FBC The Family 2023 tops the 8th Grade Showcase
By Bob Corwin
This is the last of five segments on the massive Battle in the Boro 2018. Each touched on one of the five showcase divisions. For an overview of the event and the five All-tournament teams listed in one article, see the release:
8th Grade Showcase Final: FBC The Family 2023 (Chattanooga, Tennessee) 55-50 WPA Bruins 2022 Black Stefko (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
This contest pitted a more athletic but younger FBC Family 2023 squad versus a WPA Bruins 2022 team that was capable of running more sophisticated half-courts set and was on average a class older. The first half remained close with FBC stretching a 24-21 lead with 2:30 left in the half to 30-23 at the break. FBC was led by Reniya Kelly with 10 points while the Bruins were led by All-tournament selectee Reilly Sunday also with 10 points.
The pace of play slowed down in the first portion of half two and the Bruins were able to equalize at 36 with 12:13 left on the clock. From there on The Family took control again lengthening the lead to 50-42 with 2:40 left. Even though WPA got as close as three in the last minute, they never had a chance to tie the score. For the game, The Family was led in scoring by Kelly with 13 and Essence Cody with 11. Sunday led the Bruins with 15 points followed by Journey Thompson with 13.
If a player was to be awarded MVP for the final alone, it would have been FBC’s Reniya Kelly (5-4, guard, 2023) thanks to her high energy and team leading scoring. She is quick on D, penetrates well to score or dish and can hurt the opposition getting out on the break.
All-tournament team members from final
Jaloni Cambridge spent the final in distribution mode but did have strong scoring games earlier in the event. For a very young player just entering seventh grade, her strengths are many. She is quick on D, elusive with the ball, can shoot from the perimeter or drive it, has good basketball IQ not forcing the action and as in the final, is unselfish.
Essence Cody is a well-built athletic post with good hands. She is able to score around the basket and is highly advanced for a player just entering eighth grade. Her size in the key caused the Bruins problems in the final.
Reilly Sunday is the Bruins’ floor general with good court vision. She plays hard particularly willing to hit the floor for loose balls. Individually, she can attack the basket and is improving her perimeter stroke. Journey Thompson is a well-built power forward who can muscle in the key but also has a nice mid-range face-up stroke.
Special thanks to Tara Arnold, Harry Elifson, Marissa Holbert, Tim Lownsdale, Ryan Murray, Nick Ruebel, Matt Shewmake and Kyle Turnham who served with me on the All-Tournament Selections Committee. Evaluating approximately 270 Showcase teams was not easy!
Players below are listed alphabetically with height, position, graduation year and club team with home town in parenthesis. The criteria for selection was performance at the event in conjunction with success of the team. Quite a few of the players listed below will become well known high school players in the years ahead! Congratulations to all selected!
2018 Battle in the Boro
8th Grade Showcase
Shavondra Bassett, 5-1, point guard, 2022 (corrected from 2023), Cap City Ballerz 2022 (Richmond, Virginia)
Jaloni Cambridge, 5-3, point guard, 2024, FBC The Family 2023 (Nashville, Tennessee) MVP
Meghan Casey, 5-6, shooting guard, 2022, Empire State BBall Club ’22 (White Plains, New York)
Chloe Clardy, 5-8, point guard, 2023, Arkansas Dazzlers (Conway, Arkansas)
Essence Cody, 6-3, center, 2023, FBC The Family 2023 (Valdosta, Georgia)
Sydney Cooper, 5-10, forward, 2022, TN Flight Silver (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Isabella Finnegan, 5-10, shooting guard, 2022, Illinois Lady Lightning Bronze (Hometown, Illinois)
Milaysia Fulwiley, 5-6, point guard, 2023, SC 76ers Cubs 13U (Columbia, South Carolina)
Chardonnay Hartley, 5-3, point guard, 2022, Hoopers NY 2022 Elite (Bronx, New York)