By Bob Corwin
The 13th annual Battle in the Boro, presented by National Exposure Basketball, saw 610 teams gather at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky, from July 10-13. The Junior Showcase Division was won by Oklahoma PWP Elite 17U 55-41 over Ohlde Elite 2019 Pink (based out of Kansas). The Sophomore Showcase Division (see part 2) was won by West Virginia Thunder 2019 Johnson 55-37 over North Texas Lights Out. The Freshman Showcase Division (see part 3) was won by West Virginia Thunder 2020 Johnson over the Tennessee Flight Silver Freshmen by a score of 52-47. About 600 college coaches and 60 media/scouting service reps attended one or more days of the event.
Big events cost efficient...
If you talk to college coaches one on one (particularly below the more affluent Power 5 level), you hear complaints about the cost (scouting packet, lodging, travel) of attending one of these large club exposure events. However, if one looks at the cost of viewing just one out-of-area player playing one game during the high school season, the cost of that overnight (plane, car rental, motel room) can easily approach $500. At events like Battle in the Boro, a college recruiter can evaluate hundreds of players in a few days with far greater cost efficiency.
The need to get seen...
If you tell all too many college recruiters about a player, the first question you get is "who does she play for during the club season?" At the Boro, an answer I got all too often regarding a promising recruit's offers to date was "none, first time out!" Hopefully, that changed after the event! However, the above responses again emphasizes the need for those student-athletes wishing to attract more than local (50 miles) college scholarship offers to hit the summer club trail or be left with very few, if any, scholarship options. For those high school coaches who do not want their players to play for a club team (There are those who will drop those players from the high school program!) take them out on the circuit yourself!
Picking up the action in the Junior Showcase Gold Bracket (first and second place teams from pool play) Final ...
OK PWP Elite 17U 55-41 Ohlde Elite Pink
This final was kind of stacked against the Ohlde's (sponsored by former WNBA player Nicole Ohlde Johnson who helped coach the team). From various towns around Kansas, this group was younger (primarily 2019's) and had less depth than its Oklahoma-based opponents who were taller inside and arguably were more talented.
PWP controlled the game from early on being up 32-22 at half. The kids from Kansas never really threatened in the second half but to their credit kept the margin respectable. PWP was led by event MVP Jessi Murcer (orally committed to Oklahoma) with 26 points. Murcer is a combo guard very willing to pass but shot the ball well in several games during the event. Double digits were also reached by PWP's All-tournament team members Misty Dossey (12 points), who runs the court well for a 6-5 center, and Ravon Nero (10 points) who shot and attacked from the perimeter. Ohlde Elite was led by Katera Mayfield (6-0, power forward, 2020) with 14 points and All-tournament team member Kia Wilson with 13 points. Wilson put forth multiple strong outings in the key during the event. Also making the All-tournament team from Ohlde Elite was point guard (with size) Preston Reid who possess a field general mentality and helped make her team's offense run smoothly.
Players below are listed alphabetically with height, position, graduation year and club team with home town in parenthesis. The criteria for selection was performance at the event in conjunction with success of the team. For players to qualify, their team had to complete its respective tournament schedule (some had to leave early due to other commitments). Congratulations to all selected!
2017 Battle in the Boro
Junior Showcase Division
Onome Akinbode-James, 6-3, power forward, 2018, NJ Demons East (Blairstown, New Jersey)
Fransesca Belibi, 6-2, power forward, 2019, Mile Hi Magic Platinum (Centennial, Colorado)
Leigha Brown, 6-1, small forward, 2018, Always 100 Smith 2018 (Auburn, Indiana)
Veronica Burton, 5-8, combo guard, 2018, Bay State Jaguars Doner 2018 (Newton, Massachusetts)
Jessika Carter, 6-5, center, 2018, NC Zoom 17U (Waverly Hall, Georgia)
Janai Crooms, 5-11, point guard, 2018, Rivals Black 17U (Cranston, Rhode Island)
Misty Dossey, 6-5, center, 2018, OK PWP Elite 17U (Comanche, Oklahoma)
Bryonna Ferebee-McClean, 5-10, small forward, 2018 BWSL Elite Kelly (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Meg Hair, 5-11, shooting guard, 2018, I-90 Elite 11th Grade (Fayetteville, New York)
Mya Jackson, 5-7, point guard, 2019, Cincinnati Angels Blue (Wilmington, Ohio)
Diamond Miller, 6-2, shooting guard, 2019, Team Miller-Lance (Somerset, New Jersey)
Jessi Murcer, 5-7, combo guard, 2018, OK PWP Elite 17U (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) MVP
Ravon Nero, 5-9, shooting guard, 2018, OK PWP Elite 17U (Edmond, Oklahoma)
Britney Onyeje, 5-10, shooting guard, 2018, AD Elite Peterson (Pflugerville, Texas)
Olivia Owens, 6-3, center, 2018, City Rocks, 2018 (Niskayuna, New York)
Preston Reid, 5-10, point guard, 2019, Ohlde Elite Pink (Topeka, Kasnas)
Kia Wilson, 6-1, power forward, 2019, Ohlde Elite Pink (Saint George, Kansas)
Special thanks to my fellow all-tournament selections committee members: Joe Fenelon, Jack Harlow, Ed Jackson, Tim Lownsdale, Matt Shewmake and Kyle Turnham.
Tag(s): High School