Nike Tournament of Champions: Recap 2

December 22, 2016

The Nike Tournament of Champions is arguably one of the most prestigious tournaments during the high school season. The event is held in Gilbert Arizona at three different sites with most of the games being held at Highland High School and Mesquite High School. The event features some of the top teams, and players, from across the country with each team competing in a division that allows them to play competition to their level which in return makes for some exciting games and match-ups.

 

NEB Media used the course of three days of the tournament to view nearly every team in the top two divisions. Each recap will involve each team that was viewed in a series of releases that will be done in alphabetical order by team name.

 

Centennial High School (Las Vegas, NV)

Centennial opened the tournament with a bye, but took the opportunity to pick up an exhibition game with Riverdale Baptist (MD), a team that Centennial also played again on Wednesday. Centennial had very little issue handily beating Riverdale Baptist in both games, but did find themselves in the loss column against a good Clovis West team. The loss to Clovis West was only the second loss of the year for the talented Centennial team, falling to Paul VI earlier in the season. When looking at the defending state champs, there was plenty of talent throughout its roster. The first player that really stood out to me was Eboni Walker. Walker proved to be a BCS prospect as she attacked from the wing position looking to score, and rebound, the basketball. Walker also was capable of handling the ball well enough in the press, and when given the opportunity, looked to score out of that. Another player that stood out for Centennial was Justice Ethridge. Ethridge is a nice athlete who defended well on the ball and countered that with a scorer's mentality on the offensive side. She was capable of knocking down the three, or scoring out of transition. New Mexico State signee, Pam Wilmore, played a solid game as well. Centennial, without question, should compete again for a state championship this year with a highly talented roster.

 

Christ The King (Middle Village, NY)

Christ The King was an exciting team to watch due to the young prospects that filled the roster. Christ The King kicked off the Nike TOC with wins over La Jolla Country Day (CA) and Archbishop Wood (PA), but fell victim to the host school, Mesquite High School (AZ). Christ The King capped the tournament off with a ten point win over Brentwood Academy in the final day of play. After analyzing the roster, and the talent on the floor, I think it's safe to say that Christ The King is going to be a very good team in the years to come. The first prospect that stood out was Natalija Marshall. Marshall towered over the opposing team with a long and lean structure. She displayed a high level skill-set, handling the ball in the opening floor, and pulling up for a solid 15-foot jumper. Her decent strength around the bucket, allowing her to finish, makes her an intriguing prospect to monitor in the years to come. The duo of 2019's in Kaelynn Satterfield and Klarke Sconiers were also impressive in their own right. Satterfield came off as a bigger guard who had a solid game in the game viewed. Sconiers showed versatility, with the capability of playing on the wing, or as a power forward. Christ The King has always been known as a basketball powerhouse and that will not change anytime soon.

 

Clovis West (Fresno, CA)

When a team has five players on the floor who can all handle the ball, shoot the ball, and understand the team mentality, they are going to be a tough team to beat. Clovis West had exactly that. Clovis West ran through its first two games beating St. John's College (MD), and Centennial (NV), by double digits, leading both games from start to finish. Those two wins set up an exciting match-up with in-state foe St. Mary's Stockton in the semifinals. If you look at the game on paper, you would have expected St. Mary's to handle Clovis West as St. Mary's had more raw talent. That was not the case, as the hot 3-point shooting of Clovis West was too much for St. Mary's defeating them by five. In reference to looking at Clovis West on paper, you will see that they do not have any individual player that is considered to be their star player. Quite frankly, that is what makes them as good as they are. Clovis West had a host of nice guards in a duo of San Jose State signee's, Danae Marquez and Megan Anderson, in addition to UC-Santa Barbara signee, Sarah Bates. Boise State signee, Tess Admundsen, and underclassmen, Madison Campbell and Champney Pulliam, were equally impressive as well. Personally, Clovis West was one of the most exciting teams to watch at the Nike TOC with the impressive shooting display, and team mentality, that they showcased.

 

Grandview High School (Aurora, CO)

Grandview came into the tournament with a little bit of an unknown of what to expect from the team. The unknown changed quickly as Grandview kicked off the Nike TOC with an upset win over Archbishop Mitty (CA). Grandview followed that up with a two point win over Seton Catholic (AZ) before falling to Miami Country Day (FL) in overtime. The loss to MCD saw UCLA signee, Michaela Onyenwere, exit the game in the final two minutes of the game due to an apparent concussion, and never returned. Unfortunately from there, things unravelled for Grandview through overtime resulting in the loss. Onyenwere was the key player for Grandview throughout the tournament as she played at a high level consistently through the tournament. Alisha Davis also impressed with an intriguing leaping ability that resulted in multiple blocked shots in addition to some impressive rebounds. Davis' potential as a player is exciting to look at for the future. Grandview also had solid play from Leilah Vigil and Jaiden Galloway at the guard spots. Grandview came to the TOC and made an impressive statement throughout. The unknown on Grandview is now known as a very good team with high level talent and superior coaching.