Despite the rain outside last weekend, the weather was perfect for hoops inside the Livonia Churchill High School Fieldhouse, and the top tier of the Lady Baller Insider April Showers Classic didn’t disappoint. A loaded bracket saw 1Nation Elite avenge…
Despite the rain outside last weekend, the weather was perfect for hoops inside the Livonia Churchill High School Fieldhouse, and the top tier of the Lady Baller Insider April Showers Classic didn’t disappoint.
A loaded bracket saw 1Nation Elite avenge a Saturday pool play loss to Michigan Crossover EBYL Brown in the 17-under platinum championship game in Sunday’s bracket play, winning 68-62 to take home the trophy.
With an exception here or there, I spent most of the two days watching games in the top division, getting a sense of how the teams in attendance stacked up against each other, and who’d assembled the best rosters for this spring/summer.
Here’s a look at a ranking of the top five 17u teams I saw at the April Showers Classic:
1. 1Nation Elite
Coached by Wayne Memorial High head coach Jarvis Mitchell, 1Nation has a solid connection with its contingent of Zebras — guard Janae Terry, wing Sammiyah Hoskin and post Jayah Hicks — but this team’s got so much more beyond those three. Kate McArthur (Warren Cousino/Clemson) is one of the state’s supreme shooters, while Mauriya Barnes (East Kentwood), Maddie Novak (Detroit Country Day) and Xeriya Tartt (Flint Carman Ainsworth) can score their share of points from the outside, as well. Madi Stevenson (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern) and Maryam Hashim (Bloomfield Hills) provide depth.
[CLICK HERE FOR THE DAY 1 PHOTO GALLERY]Alexis Johnson (24) of Michigan Crossover EBYL Brown puts up a shot against 1Nation Elite in the LBI April Showers Classic. (Photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
2. Michigan Crossover EBYL Brown
For most of the weekend, Crossover had the player who was the single most problematic to contain — Milwaukee Rufus King’s 6-foot-4 Sydnee Roby, ranked the 40th-best player in the 2019 class by ESPN, and the ninth-best post — but she did not play in the championship matchup with 1Nation. Crossover still has a ton of talent besides her, including guards Nyam Thornton (Columbus Africentric), Jasmine Powell (Detroit Country Day), Del’Janae Williams (Detroit King) and Alona Blackwell (East Kentwood), and a frontcourt combo of Adrian Folks (Detroit Country Day) and Alexis Johnson (Southfield A&T).
[CLICK HERE FOR THE DAY 2 PHOTO GALLERY]Michigan Mystics Dream Team’s Chloe Idoni (left) blocks a shot by 1Nation Elite’s Maddie Novak (3) in the LBI April Showers Classic. (Photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
3. Michigan Mystics Dream Team
The Mystics have all the right parts to be successful, but were missing Julia Ayrault (Grosse Pointe North) — who was taking the ACT — for much of Saturday, and had some normally deadly shooters who never heated up for the weekend. There’s a rock-solid front court, with Whitney Sollom (Hartland), Chloe Idoni (Fenton) and Ayrault, along with wings Laya Hartman (Okemos) and Zada Lacy (Grand Blanc), and guards Maizie Taylor (Midland Dow), Molly Davis (Midland Dow) and Mallory McCartney (Saginaw Heritage).
4. MI Triple Threat Platinum
Great collection of talent from the Lansing area, but the roster — at least the one they brought to the April Showers — was not tremendously deep, in terms of numbers. The squad does have two of the top-ranked 2020s in the state in forward Jasmine Clerkley (Okemos) and point guard Kenzie Lewis (Williamston), as well as DeWitt teammates Sydney Mills and Annie McIntosh, Fowlerville’s Elie Smith and Williamston’s Allie Sherrer.
5. West Michigan Drive-VanKempen
Another very talented group, led by Toledo-bound Sophia Wiard (Muskegon Oakridge). The Drive has plenty of tall bodies, with 6-footers Cara VanKempen (Coopersville), Claire Baguley (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central), Kaylee Baker (Zeeland West), Sophie VanDyke (Holland) and Mattison Rayman (Otsego) and a stacked backcourt with Wiard, Zara Weber (Kent City), McKenna Bent (Comstock Park) and Meg Morehouse (Zeeland East).