St. John's College High School (Chevy Chase, DC) best at Art Turner Memorial (PC: Bob Corwin)
By Bob Corwin
Presented by host Saint Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, and sponsored by WGL Energy, this 11 th annual edition of the Art Turner Memorial consisted of 15 pre-set games that took place over the December 7-9 weekend. The quality nature of the field brought out 63 colleges (mostly NCAA Division 1) from as far away as California to watch one or more days of the event. One item to commend the event on is that a player from both the winning and losing team in each game played received a game MVP award.
St. John’s moves to the top (at least in one national poll)
Saturday’s big game (played in front of a packed house) saw St. John’s College High School (#2 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25) defeat then #1 Christ the King 57-49. St. John’s led by single digits most of the way. The story here was simple. The New Yorkers were unable to sufficiently slow down Azzi Fudd (see below) who finished (matching her number) with 35 points.
On Friday night, St. John’s beat Thomas Edison of nearby Alexandria, Virginia, 74-47. St. John’s jumped out 40-22 at half and the game was never in doubt. Edison was not that weak of an opponent with two committed Division 1 prospects and two others underclass players likely to sign at the Division 1 level. Azzi Fudd also dominated here with 28 points.
Christ the King gets off to rocky 0-2 start
MaxPreps and BlueStar had Christ the King as #1 in pre-season polls. Regardless of what is done to prepare, sometimes teams take a few games to iron out all the kinks. Christ the King is very talented but needs to re-think how it wants to handle its point guard situation. The problem has hung over the team for a couple of years.
On Friday, National Christian Academy (NCA) upset Christ the King by a score of 51-49 taking some of the luster off of the above Saturday match-up. NCA trailed most of the game by single digits. Its guard quickness bothered Christ the King’s ability to stop penetration at one end and run its offense at the other. In the end the New Yorkers had opportunities to force overtime but failed to capitalize on late game NCA turnovers.
The shot clock in use
Just prior to the event the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) ruled for this year that the shot clock could be used in an event where teams from non-shot clock states are participating. This is a reversal (proper in this writer’s opinion) from last year’s NFHS edict.
The rule should simply be “if the event is hosted by a school which uses the shot clock, then it can be used.” This is similar to major league baseball where if a team with the designated hitter (DH) rule in effect is home, the DH is used. If it is the other way around, no DH is allowed and the pitcher must hit.
Looking at some of the individual talent viewed in alphabetical order with height, position and school within graduation year. Location of school is in parenthesis.
Promise Cunningham, 5-11, shooting guard, National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Maryland)
Unsigned, Cunningham hit four threes (18 points total) in helping to fashion the upset of Christ the King. Division 1 schools looking for “instant offense” should consider her.
Aubrey Griffin, 6-0, small forward, Ossining High School (Ossining, New York)
Signed with Connecticut, Griffin posted 42 points in the 88-78 loss to Roland Park. A superior athlete, she scores primarily via attacking the basket and a mid-range stroke. Her passing is an additional plus.
Aubrey Griffin of Ossining High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Kailah Harris, 6-1, power forward, Ossining High School (Ossining, New York)
Signed with Seton Hall, Harris is true power in the paint. In both games in Fairfax, she posted 20+ points.
Ja’Niah Henson, 5-3, point guard, Roland Park Country School (Baltimore, Maryland)
Signed with Morgan State, Henson has good quickness but also plays under control. She posted 16 points (threes, drives) in the win over Ossining while running the offense in fine fashion.
Tamia Lawhorne, 6-0, small forward, Long Island Lutheran High School (Glen Head, New York)
Signed with Georgia Mason, Lawhorne has nice stroke (mostly mid-range) liking to operate in the baseline area. She posted 14 points (MVP honors) in the 45-39 win over host Saint Paul VI.
Aleah Nelson, 5-7, point guard, McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Maryland)
Signed with Cincinnati, Nelson posted 13 points in the 54-43 loss to Sanford School. She does a lot for her team in running the offense and scoring mostly via perimeter stroke.
Lauren Park-Lane, 5-5, point guard, Sanford School (Hockessin, Delaware)
Signed with Seton Hall, Park-Lane combines running the offense (very intelligently) with scoring (22 points versus McDonogh) via perimeter shots and selectively driving.
Nina Rickards, 5-8, shooting guard, Christ the King High School (Middle Village, New York)
Signed with Florida, Rickards is a good athlete with a quality perimeter stroke off the bounce or catch. In the loss to St. John’s College, she posted 24 points.
Anissa Rivera, 6-2, power forward, National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Maryland)
Signed with North Carolina Central, Rivera played ‘big’ in the win versus Christ the King having to hold her team’s middle together defensively versus two Power 5 level posts while scoring 13 points.
Klarke Sconiers, 6-3, center, Christ the King High School (Middle Village, New York)
Signed with Minnesota, Sconiers is “all-blue collar” hitting the glass and making put-backs. She posted 13 points in the loss to National Christian.
Anissa Rivera (#5) and Promise Cunningham of National Christian Academy (PC: Bob Corwin)
Meghan Kenefick, 6-1, small forward, Saint Paul VI Catholic High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
With her team playing short-handed this weekend, Kenefick was always active moving without the ball not afraid of contact. Having a nice mid-range stroke, Division 1 schools should be monitoring her progress.
Vanessa Laumbach, 6-1, power forward, Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, Virginia)
Laumbach is a prototype “stretch four” having good size and looking to catch and shoot the three (four in the win over Saint Paul VI) off the catch. Word in the gym was that she has numerous D1 mid-major offers.
Aaliyah Pitts, 6-0, forward, Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, Virginia)
A D1 prospect, Pitts is a good athlete who plays in and out of the paint. She posted 12 points in the 47-40 win over Saint Paul VI, gaining game MVP honors.
Angel Reese, 6-4, power forward, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Maryland)
Reese is one of the top post prospects in the 2020 class thanks to the combination of athleticism, height, willingness to take contact in the paint, rebounding ability and high motor. An added plus is that she is a willing passer and finishes with either hand. She posted 18 points in the 66-48 win over Life Center Academy of New Jersey.
Eniya Russell, 5-11, guard, Institute of Notre Dame (Baltimore, Maryland)
A Power 5 level athlete, Russell handles the ball well and can create her own shot. At times she needs to be more active when playing off the ball.
Taylor Webster, 5-11, small forward, Georgetown Visitation (Washington, DC)
With her team somewhat lacking interior height, the sturdy Webster is willing to go inside to post and hit the glass. Her position as a future D1 player will be on the perimeter thanks to a nice perimeter stroke (including threes). She earned game MVP honors posting 16 points in her team’s 50-27 win over St. John’s Prep of Frederick, Maryland.
Azzi Fudd, 5-11, shooting guard, St. John’s College High School (Chevy Chase, DC)
Fudd, a candidate for National Player-of-the-Year, carried her team in its two wins at the Art Turner Memorial. She drove left (preferred) and right, shot at mid-range and hit the three. She was also a willing passer who first and foremost plays to win. As many would have predicted, Fudd was the best player participating in the event.
Paris Clark, 5-8, shooting guard, Long Island Lutheran High School (Glen Head, New York)
A Power 5 prospect, Clark is athletic and has a nice stroke from the wing. An added bonus is she rebounds well for her size.
Gia Cooke, 5-8, guard, Elizabeth Seton High School (Bladensburg, Maryland)
Having seen Cooke twice this past weekend, may I suggest that Power 5 schools should be monitoring her progress. She needs to fill out but attacks without fear and has a perimeter stroke.
Hannah Dereje, 6-3, center, Elizabeth Seton High School (Bladensburg, Maryland)
Dereje is still raw but has good hands, runs adequately and has a solid frame to handle contact in the paint. Power 5 schools should be monitoring this post prospect.
Chardonnay Hartley, 5-4, point guard, Long Island Lutheran High School (Glen Head, New York)
Hartley’s main drawbacks are height and relatively slender build (as yet). The pluses are many including nice handles, good quickness, penetrating ability, good basketball IQ and perimeter stroke. Power 5 schools should be monitoring her progress.
Kadidia Toure, 6-2, center, Good Counsel High School (Olney, Maryland)
Good Counsel is having a down year but with Toure they have a player to build around. Well built for a young post, she can play around the basket or attack off the bounce having good mobility. Another potential Power 5 prospect!
Azzi Fudd of St. John's College High School (PC: Bob Corwin)
Gia Cooke of Elizabeth Seton High School (PC: Bob Corwin)