressure, mixing it using her body on smaller guards and quickness on rotating post players. She digs in on the defensive end, rebounds well and has a solid handle that allows her to stay in attack mode. We look forward to seeing her development over the next few months.
26’ Eryn Griffin (Lady Knox)
Eryn is a heady guard with nice size and strength that understands how to use her body to her advantage, she overpowered smaller guards literally carrying them to the rim once she got her shoulders past them. She is a solid facilitator at the PG position as she was able to get her team into their sets and make the right reads of the ball screens. Defensively she was physical and very active. First look at this prospect from Florida and we will keep track of her progress.
26’ Jasleen Green (Lady Knox)
Smooth guard with tight handle and solid change of pace which she uses to manipulate the driving lanes as she finishes well at the rim. She has good range to her shot with a high release point which allowed her to get her shot off even closely guarded. Jasleen seems to get stronger as the game goes on but needs to be more assertive early to get herself going. She had moments late in games and is an interesting guard prospect that we will continue to track.
27’ Ellery Giddens (YKS)
Ellery is a heady guard that presented a match up problem all weekend standing 5’8’ with a solid frame she used her size against smaller guards attacking the paint absorbing contact and finishing at the rim. She doesn't possess explosive speed but she uses rhythm dribble and hesitation effectively to get defenders on their heels and create space to get her shot off as she knocked down a number of 3 pointers to keep her team within striking distance. We will keep an eye on her as she continues to develop.
26’ Caroline Cassidy (YKS)
26’ Jenna Kraft (CC Storm)
26’ Ashley Knox (Lady Storm)
26’ Jada Lynch (NJ Rise)
26’ Samantha Belvo (Elevate Elite - Mo)
26’ Lexi Carnegie (NJ Sparks)
26’ Labrea Carter (Team Takeover)
7th grade Division Feature Teams
Top notch came into this game as the favorite as they feature three of the most talented players in the Class of 2027 in Jessie Moses, Ariel Lopez and Ashley Macalla. The team is defensively sound and they use a very effective press to slow down or turnover Elevate elite in the championship game. They quickly turned defense into offense in transition and worked the ball inside out to find open shooters in the half court which Jacylah Goode did a great job with. This squad will be a handful come AAU season we will be checking in on them.
This squad scrapped their way through pool play and was able to maintain the energy going into the chip game. Well coached team with solid basketball IQ and the combination of Charlotte Lieu and Adina Asuelinmen get them going on the right track. I was impressed with their ability to get to multiple options in their offense which is rare at such a young age. Charlotte Lieu played a solid floor game and Adina Asuelinmen was the aggressor on the front line for them getting extra possessions and put backs.
True to the blueprint, Takeover’s 7th grade squads length and athleticism was a handful for its competition all weekend. They are a very aggressive group with speed and size, the guards London Ferguson and Dottie Eastmon look to attack the paint on every possession. They dominated pool play and were rolling going into a key match up in the championship vs YKS (2x champs) in a competitive match up with Takeover coming out victorious.
The three time champs handled business in pool play utilizing their press to smother their opponents. Very sound group of young prospects, they play team defense and do a great job sharing the ball. Micah Ojo has been consistent throughout all sessions and along with the twins Mia and Kate Spain getting things going offensively whether swishing or dishing the trio were on their game. Making it back to the chip game in a competitive matchup that went back and forth with Takeover before ultimately falling short of their third championship.
7th Grade Division Standouts
27’ Micah Ojo (Lady YKS)
Micah brought the energy again this weekend and led her team to some great wins in pool play as YKS reached the championship game for the third time. Her defensive instincts are next level to match with her athleticism and high motor creates issues for opponents. She ran the floor hard and gained early position in the post finishing through contact. As she develops stronger ball handling skills and is able to play out on the perimeter more comfortably she will be a major problem.
27’ Navea Robinson (Team Takeover)
High energy kid with a huge upside, she rebounds well and has the ability to snatch a board and push in transition. Navea was aggressive on the boards and dominated, plays hard on every possession and attacks the glass with aggression as she is the anchor to her team's defense. She uses her length to contest shots and has solid timing as she had numerous blocks without fouling.
27’ Zoe Wasserfaul (Riverside Hawks)
First look at Zoe and I was impressed with how she approaches the game as a young prospect. She played with extreme focus and displayed leadership for her squad. Hard nose guard with a nice handle and can change direction on the dime to keep defenders on their heels. She was in attack mode all weekend showing her ability to get to the rim or finish with a floater. We will continue to keep an eye on her.
27’ Ava LaMonica (NJ Cardinals)
Ava was solid through the weekend, she handled the ball well and used her physical build to draw off defenders. She played under control, using her court vision to push the ball ahead instead of over dribbling and didn't panic under pressure. Solid defender who plays with a competitive edge, has the pieces to be a solid prospect.
28’ Kennedy Broughton (New Heights)
Kennedy plays with a bit of flare and extreme confidence, she has a strong handle and is very crafty with the ball in her hand. She used a hesitation dribble well to get defenders on their heels as she looked to push the ball every opportunity. She sees the floor well and is a willing passer making the right pass to open teammates. Would like to see her more engaged defensively as she has the tools, sure it will come as she continues to develop.
27’ Ariel Lopez (Top Notch)
27’ Jacylah Goode (Top Notch)
27’ Georonae Davis (Team Takeover)
27’ London Ferguson (Team Takeover)
27’ Mary Ganim (Riverside Hawks)
27’ Charlotte Lieu (Elevate Elite)
6th Grade Feature Team
All Ohio Express (Session III Champs)
This team took the winter series by storm as all they did was win throughout the four sessions led by the strong play of Janiya Hargrove. They won 3 championships and only lost 2 games in total, so it's safe to say they dominated the 6th grade division. They play together well and it seems that everyone is focused on excelling in their role. The guard play was solid with the twins Mia and Katie running the show with formidable size advantage as they looked to play inside out and control the boards. This team will be a problem for years to come if they are able together and build off this solid foundation.
6th Grade Division standouts
28’ Janiya hargrove (All Ohio Express)
Janiya led her team to multiple championships during the winter series, her length, strength and athleticism is hands down more advanced than the majority of prospects in the 6th grade division. Always a handful on the glass and has the body control to square and finish. She is a tough defender and does a great job rotating to help contest shots or getting blocks. Janiya is a slasher with great hands; she seemed to catch everything who crashes the boards on both ends. Always a threat in the lanes but she stepped out and hit a few threes. High ceiling for this young we will continue to track.
28’ Cameron King (All Ohio)
As a young post player Cameron has all the instincts to be a solid prospect as she develops. She sets solid screens, rolls with a purpose and posts up strong with the ability to finish over either shoulder. The thing that stuck out was her willingness to pass out of the post. Unlike most young bigs she doesn't force or simply try to overpower everyone off the catch, she reads the defense and makes the right play. She has a ton of potential.
29’ Melody Vaughn (Philadelphia Belles)
Speed kills and Melody used that to her advantage. She has the ball on a string, comfortably going left or right and stays low on drives, drawing contact to get to the foul line or using a nice floater to finish over bigs. She was a threat from beyond the arch off the catch and didn't hesitate to let it go which opened up the lanes for her. She is also an energetic defender with quick hands and great anticipation to be so young. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
28’ Cidney Stanfield (Philadelphia Belles)
This lefty guard stood out as she has natural athletic ability and is an intense competitor which are two things that can’t be taught. Cidney is a scrappy on ball defender and flies into the passing lanes. She did a great job being patient using her speed and shifty handle to keep defenders at bay as she looked to get into the lanes or set up teammates as she had a number of assists throughout the weekend.
28’ Gianna Burgess (Harlem USA)
Gianna is a natural athlete with speed, balance and strength beyond her years. She excels in the open court with her quickness as she manipulates the lanes and has the core strength to adjust mid air and make tough shots over bigger defenders. When engaged she was very productive on the defensive end getting a number of steals. She is a streaky shooter but the form is there and will be more consistent as she puts the work in. A prospect we will keep an eye on.
5th Grade Feature Team
Winter series finale 5th grade champs had a solid showing playing team basketball with players that compliment each other and a nice mix of size and speed on their roster. This young group has a solid understanding of the team concept and played well together. They were effective moving the ball and finding easy opportunities for each other. It showed as they averaged 40 points a game throughout the session which is a high number for such a young group.
5th Grade Division Recap
Watching these young prospects play was inspiring, regardless of age they already have an extreme love and passion for the game of basketball. The skill sets are increasingly more advanced as you’ll catch a hard in/out between the legs into a stepback or a nice power move to the rim from a post player and immediately compare them to a MS, HS or even a college player. The future of the girls/women's game is in good hands. These kids came to compete, you can see it in their faces full of intensity and their reaction to coaches, teammates, exciting plays were priceless.
Here are a few of the young ones that caught our eye for various reasons. We look forward to watching them and the rest of the prospects in this class as they continue to work on their games and develop.
5th grade Division Standouts
29’ Madeleine Hamiem (Fairfax Stars)
29’ Sky Slater (FairFax Stars)
29’ kemoni Hardy (Queen City)
30’ Mackenzie Larkins (Queen City)
29’ Crystal Thomas (New Heights)
29’ Aubrey Dillon (Bustleton Lady Bengals)