Girls of Summer: Grand Finale

PassThaBall Grand Finale showcases a solid group of Northern California’s most talented girls of all ages

The Cal-Hi Sports Girls of Summer caravan came to a rest for the summer after the PassThaBall-produced Grand Finale hosted by Skyline College on a foggy and wet Saturday afternoon in San Bruno.

Two games of current middle-schoolers and incoming freshmen were followed by a pair of games involving just the high school aged girls.

Many of the girls competing already had a ranking among the 80 girls already ranked and evaluated for the Girls of Summer Final Rankings, but several did not and some improved their current ranking with their showing on Saturday.

One girl that had been viewed earlier this summer but was not yet ranked was Katie Rathbun of Concord Carondelet. The 6-foot incoming senior forward seems to improve every time she’s viewed. Her inside/outside game has gotten markedly better as has her rebounding. She even drained three 3-pointers en route to a game high 15 points with nine rebounds in a 52-34 victory by Black over Yellow in the 4:00 p.m. marquee and final game of the afternoon.

Katie Rathbun should be valuable player for revamped team during 2014-15 season at Carondelet of Concord. Photo: Harold Abend.

Katie Rathbun should be valuable player for revamped team during 2014-15 season at Carondelet of Concord. Photo: Harold Abend.

For her efforts, Rathbun was named MVP of the Black team and she should be pleased when she sees her upcoming Girls of Summer ranking.

Another girl viewed multiple times this summer that will be pleased when she sees her ranking won’t know what it was before the Grand Finale. Her Yellow team was over-matched in the final game but that didn’t stop Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) incoming senior Jordyn Bell from playing as hard as anyone has shown in a showcase event this summer. The 6-foot forward not only registered a double-double 10 points and 11 rebounds, she was named the Yellow MVP and bumped her ranking up a notch or two with her performance.

All the girls who played in the final game will be ranked in the Girls of Summer Final Rankings including a high place for Kamira Sanders of Redding Enterprise. It’s hard for a point guard to take over in a game where the girls have never played together and only have 15 minutes to warm up with each other, but the incoming junior from the CIF Northern Section possesses the tools and showed why many think she could be the best player ever from the far north.

Other girls that showed very well in the final game in alphabetical order:

Nina Bessolo (Valley Christian, Dublin) F, 2016; Julia Blackshell-Fair (Vanden, Fairfield) G, 2017; Janessa Manzano (St. Ignatius, San Francisco) G, 2015; Kian McNair (Salesian, Richmond) G, 2015; Sierra Smith (St. Mary’s, Stockton) G, 2017; Madison Witcher (Cosumnes Oaks, Elk Grove) G, 2016.

The first high school game saw Black shellack Yellow in a 74-46 rout. Several players shined for Black but Soquel incoming senior Natalie Diaz was the best player on the court for this game. The 5-foot-11 junior wing was active the entire game on both ends and finished with 17 points and team MVP honors. The Yellow MVP was hard-working guard Alyssa Lorenzo (16 points) of Dublin Valley Christian.

Other girls that will be guaranteed a Girls of Summer ranking from this game’s performance:

Sadie Allen (Scotts Valley) W, 2015; Jahnay Anderson (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) G, 2016; Lexia Bell-White (Modesto Christian, Modesto) G, 2016; Victoria Duenas (Pittsburg) W, 2015; Cydnee Kinslow (Freedom, Oakley) F, 2016; Jordan Morales (Deer Valley, Antioch) G, 2016; Zavanna Negron (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) G, 2015; Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley) G, 2015.

The first two games showcased some young talent, and not only that, the girls got to be mentored by current Stanford sophomore and former Bakersfield Ridgeview star Erica McCall (a Ms. Basketball finalist two years ago) and her Stanford teammate Lilli Thompson from the Dallas area. The young women took turns coaching Black and Yellow and each got a win.

In the first game, McCall’s Yellow charges won 53-40 behind a very nice outing by Haley Jones. The incoming eighth-grader at Holy Cross of Santa Cruz, who tells Cal-Hi Sports she will attend Watsonville St. Francis for high school, was by far the best player on the floor. She finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals to earn Yellow MVP honors. The Black team MVP was incoming freshman Aliyah Consani-Baker (11 points) from Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman.

In the second middle school game, Thompson’s Yellow team ran away from Black in a 61-39 victory. Incoming eighth-grader Hannah Jump from San Jose continued the three-point shooting she displayed at the Ballroom Games in Las Vegas. The Bret Harte Middle School sharpshooter earned MVP honors with four treys and a game-high 16 points. Incoming Carondelet freshman guard Leah Walton (nine points) was MVP for Black.

Look for several of the incoming freshmen and middle-schoolers in the first two games of the Grand Finale to be earning rankings in the Girls of Summer Final Rankings that will be released this coming week.

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