COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On Tuesday night, twenty-one of the best freshmen in the greater Columbus area descended on Central Crossing High School to participate in the 270 Hoops Battle for the City.
The Central Ohio team ended up winning 64-62 with entertaining performances from both squads. While the Battle For The City is a fun, exhibition style all-star game, competition and strong effort is still greatly emphasized and ultimately rewarded. The below top performers delivered a combination of high-level effort along with notable play.
Sophie Ziel (G / Bishop Watterson / 2025) - Ziel was Tuesday's MVP and for good reason. She is one of the best three point shooters in the city and she has a natural command of the game. She was a consistent leader of a talented Bishop Watterson squad who won the CCL this season. Ziel sank multiple free throws down the stretch late against Hartley to seal the CCL crown, a testament to her hard work and hours in the gym. She is a great ball handler and was one of the leading rebounders for the Central Ohio team on Tuesday. Her length disrupts passing lanes and she is a lock down defender. She has a very high motor and an even higher basketball IQ which leads to excellent decision making. Ziel's stock will continue to rise and she will be one of the best players in the area for years to come.
Lia Wahl (5'8 G / Bishop Ready / 2025) - Wahl stood out amongst the stars on Tuesday. The lengthy guard is an active defender and is constantly making offensive opponents question their actions and passes. She excels in transition and reads running and passing lanes well but could use a little polishing when finishing at the rim at full speed. She has a picture perfect shot and uses it well in the midrange and three point line. She is an excellent rebounder and has a naturally gravitates to the ball. Like a couple of additional guards in this class, Wahl has a high IQ and looks like a natural on the court. She will play a major role in Ready's success next season.
Halle Warner (G / Sheridan /2025) - As a freshman, Warner was a starter on the State Runner-Up Sheridan squad and man are we impressed. She had one of the most mature athletic presences on the floor on Tuesday night and plays the game as if she is a seasoned veteran. She is long, athletic, has an insanely high IQ and is constantly making plays on both ends of the floor. She can block and alter shots, forces turnovers and rebounds effectively. She scored consistently at the rim during the game but has a very nice outside shot too. With the loss of Beckstedt and Stinson, Warner will have to step up big time for the Generals and we think she is up for the challenge.
Claire Mikola (G / Olentangy Liberty / 2025) - The more we watch her, the more we like Mikola. She is a nightmare for ball handlers and can frequently be found shooting break away layups thanks to steals. Her lateral quickness is phenomenal and she uses her quick first step to attack the basket. She is becoming more comfortable offensively but we would love to see her expand her game to the midrange and beyond. She is an instant spark when she is on the floor and plays with an unmatched energy. On Tuesday, she snagged numerous offensive boards to extend plays. We are excited to see how she develops over the next several seasons and will make a major impact for Liberty next year.
Jolisa Butts (5'3 PG / Groveport Madison / 2025) - Butts is really improving and turning into a great point guard. She takes care of the ball and passes well and on time. She was very effective running in transition on Tuesday, scoring multiple buckets. She attacks the basket with purpose, finishes through contact and can let it fly from three. Butts could turn Groveport into a competitor in the OCC in the coming seasons if she continues to polish her game.
Kennady Gordon (G/F / Pickerington Central / 2025) - This was our first look at Gordon and we really liked what we saw. The freshman is very athletic, extremely explosive (especially when rebounding and taking a first step) and impacts the game all over the floor. She has a quick shot and can attack off the dribble. Her offensive game needs a little refinement but can undoubtedly become more consistent in the coming years. Pickerington Central has an established tradition of excellence when it comes to guards and Gordon could very well be the next in line.
The Reynoldsburg 3 - The Raider's freshmen trio of Aubree Price, Sa'Mahn Johnson (pictured) and Malaya Collins will be a force to be reckoned with in future seasons. Johnson has an advanced command of the ball, shoots consistently from three and is crafty when attacking the basket. Collins is a great three point shooter, makes a big impact in the midrange and forces numerous turnovers. Price is extremely diverse. She drained a half court shot to end the game, can shoot well from the three point line and finishes strong at the rim. She even hit a half court shot to end the game. The more time they spend playing with each other, the better this group will become. There is great opportunity for growth but before you know it, these three will be leading the Raiders to another State Championship.