With brand new audio quality, the entire Sandy’s Spiel staff gathered to share their thoughts on team camps across the state. Trent Markwith debuts on the podcast, while Kyle Sandy hints at bigs things in-store over the next upcoming weeks.
By Bre Singleton (@bre_singleton)
I had the pleasure of visiting Johns Creek High School for the second day of their team camp. I got a look at some of the teams that I missed out on yesterday, including the host team, North Gwinnett, Alpharetta, and Brookwood, who made their first appearance at the camp.
Alpharetta was matched up with the Buford Wolves, who I profiled yesterday, in their first game of the afternoon. Losing only one senior and coming off of a 17-8 overall record last year, the Raiders will be young but confident in the upcoming GHSA season. From what I saw Thursday, they’ll rely heavily on the three-headed monster of Juju and Gogo Maduka, and Kendall Phillips. The Maduka sisters, both long and lanky with incredible reach, are rising seniors, while Phillips, who has no shortage of length herself, will be a junior. Juju, on several occasions, grabbed boards that seemed out of reach and put them back up for easy scores. Gogo exercised more of her mid-range game both vs Buford and Brookwood. She took a couple of nice pullups, able to rise up over smaller defenders. Coach David Walden certainly has some players with potential to work with.
Brookwood is adapting to life after N’dea Jones as the standout forward transitions to Texas A&M to further her basketball career. Kiera Adams played some point/forward for the Broncos in their matchup with Alpharetta. Obviously the most aggressive player on the floor for Brookwood, Adams will be a rising junior looking to attack the basket and get to the line. Malia Grace and Hannah Farr are two sophomore posts who are pretty good at finishing around the rim. Grace at 6’1” got her hands on a ton of rebounds and when she wasn’t able to put a shot up, kicked it back out for an extra possession. I’m interested to see how the Broncos adjust to their new lineup.
Despite only seeing six wins last year, Head Coach Amanda Heil and North Gwinnett are optimistic about the process of getting better. Sydnee Jackson brought high energy for the Bulldogs, attacking and handling the ball very well. North was without Alanni Brown, daughter of NBA star Dee Brown, and sister of Lexie Brown, the Duke guard who helped build the program up before graduating in 2013. With quite a few young players, Coach Heil is focused on getting the program back to where it was just a few years ago.
Johns Creek’s Markeima Lancaster, a 5’8” SF, could not be stopped in the Gladiators matchup with North Gwinnett. Johns Creek ran a four-out, one-in offense that put Lancaster in the best position for her to succeed. Markeilla Lancaster, Markeima’s sister, also performed well. A post presence and vocal leader for the Gladiators, Markeilla cleaned up any offensive boards and hit a few short jumpers. Coach Kirk Call will look to make some noise in 6A Region 7.
By Bre Singleton (@bre_singleton)
Johns Creek hosted a camp Wednesday afternoon in which seven other teams including Buford, Northview, Alpharetta, and Lambert all participated. The camp was strictly held for the purpose of getting reps according to Johns Creek Head Coach Kirk Call. For that reason, scores were not kept and the scrimmages consisted of each team getting 10-minute segments of offense, half-court only.
In my most anticipated matchup of the afternoon, the Buford Wolves and Northview Titans were pitted against each other in a battle of 27+ win teams. The two juggernauts definitely came to play. Northview started with their 10-minute offensive stint first. The Titans had it going early, executing effectively and getting quality possessions. The starting five has a tangible chemistry about them that is a joy to watch. The group is led by senior guard Megan Cistulli, who showed proved to be the vocal presence on the court.
Northview has a solid tandem of 2019 prospects on their hands as well. Ashlee Austin, fresh off her first D1 offer from Ole Miss, shot the ball especially well from deep on Wednesday. Offensive rebounds were there for the 6’1 PF as well as she looks to build on her game.
Maya Richards, Austin’s fellow junior post presence, also had a strong outing. Richards, the bigger and stronger of the two, had her way with just about anyone in her vicinity. A killer drop step got her to the bucket more times than not.
Rounding out the Titan starting five were Asjah Inniss, an aggressive PG who had about as many assists and as she had threes (and she hit several). Another young guard, Eden Sample, found her stroke from deep as well.
Buford was without its star player Tory Ozment who was out for precautionary reasons, but Coach Gene Durden wasn’t worried about her absence at all. Said Durden, “We know what Tory can do…we want to see about some of the others.”
The others certainly showed what they were made of against a very solid Northview team. A player that I was personally impressed with was young Tate Walters, the Wolves’ sophomore point guard. For the most part, Buford ran a drive and kick offense and on several occasions, Coach Durden had them spread the floor so that Walters could go to work. She did just that, and on several defenders. Her ability to break down defenders and get to the cup was phenomenal. At 5’7” Walters has the vision to see open teammates who drop to the block after she penetrates. It’ll be exciting to see how she progresses in the Buford girls basketball program.
Rising senior Jessica Nelson had the task of guarding Northview’s talented post players. She put as much presence on them as they put on her. Nelson arguably had the best post moves I saw all day.
The Lambert Longhorns looked good coming off of a 26-3 season. The Longhorns were one of the few teams to get up and down the court in their scrimmage with Northview. Senior posts Sidney Chase and Jaleah Greene were a fun duo to watch take on the Northview Titans. M.E. Craven, a long SF, had quite a few nice finishes at the rim to help the Longhorns’ scoring.
Coach David Walden of Alpharetta and Coach Amanda Heil of North Gwinnett brought their respective teams to Johns Creek for some summer work. Both fairly young teams got up and down the floor in hopes of getting some good reps. Coach Heil is entering her first year as the head coach of the Bulldogs, replacing Bryan Sellers who she had previously been an assistant coach for.
By Bre Singleton (@bre_singleton)
Head Coach Joni Taylor and the UGA Women’s Basketball program hosted their team camp which started on Friday. Teams in attendance included Class 7A teams Norcross, Collins Hill, Mountain View, Tift County, Rockdale County, Hillgrove, etc. With six courts and two locations, UGA certainly held nothing back.
One of the best players I saw on Saturday is actually a bit of a sleeper. Class of 2019 Tionna Carter of the 7A state runner-up Norcross Blue Devils is one to watch for. As a sophomore, Carter posted a double- double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in the state championship game against the girls basketball powerhouse known as McEachern. The 6’0” forward would prove to be a consistent on Saturday, posting 13 points and 6 rebounds on a Ridge View team out of South Carolina. Carter will look to lead the Blue Devils in the 2017-2018 GHSA season as they attempt to avenge their state championship loss. She’s a player that coaches should absolutely start paying attention to.
Along the same lines, Central-Macon’s Jada Clowers is looking to do some damage in her senior season. Standing at 6’1” Clowers can rebound almost effortlessly. In the two games I saw her in action, she owned the paint, getting easy putbacks. Playing PF/C, she posted eight points and five boards in one game and 11 and ten in the other. As she continues to develop, timing on the defensive end will be huge. She is a presence in the paint but has to make sure she’s getting all ball on her block attempts. Still she swatted several shots, not needing any body contact at all. With some offensive footwork, I think Clowers could prove to be a really solid player at the next level.
Tift County and North Cobb squared off in the afternoon. Azonya Austin of North Cobb had a very productive game from the point guard position. There weren’t many people on the court who could keep up with her. Austin blew by defenders religiously on her way to 18 points. Sydney Soloman also had a solid outing for the Warriors. The 6’0” senior had nine points and 5 rebounds from the 4/5 spot. For Tift County, 5’11” senior Kaysie Harrelson had it going offensively with 10 points. Destiny Johnson wasn’t too far behind with nine, but Tift just didn’t have enough scoring to outlast North Cobb in the end.
Hillgrove played Rockdale County in a 5:00 p.m. slot game. Like North Cobb, Hillgrove had to battle in 7A Region 3 with the likes of McEachern. Against Rockdale County though, the Hawks had it going. Taylor Thompson, a 5’11” senior forward was a beast on the boards for Hillgrove. She put up 11 points and seven rebounds while fellow senior Kierra York added 12 points and six rebounds. Laren VanArsdale, a senior transfer from Whitefield Academy, had seven points and four rebounds from the PG spot to help Hillgrove cruise to a blowout.
The last game I caught ended up being the best of the day in my opinion. Collins Hill and Colquitt County were in a battle. With the score 24-20 at halftime, this game was destined for a good finish. Coming off of a 23-5 season, Colquitt County gave the team from Suwanee all they could handle. Scoring was plentiful in this one. Za’Nautica Downs lead all scorers with 19 points and each point was spectacular. Diamond Hall added her share, putting up 14 points. Collins Hill has a great nucleus coming back for the 2017-2018 season, lead by non-other than Bria Harmon. She had nine points and four boards for the Eagles. Javyn Nicholson (pictured) was absolutely dominant in the paint pouring in 14 points and pulling 10 boards. Jada Rice, the other half of The Eagles’ 1-2 post punch, had an aggressive nine points and eight rebounds. Collins Hill was able to edge out the Packers 49-46. These two teams will definitely look to make even more noise in 7A than they did last year.
By Bre Singleton (@bre_singleton)
Georgia State Sharon Baldwin Team Camp Top Performers
Mountain View: ’18 Lillian Kennedy
Playing the point/forward spot, Lillian Kennedy was clearly the most athletic player on the court in any given matchup. At about 5’9, Kennedy has the footwork in the paint to finesse her way around many defenders. In a game against Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Kennedy had 12 points and 8 boards and sat out most of the fourth quarter. Her length and timing gave offensive players fits all day as Kennedy swatted more than a few shots into the bleachers. A member of the Gwinnett Daily Post All-County Third team, the Mountain View standout expressed interest from GSU, UNC Asheville, Stony Brook and others.
Mountain View: ’19 Kamryn Collins
Kamryn Collins is an absolute beast on the boards for the Bears and cleaning up the paint was her specialty on Wednesday. Still young and raw, Collins has a nose for the ball and rebounding comes naturally. In the early matchup with McEachern, Collins managed 10 points and seven boards. In a pretty competitive afternoon game with the Grayson Lady Rams, Collins put up 13 points and snagged eight rebounds to help Mountain View come out with a win. She’s definitely a young player I’d be on the lookout for in a tough region.
Carrollton: ’18 Elexus Bell
The Trojans will bring back all but four players from last year’s roster for the 2017-2018 GHSA season. Among the seasoned veterans is Elexus Bell, a senior forward. The most dominant post I saw all day, Bell’s post game is something to be seen. Bell put up 20 points and eight rebounds against a young, scrappy McEachern team. Another impressive aspect of her game was her basketball IQ. The Trojans scored off of several nice entry passes from Bell in the high-low game. Bell and the Trojans will surely be a team to watch coming out of 5A Region 7.
Grayson: ’19 Jazmin Robinson
Rising Junior Jazmin Robinson is bringing the energy to a solid Grayson Rams team. The 5’10 G/F is scrappy and aggressive on the defensive end and always seems to find her way to rebounds and loose balls. Despite a loss to a good Mountain View team, Robinson had eight points and eight rebounds to go along with several steals. Robinson approaches the game with a blue-collar mentality and is willing to do what most others won’t.
Harrison: ’18 Harper Vick
The 2016-2017 6A State Runner-Up Harrison Hoyas came to play Wednesday at Georgia State. Coach Steve Lenahan brought both his Varsity and JV squads to get a piece of the action in front of the GSU coaching staff. Senior Harper Vick did not disappoint, putting up 20 points and four rebounds in the Hoya win over Team Elite. Vick had the three-ball going early but scoring in transition is what was really remarkable about Vick’s game. Slashing to the rim, she was able to finish with some exciting moves to help Harrison High cruise to a victory. Vick and the Hoyas will look for some revenge this year on their way to the state tournament.