The Kick Off Week exceeded my expectations. This is one of the youngest leagues I’ve had but you would not have known that by the competitiveness of all the teams.
First, I want to give a big thank you to everyone that showed my mom love on Saturday. On June 1, she had open heart surgery. She told me about all the people that stopped by concessions to talk to her (and to purchase her infamous rotel nachos 🙂 ).
UCONN 38 vs Oregon State 35
We can call this the matchup of the State Champions vs The Future. UCONN is lead by Northpoint players, Ashtyn Baker, Lindsey Whiteside and Jade Wells, who won a State Championship last season. The first thing I noticed about those three — they play so well together. Ashtyn is the high motor leader and extremely stingy on defense. She lead this week with 10 steals. I love the aggressiveness and all-aroundness of Lindsey. She can do it all. Bring the ball down the court. At 5’9, she doesn’t mind banging for rebounds. She can knock down the three and bully her way into the paint. I didn’t realize how athletic Jade is. She can explode off the ground for rebounds and accelerate up the court in transition.
State Champions didn’t mean anything to the youngsters of Oregon State nor did it intimate them. Especially, point guard Endya Buford. When she wasn’t getting steals (5) or grabbing boards (5), she was aggressively getting into the paint to feed her teammates or set herself up to get to the line. She finished 5 of 6 from the line for a total of 17 points and was the game leading scorer.
Syracuse 54 vs Washington 56
Syracuse broke out with an early lead. They got balanced scoring from Zareia Ector (13), Carria Smith (13) and Trinity Farmer (11). Then Washington’s Jayla Hemingway turned it up from the perimeter (4/6 from 3 point line) and from the free throw line (7/14) for a total and league day high 27 points. Bionka Massie also added 15 points for Washington.
But it was the stat lines from two eighth graders that raised eye brows. Syracuse’s Anandi Farrell-Rousseau was all over the offensive glass. She grabbed 11 rebounds on the offensive end and finished with a total of 12. She is only 5’2. Washington 5’9 guard Tylei Byrd traveled all the way from Missouri to get in on this competition and she is taking advantage of it. She made her presence known and finished the game with 10 rebounds. Syracuse’s Carria Smith also added 12 rebounds with her 13 points to finish with a double-double.
Texas 52 vs Tennessee 60
This game ended up being the battle of the defenses. The guards on these 2 teams are extremely aggressive and stingy. This game had the highest total steals with 34.
Texas’ Tamia Aldridge shocked me with her ability to handle the ball at 6’0. I thought she was primarily a post player but it became a regular thing to watch her grab one of her 10 rebounds and lead the break up the court. She finished the game with a double-double including game high 20 points. Her teammate, Heaven Thompson, was hustling all over the court and got 5 steals along with 14 points. Texas looked to have the momentum early but Johnna Jones, Sade’ Hudson and the rest of the Tennessee squad had something else in mind. You could not give Johnna any breathing room or she was letting it fly. She was 3/6 from the 3 point line and finished with team high 17 points. When Sade’ wasn’t grabbing 5 of her steals, she was contributing in the points column with 16. Two young players I have to keep my eye on is 7th grader Janiya Jones and 8th grader Leah Jones. Janiya is quite the athlete and Leah at 5’11 can knock down perimeter shots.
This Saturday’s Schedule: