Gear from a Rosary player
CHANDLER, Ariz., Dec. 21 - Turns out the Great White North isn't just about sticks and hard rubber. Turns out Canadians know their way around the hardwood, thank you very much.
You wouldn't think it, the way the college coaches who trekked over to SanTan Middle School promptly streamed out when the latest Ms. It, super sophomore Italee Lucas, was finished playing for Centennial High School.
They missed quite a show as British Columbia powerhouse, Brookswood of Langley, B.C., crushed Westview 85-17. The Avondale, Ariz., team was limited to just two points in the first quarter by the usually stifling Brookswood pressure defense.
Kelsey Adrian had 16
Leading the way for the defending B.C. champs was do-everything guard Sasha McKinnon, who scored 17 points. McKinnon, who is headed stateside to the University of Utah next year, didn't even play half a game.
McKinnon was overshadowed only by the luminary Lucas, who not only has the best name in the tournament, but could have the best game, when it all is said and done. What the 5-foot-7 guard lacks in size, she makes up with quick hands and feet, handle, and quick-strike capability from about anywhere on the court.
The buzz - and a posse of college coaches - has followed Lucas from a memorable performance at the Nike All-American Camp last summer. Here, she helped bring down Mountainview of Utah, whose post, Michelle Harrison, also is a revelation. The 6-3 junior is fluid, can put the ball on the floor on the perimeter, has nice touch around the basket and a sweet three-point stroke.
At the other end of the post spectrum is Abi Olajuwon, whose last name is recognizable because her father was the Dream, Hakeem Olajuwon. Unlike her father, the Marlborough School (Los Angeles) junior is 6-2 and has a powerful, on-the-ground game. She plays with spunk but doesn't have the speed, athleticism and skillset expected of a player who has been hyped as she has.
The least hyped aspect of the day was one that deserved more. Canadians ... playing basketball ... very well.
Centennial's Whitney Cox (32) and Italee Lucas (50) trap
Mountainview's Maylene Ornelas
More TOC Coverage:
Christ the King Takes It: The smallest player on the court made the biggest impact in what otherwise was a clash of titans.
Last Impressions: Photos from the final day of competition.
Third Impressions: Photos from the third day of competition.
Twins vs. Twin Towers: Despite a close call for No. 1 Piedmont, the Nike Tournament of Champions has a dream final, which includes four of the best inside players in the country.
Second Impressions: Photos from the second day of competition.
First Impressions: Photos from the first day of competition.
First Take: Jacki Gemelos of Stockton, Calif., revealed herself as a serious national player of the year candidate.