NEB Media kicked off the Christmas break by covering the Magic Citi Classic that was put on by Girl Powher Basketball. The event was held at Olive Branch High School over the course of two days. NEB Media covered the first day of games. Despite the first game getting cancelled, there was plenty of talent in the three games that were played with the highlight game being a classic battle between North Little Rock and Olive Branch High School.
This write-up will cover the teams and players that stood out above the rest.
White Station High School (Memphis, TN)
White Station had no problem quickly displaying their superior advantage over the defending 6A MHSAA state champs, Murrah HS. White Station jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. White Station saw good play from UALR signee Teal Battle throughout much of the first half and was also complimented by 2018 Brittni Moore at the forward position. Both players proved their capability to knock down perimeter shots in addition to playing a nice game around the bucket. Also, unsigned senior Tamia Jones played solid basketball throughout much of the game. Jones is a mobile forward who has solid game around the basket. UT-Martin signee, Zaire Hicks, started out slowly, but heated up as the game went on finishing as the leader in the scoring column.
Murrah High School (Jackson, MS)
The word in the gym for Murrah was that they had several starters out due to a variety of injuries. Despite the injuries, Murrah still had some nice players and athletes on the floor. I came away the most impressed with 2018 Nya Irvin. The southpaw showcased explosiveness with the ball in addition to a smooth stroke from the floor. Regina Sampson also stood out with her athletic ability that was complimented by a consistent 3-point shot.
North Little Rock High School (Little Rock, AR)
North Little Rock is a team that we have seen multiple times now. Each time we have seen them play, they have been in a dogfight type of game. The thing that stands out to me is their consistency. The guards are consistently solid and post player Yo'Myris Morris is consistently solid. Morris has proved to me that she is capable of playing at the BCS level as she plays with energy, a nice post game, and the ability to handle the ball in the open floor. North Little Rock also got nice play from 2019 Demyla Brown. Brown is a big time athlete with big time game. The only knock on her is her size. I noticed that North Little Rock had a new player on their roster this week with the addition of 2017 post player Olivia Sadler who looks to be coming back from a knee injury. Sadler looks to have all of the tools to be a player. I did not see her play prior to the knee injury so its hard to say what she is or will become. She is an intriguing prospect that should be checked on though.
Starkville High School (Starkville, MS)
Starkville is a typical high school power out of the state of Mississippi. Starkville was led by 2017 post player Kelsey Jones. Jones was a bigger body, but moved well. She also knows how to use her size to her advantage. She came with a soft touch around the basket finishing with both her right and left hand. Starkville also had nice guard play from 2018 Tabreea Gandy and 2019 Jalisa Outlaw. Both players showed a capability of being college level players.
Olive Branch High School (Olive Branch, MS)
Olive Branch pulled off the upset of the night after knocking off nationally ranked North Little Rock despite trailing the whole game until the final few seconds of the game. Olive Branch was led by Mississippi State signee Myah Taylor and freshman Endya Buford. I was impressed with Buford's play-making ability in a big time game. I knew what Buford was prior to this game, but I think it's safe to say that her stock went up after this performance. Olive Branch also got great play from junior post player Katie Blackmon. Blackmon battled on both ends of the court against NLR's Yo'Myrie Morris in what turned out to be a fun match-up to watch.