What a night of basketball at Urbana.
It was a nerve-wracking day preparing for the first-even Miami Valley Underclass All-Star game, an event that was created back in mid-February.
Nobody in Dayton has ever done this before, had an all-star game for the underclassmen. There is your traditional District 9 and 15 senior games, but nothing like this magnitude. As I am prone to do, if it isn’t here, then I will build it.
As most of you know, it is always my goal to make sure everything is perfect. Or at least close to perfect. On this night…things were pretty close to perfect.
I am writing this to send my gratitude for everyone who was involved in this event. From the folks at Urbana, to the players, parents, college coaches, sponsors and media who were in attendance. I have so many to thank, plus I want to recap the event from my perspective. This may scatter all over the place but I want to touch on several things.
We had 40 players from the Miami Valley and surrounding areas participate in this event, and every one of them deserved to be here. As you will see in the box scores below, the talent in the gym was second-to-none in Ohio when it comes to a specific region. This group was very talented. I have gone on record before this event, that every one of the 40 kids at Urbana could play at some level of college basketball.
One of those in attendance was Bret McCormick of All-Star Girls Report, one of the elite recruiting services in America. Now he isn’t just someone who is involved in this game with no credibility, he has coached Division 1 mens and womens college basketball. When asked how many of these kids can, or will, be able to play at the Division 1 level, he reported back around 25. That is pretty strong.
I want to thank Urbana for allowing me to host the event at their school. The entire place was full, from the fans who came out to support their kids and friends, to the overflow of college coaches. With the NCAA Convention and Final Four being held in Indianapolis, I was honestly expecting around 15 coaches. We had 30. Thank you for coming out to watch these kids.
While some schools had multiple coaches in attendance, those at the event included Edison State, Ohio Wesleyan, Gannon, Urbana, Wilmington, Earlham, Tiffin, IU East, Wooster, Defiance, Hocking College, Shawnee State, Baldwin Wallace, Findlay, Cedarville, Ursuline, Sinclair, Cincinnati State, WSU Lake and Bluffton.
Also special thanks to other key people involved in this event: John Hemp, Michelle and Curtis Enis, Buckeye Business Solutions, Ernst and WG Grinders.
9-year-old Mora Menzie from Arcanum wowed the crowd singing the National Anthem at the girls basketball state tournament, and she ripped the roof off this place Thursday, with one of the loudest ovations I have ever heard for the Anthem.
The games can also be heard on demand on www.GemCitySports.com with Doug Brown. Also special thanks to Elea Karras, the senior all-Ohio player from Miami Valley School, who sat in on commentating with Doug for the first game.
The MVP’s chosen by the committee for each game were Ise Bolender of Cedarville in the first game, and Jamari McDavid of Kenton Ridge in game two. While they usually give that award to the big scorers from the winning team, there were other good candidates on the night.
Some thoughts about some of the kids in the Division 3-4 game, with an assist from Bret McCormick with his thoughts as well:
Allie Downing, 5-11 2017, Tri Village- (BM) relentless motor who can score from deep, rebounds and is always around the ball. (JD) she had the most explosive quarter that anyone had all night, with 13 points in the second quarter of her game, and she scored from everywhere.
Morgan Haney, 5-7 2019, Miami East- (BM) smooth true point guard, fundamental and the engine that makes the team go. Can also score. (JD) has good range and can get to the rim. Great future if she continues to work on her game and get better.
Stevie Johnting, 5-10 2017, Arcanum- (JD) one of the most underrated kids in the area, she did some good things in her game.
Courtney Prenger, 6-0 2019, Minster- (JD) coaches better put her high on your radar of the C/O 19, her ceiling is incredible. Her opponents had four very good 5-11 kids of taller, and Courtney took it right at them. Plus, she was at least one year younger than all of those posts.
Summer Blevins, 6-1 2017, Marion Pleasant- (BM) great passer IQ, she affects the game in every way, rebounding, can score and you better be ready for her passes. On a team with this kind of talent, she could have 15 assists and not score, and that’s what makes her special. She is a Larry Bird-type of player can play the 1-4 positons. (JD) I thought Summer played very well, and tried to get all of her teammates involved. There is nobody in the state who can make some of the passes she can make.
Ise Bolender, 5-11 2018, Cedarville- (BM) she is an aggressive player who can attack the hoop and has a good set stroke behind the arc. (JD) everytime I watch her, I think she’s better and better. She can do so much with the ball for being nearly 6-foot.
Kelly Bush, 5-10 2017, Middletown Madison- (JD) undersized post player who showed she isn’t afraid of anyone in the paint. Probably the hardest worker I saw on the floor the entire night. She got after it.
Whitney Will, 6-0 2017 and Grace Thien, 5-10 2018 both from Fort Recovery- (JD) was very impressed with these two. Had not seen them in person, but they came highly recommended. Now I see why, both have good range and are very talented.
The South team defeated the North in this matchup 81-59. Here is the box score from the first game:
Division 3-4 game
South (81)- Summer Blevins (Marion Pleasant) 2-0-4, Ise Bolender (Cedarville) 6-0-15, Kelli Bush (Middletown Madison) 5-2-13 Alyssa Clements (Miami Valley) 1-0-2, Tiffany Hatcher (Russia) 2-4-10, Tia Karras (Miami Valley) 3-1-7, Rachel Murray (Waynesville) 3-4-11, Grace Thien (Fort Recovery) 4-0-10, Whitney Will (Fort Recovery) 3-1-8, Danielle Winner (Versailles) 0-1-1. Totals 29-13-81.
North (59)- Mandi Bates (Bradford) 0-1-1, Allie Downing (Tri-Village) 7-2-18, Morgan Haney (Miami East) 1-2-5, Haley Howard (Miami East) 1-0-2, Stevie Johnting (Arcanum) 3-2-9, Tatum McBride (Newton) 2-0-5, Mikalia McIntosh (West Liberty Salem) 1-0-2, Hailey Peters (Troy Christian) 2-0-4, Courtney Prenger (Minster) 5-1-11, Sammi Whiteman (Covington) 1-0-2. Totals 23-8-59.
South- 22 42 63 81
North- 15 33 44 59
Three Points Goals- South 10 (Bolender 3, Bush, Hatcher 2, Murray, Thein 2, Will). North 5 (Downing 2, Haney, Johnting, McBride).
In the Division 1-2 game, it was a track meet, and the score indicated that. Nearly 200 points were put on the board, and like an all-star game is supposed to be, the fans were thrilled with the offensive production.
McCormick and I also broke down a few of the players in that game:
Jamari McDavid, 5-10 2017, Kenton Ridge- (BM) tremendous athlete who can jump out of the gym, and runs like the wind. She finishes inside and defenders cannot stay in front of her when she is on the perimeter.
Mikala Morris, 6-2 2019, Kenton Ridge- (BM) athletic strong body who finishes against contact. She faces up to 16’ and can handle it in the open floor. (JM) has the potential to become one of the elite with continued work. Not afraid of taking it to a bigger post, aggressive and has a high ceiling.
Presley Griffitts, 5-10 2019, Tecumseh- (BM) big guard with skills that makes plays with the ability to score and set others up. (JD) she will get better every year if she continues to work. Very athletic, can slash to the rim and has range from the perimeter.
Emma Wright, 5-10 2017, Oxford Talawanda- (BM) coaches daughter (dad is head coach at Miami OH), and is skilled and has a high basketball IQ. Understands the game and is always around the ball. (JD) one thing I have noticed the times I have seen her is she hates to make a mistake. Looking for ways to always help her team, good range, and will score at the rim.
Nikki Current, 5-8 2018, Benjamin Logan- (JD) explosive first step to the rim, can score on the drive on most players. Uses body well to position for the easy shot in the paint. Has good range, and she loves to make a great pass probably more than she likes to score.
Amanda Schroeder, 5-11 2017, Dayton Carroll- (JD) one of the more underrated players in the area. She has the height and build to get to the rim and play as a post, or she will hit from three-point range like a guard.
Division 1-2 game
North (96)- Bryanna Bransford (Stebbins) 1-0-2, Nikki Current (Ben Logan) 6-1-14, Mikala Dodane (Mechanicsburg) 4-0-11, Presley Griffitts (Tecumseh) 2-1-5, Allison Mader (Tippecanoe) 3-0-7, Jamari McDavid (Kenton Ridge) 12-0-24, Mikala Morris (Kenton Ridge) 4-2-10, Hunter Rogan (Urbana) 4-1-10, Elly Schipfer (Mechanicsburg) 3-1-8, Lily Yoder (West Liberty Salem) 2-0-5. Totals 41-6-96.
South (90)- Macey Huelskamp (Anna) 2-0-5, Mya Jackson (Wilmington) 6-1-13, Danika Mann (Tri Village) 5-2-12, Kami McEldowney (Versailles) 0-0-0, Lexi Moore (Beavercreek) 3-2-8, Amanda Schroeder (Carroll) 6-2-16, Celena Taborn (Sidney) 3-0-6, Taj Thompson (Trotwood) 3-4-10, Annie Weckesser (CJ) 3-3-11, Emma Wright (Talawanda) 2-5-9. Totals 33-19-90.
North- 16 40 70 96
South- 30 46 63 90
Three Point Goals- North 8 (Current, Dodane 3, Mader, Rogan, Schipfer, Yoder). South 5 (Huelskamp, Schroeder 2, Weckesser 2).
I will begin working this summer to make it bigger and better next year. Some thoughts:
– A three-point contest
– Silent Auction
– Game program similar to District 9