Part III of some observations from Bryan Alexander's AAU event, the Adidas Summer Slam.
Queen City Jaguars 75 - Indiana Elite: Creech 61
With a good portion of the college coaches in attendance watching this game, two teams from Ohio and Indiana with Division I players spread out in age over four classes went head to head. Rod Creech's Indiana Elite team featured the South Bend (IN) St. Joseph core of Kristen Dockery (2007, 6'4), Melissa Lechlitner (2006, 5'8) and Sydney Smallbone (2007, 5'10), a fine forward in Becca Bruszewski (2007, 6'2, Wheeler (IN)), and a couple of imported young points guards in Kate Jasinski (2007, 5'6, Oak Mountain (AL)) and Katy Stuppy (2009, 5'3, Dowagiac Central (MI)).
The Queen City Jaguars were without Porsha Phillips who traveled with the team earlier in the summer, but picked up a wonderful 2009 guard in Jasmine Shaw (2009, 5'4, Winton Woods (OH)). Helping down low was Jessica Cain (2006, 6'3, Oak Hills (OH)), and all-american Myia McCurdy (2006, 6'2, Winton Woods (OH)) was back to form inside and out.
With the game within six points at the 4:00 remaining mark, Elite's Courtney Reed (2006, 5'8, Northfield (IN)) drove on the Jaguar posts and hit the shot plus drew the foul. After making the freethrow, Elite had pulled to within three points. The Jaguars then ran some high post/low post plays to again run away from Elite. McCurdy grabbed the high post pass and shot it down low to Jessica Cain for the basket. After an Elite timeout, Lechlitner brought the ball up with Myia McCurdy now shadowing Elite's shooter, Sydney Smallbone. Lechlitner was stripped and the Jaguars ran it down for a layup. Down 65-58, Lechlitner again brought the ball down and took a quick three-pointer that ended up an airball. The Jaguars came down and ran the same high/low play with success, this time using Cain in the high post and Carla Jacobs (2006, 5'8, Regina (OH)) rotating down to the low post for the basket.
Elite reduced the lead back to six points with a three from Courtney Reed, but her 5'8 counterpart on the Jaguars, Carla Jacobs, missed on her own three but grabbed her own rebound and put it in. Now down by eight, Elite missed on three-pointers by Smallbone and Jasinski with just over 1:30 remaining. The Jaguars had the idea to run some time, but tried to get the ball down low to Cain and Elite tied her up for the change of possession. With Lechlitner on the bench, Jasinski brought the ball up the court and had it stolen by Amber Gray (2006, 6'1, Lakota West (OH)) who got the ball out in transition to McCurdy. McCurdy missed on a short jumper, but got the rebound which led to a driving layup by Jacobs to stretch the lead to double figures. In the waning seconds, Elite's Jasinski drove to the basket and missed, and the board was grabbed by McCurdy. McCurdy brought the ball up and ran off a high post screen from Cain to hit the game's final basket. The Queen City Jaguars defeated the Indiana Elite: Creech team, 75-61.
The Queen City team was led by Amber Gray's 19 points, followed by 18 from Myia McCurdy and 13 each from Jasmine Shaw and Jessica Cain. Indiana Elite was paced by Becca Bruszewski's 15 points, 14 points from Sydney Smallbone, and 10 each from Courtney Reed and Sarah Dermody (2007, 5'10, LaPorte (IN)). The Jaguars were ultimately successful by frustrating Elite's three point guards, limiting Lechlitner, Jasinski and Stuppy to a combined total of five points.
Jasmine Shaw (Queen City Jaguars, 2009, 5'4, Winton Woods (OH)) - Her incredible composure amazed me later when I found out she was just a rising freshman. It's common to see players play up on older AAU teams for experience, but Shaw was there because the team needed her. Her game is highly polished, and her teammates looked for her. She touched the ball on most of the possessions, and was given the freedom to create her own offense. She has the physical tools to be really special. Brought the ball up under pressure very well, can accelerate past traps and is never out of control. Looking back on all the players we saw this summer, Shaw stands out among the most impressive.
Myia McCurdy (Queen City Jaguars, 2006, 6'2, Winton Woods (OH)) - When we saw her in May, she appeared to be back in form from her knee injury last summer. While that may have been true in May, she erased any question during this tournament. The smoothness of her game was back, and her lateral movements and spins were executed flawlessly. Since May her small forward game is now there, as she pressured defensively on the perimeter while also nailing threes. Still a workhorse with enough size to post up inside and battle for boards.
Sydney Smallbone (Indiana Elite: Creech, 2007, 5'10, South Bend St Joseph (IN)) - She's the shooter on the Elite team, and while she is capable of driving on the basket, her game is pulling up from mid-range out and nailing shots. She has a quick shot, not only in her shooting motion, but will also pull up and hit the shot when you don't expect it. Used the screens, but mostly noticed she liked to create her own distance from her defender. She took an obscenely long shot once, and while it missed, she didn't adjust her shooting motion to get the additional distance. And like most good shooters, just keeps shooting even after missing a few shots in a row. She is an intense player you can imagine more collapsing in a pool of sweat at the final buzzer than asking a coach to take her out for a breather. Might become an even more valuable scholarship for a program if the NCAA moves forward on increasing the distance of the three-point line.
Kate Jasinski (Indiana Elite: Creech, 2007, 5'6, Oak Mountain (AL)) - Need to see her scoring game a little more to judge her complete offensive game, but she has the playmaker side down. A point guard who knows how to control tempo depending on the game situation, and is adept at reading the motion of the offense. Passing is excellent, and can thread a bounce pass to a spot through traffic and hit a player in stride. She stays low, can adjust her direction quickly with the dribble, and her turnovers were more caused by decision-making rather than from ball handling errors. A little more experience over the next two years should polish that up.