Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Berlin, OH –
Outside of Ohio GBB fans, coaches and media, who regularly attend Classic in the Country, I’ve been a good amount for an “outsider”. 2018 marked my 4th trip to Berlin, OH, the first coming in 2007 as the Head Coach of Notre Dame Prep. I will always be grateful to Tom Jenkins for looking out for us, back when being an “independent” school was something that was widely ignored by the main stream WBB people. We rolled into Berlin, in the midst of a 7 games in 9 days in 5 states road trip loaded with talent. Our roster featured numerous D-1 signees (Colorado, Louisville, Marshall, Iona, Memphis, & Hampton). We were literally barnstorming the country, playing NJCAA D3 power Mohawk Valley at home on Friday in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Patterson Eastside in Harlem at FDR on Saturday then squaring off with Mount Notre Dame on Sunday after driving through the night and Dayton Chaminade Julien (& Samari Walker) on Monday. After beating a MVCC team that didn’t lose another regular season game all year on Friday, we struggled Saturday in NYC, requiring a miracle and a 35-15 second half to beat the Ghosts. Sunday MND got the best of us with an absolutely loaded team that probably didn’t get the national recognition that they deserved that year (although I do think they won the state title). On Monday we whopped Chaminade.
In 2010 I came back to Classic in the Country and saw some great games as an assistant at Marshall.
Finally I was back last year in 2017 as a scout/media person covering the event as I was this year. As you can probably tell, my favorite most enjoyable memories of the Classic are as a coach. I can tell you about those 2 games in 2007 more than I can tell you about any game in 2017. It was definitely one of the highlights of my career and as I said above I will always be truly grateful to Tom for the opportunity.
I want to make sure to recognize some individual performances and I’ll name an All-Tournament Team, but having been to the Classic a bunch I know how good of a job they do matching up teams and how good the games are. Therefore before the event I decided I wanted to do a Top 5 games of the event, but there were SO many good games. So here’s the top 5 games plus 5 HM games!!
Top 5 Games –
Last 2 Minutes & OT – https://www.pscp.tv/InsiderExposure/1BdGYMwNnAvGX?t=6m25s
The first of 3 OT games at this year’s Classic, Wayne lead 37-35 with under 2 minutes to play. With under 5 seconds to go, Coach Shumate diagramed a played to get his daughter 5’11 Katie Shumate a 2019 Kent State commit the ball under the basket, posting up, she scored, essentially sending the game to OT. In OT, a Newark jumper plus a FT got them out to a 3-0 lead. Finally a basket by 6′ 2019 post Kyra Willis cut the Newark lead to 1, but there was less than a minute to play in OT. Forced to foul 2020 PG Gabby Stare of Newark knocked 1 of 2 down for her game leading 18 points. Down 2 with the last shot, Wayne had a chance to win on a long 3 point attempt by 2019 Olivia Trice of Newark but couldn’t connect.
2. Kettering Fairmont 60 vs Westerville South 57 2OT (1:40p Sunday) –
Overtime #1 – https://www.pscp.tv/InsiderExposure/1lDxLALmPmZKm?t=13s
Up 6-0 in the first OT Westerville could have closed the game out but ’19 Mali Morgan Elliott & ’20 Kierra Thornton responded with 3’s to tie the game. ’20 Anyssa Jones scored on a strong drive for Westerville but Elliott responded for Fairmont with 2 FTs. Jones made a great pass for the win for Westerville, but they couldn’t finish the point blank layup and it went to double OT. In the middle of double OT, ’20 Kierra Thornton knocked down her 2nd 3 after a big time steal, for the only points of the period. Thornton scored 10 points in the game after being held scoreless by Toledo ND the day before. Talk about clutch!
3. Huber Heights Wayne 49 vs. Regis Jesuit (Colorado) 44 OT (1:20p Monday) –
Last 3 minutes of Regulation, Wayne comes back from 5 down – https://www.pscp.tv/InsiderExposure/1ynJOoZwbkkJR?t=35s
After leading the first day then squandering the lead, Wayne trailed Regis by 5, 42-37 with under 3 minutes to play in regulation. Regis despite their high caliber talent and coaching, only managed 2 points in their final 7 minutes in Berlin, OH. Oddly with a 2 point lead and over a minute to go Regis began fouling on purpose and ended up putting Wayne on the line twice in regulation, allowing them to hit 2 FTs to go to OT. ’19 Fran Belibi of Regis tied the game at 44 on an athletic “pick 6” after a Loyola Chicago signee Maya Dunson basket, but Wayne connected on their OT FTs and put Regis away 49-44.
4. Regis Jesuit (Colorado) 46 vs Berlin Hiland 40 (8:00pm Saturday) –
Last Minute of the Game – https://www.pscp.tv/InsiderExposure/1yoJMMWgqnzJQ
Hiland, the host school, always plays some of the toughest competition at Classic in the Country and despite being out manned always performs at a high level. This year vs Regis and Newark was no different. The Regis game played Saturday night at 8pm in front of close to 2,000 spectators was close throughout, but it was at the end, when Hiland really put Regis on notice cutting the game to just 2, 42-40 with 44 seconds to play. That basket really had everyone at the edge of their seats. Hiland’s valiant effort was just not enough against a much bigger, much more athletic Regis team, who hit some clutch FTs down the stretch to win it.
5. Loudonville 53 vs Tusky Valley 52 (10am Monday) –
Last minute of the Game – https://www.pscp.tv/InsiderExposure/1djxXMPOpaRKZ
One of the things that I love about Classic in the Country is that it’s not just one totally loaded team after another although most teams are loaded, there’s still some local flavor. But the local flavor isn’t just there for the gate, they are the best of the best of local teams, like Hiland, West Holmes and these 2 teams. These teams despite lacking major D-1 prospects are well coached with competitive students of the game. This game which may not have had 1 D-1 caliber player was by far one of my favorite games. Tusky Valley led all game until the last few minutes when Loudonville took their first lead of the second half to go up 2, 52-50. On a BLOB with less than minute Tusky Valley gets a backdoor for an easy layup to tie it up but Loudonville held the ball for a final shot and got fouled with under 12 seconds to go. Loudonville made 1 of 2 to hang on for an impressive win for coach Tyler Bates and his young crew, lead by Clarion 2019 commit Celeste Ryman.
Toledo ND 40 – Kettering Fairmont – 37
Mason 54 – Gilmour Academy 51
Solon 47 – Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame 44
Mason 52 – Solon 40
Newark 37 – Berlin Hiland 33
All Tournament Team –
MVP – Jacy Sheldon – 2019 SG Dublin Coffman – Ohio St. – 37pts, 7 rebs, 7assists, 4steals Win over Toledo Rogers
First Team –
Katie Shumate – 2019 SG Newark – Kent St. – 11points/6rebounds Win over Wayne; 25points (of 37) Win over Hiland
Sammie Puisis – 2018 SG/SF Mason – Florida State – 27points/6rebounds Win over Gilmour; 13points/8rebounds Win over Solon
Valencia Myers – 2018 Post Solon – Florida State – 23points/10rebounds Loss vs Mason; 14points/9rebounds Win over MND.
Makira Cook – 2020 PG Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame – 12points Loss vs Solon; 20points Win over Reynoldsburg
Francessa Belibi – 2019 Forward Regis Jesuit – 11points/10rebounds Win over Hiland; 13points/14rebounds loss vs Wayne
Second Team –
Jala Johnson – 2019 PG Toledo Notre Dame – 17pts W over Kettering Fairmont
Nicole Stephens – 2020 SG Pickerington Central – 19pts/5rebs/3ast W over Hoover
Celeste Ryman – 2019 PG Loudonville – Clarion – 20pts W over Tusky Valley
Madison Bartley – 2020 Post Kettering Fairmont – 16pts/7rebs W over Westerville South; 11pts/6rebs loss vs MND
Abby Prohaska – 2018 SF/SG Lakota West – Notre Dame – 14pts W over Wadsworth; 10pts W over Glen Oaks
Naz Hillmon – 2018 Post Gilmour Academy – Michigan
Madison Greene – 2019 PG Pickerington Central
Gabby Stare – 2020 PG Newark
Anyssa Jones – 2020 SG Westerville South
Madeline Westbeld – 2020 SF Kettering Fairmont
Sommer Pitzer – 2019 PG Westerville South
Top Unsigned Seniors –
Ny Brown – 5’8 SG Wooster
Jalynda Salley – 6’3 Post Reynoldsburg
Peyton Banks – 6′ SF/PF Wadsworth
Jasmine Ballew – 5’9 SF Lakota West
Mackenzie Davis – 5’7 CG Reynoldsburg
Gabby Mitchell – 5’6 CG Solon
Noelle Cahill – 6’4 Post Regis Jesuit
Boston McKinney – 5’4 PG Tusky Valley