Girls of Summer: 2019 Duo Wows ‘Em

Angel Jackson has a chance to be the next State Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-5 center has had a great summer. She'll attend Salesian of Richmond. Photo:

Angel Jackson has a chance to be the next State Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-5 center has had a great summer. She’ll attend Salesian of Richmond. Photo:

In this first part of a two-part wrap-up of the NCAA summer viewing period, it was a dazzling performance by two incoming freshmen for Salesian of Richmond at the Future Stars Camp in Augusta, Georgia. Plus, Orinda Magic Black completes viewing period short-handed and which players and teams turned heads the most at the Summer in the City event held at Chabot College.

For a full report on the Cal Stars national championship club team, CLICK HERE.

Note: Thanks to the Orinda Magic club team, West Coast Jamboree and CalStars club team for supporting analyst Harold Abend in his annual Girls of Summer series of stops at many of California leading summer tournaments. Appreciation also goes out to the Mission Valley Sheraton in San Diego, a great place people stayed earlier this month during the San Diego Classic (including Harold) in the heart of the San Diego area’s top attractions.

The NCAA certified Future Stars Camp that incoming Salesian of Richmond ninth graders Angel Jackson and Makayla Edwards attended in Augusta, Georgia last week was for the nation’s most highly-regarded eighth and ninth-graders.

Incoming freshman Makayla Edwards is another from Salesian of Richmond who has had an outstanding summer. Photo: Harold Abend.

Incoming freshman Makayla Edwards is another from Salesian of Richmond who has had an outstanding summer. Photo: Harold Abend.

The girls were invited to participate by Harry Elifson of Southern Girls Basketball Report, and ESPNW Girls Basketball Director Dan Olson. Besides looking for a class ranking from Olson and a top evaluation from Elifson, the girls got to showcase their skills on July 28 in front of approximately 200 college coaches.

The chatter out of the Future Stars event relative to California girls was mostly about Jackson, a girl that turned a lot of heads in Georgia. The legitimate 6-foot-5 post impressed a lot of analysts and got high marks from several of the Southeast Conference (SEC) coaches who are used to seeing and evaluating big girls.

According to Salesian and Orinda Magic head coach Stephen Pezzola, a call he got from a national analyst who talked to a high-profile SEC coach who attended the event was that Jackson is the real deal.

“You’ve got a good one,” was what Pezzola was told.

Besides Jackson and Edwards, five other California girls, all from Northern California, responded to the invite and made the trip to Georgia. They were:

Nia Chinn (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) 2019
Angel Galbraith (Salesian, Richmond) 2019
Diary Khin (San Francisco middle school) 2020
Ila Lane (Woodside Priory, Portola Valley) 2019
Nicole Young Tracy (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 2019

Orinda Magic Black completes viewing period short-handed

The second half of the NCAA viewing period wasn’t quite as fruitful for the Orinda Magic Black as the first portion earlier in July.

After a 4-1 record and Consolation title of the Gold Division at the End of the Trail tournament in Oregon, and a 3-2 finish against top teams at the Nike Tournament in Chicago, the depleted roster of head coach and Richmond Salesian head coach Stephen Pezzola had a 1-3 record at the July 27-30 MSNM (MidSummer Nights Madness) tournament in San Diego.
Orinda Magic logo
The young team comprised of mostly underclass players was down to seven girls with star guard and End of Trail all-tournament selection Lesila Finau (2018, Dublin) having a family obligation and 2018 Gabby Edmond (California, San Ramon) and 2018 Mikaela Bismilla (Dougherty Valley, San Ramon) out with injuries.

Plus, the outstanding Salesian incoming frosh duo of Angel Jackson and Makayla Edwards were at the Future Stars USA Camp held at the same time.

Back in San Diego, and with so many girls missing, the leading role fell squarely on the shoulders of Salesian incoming senior point guard JulieAnn Martin. She averaged nearly 15 points a game.

“We were outmanned but the girls never gave up,” Pezzola remarked. “JulieAnn carried the team defensively and offensively with help from Rayana Ross.”

Ross, an incoming senior wing at Salesian, averaged 10 points per game.

Host EBX wins Summer in the City

The July 27-29 Summer in the City at Chabot College, the only NCAA certified viewing event for girls in the Bay Area, also wrapped up the second half of the viewing period in July.

Not surprisingly, host EBX Black, a perennial Bay Area club power coached by Mark Anger, the EBX director and the 1989 Cal-Hi Sports Division I State Coach of the Year (Orinda Miramonte), won the 16-team Elite Division, in a 48-38 victory on Sunday over a scrappy NorCal Elite team with a roster of girls from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. EBX Black has girls from the CIF North Coast, Central Coast and Sac-Joaquin sections on its roster.

As she has done all summer and through the viewing period, St. Mary’s of Stockton combo guard Naje Murray (2017) shined, and although she didn’t play her best, and disappeared at times in the first half, she was one of two girls that took over in the second half and finished with 12 points and five assists with three steals.

EBX trailed 21-20 at halftime but Murray came out strong on both ends to key a 7-0 run to open the second half.

The other girl that took over, and Murray’s backcourt mate, Kaliya Griffin (2016) of Inderkum-Sacramento, elicited high marks from the college coaches for her play over the three-day event. Some even liked Griffin’s game better than Murray, and why not, the very quick two-sport star (track) is a bit under the radar after only one season of varsity basketball, and still not committed despite being an incoming senior.
Griffin, who has interest from Sacramento State, San Jose State and Tennessee State, led all scorers with 15 points, of which 12 came in the second half.

“She can score and handle the ball but one thing she needs to work on is she likes to gamble on defense,” said Anger, who now also coaches at Chabot where his women went 31-3 and won the junior college state championship last season for just the second time in 18 years.

Layla Ybarra-Harvey (2016, St. Mary’s-Berkeley) only had six points but used her size and good positioning in the paint to snag 10 rebounds. Marissa Mondave (2016, St. Francis-Mountain View), who played very hard as usual, and was said to be a potential fit as a combo guard/small forward for some of the colleges in attendance, had six points (two treys) and six rebounds. Caitlin Keding (2017, Valley Christian-San Jose), a 6-foot forward that likes to shoot the 3-ball, made both attempts in limited action, including one that put EBX up 40-33 with under five minutes remaining. Small forward Carolyn Gill (2017, St. Mary’s-Berkeley) also had a solid game and finished with nine rebounds.

NorCal Elite Black guard Daisia Williams (2016, Inderkum) had a solid first half but EBX cut off her driving lanes in the second half and she finished with nine points, but only one in the second half. Another girl on the team that is under the radar because of where she plays high school, but showed she has some hop in her game and has the height colleges like to go with it, is Cailyn Francis of River Valley-Yuba City. The 6-foot-2 incoming junior had six points and seven rebounds. Being a good volleyball player improves her athleticism.

In the third-place game, Team Tesh overwhelmed 3D Elite, 56-35. Team Tesh, coached and directed by veteran girls hoops coach John Phillips, has a very solid roster of girls from the East Bay and a few from the Sac-Joaquin Section area.

Just as she has all summer, 2016 combo guard Mylah Andrada of Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland shined at the Summer in the City. She already has mid-major interest but her performance this summer is raising her stock among the college coaches. Andrada had 21 points to lead all scorers in the 3D win.

Two other Tesh flashy guards played well over the weekend as they have all summer, 2016 Ny’Dajah Jackson of Piedmont, and 2017 Namiko Adams of West Campus-Sacramento.

Another girl that Phillips wanted to give kudos to is 6-foot-3 incoming senior post Katherine Mackenzie of Dixon. Mackenzie, who has an offer from Chico State and interest from San Francisco and Sacramento State, posted one of her many double-doubles this summer after finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds with seven blocks in the 3D victory.

“Mackenzie has come a long way,” Phillips remarked.

In the fifth-place game between two teams missing players, NorCal Sparks Black turned a close game at halftime (31-27) into a 67-43 rout of the South Medford Lady Panthers of Oregon.

Several girls played well for the mostly underclass girls from the Sacramento area, but the girl that really shined and one the college coaches liked a lot is 2017 Sasha Brown of Sacramento. It seemed like the 5-foot-10 wing was everywhere in the second half. Brown finished with a double-double 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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