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The St. James MLK 2024 Classic: Education and basketball all rolled into one

By Bob Corwin, 01/22/24, 11:15AM PST


ZaKiyah Johnson of Sacred Heart, Jaloni Cambridge of Montverde Academy, Keziah Lofton of Bethany (PC:Bob Corwin)

ZaKiyah Johnson of Sacred Heart Academy, Jaloni Cambridge of Montverde Academy, Keziah Lofton of Bethany High School (PC:Bob Corwin)

Held January 12-15, 2024, at The St. James in Springfield, Virginia, The St. James MLK 2024 Classic saw 20 teams of girls (what is the focus here) and 15 teams of boys play one to three pre-set games starting Friday night and ending on Monday afternoon. There were no games on Sunday when teams took a pre-arranged cultural tour of Washington, DC. The event (begun in 2018) was sponsored by NFP, Kaiser Permanente, Sheehy Auto and Lexus. Participation was by invitation only with no entry fee. Games were streamed online by the St. James.

Nationally ranked teams all triumphed

The games were mostly competitive and hard fought. In general, the favorites (including consensus nationally ranked Montverde Academy, Sidwell Friends School and Bishop McNamara High School) triumphed. Some might consider Central Pointe Christian Academy (18-1 coming in and ranked in one poll that included non-Federation teams) losing to Shabach! Christian Academy (12-6 coming into the game) an upset.

Below the all-tournament team for the event is discussed with listed height, position, graduation year and school with state location in parenthesis.

The St. James MLK 2024 Classic
All-tournament Team

Jaloni Cambridge, 5-7, point guard, 2024, Monteverde Academy (FL) Recently committed to Ohio State, Cambridge brings “it” every night: scoring, facilitating, and defending. She posted 34 points in the 82-71 win over Bishop Ireton High school (VA) and 18 points in a 64-46 win over Elizabeth Seton High School (MD). Montverde is consensus top 5 nationally and Cambridge is the #1 reason why. The leading candidate for national high school POY from this perspective!!

First Team:
ZaKiyah Johnson, 6-1, forward, 2025, Sacred Heart Academy (KY)
Johnson did what she could in scoring 26 points in a 66-60 loss to Bishop McNamara (MD) and 25 points in a 53-48 loss to Sidwell Friends School (DC). Sacred Heart competed well against both nationally ranked teams but came up short each time. A quality athlete with a good motor, Johnson can score at all three levels and has been MaxPreps POY for the 2025 class the past two seasons.

Keziah Lofton, 6-1, guard, 2025, Bethany High School (OK) Committed to Oklahoma, Lofton is a tall lefty guard who can attack the basket with power and score in the mid-range area. In two competitive losses (to St. John’s DC 63-46 [opened up in 4th quarter] and Morris Catholic NJ 67-63), she scored 24 points in each.

Madisen McDaniel, 5-8, point guard, 2024, Bishop McNamara High School (MD) Signed with South Carolina, McDaniel is another player who leaves it all on the court night in and night out running offense and attacking the basket with passion with mid-range and three-ball that also needs to be respected. In the win over Sacred Heart (KY), she posted 22 points.

Zania Socka, 6-4, center, 2024, Sidwell Friends School (DC)
Signed with UCLA, Socka is a polished player operating in the lower paint rebounding strongly and scoring with soft touch. She posted 22 points in the win over Sacred Heart (KY).


Kyndal Walker, 5-10, point guard, 2024, St. John's College High School (DC) Signed with nearby Maryland, Walker is another lead guard carrying a heavy load of running offense and scoring big when needed. She posted 26 points in the win over Bethany (OK).

Second Team:

Nyla Brooks, 6-2, forward, 2025, Bishop Ireton High School (VA) Committed to Tennessee, Brooks shows great agility for her size when attacking the basket. In the 82-71 loss to Montverde Academy (FL), she posted 24 points and in the 56-54 loss to Desert Vista, she posted 14 points mostly attacking the rim and scoring in the midrange.

Kendall Dudley, 6-2, guard/forward, 2024, Sidwell Friends School (DC) Signed with UCLA, Dudley is one of the most versatile players in the 2024 class. She can run the point, score from the wing or go inside to post up. She posted 16 points vs Sacred Heart while showing her versatility.

Crystal Hardy, 5-10, guard, 2025, Shabach! Christian Academy (MD)
Hardy stretches the court with her perimeter shooting. She posted 19 points in each (47-44 over Immaculate Conception of Montclair, New Jersey, and 67-63 over Central Pointe Christian Academy of Kissimmee, Florida) of her team’s wins at the event.

Mia Pauldo, 5-6, guard, 2025, Morris Catholic High School (NJ) Mia is more the off-guard twin posting 23 points (3 triples) in the win over Bethany (OK).

Mya Pauldo, 5-6, point guard, 2025, Morris Catholic High School (NJ) Mya tends to be the “run-the-show” twin but also scored 22 points including six threes in the win over Bethany as both Pauldo’s had superior games.

Honorable Mention:

Leah Brooks, 6-2, power forward, 2024, Hazel Green High School (AL) Signed with Alabama, Brooks shoulders most of the inside scoring for her team which defeated Immaculate Conception of Montclair, New Jersey 66-48 at the event.

Amalia Holguin, 5-8, point guard, 2026, Sage Hill School (CA) Holguin plays with confidence not shying away in the big moment looking to make the big play. She posted 21 points (including four triples) in her team’s 69-53 win over Riverdale Baptist (MD).

Shay Ijiwoye, 5-6, point guard, 2024, Desert Vista High School (AZ)
Committed to Stanford, Ijiwoye is the guiding force (scoring or not) for her team that went 2-1 at the event.

Sofia Munoz, 5-8, shooting guard, 2025, Central Pointe Christian Academy (FL) Munoz can really shoot the ball off the catch liking the wing to baseline area. She posted 20 points including 4 triples in her team’s 75-31 win over Riverdale Baptist (MD).

Sadie Shores, 5-9, point guard, 2024, Woodgrove High School (VA) Committed to Stony Brook University, Shores is another player who carries a heavy load for her team running the offense and being asked to be a major scorer for her team. In the overtime 58-55 loss to Desert Vista (AZ), she posted 16 points.

Makyiah Ward, 5-7, guard, 2025, Mt. Zion Prep Academy (MD) Ward led a balanced attack with 12 points (2 triples) in her team’s 50-33 win over St. Paul VI (VA)

Laura Williams, 6-3, post, 2024, St. Paul VI Catholic High School (VA) Signed with Southern Cal, Williams is a consistent scorer in the lower paint, rebounding and at times showing shot blocking capabilities. In her team’s loss to Mt. Zion, she posted 18 points.

Zania Socka (left) and Kendall Dudley of Sidwell Friends School (PC: Bob Corwin)

Kyndal Walker of St. John's College High School (PC: Bob Corwin)

Nyla Brooks of Bishop Ireton High School (PC: Bob Corwin)