(This is part 1 of a two-part recap) With the conclusion of the San Diego Classic on July 3 there was a short 2-day respite before the Girls of Summer Caravan resumed its coverage with two NCAA certified viewing events in Southern California that kicked off the first half of the NCAA July viewing period when Division I college coaches can observe the girls in action live.
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The two events going on simultaneously from July 6-8 were the Cal Sparks Cali Summer Tip-Off at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson and the California Storm National Showcase at the Misty May-Treanor Sports Center in Irvine.
Three games are played simultaneously at Cal State Dominguez Hills while at the Misty May-Treanor Sports Center 14 games are going on at once in what is a madhouse of girls basketball.
While some new faces emerged at the Cal Sparks Cali Summer Tip-Off, it was the Wiggins Waves that continued to ride high in the surf and followed up their San Diego Classic 3A Division win playing as Wiggins Waves/La Jolla Country Day with four strong outings behind head coach and Country Day head coach Terri Bamford, including a big win over host Cal Sparks Gold.
In that game, it was a matchup of Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year Charisma Osborne of Cal Sparks Gold and Windward of Los Angeles versus incoming freshman sensation Te-Hina Paopao of Wiggins Waves/La Jolla Country Day.
Both started a little slow and eventually it was a bit of a wash between the two in a 54-43 Waves victory. Osborne finished with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Paopao had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The big difference in a game that was tied 38-38 after three 8-minute quarters was the hosts went cold and the San Diego area girls played better defense, hit some 3-pointers and made their free-throws down the stretch.
After the Sparks Gold went up 41-40, Wiggins Waves incoming junior guard Jayda Villareal (team-high 14 points) and Paopao hit back-to-back treys to take a 46-41 lead. From there, incoming juniors Kiera Oakry and Kendal Ellenbeck made 6-of-8 free throws to close it out.
Cal-bound 6-foot-2 incoming senior forward Alaysia Styles of the Waves continued to show why she is one of the most improved players since the end of last season. She had her usual double-double after finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and no one on the Sparks Gold could handle her inside game. Ellenbeck, a 5-foot-11 forward who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, had 13 points (9-of-10 free-throws) and six rebounds. Combo-guard Oakry had five points, six rebounds and three steals.
Besides Osborne, Cal Sparks head coach and tournament director Elbert Kinnebrew got a solid game consisting of a team-high 10 points with six rebounds from incoming 5-foot-11 sophomore wing Alexis Tucker of Gardena Serra. Ryanne Walters, an incoming sophomore point guard from Sacramento who is splitting her time this summer between the Cal Sparks Gold and Cal Sparks NorCal Black, had eight points, two assists and two steals, and looked as quick as ever. Mikayla Wilson, a big and strong incoming 5-foot-10 senior wing from Etiwanda did not have her best game and finished with four points and a team high seven rebounds.
In another interesting matchup between top-notch Southern California teams, GBL Team Candace Parker 17U Elite was a 58-50 winner over SoCal Select Black.
GBL Candace Parker, coached by longtime Los Angeles area girls basketball devotee Sherri Pegues, got 20 points, including four 3-pointers on a superb all-around effort from Palisades (Pacific Palisades) incoming senior guard Chelsey Gipson. Gardena Serra 2017 5-foot-11 forward Monique Smith added eight points and eight rebounds, Price (Los Angeles) incoming senior guard Dawnyel Lair also had eight points and Viewpoint (Calabasas) incoming senior 5-foot-11 forward Hannah Martin added six points and five rebounds.
SoCal Select Black got a double-double 18 points (6-of-6 on free-throws), 14 rebounds and three blocks from 2017 Long Beach Poly 6-foot-3 post Ayanna Clark, and she was unstoppable inside as always. Kayla Padilla, an incoming sophomore wing from Torrance Bishop Montgomery, made two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points.
California Storm Team Taurasi looks sharp
as does new California Storm Bay Area
The next day in Irvine, one of two top games observed was a 39-20 victory by a George Quintero-coached and host Cal Storm Team Taurasi over a Fever Elite 2017 made up of three Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) starters and other girls from the CIF Central Coast Section.
Long Beach Poly incoming 6-foot senior Jasmine Jones had her now expected usual solid game after finishing with 14 points and six rebounds. Although Team Taurasi was playing without its other top player, incoming Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland senior Maya Pace, it totally dominated and led 19-4 at the end of the first 20-minute half.
Team Taurasi also got a solid effort from 6-foot-1 Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) senior Sydney Boyer (seven points and five rebounds). Other players worth noting were incoming 6-foot-1 Ventura senior Aubrey Knight, 2017 Clovis West (Fresno) guard Sarah Bates, 2018 Windward (Los Angeles) 6-foot forward Myrrah Joseph, 2018 Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 6-foot-1 forward Jasmine Hardy and Moraga Campolindo 2018 6-foot wing Haley Van Dyke, who along with Pace are the Northern California players on the Team Taurasi roster.
For Fever Elite 2017, the girls just could not get off any quality shots against the aggressive defense of Team Taurasi, and in particular Bates. They did hit four 3-pointers but that made up 12 of their 20 points. Jordan Thompson, a 2017 incoming guard at Harker of San Jose, had two treys for her team-high six points. The only other significant scorer for Fever head coach and Pinewood assistant Alexandra Carbonel was the five points of incoming senior 6-foot-1 wing Sam Boyle of Scotts Valley. By and large, the Pinewood girls were neutralized.
The second game observed at the Misty May-Treanor Sports Center involved California Storm Bay Area facing a team from Queensland, Australia.
After previously playing as North Bay Elite, one of the newest elite girls club basketball teams in Northern California has joined the California Storm family of club teams based in Los Angeles.
California Storm Bay Area is coached by defending CIF Division IV state champion Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) head coach Monica Mertle with Que Ngo on the staff. Ngo won a CIF Division V state title in 2012 at Brookside Christian of Stockton.
Five of the girls on the team play for Mertle at Newman but the team has several players from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section as well as couple of girls from the East Bay.
The big and tall Aussie girls gave the Northern California girls a good tussle, and early in the second of two 20-minute halves they took a 33-32 lead, but in the end the outside shooting of Bay Area Storm was the difference in a 47-42 victory.
Incoming senior 6-foot-3 Cardinal Newman wing Hailey Vice-Neat hit two late 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 13 points. Davis incoming junior guard Kelsey Forrester (seven points) had a key steal with less than two minutes to play that she took coast-to-coast that gave the Northern California girls a 45-38 lead and the Aussie girls’ fate was sealed. Newman’s 6-foot-5 incoming senior post Lauren Walker was tested by the physical girls from the Brisbane area and although the college coaches want to see her be more aggressive she did pull in eight rebounds and blocked three shots but missed some easy ones inside and finished with six points. Newman incoming sophomore guard Avery Cargill added five points and three steals.
Back to Cal State Dominguez Hills:
Central Section girls make their mark
The first day the Caravan was in Carson and after a day in Irvine it was back to CSU Dominguez Hills for the final day of action on July 8.
The Alaysia Styles and Te-Hina Paopao show was still going strong as the Wiggins Waves/La Jolla Country Day girls ended up winning all their games, including a 57-33 trouncing of Salt Lake Metro Black from Utah. Styles had 21 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists, and Paopao showed some incredible moves and added 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals. Kiera Oakry had 14 points.
SoCal Select Black went down for the second time while being watched by the Caravan, 42-30, to the Lady Heat 17U based in Fresno.
Incoming 6-foot Central (Fresno) post Imani Lucy challenged Ayanna Clark from SoCal Select in the paint and held her own after finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, including twice on Clark. The game’s leading scorer and girl to look for was incoming Hanford senior guard Janelle Sumilong. She had 13 points (two threes) with three assists and three steals. Incoming Hanford junior 6-foot wing Kate McClard also looked good and hit two treys to finish with 10 points. Another up-and-comer to look for from the CIF Central Section that showed a good inside game was 2019 Edison (Fresno) 6-foot-2 forward Ramani Parker. She only had four points but snagged eight rebounds and had two blocks.
Clark still led SoCal Select with 11 points and 10 rebounds with three blocks but no one else had more than four points, and that was by 6-foot-2 incoming St. Anthony (Long Beach) senior post Juliana Louis, who also had nine rebounds and four steals. A name to look for in the future that looked good in the two games observed is 2021 Khylee-Jade Pepe. She is 5-foot-11, plays hard and with the top SoCal Select team, and already has good basketball instincts.
Host Cal Sparks Gold looked a lot better that they did in the Wiggins Waves loss in a 58-47 victory over a solid Lady Heat National 17U from Las Vegas.
This time, Charisma Osborne took charge and led Sparks Gold with 14 points and eight rebounds with four assists and two steals. Mikayla Wilson also had a much better game and helped control the paint against a Vegas team with height and size. Wilson had 13 points and six rebounds. Semaj Smith, a 6-foot-5 incoming junior post from Long Beach St. Anthony, chipped in with eight points and four rebounds, Ryanne Walters dished out four assists, and Jasmin Dixon, an incoming senior guard from Bakersfield Independence, added five points with one trey.
A total of over 50 girls between the two events were evaluated and will be included in the Girls of Summer final rankings.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend