skip navigation

Oh Canada! Kia Nurse wins 2023 NIKE 17 EYBL at Boo Williams Invitational

By Bob Corwin, 04/25/23, 12:15PM PDT


Kia Nurse Elite 17U. Photo Credit: Nike EYBL

This past weekend (April 21-23) at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Virginia, Kia Nurse Elite 17u became the first Canadian team to win the prestigious NIKE 17 EYBL (32 teams from all over the USA except the winner from Ontario, Canada). The Canadians swept the field with a 6-0 result. It was not easy as they bested Exodus NYC 56-53 in pool play and Philly Rise 57-54 in the semi’s of bracket play. In the final in what was considered by many an upset, they defeated a deep, strong CY Fair (Texas) 59-48. More on that contest below! 

Other divisions (no stats available): 

16 EYBL 
Team Takeover (MD) 56-53 Philly Rise  
The key shot was a drive by Takeover point guard Autumn Fleary with under five seconds left giving Takeover the lead (54-53).  Fleary missed the ‘and one’ foul shot but her team got the rebound and a couple more points at the foul line brought the final margin to three in a very competitive contest.
15 EYBL 
North Tartan (MN) 67-57 Exodus NYC 
Back to the 17 EYBL... 
Kia Nurse Elite (CD) 59-48 CY Fair (TX)
‘CANADA’ is written on the backs of the Kia Nurse uniforms and they (only one in NIKE EYBL) represented the country very well.  While the Canadians had several narrow wins (mentioned above), CY Fair was dominating its opponents with no margin of victory in single digits with a decisive 89-72 semi’s result over a strong Kentucky Premier squad.  The final's formula for a Kia Nurse victory consisted of winning the boards (+5), cashing in at the charity stripe (+4) and shooting better from the field 38.6% to 30.2% winning each of the last three quarters by 3, 5 and 3 points.  For CY Fair, only forward Vivian Iwuchukwu reached double figures with 10 points while Kia Nurse placed four in double figures led by wings Delaney Gibb and Syla Swords each with 13 points. Credit the Canadians with having more left in the tank to triumph in three days of intense club hoops. 
Talking club ball... 
Before listing our picks for top performers, a bit about the state of club basketball in general and the EYBL in particular.  While I will be critical of NIKE in a bit, let us credit this colossus firm for being the first major corporation to invest significantly in girls’ club basketball.  For most of its existence, there was the NIKE EYBL and everybody else way behind. For multiple reasons, the gap continues to shrink be it still number 1 in quality club hoops for girls. 
This past weekend, NIKE was good enough to provide a free livestream of its 17 EYBL and 16 EYBLIn addition, comprehensive running box scores were posted on all 17 EYBL games (but two on Sunday) with a comprehensive post-game PDF on each of these contests. Sadly, NIKE did not see fit to do any stats on the important 16’s division
On the downside, most embarrassing is that as of almost two days later, no Sunday results from the NIKE 16 EYBL had been posted. If I had not been watching the conclusion of the championship game of the 16’s, posting of the championship result (above) would not have been possible.  An organization like NIKE which prides itself on excellence, should never leave its event incomplete as to posting its results.  Might I further suggest that NIKE invest a few more dollars and also do comprehensive stats on its 16’s division. Quite frankly, the 16 EYBL has gotten second class treatment for years when the investment (upgrading stats) to bring this up to snuff is so minimal in the big picture.  With the 15’s somewhat younger, stats can wait. 
Younger players inconsistent 
The NIKE 17 EYBL can be culture shock to a freshmen (2026) or youngerSeveral future 2026/2027 standouts dotted the 17 EYBL landscape. In general, they were up and down showing flashes of why they are hyped but also having games where they were not doing well (excessive misses; bad decisions; out muscled)From this perspective, chalk this up as a learning experience and not a reason to sell the stock!
Favorite topic in club basketball stands   
As the 2023 club season swings into high gear, the favorite topic amongst basketball parents can be summarized by the three letters N.I.L. The key question asked was “how soon and how much can my daughter get from any perspective college suitor?” 
Colleges are already starting to hire assistant coaches who are marketing specialists. Those college programs which can provide the best N.I.L. deals for players are likely to move up as to winning the recruiting battles for most desired recruits. The days when “program fit” or (heaven forbid) “academics pursuits” being the deciding factor in a college decision are waning as I write this.  
Below is our Pass Tha Ball NIKE 17 EYBL honor roll. You will notice a sharing of the Most Outstanding Player award as both recipients were outstanding performers in Hampton. Also, a separate MVP was named based on winning the 17 EYBL.
Special thanks to NIKE for the stats that made it much easier to sort things out. The major criteria in making this list is quality individual performance over the course of the entire event.  Players are listed alphabetically along with height, position, graduation year and club team.  Location of club team is in parenthesis. 
Notice:  This list was not sanctioned by NIKE or the Boo Williams organization.
Pass Tha Ball NIKE 17 EYBL Honor Roll
Jaci (Ace) Austin, 5-6, point guard, 2025, Alabama Southern Starz (Alabama) 
Austin averaged 15.0 ppg shooting around 45% from the field (shooting stats for one game estimated) while being her team’s primary ball handler. 
Taylor Barner, 5-8, point guard, 2024, Boo Williams (Virginia)
Barner averaged 15.0 ppg on 41.4% from the field along with 2.6 rpg and 2.6 apg as host team Boo Williams went 3-2 on the weekend.
Mikayla Blakes, 6-0, guard, 2024, Philly Rise (Pennsylvania) 
Blakes was the second leading scorer in the league at 20.2 ppg on 40.8% from the field including 13/35  from deep. She was also the primary ball handler for Philly Rise which finished in the final four.  
Justice Carlton, 6-2, forward, 2024, CY Fair (Texas) 
Carlton was a physical presence in the paint but showed she also needs to be respected from outside the key. She posted 16.5ppg on 41/75 from the field plus 7.0 rpg and 1.5 blocks per game. 
Aaliyah Chavez, 5-9, guard, 2025, CY Fair (Texas) Co-most Outstanding Player
Chavez averaged 17.7 ppg on 46.9% from the field with 24/54 from behind the arc also ranking high in NIKE assist stats at 3.8 per game.  These numbers remain special despite being hurt by a subpar title game where she shot 3/15 from the field.
Morgan Cheli, 6-2, guard, 2024, Cal Stars (Califormia)
By its recent 17 EYBL standards, Cal Stars had a down weekend  finishing 2-3. However, the UConn commit showed a high level of poise and quality of production with 12.2 ppg shooting 50% from the field along with 5.6 rpg and 3.8 apg.
Mariah Clayton, 5-11, guard, 2024, Drive Nation (Texas)
Drive had a strong weekend finishing with a 4-1 record.  Clayton did as well posting 13.0 ppg on 55.8% from the field including 9/16 from behind the arc along with 5.2 rpg.  
Devin Coppinger, 5-11, guard, 2024, Tree of Hope (Washington) 
The Trees struggled to a 0-5 in Hampton but Coppinger was a bright note averaging 15.0 ppg on 25/44 (56.8%) from the field including 6/13 from behind the arc.  
Toby Fournier, 6-2, forward, 2024, Kia Nurse Elite (Ontario, Canada)  MVP 
Fournier’s numbers were solid (12.7ppg on 32/55 from field with 8.2 rpg) but not the top of the chart.  She generally came up big (including two dunks) when needed.  Having seen her in high school as well, her teams seem to overachieve!   Sometimes stats do not tell the whole story.  However, her foul shooting (12/31) needs work. 
Journey Houston, 5-11, guard, 2025, All Iowa Attack (Iowa) 
Houston’s numbers are too solid to ignore (14.5 ppg on 33/54 from the field).  Next, you can add 7.5 rpg and 2.3 apg.  
Kateryna Koval, 6-4, center, 2024, Exodus NYC (New York) 
Koval was another ‘big’ with solid numbers 17.0 ppg on 36/73 from the field plus 7.8 rpg. 
Eris Lester, 5-11, guard, 2024, Miami Suns (Florida) 
Interestingly, Lester also plays on a struggling high school team (Orange Park in Florida) where she accounted for about half her team’s scoring average. Over the weekend her Miami Suns went 1-4 but her numbers are hardly that of a haphazard volume shooter. She posted a solid 18.0 ppg on 40.5% from the field with a strong 25/31 from the foul line. She also contributed 5.4 rpg as a perimeter player.  
Leah Macy, 6-2, forward, 2025, Kentucky Premier (Kentucky) Co-most Outstanding Player
Macy played on a solid Kentucky Premier team (getting to the top bracket semi’s) with numbers off the chart. She led the 17 EYBL in scoring with 20.8 ppg on an eye popping 62.1% from the field.  Not her thing, she went an efficient 4/7 from deep and 18/20 from the charity stripe.  Meanwhile she collected 8.8 rpg and handed 2.2 assists per game as a forward.  
Mackenly Randolph, 6-0, forward, 2024, Sports Academy Swish (California) 
Randolph got off to a slow start but finished with four strong games posting 13.0 ppg on 44.3% from the field (5/14 for 3’s) and 8.8 rpg. 
Laura Williams, 6-2, forward, 2024, Fairfax Stars (Virginia)
Williams posted a workman-like 13.3 ppg on 42.2% from the field along with 7.5 rpg.
Juliann Woodard, 6-0, forward, 2024, Indy Gym Rats (Indiana) 
Woodard is built solid and so were her numbers leading the 17 EYBL with 10.0 rebounds per game along with 11.4 ppg on 43.8% from the field making Woodard the only player to post a double-double statistically.