Posted On: 04/29/19 8:57 PM
Saturday at the Be The Best event was one for the books. With the way the schedule was set up I was able to get eyes on 24 different teams throughout 12 games. It set up perfectly for us to mix in those out-of-state teams along with teams that we needed to see to spread out our coverage. We were taking a look at each class in the event including some of the seventh graders who were playing up on eighth grade teams. Below you can find recaps for each game as well as a look at the top players in each game.
9:00 (16U) — Iowa Intensity (47) vs. All Iowa Attack National (42)
This was a good game to start the day with. Iowa Intensity came out and really played well. Cally Gibbs, a 5’8 wing, came out on fire as she knocked down a few shots in a row to get Iowa Intensity some momentum. I really liked how she played the entire game and thought she set the tone for her team. Emily Vaughn, Keelie Eitel, and Kaylee Weber were some others that played well but everyone had a hand in the victory for them. On the flip side for All Iowa Attack, the players who I wanted to see play well all showed me something I liked. Macy Gaskill kept up her strong play this summer, and I think that she’s going to be really, really good next year in a bigger role. Ally Hart, Kinsey Jilek, and Natalie Kahre all played solidly and had an impact on keeping their team in the game. Kayla Frickenstein was the best player as she was hitting jumpers and getting to the rim. This was the best I have ever seen her play, but it wasn’t enough to give them the win.
10:05 (17U) — All Iowa Attack Nike Mauro (72) vs. Iowa Select (45)
All Iowa Attack came out in this one quickly and hurried to a big lead and never looked back. Avery Fried played the best game that I have ever seen her play and she’s starting to look more and more dominant. She was shooting the ball really well and running the floor equally as well. Unfortunately, she suffered a knee injury late in the game and will be getting it checked at the doctor on Tuesday. We hope for good news and a speedy recovery for her. Lindsey and Peyton Kelderman were playing off of each other really well, Peyton was setting the offense up and Lindsey was just draining 3-pointers. I thought that Sydney Mitvalsky played a lot better today as well as she was able to set up her teammates really well and still score the ball. For Iowa Select, Ella Skinner was the standout. While she struggled shooting the ball she has such a solid offensive game that it is tough to stop her. I really like her willingness to make things happen for others on the floor.
11:10 (14U) — Nebraska Attack UAA (41) vs. Lady Martin Brothers (37)
In a battle of two really solid eighth grade teams, Nebraska Attack finished it off and took the win. I really liked the play of Chaney Nelson for Nebraska Attack. She’s a player who is going to be turning heads in the next few years across the state line. She’s one of the toughest eighth graders I have ever seen. Other standouts for this Nebraska team were a duo of players as Chloe Lemon and Sydney Guzinski both played well. This is going to be a really solid group as they come up the ranks. Ava Meyer really stood out today for the Lady Martin Brothers squad. She was much more aggressive than last time I saw her. Her aggressiveness helps her game out so much. The Marion to-be duo of Regan Rice and Ella Bockenstedt stood out again and will for the next four years at the next level. Jasmine Barney was doing a lot more today and I thought her play might have flown under the radar. She’s quick with the ball and looked good shooting it, even though she didn’t hit a ton. This was just a highly competitive game between two solid opponents.
12:15 (14U) — CY Select Beta (55) vs. Team Factory National (28)
CY Select Beta got out early and rode a first half surge to the win over Team Factory National. CY Select Beta is led by two seventh graders playing up, Aaliyah Riley and Aliyah Al-Hameed. They both were so quick with the ball and both were able to set the table with their pressure defense. You could have told me these two were freshmen in high school and I would have believed you. They played with poise past their years. Nicole Storck was another player that caught my attention. She has the ability to come in next year and play big minutes in her freshman year of high school. Kinslee Bosak was the standout for Team Factory National as she was all over the court on defense. She showed the ability to create on the offense side of the ball as well. In the end CY Select was just too much for team factory.
1:20 (16U) — Nebraska Lasers National Gold (54) vs. Iowa Prep Red (34)
This was my first look at the out of state Lasers program and I came away impressed. They were so good top to bottom and there is a ton of college level talent across the roster. Alexis Markowski might be one of the top unsigned prospects in the event. She’s such a physical presence in the middle standing at 6’2. I thought that she control the pace well and didn’t get sped up throughout the game. Grace Cave was pretty much the same for the Lasers as she is one of the most athletic players in the event. Her speed was the ball was insane the entire game. Both of these players are high level talents. Ella Imler and Ashley Fountain both played well for Iowa Prep Red but I thought that Annika Headington played the best I have ever seen her play. She was playing really well within her ability and not getting to high or low with her game. This is a Nebraska Lasers team that is just really good.
2:25 (17U) — SD Attack (63) vs. Missouri Columbia Phenom (41)
This was a very good match-up that saw tons of talent on the floor for both teams. For SD Attack the usual suspects Emma Ronsiek (Creighton), Madysen Vlastuin (South Dakota State), and Rio Fillipi (Northern State) played well but it was the play of Bailey Conrad and Morgan Hansen that really stood out to me. Conrad has always had that aura about her that let you know she was good but I never really saw her put it together. In this game she was outstanding on both the offensive and defensive ends getting to her spots and moving the ball. She was an active player on defense against some really solid opposing guards. Hansen is a South Dakota commit who really showed me a lot this weekend. In other viewings I had of her I didn’t think she was as aggressive as I liked but this time she was going all out. She didn’t shoot the ball great this weekend, but her ability to step out and do it is really solid. Loved what I saw from her over the weekend and her stock flew up in my eyes. The Missouri team was really solid despite losing as Abby Backes and Maci Kuchta really impressed from the guard spots. They both are quick with the ball and willing passers. Backes showed a lot of toughness as she continually got into the paint and finished. Kuchta was playing more of a distributor role but was solid scoring it as well when she needed to do so.
3:30 (15U) — CY Select Alpha (53) vs. Iowa Prep Red (45)
There is a lot of talent of both of these rosters that are going to be household names in the future. CY Select (a 2023 program playing “up”) had two players of which everyone should note. Audi Crooks and Molly Joyce are going to be very solid talents when all is said and done. Crooks has potential to be the top player in the state with her touch around the rim and her advanced feel for a game at a young age. Joyce is a guard who really kept things moving, can score, and defends well. With my first viewing of these two players I would not be surprised to see them both end up top ten in the 2023 class during their senior years, if not top five. This is going to be a duo that Bishop Garrigan loves, starting next year. Sadie Struchen once again impressed me with her shooting ability for Iowa Prep, while she didn’t make many I enjoy her green light and know that she can. Apparently, later in the tournament she made eight in one game. The player that stood out the most to me was Bryar Duwe, a 2023 guard. Duwe is able to score in so many different ways and she’s got that “it” factor that I like to see in the younger kids. She stands out, even playing against the older crowd. Alivia Bronner was another player who played well and didn’t just do it by scoring the ball. She is really solid on the ball and moving around to get open without the ball. These are two teams that are stock full of young talent.
4:35 (17U) — Western Iowa Express (44) vs. Precision Athletics (39)
There were quite a few nice college prospects in this game and I think Meg Burns and Maddy Duncan really set the ton for their team. Burns played one of the better games I’ve seen in many different ways. It seemed like she was on another level from the high school season with the way that she was passing the ball and playing defense. She had a couple really nice finishes at the rim as well showcasing her complete game. Duncan is a quick twitch guard who plays with a ton of passion. She was flying around the court on both ends of the ball. She plays with a toughness that most can’t match and more than a few times she was the first one to a loose ball. Megan Witte was another player who I thought stood out with her length on the inside. Savanna Perez and Molly Kaemmer were two players who stood out for Precision Athletics. Perez is a shooter, who hasn’t met a shot she doesn’t like. I really like her willingness to shoot even when it isn’t going in because eventually she’s going to get hot. Kaemmer is a really nice player who gets good position inside. She is strong and carves out space well in the post. Rather athletic for her size with soft hands. Loved both player’s abilities to affect the game on the offensive end.
5:40 (16U) — All Iowa Attack National Carpenter (41) vs. Pentagon Johnson (37)
I really like the amount of college prospects on this All Iowa Attack National team and they once again impressed. Paiton Wallis and Shanae Wetering were the two that stood out the most. Wallis is a very vocal player but also can go out and score. She’s going to have a big role next year for her high school team and I think she’s going to be ready for it. She is just so skilled and smart with the ball. Wetering is kind of like her older sister because she just does everything well. Similar body structure and definitely can see her being a huge riser in the class. Holds a ton of athleticism and skill which allows her to really play well. Lainy Thoren was another player who stood out with her ability to shoot and go into the paint and score. She’s a very versatile player who will get her fair share of college looks in the next few years. On the other side there were a lot of prospects to take notes on for Pentagon Johnson. Mya Knippling was probably the standout, but you also have players like Tabor Teel, Kenadie Fick, and 2024 Kinsey Evans. Knippling played really well all game long and was able to score at the rim with relative ease. She’s a player to definitely keep an eye on in South Dakota as far as post players go. Teel is a really solid ball-handler who is able to space the floor and make things happen. She’s a really solid shooter as far as my viewing goes of her. Fick is a super, super athletic kid who can separate to score the ball at all three levels. I was really impressed with her full game in my first time seeing her. Evans is mature for her age and there is no question that she is going to be a really good South Dakota player as the skill develops more.
6:45 (16U) — Lady Martin Bros (51) vs. Western Iowa Express (31)
I was glad to see this Lady Martin team again because in my last viewing it wasn’t a full team. This is a team that is loaded with talent and I’m not sure I can pick a player who I thought played the best. Audrey Koch and Anaya Barney were two players who did play really well and I am glad they did. They both have insane length and while Barney is more of a guard, Koch’s passing ability really stood out. Having to face these players in a press would not be fun because they can rack up steals all day long. Zoey Long was shooting the ball really well and that’s kind of what you’ll get from her. A lights out shooter who when in rhythm can make a string of them in a row. Abbie Draper also was on her game as she has improved a lot from high school already. She was stellar defensively and is more athletic than one might think. Draper is such an effort player and combined with her touch makes for a really nice prospect. Even as Western Iowa struggled a few players really stood out to me. Rachel Sobotka and Elle Scarborough instantly leap to my mind. Sobotka is a physical inside presence who as she adds more strength could be one of the top post scorers in the state. She has skill and ability to handle the mid-post. Scarborough is coming off a really nice high school campaign and is starting to really find her own. Her ability to shoot it is known, but I also thought she was defending well and making good decisions. Even though Western Iowa Express got beat, there are a lot of college prospects on this team.
7:50 (17U) — Iowa Prep Black (42) vs. MN Comets Select (38)
Iowa Prep muscled through this game and finished the game off in overtime. I was really pleased with the showing that Payton McHone had in this one. She really played well and I thought really made a jump from my last time seeing her. She was physical on the inside and she is so strong. She has the ability to attack the basket but also be really solid with her back to the basket. Emerson Whittenbaugh also played well once again showcasing her ability to run the floor. Whittenbaugh was also really good on the defensive end making plays that led to easy baskets. Bryn Hadsall might not be the most skilled player on her team, but wow can she defend. She will be up in your face all game long playing with a ton of aggression. Ability to shoot it as well makes her a sought after college prospect. For the Comets, Miranda Broberg stood out all game long with her toughness and shooting ability. She’s a thin player but plays with a ton of motor. Really solid shooter in rhythm and just flat out gets after it on the floor. A bit under the radar but will make a small college very happy. Lauren Bjurman is a lengthy forward in the post who runs with a lot of force. Bjurman is a mismatch waiting to happen with her skill on the perimeter as well as the ability to score in the post.
8:55 (15U) — All Iowa Attack Regional (45) vs. KS Elite (41)
The last game of the night might have been the one that I enjoyed the most with all the young prospects playing well. Skylar Hillman and Maddie Nonnenmann both really impressed me with how they play. Hillman is a player who was just doing everything right. Shooting it, passing it, you name it and Hillman was doing it. She was really poised with the ball and definitely looks like she can grow a bit more as well. Nonnenmann played a big role this past year on her high school team and I think next year that role is going to be much bigger. Her ability to move around near the paint but also handle the ball on the outside is key to her game and she’s developed both areas nicely over the past couple of months. KS Elite also has a slew of girls that just know the game. Emree Zars is a long and lengthy guard who is so much more advanced than everyone on the floor. Her basketball IQ is light years ahead of her age and it shows. There is no reason not to think that she isn’t one of the top 2022 players in the state. Greta Trowbridge and Dallas Carpenter also really impressed me with their scoring ability and movement without the ball. This is a group that if they stick together, could and should be really good in the next couple of years.
All photos from the event courtesy of Connor Royer (Request Free Photos Here)