NEWARK, Ohio -- The end of the 2019-20 high school basketball season was cut short due to COVID-19, which many say took away a state championship from the Newark Wildcats.
On Wednesday, we took a drive out to Newark for the Girls Basketball Fall League to get a glimpse of some girls basketball action for the first time since watching the Lady Wildcats cut down the regional final nets in March.
This was Week 4 of the Fall League and the competitiveness was at a high level. With four teams in the high school region there were two games played. Kilyn McGuff led her team to a 109-102 victory against a tough team led by the new duo in Reynoldsburg of Trinity Ramos and Mya Perry.
In the second game Gwen Stare led her team to a 118-105 win over fellow Newark teammates Emma Shumate and Peyton Lunsford.
Let's take a look at the top performers of the night.
Kilyn McGuff (6’0 C / Bishop Watterson / 2021): McGuff simply is a hooper. The 6’0 center dominated on Wednesday as her length and height give her a big advantage on both sides of the ball. She also can handle it, she's able to change speeds going downhill which is a big advantage given her height. She’s not afraid of contact inside, as she finishes at a high level and is an animal on the glass, never being out hustled for a board. On the defensive side of the ball, McGuff is a major hassle for opponents as she is a big disruption in the passing lanes with her length. As the daughter of Ohio State women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff, it's no surprise that Kilyn is a great communicator on the floor. Her growth in that area will be much needed as she will be relied upon as an important leader for Watterson this winter. She was a major influence on the Bishop Watterson Lady Eagle district runner up finish last season and I look to see her be a major impact for the Lady Eagles in this upcoming season. McGuff should gain a lot more attention from in-state and regional low to mid-major programs as she is one of the best 2021 prospects in the area.
Alexis Amable (5’10 WG / Delaware Hayes / 2021): Amable was open and in range as soon as she pulled into the Newark High School parking lot on Wednesday, shooting the absolute leather off the ball. Her ability to catch and shoot and pull up off the dribble from anywhere on the floor is outstanding. Amable is a pure scorer, and I look to see more attention on the Pacers this season because of that. Amable currently has two offers, one coming from Division II Clarion and the other from NAIA Thomas More.
Trinity Ramos (5’5 G / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Ramos is the new kid on the block at Reynoldsburg, as she transferred to the Raiders from Olentangy Liberty this summer. Her tight handle, great shooting and exceptional passing ability will be a big influence for the defending district champ Lady Raiders this season. Teaming up with Mya Perry on Wednesday, they already showed that they have great chemistry. Ramos can stop on a dime and pull up from mid range, pull up from deep, or give you a nice hesitation dribble move and take it inside as she is not afraid of the trees down low. I expect Ramos, who was already gaining attention from colleges at the end of last season, to gain more traction from mid-high major programs as she is a top prospect of the class of 2022 in the area.
Mya Perry (5’11 WG / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Perry is a bucket. Her strength allows her to take defenders to the rim at ease, while also having a pure jumper and reliable pull-up game. Already having a big impact on the Lady Raider district championship run last year, I look to see her be a major influence on another deep run in March for an absolutely loaded team. Reynoldsburg may now have one of the best backcourt duos with Perry and Ramos, while fellow standout Amarianah Russell is expected to join the program later this month. Simply put, Reynoldsburg will be unfair this season. Already having 10 Division I offers including Marquette, Xavier, and Cincinnati before her junior year, I expect Perry to gain a lot more attention this season.
Emma Shumate (6’1 F / Newark / 2021): The West Virginia commit can flat out hoop. Shumate had a successful offseason, showing out in AAU and even getting on the WNBA’s Instagram page. Her offseason work showed on Wednesday. Becoming more of a ball handler, taking it coast to coast, at her height she is becoming an unstoppable force. Down low, Shumate has textbook footwork and a litany of post moves to go to. With a possible state championship being taken from her and Newark this past March, I expect the Shumate and her teammates to come out with something to prove this winter.
Gwen Stare (5’9 G / Newark / 2022): While the Shumate's are the most famous current Newark basketball family, the Stare's aren't far behind. With Gabby Stare moving on to Ohio Dominican after powering Newark in the regional final with 26 points last year, Gwen Stare is the next up and coming star for the Lady Wildcats. The Stare sisters combined for 44 points in that regional final against rival Pickerington Central and on Wednesday, Gwen Stare started right where she left off from last year. Her ability to shoot the ball is outstanding. With great vision, she can see the floor and knows how to get everyone around her involved. She doesn’t back down from any challenge she comes across whether that be a mismatch on defense or taller defenders down low. We’ve still haven’t seen Stare complete a full season as she tore her ACL during her freshman year and tore her meniscus during her sophomore year. Stare's hard work and hustle definitely shows on the floor. As you can see she shares a lot of the same characteristics as her older sister, being a fighter, a leader and a hooper. As long as she can stay healthy, she will be a major impact for Newark as they try and fight their way back to states this winter.
Jenna Kopyar (5’8 G / Dublin Coffman / 2023): Watching Kopyar in last year's district final against Gahanna, I saw great potential in the Coffman Shamrock. While only a sophomore, Kopyar is already a great communicator and leader on the floor. A hustler on defense, Kopyar has a great basketball IQ and keeps the ball on string when she’s handling it. While Dublin Coffman lost to a good Edyn Battle-led Gahanna team last year in the district finals, I expect the new-look Rocks to come out hungry once again for a deep run in March behind Kopyar and the rest of her talented teammates.
Tessa Grady (6’1 C / Dublin Coffman / 2023): Grady’s picture would be in the dictionary next to the word “Stretch Big," as she can flat out shoot it from the perimeter. Grady's ability to space the floor allows her to create opportunities for her teammates. The sophomore duo of Grady and Kopyar could be a lethal weapon come winter for Coffman.