Alabama Southern Starz 2021-Looney, winners of 2018 Midwest Showdown 9th Grade Division (PC: Bob Corwin)
By Bob Corwin
In part 1 (Elite) and part 2 (10th grade) other divisions of the Midwest Showdown (May 26-28 in Cincinnati, Ohio area) were discussed. Here the 9th Grade Division will come under review in similar fashion.
Picking up the action in the 9th Grade Division final...
Alabama Southern Starz 2021-Looney 64-63 B Wright 2021 Gold
Both teams had previously shown strong offenses and did so here. The Starz had more height while B Wright appeared to be a bit more patterned in its offense. The game was extremely close except for a brief patch (discussed below) in the fourth quarter. The B Wright offense was a bit more balanced in half one and the Tennessee-based squad led 33-30 at the break. All-tournament member Iyana Moore led them with nine points. Division MVP Amiya Payne led the Starz with 12 points.
The game remained within a few points into the fourth quarter. At 5:12 left in the game, two bench techs against B Wright move the score from 54-52 to 58-52 favoring the Starz. However, B Wright then went on a run of 11-3 to go ahead 63-61 at the 1:50 mark but they would score no more. Payne got fouled unnecessarily in the open court with 39 seconds left converting both tries putting the Starz up one. With three seconds left, B Wright’s Moore missed a floater which would have won the game. Moore put on a show for B Wright finishing with a team leading 24 points (15 in half two) hitting threes but mostly attacking off the bounce.
Division MVP Amiya Payne led all scorers with 25 points (8 foul shots in the fourth quarter mostly earned by attacking the basket). She is just beginning to be known outside Alabama. A quality athlete, she has a quick step in driving but also can hit the three. Power 5 programs should be monitoring her in July!
Final game MVP Saniah Parker (also All-tournament) scored 16 points hitting 7 key points in quarter three when the Starz offense was otherwise stalling. An athletic attacker, D1 programs should be monitoring her maturation.
Special thanks to Harry Elifson who worked tirelessly with me throughout the weekend to select the all-tournament teams. Also, thanks to Dan Olson who contributed to 9th Grade Division selections below.
Players are listed alphabetically with listed height, position, graduation year, and club team. Home town is in parenthesis.
Saniah Parker (#10) and Amiya Payne of Alabama Southern Starz 2021-Looney (PC: Bob Corwin)
2018 Midwest Showdown
9th Grade Division
Olympia Chaney, 5-7, shooting guard, 2021, FBC Bouncenation 2021 Jay (Union City, Georgia)
Deborah Davenport, 6-0, forward, 2022, Cincinnati Angels Basketball Club 13U (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Baylee Goins, 5-9, guard, 2021, West Virginia Thunder 2021 Lupardus (Cross Lanes, West Virginia)
Layla Hood, 6-0, power forward, 2023, GA Pearls 2021 Elite (Jones) (Fayetteville, Georgia)
Kyra Jefferson, 5-6, point guard, 2021, FBC Black JG (Duluth, Georgia)
Iyana Moore, 5-9, shooting guard, 2021, B Wright 2021 Gold (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Saniah Parker, 5-10, small forward, 2021, AL Southern Starz 2021–Looney (Huntsville, Alabama) Finals Game MVP
Amiya Payne, 5-11, shooting guard, 2021, AL Southern Starz 2021–Looney (Trussville, Alabama) Division MVP
Olivia Porter, 5-9, forward, 2022, Team Elite Hubbard 2022 (Auburn, Alabama)
Daryana Thompson, 6-0, power forward, 2021, B Wright 2021 Gold (Nashville, Tennessee)
Karly Weathers, 5-9, guard/forward, 2022, Al Southern Starz 2022–Bush (Loretto, Tennessee)
Ruby Whitehorn, 5-11, guard, 2022, Michigan Crossover 8th Grade (Harper Woods, Michigan)