PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
RADNOR, Pa. - The Super Saturday Showcase in Philadelphia brought a great collection of talent from the Northeast into one gym for a great day of basketball. Perhaps the most exciting showdown was the matchup between St. Elizabeth’s, a nationally ranked team from Delaware, and Germantown Academy, a Philadelphia team on the bubble in terms of national ranking. With both teams having their superstars at full strength it was an overlooked freshman who changed the game.
The superstars are Germantown Academy’s Caroline Doty, the No. 12 player in the 2008 class by HoopGurlz.com, and St. Elizabeth’s Khadijah Rushdan, the 2007 class’ No. 10 ranked player. Both are very skilled players who can play both guard positions and score the ball well – and that’s just what both players did. However, it was Germantown's Maggie Lucas who dropped 19 points on St. Elizabeth’s to give her team the edge in the upset victory.
Lucas got hot from the outside while St. Elizabeth’s defense focused on slowing Doty and pressuring the GA’s young ball handler. The challenge of that daunting ball pressure was accepted by another young underclassman from Germantown. Jesse Carey, a 5-foot-10 sophomore did great helping handle the ball pressure along with Doty and Lucas. She didn’t score like the other two, but her contribution by setting the table, making good decisions under pressure and simply not turning the ball over.
Caroline Doty of Germantown flies in for the
block against Amanda Craig of St. Elizabeth's
The interesting game within the game involved the team’s two stars. Rushdan started the game guarding Doty and when she applies herself defensively she can be a shut-down defender. Because of Rushdan’s strength and quickness, Doty had to work extremely hard for the ball and to get shots which resulted in her rushing initially. After the first few minutes, Doty relaxed some, took her time and got in a groove. Once she started her to get hot, St. Elizabeth’s switched Rushdan off of Doty and wasn't able to slow her the rest of the way as she finished with 20 in the game.
Almost the complete opposite was Rushdan’s scoring day. She started out unguardable. She was too quick for the players her size trying to guard her and too physical when smaller players were on her. Straight up, she was unstoppable. She scored off the dribble, then went in the paint and abused the Germantown defenders. In the second half Germantown did a better job of helping with additional defenders to slow Rushdan down enough to get a decent lead that they would not relinquish.
This trio of Carey, Doty and Lucas helped GA overcome the strong physical play of Rushdan, who scored 19 points in the loss, and another double-digit scoring performance from Joy Rutland (11). St. Elizabeth's only previous loss was to the No. 1 ranked Collins Hill and they'd had defeated their in-state rivals, Ursuline Academy, earlier this year.
Speaking of Ursuline Academy, they were taken to the brink and knocked out of the national rankings with their double-overtime loss to Archbishop Carroll at the Showcase. It was a game that Ursuline Academy, behind their star wing and nation's No. 1 ranked junior, Elena DelleDonne, had under control until midway through the fourth quarter. DelleDonne would finish with 30 points and 23 rebounds, many of which were on the offensive end. Ursuline was able to slow the game down and not allow the high-octane team from Philadelphia to get their running game going.
Carroll is at its best getting up and down and getting its shooters open three-point attempts off of penetration and kickouts. The team was sparked by a three-point barrage from 5-10 sophomore Kerri Shields. Once Carroll got the momentum, Ursuline was nearly at their mercy and began making mistakes that were out of character. With four seconds left Carroll had the ball under their basket for an inbounds play. Ursuline came out and played man defense, which is rare because of how easy it is to get players stuck in screens on inbounds plays. To make matters worse, the defender guarding the passer played straight up and didn’t shade the middle to take the easy basket away and, sure enough, Carroll set a side screen and got a point-blank, uncontested lay-in to take the lead with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Then the game got even wackier. Everyone in the gym knew that the ball was going to DelleDonne. So Carroll decided to double her on the inbound play. Ursuline needed to go the length of the floor and get a shot in 2.6 seconds to win or tie unless they could draw a foul. DelleDonne was in the backcourt and went streaking up court. The two defenders were on the top side and ended up holding her before the ball was passed and they were in the bonus. Anyone who has followed DelleDonne’s career knows she’s one of the best free throw shooters around (she set the national girl's high school record with 80 straight free throws during her sophomore season) and she had already missed two earlier in the game, so the law of averages said she was going to tie the game and send it to overtime. And that’s what she did.
As the game extended longer, foul trouble became the issue as Ursuline’s two key supporting players to DelleDonne, point guard Kayla Miller and forward Shannon O’Hanlo,n would both be disqualified by the second overtime. With two of their best players out and Carroll having the momentum Ursuline could not pull it out.
The morning game was between Upper Dublin High School and St. Michael’s Academy, adding a little New York flavor to the event. The contest was tight and was a great show of conflicting styles as St. Michael’s can get up and down and Upper Dublin is a ball-control, offensive-set style of team.
Maggie Lucas of Germantown
The game was marred with confusion as after the first quarter the game was stalled and it was announced that it was now not an official contest despite the close first quarter that ended in a 12-12 tie. It was announced that he game was a scrimmage exhibition and not an official contest despite the officials and the rest of the event being official games. It appeared to catch Upper Dublin by surprise and upset some of the local fans because Upper Dublin is a Philly-area team.
Both teams played the game hard and both the coaches and players were aware of the running score despite the score and fouls being reset on the scoreboard at the end of each quarter. St. Michael's had 15 players listed on its roster in the program but only eight players showed up for the game. In the second quarter Upper Dublin took a three point lead only to lose it in the third period. In the end it was a Jaclyn Hilf jumper that gave Upper Dublin the final margin of 61-60 if you added up the individual quarter scores.
The event was a success with lots of competitive teams. Cardinal O’Hara won convincingly against Bishop McNamara, the Peddie School beat Our Lady Good Counsel and the No. 3 ranked Notre Dame Academy had a strong win against a local team in Holy Spirit High School.
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Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. He leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz and Scout.com. Chris has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.