DUBLIN, Ohio -- What do you get when the top basketball players in the Columbus area get together? Elite competition and competitiveness. As expected, there was no shortage of effort or skill in the gym on Sunday at the first-ever 270 Girls Hoops Proving Grounds.
After rattling off five straight wins in the first hour, Team 2 looked to have the day all locked up. A couple of upsets later, Team 3 started rolling. They racked up five straight wins and a rematch with Team 2 in the title game.
In the championship, Reynoldsburg junior Mari Russell was lights out hitting multiple, cold blooded threes for the win for Team 3 and MVP honors. Who else stood out on Sunday? Check them out below!
Imarianah Russell (5’11 G / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Mari can flat out HOOP. Whether it is pushing the ball in transition, pulling up from three, finishing at the rim or delivering the perfect pass, Russell excels. She is consistent on both the offensive and defensive glass and is constantly working for better position. Russell already holds offers from several Power 5 schools including Ohio State, West Virginia, Penn State and Ole Miss. Moving to Reynoldsburg from Dublin Coffman where she was a standout performer for two years, Russell will provide a major impact for a Lady Raiders program that is as talented as any in the state.
Emma Shumate (6’1 G / Newark / 2021): Shumate is becoming an unstoppable force in the area. For most of the day, she completely dominated the competition. Her ability to handle the ball in transition and in the half court set are impressive but her consistency from three is unbelievable. West Virginia is getting a great competitor and winner with this one! Shumate is regarded as a top 50 talent in the country and it certainly showed on Sunday, as she led Team 2 to five-straight wins and communicated more than any player (even when she was on the bench!), male or female, in any event of ours.
Mya Perry (5’11 G / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Perry is a sharpshooter and a big-time scorer. Her size at the guard position allows her to take the ball to the hoop effectively and finishes well through contact. She defends the perimeter well and does not back down as a defender and rebounder in the post. Mya holds multiple D1 offers and based on Sunday’s showing, that number will increase this year. The younger sister of former Pickerington Central standout and current Dayton forward Maliya Perry, Mya Perry comes from great stock and looks to be the next stellar player in the family.
Chloe Jeffers (5’10 G / Delaware Hayes / 2022): Jeffers is absolutely solid. Given space, she is a knock down shooter from three, shooting a high percentage over all eight games. She has a nose for the ball and doesn't back down from players that are bigger. She isn't afraid of contact, is willing to take the ball to the basket and handles the ball well in transition. Jeffers offers great size and flexibility at the guard position and will be one of the area's top performers this season for Delaware Hayes.
Jewel Watkins (5’9 G / Whitehall / 2021): Two words to describe Watkins: elite athlete. She has greatly improved her basketball skill set which has made her ever more effective in transition and beyond. She is an elite defender on the perimeter and rebounds well. Jewel will be a huge piece in the puzzle for Whitehall this year as they look to make another run in the postseason. Coppin State got a steal in the 5-foot-9 Watkins.
Jocelyn Tate (5’11 F / Pickerington Central / 2021): Tate, a Bowling Green commit, did it all for Team 2 on Sunday. She had one of the best motors in the gym and it showed. Her ability to rebound on the offensive and defensive ends was outstanding and her ability to defend was next level. Tate has a high basketball IQ and puts herself in the right position at the right time. The younger sister of current overseas pro Jae'Sean Tate and Arkansas graduate senior Jalen Tate, along with being the daughter of former Ohio State and Cincinnati alum Jermaine Tate, Jocelyn Tate comes from elite basketball stock and has that same motor that made her brothers two of the best players to come through Columbus in the 2010's decade.
Makiya Miller (5’7 G / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Miller is a true, pass first point guard. She is constantly putting her teammates in a position to score and delivers great passes. She is willing to shoot the three and shoots it well. On a loaded Reynoldsburg team, Miller has the ability to control the tempo and set the team up for a long run into March. After helping lead Reynoldsburg to a district title a year ago, Miller will have even more weapons to distribute to this winter in what could be a memorable season for the Lady Raiders.
Kilyn McGuff (6’0 F / Bishop Watterson / 2021): McGuff is a lengthy wing with a high ability to get to the basket and score. She finishes at the rim through contact and is always fighting for position for both offensive and defensive rebounds. Her length proved to be a problem for offenses. She will make a big impact for Watterson this season and has a bright basketball future ahead of her.
Madison Greene (5’7 G / Pickerington Central / 2023): Watch out for this young, talented sophomore. Greene will undoubtedly play a major role for Pickerington Central this coming season at the guard position. She excels in transition and attacking the basket and once she settles in, she is deadly from three. Madison was the toughest perimeter defender in the gym and brings a major two way impact.
Jenna Kopyar (5’8 G / Dublin Coffman / 2023): Kopyar was one of the best ‘23s in the building Sunday. Her length and ability to shoot the three will take her to great places along with her high basketball IQ. Jenna communicates like a seasoned veteran and was instrumental on a great Team 2. She is a pesky defender and has a bright future ahead. Her older sister Kaitlyn Kopyar was Jacy Sheldon's backcourt mate for years in the Lady Rocks program, as Jenna Kopyar, along with classmate Tessa Grady, look to be the future for Coffman.
Tessa Grady (6’1 F / Dublin Coffman / 2023): Grady is the younger sister of former Dublin Coffman standout hooper Trevor Grady, who was one of the area’s best athletes in the class of 2018. Grady comes from a long line of stellar athletes and looks to have a chance to be the next great Coffman player. Her length and shooting ability could set her apart from the rest of the class of ‘23 during the coming season.
Aja Austin (6’0 C / Westerville South / 2021 / Delaware) As one of the few true centers of the group, Austin dominated inside. The Delaware commit was consistent on the offensive boards and finished strong and through contact in an efficient manner. She dominated the pick and roll and was solid on the defensive end. After deferring on a loaded Westerville South team that featured a handful of Power 5 players, Austin will have her time to shine this year as a senior.
Neveah Reaves (5’5 G / Walnut Ridge / 2021): Reaves is a smooth lefty that does just about everything. Her consistent shooting down the stretch helped Team 3 to win the championship. Neveah has been one of the top scorers in the City League for the last three years and will have a chance to break scoring records as a senior for the Lady Scots.