Jada Atchison(Group 1),Kendrea Williams(Group 4), and Taylor Nelson (Group 4) among 2014-15 Players to Wathch.

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FBC Defenders would like to congratulate Jada Atchison (Burlington City), Kendrea Williams and Taylor Nelson (Piscataway) for begin Selected by NJ.com as the NJ 2014-15High School Players to Wathch!

Girls basketball 2014-15 season preview: Full schedule and links

By Chris Ryan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on December 10, 2014 8:58 AM, updated December 12, 2014 12:45 PM
Opening night of the 2014-15 girls basketball is less than two weeks away, and NJ Advance Media is in full swing preparing the most comprehensive season preview in the state.

We’ll be rolling out different posts leading up to Dec. 19, from players and teams to watch in all six groups to a preseason Top 20 countdown. Keep it here over the next two weeks to see everything you’ll need before play tips off next Friday.

NJ Advance Media is still taking team preview forms.

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12 2014

The Road Less Travel…Sometimes It’s The Journey Not The Destination by Marisa MacCabe

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Much like Walker posted earlier, in the first blog, I cannot believe that I am already a junior in college. If you think time flies by in high school, it definitely flies by even faster in college. This may sound cheesy but, one of my favorite quotes is from the poem “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. In the poem he says, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” This quote seems to sum up my life perfectly. The road I took to get where I am today is a bit of an unnatural one filled with plenty of obstacles to say the least; however I believe that if my road had been any different, I would not be the person that I am today. I know most of these blog posts focus on our experiences in college, after high school and AAU, but in my case I feel that it is important to start my story from the very beginning.

I began my high school career as a student athlete at my local public high school in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. My goal was to play basketball as well as excel academically, with a future goal of earning a scholarship to play basketball in college. My parents divorced when I was 13 and every chance my father got he would threaten that I was going to have student loans after college. My father told my 10-year-old brother that too, and he did not even have a clue at that age as to what student loans were. Meanwhile my father has 4 college/professional degrees. Consequently, I was determined to prove him wrong.

The first obstacle that I encountered at Cedar Grove High School was a change of coaches two weeks before the start of my freshman year. The other coach was familiar with all of the incoming freshmen, as he had watched us develop in middle school travel basketball. The new coach came in with a very different attitude and approach, which at times was not positive or productive for the entire team, let alone me. I attended all of the preseason workouts, while a lot of my teammates chose to blow them off. I showed up early for practice and was the last one to leave. I would go to extra private workouts after or before high school practice. I was determined to excel at this game. In spite of all my efforts my high school coach discouraged me and kept telling me that I was not athletic enough to play the game, let alone have any aspirations of playing in college. Yet, another person to prove wrong.

During this journey, I learned that sometimes out of bad comes good. Serendipitously, I learned to channel my frustration with the basketball program during one of my elective classes in art. Cedar Grove High School is one of the few schools in New Jersey that offers ceramics as an elective. Whatever free time that I had, I found myself in the ceramics room; lunch breaks, free periods, and after school. I had developed a love for art. The art teachers recognized my innate talent (though like everything else, much of art is the hard work that you put into it) and passion for creating ceramic pieces as well as for helping other students with their pieces. To my amazement I received the Art Award at the end of my sophomore year of high school.

At the start of my junior year I transferred to a new private high school, twenty miles from home, which offered a more rigorous academic program as well as a better basketball program. My first major hurdle was that as a transfer student, I would have to sit out thirty days from the start of my first game. Translation, I would miss more than half of the season. When I finally was eligible to play I woke up in terrible pain and was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. I had no sooner recovered from that ordeal when I sprained, tore, and dislocated my ankle, which was a season ending injury. Since my junior year was a bust basketball wise, I would have to make up for it in my senior year, which I did. (And for those of you who are not aware I did not find Coach Stone’s team until the middle of July the summer before my senior year…pretty much missing most of the most important season of AAU) I emerged from my senior year, as one of the toughest match-ups in the county, earning First Team All County/Conference, the H.C.I.A.L Scholar Athlete Award, the Bayonne Chapter of UNICO 2012 Brian Piccolo Award, and the Marist High School Student Athlete of the Year Award.

Throughout the college application and recruitment process my senior year of high school all that I cared about was basketball. I chose basketball over my major and choice of school. That landed me at Monroe College on a full athletic scholarship. Monroe is a 4-year school, but a 2-year junior college athletic program in New Rochelle, New York. In most cases athletes attend JUCO because their grades are not sufficient enough to get into a NCAA school. That was not the case for me. I chose Monroe because of the scholarship as well as the possibility of getting more looks from NCAA DII and DI schools than I did in high school. I felt that if I had gained back that year of recruitment that I lost in high school, it would give me a better shot. In retrospect this was not the best decision making process. I was stuck in the mindset that I had to have a scholarship to prove my father wrong and it had to be through basketball to prove that coach wrong.

My freshman year at Monroe would prove to have more obstacles than I could ever imagine. My first roommate was not the most courteous person in the world, but that is college. My next roommate was found dead on a side street. Lastly, the basketball program was not as structured and organized as I was led to believe, nor were my teammates as disciplined as I had been trained to be. A few of my teammates wound up in skirmishes with the law numerous times. This was definitely something that I had not expected.

At the end of my freshman year of college, with a 4.0 GPA (with little effort in a major that I could have cared less about), I was so disillusioned that I wanted to call it quits and literally go work at Burger King for the rest of my life. I did not want to go back to college or even pick up a basketball again. That year I had learned that people do not necessarily “walk-the-talk.” All of the values, hard work, and self-discipline that I thought basketball once represented had been bashed that freshman year at Monroe. Not only were my values challenged on the court, they were also challenged in the classroom. Students that were on full financial aid scholarships were constantly complaining that they did not even want to be in class. They made no effort to even attempt to learn. Not willing to let me give up, my mother suggested that I look for a school that had the major that I would want to pursue, and then look into the basketball program. This was the beginning of my road to UMass Dartmouth.

My sophomore year at UMass Dartmouth was a bit of an adjustment for me. Academically I changed my major from criminal justice to a dual art major in graphic design and sculpture. All of my credits from Monroe transferred, but because I changed majors I basically had to start over as a freshman in the art program.

Athletically I was still trying to get back my love and respect for the game of basketball. All of the hard work that I had put in to finish as strong as I did in high school had in effect been lost during that year at Monroe. At that point it was obvious to everyone that the game that I used to love to play was now more of a chore. I had to force myself to go workout or go to summer league. I wasn’t quite ready to give it up yet because I had worked so hard in high school to play in college, but my experiences at Monroe really challenged my love for the game. When I arrived at UMass Dartmouth in September I could already see that I was going to have a much different experience with this team than with my team at Monroe. The season started and I was on the path to getting it back. I felt like I was finally in the right spot. Going into the break at Christmas, I led the conference in 3-point shooting percentage; however over the break I let my personal life affect my basketball life and struggled the rest of the season.

Between the end of my senior year of high school and the end of my sophomore year in college I had lost 20lbs. I am like a stick to begin with so that was not a good thing. After the season ended last year, I was on a mission to get my life back together. This past summer I worked extremely hard to get back on track. I got rid of the baggage that was dragging me down and focused on the things that would stand me in good stead going into my junior year. I took two online classes, as well as worked two jobs, a paid internship for a magazine and CVS. Since I worked 7 full days a week the majority of the summer, it did not leave much room for working out. So, in not losing sight of being stronger and bigger, going into junior year, I lifted at 6am on Tuesdays, 7am on Saturdays, and played summer league on Thursdays.

The summer flew by and here I am at the end of the first semester in my junior year. This year I am encountering yet another obstacle. While I am stronger and bigger for basketball this year, my schoolwork has become increasingly more time consuming. I now have 30 hours of class per week because I am taking all studio classes instead of a mix of studio and lectures. On an average day I have class from 9am-3pm with a 10min break in between and then I have to go straight to practice. On Thursdays I usually miss practice or just catch the end because I have class from 9am-7pm straight through with only an hour break at 11am. The homework for an art student is incredible. If I am not at class or in practice I am in the studio working on my projects. I am finding difficulty with there not being enough hours in the day to do my work, let alone play basketball, sleep, and eat. Since I am a perfectionist this balance of school and basketball is something that I have struggled with this semester. I am starting to realize that between majoring in graphic design and sculpture, and playing basketball, something is going to have to take the back seat.

While I have always excelled in the classroom, going into college all that I wanted to do was play basketball. On my senior night in high school they announced that I wanted to coach and teach in the future. The summer after my high school graduation, I worked 2 basketball camps, 1 overnight and 1 day camp, as well as continued to play with Coach Stone. Every summer up until the last two, were consumed by basketball. That was all that I focused on, no job, no school just basketball. Almost 3 years later, I have a totally different outlook on basketball, life, and my future. While it was hard to come to terms with this, for me, right now, I am starting to realize that it is okay to focus more on school and working over the summer than playing basketball. Basketball does not define who I am as a person, which is something that I did not quite understand going into college.

In retrospect, I was hoping to obtain a scholarship through basketball to pay for my education; however my ego and desire to attend a D2/D1 school as well as to prove my father and that coach wrong got in the way of my decision-making. I now realize that I should have just accepted an academic scholarship to a D3 school. Instead I wasted a few years just to end up back at square one, in worse shape physically and financially. I have always been the type of kid who needs to learn their lessons the hard way. Though on the other hand, had I not attempted JUCO I would have constantly looked back and wondered “what if…” In my immaturity I would have also blamed those around me for forcing me into going D3. I do regret not having started at UMass Dartmouth fresh out of high school. However I truly do believe that taking this road less traveled has shaped me into who I am today; a more mature, less emotional decision-maker who tries to see the bigger picture and be more open minded to advice from others.

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12 2014

Women’s Basketball Suffers 65-61 Setback at Stockton Despite 19pts from Rodriguez

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GALLOWAY, N.J. – Freshman guards Jackie Rodriguez(Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) and Julie Rovito (Ridgefield Park, N.J./Ridgefield Park)combined for 29 points but the William Paterson women’s basketball team (5-3, 3-1 NJAC) suffered its first conference loss, 65-61, at Richard Stockton (4-2, 2-1 NJAC) Dec. 6.

The Ospreys jumped out to a quick 17-7 lead less than eight minutes into the contest, but 16 unanswered Pioneer points allowed WP to open up a 23-17 advantage with 4:36 left in the opening period. William Paterson entered the locker room with a narrow 29-27 edge, thanks in part to a 30-21 rebounding margin.

A 20-8 run early in the second half gave Stockton its largest lead of the game at 52-39 with 10:34 to play, but the Pioneers put together a rally, pulling to within two at 60-58 on a Maya Harris (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield) layup at the 1:59 mark. Full Article Here

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12 2014

FDU Devil Cap Off Ring Ceremony By Extending Win Streak To 41 Straight Games And Counting!

LysCoachLette   rp_primary_LL1_0565Women’s Basketball | | by: Bryan Jackson

2014 NCAA Champion Devils Women’s Basketball Team Honored With Championship Ring Ceremony

MADISON, N.J. – In front of a capacity crowd on Tuesday evening at Ferguson Recreation Center, the Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham women’s basketball team received their 2014 NCAA Division III National Championship rings. The team’s rings, along with resolutions, were presented to each member of the 2014 squad by alumnus Governor Richard Codey and University president Sheldon Drucker prior to the No.1-ranked Devils’ game against Drew University.

Former Gov. Codey said, “I have long wanted to wear a national collegiate championship ring, and now I will. These FDU women of New Jersey are fabulous.”

Last March, the FDU-Florham women won the NCAA Division III championship by finishing undefeated with a perfect 33-0 season. The Devils beat Tufts University in the semi-final before topping Whitman College in the final game FDU-Florham is the first NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion in New Jersey history and the first team to claim an NCAA basketball championship in the state since 1996.

Tonight, the Devils, who are ranked atop all national polls, cruised to an 88-51 victory over the Rangers and improved to 8-0 on the campaign. With the win, the team has now won its last 41 games. The Devils have 20 days off before their next game, which will be at the D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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12 2014

Support FBC Defenders Alum Shalette Brown and Alyssa McDonough! FDU Devils National Championship Ring Ceremony!

Attention Players,  Alumni, Families, and Friends

Please come out and support Defenders Soldiers Shalette Brown and Alyssa McDonough as they are honored along with the rest of their 2014 FDU Womens National Championship team tomorow at 4:30pm.

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12.08.2014 – WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
MADISON, N.J. – On Tuesday, December 9, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and alumnus Governor Richard Codey, will present the 2014 NCAA Championship rings to the Devils women’s basketball team.Read More +

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12 2014

Jasmine Walker and Monmouth Sink IONA with 1.5 Seconds Left in Overtime Victory (75-74)!

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Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) knocked down the game-winning free throw with 1.5 seconds left in the second overtime to finish with nine points and six rebounds. Christina Mitchell (Baltimore, Md./MATHS) posted her second double-double of the season with a career-high 15 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Helena Kurt (Spanga, Sweden/Igelstavikens Gymnasium) added 11 points, five assists and four rebounds. Jamiyah Bethune (Union, N.J./Union [Penn State]) scored nine points in her first-career start. Click Here to Read More…

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12 2014

Taryana Kelly Post First Career Double-Double for Maryland Eastern-Shore!

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47 ABC – Delmarva’s Choice

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - After 12 failed attempts, dating back to 1980, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Women’s Basketball Team defeated Mount St. Mary’s for the first time in the program’s history, 58-43, inside the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. The squad picked up their second victory on the season. With the win, UMES improved to 2-4 overall, riding a two-game winning streak, while the Mount fell to 1-5 on the season.

For the second straight game, the Lady Hawks held the opposition under 30-percent from the field (15-of-55). The club also outrebounded Mount St. Mary’s, 44-32, and scored 23 baskets on 17 assists in the contest. Junior Taryana Kelly(North Brunswick, N.J.) posted her first career double-double, 10 points and 10 boards, after shooting 83-percent (5-of-6) from the floor. NewcomerMoengaroa Subritzky (Auckland, New Zealand) notched a game-high 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists in the win.

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12 2014

A National Championship Through The Eyes Of A Freshman by Alyssa McDonough

McDONOUGH, Alyssa

After graduating from Sayreville High School I knew college was not going to be easy. I knew I was going to have to work ten times harder than normal to become a better player overall and make sure I focused on my grades because I know I was attending school for my education and ball. Coach Stone did not pay me to write that by the way! But anyways, being that I was the only incoming freshman I knew Coach Mitchell was going to be on my back about a lot of things since I was the backup point guard. Coach Mitchell and I bumped heads a little bit but what Coach and player doesn’t? In practice Coach Mitchell would always be on my back about the “little things” he would say. If I did not go in for the rebound I know what was coming out of his mouth already, “Alyssa, are you ball watching or are you going to play?”  Coach Mitchell gave me the green light for a lot on the court. Coach Mitchell always told me to shoot the ball when I was open and if I didn’t I knew I was going to be on the bench, or to make sure to keep attacking until someone stops me and if someone tries keep attacking! I have learned that playing for Coach Mitchell you better be up on the ball on defense, pressuring the ball, and a fast pace at all times. Not only did I have Coach Mitchell teach me my freshman year but I also had Jalessa Lewis who was the point guard I was a backup for.

Jalessa Lewis was a grad student who had a year left of eligibility and actually decided she was going to play another year even though she didn’t have too. Thankfully, I learned so much from Jalessa as a backup point guard and she taught me as much as she could. Jalessa was always the person I would go to if I didn’t understand something or if I needed advice on what was a better decision. Jalessa was a leader on the floor and being that I only had a year to play with her I took advantage of that as much as I could. Not only did Jalessa lead the team but she taught me everything she could so the following year I could lead the team as best as I could. Being that I am a sophomore now and having Jalessa as an assistant Coach benefits me because she is still the person I go to when I need advice. I will never forget when it was the Championship game and I was starting the second half and I go to Jalessa “I’m so nervous.” Jalessa goes “you don’t ever have to be nervous girl because they are probably just as nervous as you are so go out strong and then you will see that it’s just that simple.” Jalessa always kept her composure and for that I thank her for teaching me my freshman year.

Now, the best part about my freshman year, of course had to be going UNDEFEATED and winning a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Being able to go 33-0 is a blessing and I could not ask for anything else my freshman year. Now, let’s not get it twisted, my team and I had to work for that. Every day except one day out of the week we had two hour practices and even after practice some of us would stay and shoot. I would do five spot shooting and have to make ten shots from each spot. Then I would have to make ten foul shots and then I could leave the gym. Of course I made Shalette Brown, my teammate and my best friend as well stay after with me and workout out too. If you guys don’t know Shalette she is lazy so of course you can imagine her complaining about me making her shoot and workout with me after a two hour practice. Let’s not forget that I got to win a championship with my best friend next to me on the court as well. Having Shalette on the team helped me out a lot as well too. She was always pushing me do to better, to shoot the ball, to pressure up always, and to always have confidence. So not only did my team and I go undefeated, we won a National Championship and made history.

Going through first round of NCCA’s we were able to host and New Jersey was never able to host. That was a great experience and I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to travel places instead of us hosting first round and second round, but I am actually glad we were home. We were in our home court and that is what boosted the team the most. Having home court advantage meant that we would not lose to no one on our court. The Messiah game was when we all refused to lose on our court and that’s when we all knew we were going for it all at the time. The energy from the crowd, the feeling of everyone watching us, boosted our adrenaline and being anywhere else wouldn’t have been the same. Maybe my sophomore I will have the opportunity to travel or maybe we will just be able to host again! Either way, I still had to opportunity to travel to Wisconsin which was amazing. First when we arrived to the hotel we received a gift basket and dunkin donuts from the NCCA. They had someone many planned events for us to do. We had community service and we got play with little kids that wanted our autographs and looked up to us. We had a game night with the other teams and played pool, foosball, and took silly pictures in the photo booth together. We had a NCCA Banquet where we had to get dressed up, have dinner with all the teams, and we had the two twins on my team get up and rap about “the road to the NCCA.” All of these events were special to me because who gets to experience this. Opportunities like this are once in a life time.

Being the only freshman on the team, going undefeated, and not knowing what it still feels like to lose is a blessing. I could not ask for another team or another Coaching staff I would have rather spent my freshman year with. I am grateful and now that I got a taste of one national championship, I want to win another. So now that we won one, we are going to have to put more time in the gym even more and hopefully make our way back there. I don’t want to settle for one national championship, and neither does my team nor coaches. We will all make sure we will continue our success just like our motto says. “AS ONE!”

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12 2014

Reflections On The Game by Jasmine Walker…

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It’s my junior year and yet I feel as though I just graduated from North Brunswick high. My freshman year at Monmouth University went by quickly and was a big learning experience.  I learned things weren’t going to come easy for me and that no matter how successful I was in high school I needed to work three times as hard in order to make a statement in college.  So that’s what I intended to do my sophomore year. I worked hard enough to earn a starting spot and I was voted captain. However, our season did not go as expected and we only won 8 games. As captain it was my job to find a way to keep the team’s spirit high and continue to work hard regardless of what the outcome may be.

Going into the summer following my sophomore year, I wanted to become more independent. I started working two summer jobs, on top of having two summer classes and having summer workouts. It was extremely hard to balancing the three. I found myself burning myself out, which affected my summer training. But I managed to stick it out till August.  On August 10th my team and I embarked on our foreign tour.  We took a 9-hour (yes 9 hours!) flight to Rome and from there we took a small plane to Serbia.  Our first game in Serbia was against the Serbian National Team who destroyed us.  These women were no joke and we learned later on that some of them played with the best in the WNBA.  Hopefully some of guys watched the FIBA women’s basketball games last week and saw just how amazing these women were.  The second game we played was against the Serbian Club Team.  This was a team that had a mixed of high school seniors and college players.  It was still a challenged, but we pulled out a win.

After Serbia we landed in Montenegro.  It was so beautiful and we had a hotel right by the water.  The food was amazing, mostly seafood, which was my favorite.  I also went parasailing.  And our coach let us enjoy the nightlife, but we still had a curfew, unfortunately. We played our final game of the tour in Montenegro, which we were winning in the beginning, but lost our lead and couldn’t recover.  After Montenegro, we left for Rome.  Unfortunately, I came down with a fever and a headache in Rome and was not able to fully enjoy it.  One of the funniest and most memorable moments of the trip was when the natives would just be in awe of seeing the African American girls on our team, myself included.  Some people would just stare and point.  Others wanted to take a picture with us lol.  In the whole duration of the trip I think we took about 6 or 7 pictures with the natives because it was just so rare for them to see people of color.  One of the most annoying parts of the trip was not being able to contact anyone, or that it was blazing hot everyday, but dealing with the currency exchange.  I am so cheap that it was hard for me to even want to exchange money knowing that I was going to lose half of it.  Exchanging $ 100 would equal only about 55 Euros.  Lol so for those who wanted a souvenir from me… I’m sorry.  Overall, this trip was remarkable!  I feel like I became so much more open to things that I am not used to.  I even tried so many different types of food including CHEESE!  For those of you who know me I hated cheese.  Ultimately, once you travel abroad you begin to understand that not everyone lives like you or has the opportunity to.  And the things that you take for granted everyday is essential to someone else.  Hopefully, my team can use our experiences from last year and from this trip to create a better opportunity for us to succeed this upcoming season.

Being apart of the Defenders has taught me that success does not come to those who are the most skilled, but to those who work the hardest.  Throughout my AAU career, no player on my team had a phenomenal skill set.  We didn’t have players who were All Americans.  What set us apart was our effort on the court and playing with heart.  I now apply this lesson in college.  I know that there will also be players who can dribble and shoot better than me, but I take pride my effort especially on the defensive end.  I’ve done this so well that my teammates and coaches describe me as the hardest worker on the floor and best defender on the team.

My advice for players in the program is to instead of writing down goals, write down commitments.  Write down things that you are going to commit to everyday in order to reach your goals.  For example, one commit may be to make 100 three pointers everyday or work on ball handling for thirty minutes.  And this does not only apply to basketball, you can write down commits for school also.  By writing down your commitments it allows you to focus on the things that you can control rather than what you can’t.  We can’t control if we get playing time and we can’t control the grades we get in class, but we can control the work we put in.  Lastly, there will come a point in time where you are tired of basketball and no longer think it’s fun.  I know I hit that point and it’s frustrating because you do not know how to get back to enjoying the sport you love.  I recommend talking to one someone, especially a coach in the program.  I reached out to Coach Stone when I was feeling this way and he helped me understand that I just needed a break. So don’t be afraid to reach out when you feeling down and just know that the Defenders program is always there for you.

02

11 2014

Morgan Mitchell “MVP” of PA Hoops Big 60 Showcase 2014

PAHoops MVP

The East Coast Index Report is up on www.pahoops.org website.

Morgan was MVP in one of her games as well as….”Congratulations! If you made the list, you are automatically invited to the“Cream of the Crop” Showcase. The talent was probably the best the “Big 60” has seen in recent events in terms of fast paced transition basketball. The pace was as fast as I’ve seen on the girl’s side in quite a while! My top point guards were Morgan Siani Mitchell from Notre Dame, NJ and Christina Ribaudo from Toms River North, NJ.”

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11 2014