Where the elite get better by Adrian Curry
I spent the weekend at osu team camp. With 4 sites and 6 courts including the iconic St. John arena, who will be hosting the 2020 girls state tournament you would expect high level basketball all weekend. That’s exactly what you got. This is the only team camp all June that you will have a rematch of both division 1 state semifinals from a year ago also the division 2 and division 3 defending state champs in Toledo rogers and africentric. Also other teams such as gahanna, Westerville south, Dublin Coffman and olentangy orange. The first game I watched was Westerville south vs Watterson. To keep in context Westerville was without 4 key players including two key starters in Aja Austin and anyssa Jones against a very defensive-minded and great rebounding team in Watterson. The game was tight early but then Watterson started to take over on the defensive end turning over Westerville south’s young guards and getting easy layups and dominated the boards getting 2nd and sometimes 3rd chances. At the half Watterson led 21-9. Westerville south made a rally to get within 7 but right before the end of the 3rd quarter Watterson hit a very deep 3 near halfcourt to push the lead back to 10 to seize control back and never look back. I liked the fight in Westerville south despite being shorthanded and allowed the younger players valuable experience. The next game I watched was Reynoldsburg vs st Ursula, who had the upset of the tournament last year over Princeton in the first round of the tournament. Reynoldsburg showed their dominance early as they scored the first 21 points of the game. They were able to get contributions from everyone their guards and Alexia Mobley who again is showing why she is getting tons of offers from division 1 programs. She has really improved since the end of her freshman year. Give st Ursula credit they didn’t give up and kept fighting. The game got really chippy between the teams as the refs had to separate the players as they were holding jerseys. Technical fouls were being called during the game. In the end Reynoldsburg did end up winning by 9 bouncing back after being blown out by a retooling mason team earlier in the am. The next game I got to see was aurora who has a very talented player in shyanne sellers go against an upcoming talented player in inmariah Russell and Dublin Coffman, who are dealing with life without superstar Jacy sheldon now part of osu’s talented freshmen class.The game was competitive in the first half as The teams felt each other out. However towards the end of the first half Coffman took over and got secondary scoring as they pulled away in. Runaway. The defense was great as they were able to stop shyanne sellers and aurora had no other scoring to stay with Dublin Coffman. I also had the chance to watch pickerington central take on Toledo notre dame in a rematch of the division 1 state semifinal from a year ago. The rosters had changed from that game as Toledo notre dame lost a lot of players from that game and were young mainly freshmen and sophomores including super sophomore grace van slooten. Pickerington central on the other hard was replacing two seniors that had gone to back to back state finals with one state championship that have moved on to osu and auburn respectively. Pickerington central still has key pieces back including Jocelyn Tate and Nicole Stephens. Pick central rolled as they dominated the rematch winning by 30 getting contributions from everybody and shutting down a really good Toledo notre dame team. The best game of the day was canton glen oak vs mount notre dame. These teams played last year and mount notre dame dominated the game. The rosters were the same for the most part with the exception of kk bransford missing due to her participating on the u16 national team and the graduation of Julia Hoeffling and Gabbie Marshall who is now with Iowa. This game was as advertised as glen oak was able to get points in the paint with Haley smith dominating and mount notre dame came out sluggish after playing a nail biter loss to africentric earlier in the afternoon. Mount notre dame was fortunate to be down by 4 at the half. In the second half they were able to step it up on offense thanks to one of the best 2021’s available in Laila phelia and makira cook who were able to hit key shots to turn the tide. Makira cook is one of the fastest guards out there along with rising sophomore chance gray from Lakota west. The game was close at the end but mount notre dame closed it out from the free throw line and they won by 4 50-46. Was able to see gahanna vs Hartley. With the return of milayna Williams to Hartley after a meniscus injury suffered late last season and also the return of edyn battle after a knee injury suffered earlier this spring just being cleared to play recently this should be a competitive game. It was a very competitive game with both teams exchanging the lead back and forth. Gahanna raced out to an early 6-point lead before Hartley talked to be down by 2 at halftime. Gahanna’s starters didn’t play a lot as they chose to give their younger players an opportunity to play as well. In the limited time that edyn played she was able to play well. She is still getting back into playing shape and missed a couple of shots she wouldn’t normally miss. This will help when goes back to aau play in July. The game came down to a last minute possession and Hartley played great defense to pull it out by 1. A great win for Hartley and definitely a great momentum boost moving forward into the remainder of June. The last game I watched was olentangy orange vs Lancaster. Last years olentangy orange team was really bad only getting 5 wins on the season. This lead to a coaching change and hiring one of the best coaches and leader of women out there in Danielle Roe, she led a short handed Sinclair cc team last year to the elite 8. She was a home run hire and will be able to change the culture at olentangy orange. The game was extremely competitive as they were over 20 lead changes in the first half as orange held a slim 2 point lead at half. In the 3rd quarter orange seized control of the game with great guard play and inside play. They went on a 11-2 run to hold a 35-24 lead late in the 3rd quarter. As with young teams they made mistakes which triggered a run by Lancaster allowing them back in the game which they eventually tied at 39. Give orange credit they didn’t fold and were able to get back to back 3-point plays to push the lead back out to 6. Lancaster didn’t give and had it down to 1 with less than a minute left but a key 3-point pushed the lead to 4 but Lancaster played great defense and forced turnovers by orange and scored quick baskets to get down to 1. They were able to turn orange over and get a last-second possession but orange played great defense and were able to survive winning 50-49. A great win for olentangy orange and continue to change the culture. They may not compete for the buckeye division title as Westerville south will be the favorite to win but they will be competitive in every game they play and will win a game or two against the better competition that they shouldn’t. They have a very young team with a great coach.