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Africentric Summer Shootout: Standout Players

By Mark Francis Jr, 06/27/22, 11:45AM EDT


A look at the top performers from Africentric's summer shootout

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Saturday afternoon, there were nine girls basketball teams that laced up and got in some summer run as Africentric hosted area teams Thomas Worthington, Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Harvest Prep and Upper Arlington along with travelers Notre Dame, Wayne (Huber Heights) and Laurel (Shaker Heights) girls teams. This was an afternoon full of competitive hoops and young ladies that got after it on a super-hot day in Columbus. Take a look at who stood out during this amazing event that Africentric was so gracious to host.

Samara Savoy (F / Reynoldsburg / 2023): With so many great players leaving off for college, Savoy will be tasked with leading this team in this upcoming season. Savoy showed off some great post moves all afternoon and led her team to some dominant victories. She is crafty around the rim with a soft touch and great strength to power through defenders on her way up. Her jumper has developed so well, knocking down multiple jump shots in the afternoon. Savoy rebounds at a high level, understanding where the ball is coming off the rim and timing her jump to snag boards. She and Daniya McDonald will be one of the best duos in the area this season, with their skill sets meshing perfectly and college scouts should be all over Savoy.

Natiah Nelson (F / Africentric / 2024): The transfer from Toledo will pay immediate dividends for the lady Nubians with her all-around abilities. The junior has a complete game and put all facets on display in the opening session. Her strength and ability to defend without fouling stood out early, making offensive players take hard shots over her while stealing the ball and playing the passing lanes well. On offense she was a key to the lady Nubian attack, scoring at the rim, hitting mid-range jumpers and playing well alongside Kamryn Grant. The new weapon for Africentric played great on Saturday and the expectation is that she can continue the play when the season rolls around.

Saniyah Hall (F / Laurel / 2026): One of the best players in the state in her class, Hall displayed all of her skills during Saturday’s shootout. She played with confidence on both ends of the court and was a monster around the basket and the mid-range. Hall was efficient scoring all afternoon, never rushing and always getting the shot she wanted. In the open court, her long strides allow her to get out and run past defenders and she has good hands to catch and finish on the break. On the defensive end, Hall understands how to use her length to disrupt shots and deflect the ball. This young prospect will only get better and more college offers should be heading her way.

Jonilyah Chambers (G / Wayne / 2024): One of the more physical and energetic players all afternoon (the entire Wayne team had energy that could register on the Richter scale), Chambers led her team and proved to be one of the better lead guards in the gym. Her speed in transition was special, flying past defenders and getting to the rim for easy layups. In the half court, Chambers showed that she could create separation to not only hit jumpers for herself but also get her teammates easy buckets. The junior guard has explosive potential defensively because of how athletic she is, Chambers can get into a ball handler and make them uncomfortable. She is a scholarship guard and schools should be more interested in her.

Kamryn Grant (F / Africentric / 2024): One of the best players in her class in the area, Grant did not disappoint on Saturday afternoon, showcasing a little bit of everything that’s in her bag. Not only did Grant display the defensive prowess we already have seen, she also did multiple great things on offense. The upcoming senior was a foul-drawing machine, aggressively attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line all afternoon. One area where she is spectacular (where she gets little credit) is making quick decisions with the ball and delivering good passes, she did that time after time on Saturday. Kamryn will once again lead the lady Nubians into the season as City League favorites, looking to upgrade on their finish from last season. Colleges are already at her door, she should enjoy plenty more during the upcoming season.

Daniya McDonald (F / Reynoldsburg / 2024): The key with McDonald has been and will always be motor, McDonald has the highest motor of almost any girl we’ve covered, and she is non-stop energy on the court and looks to make every possible winning play. On Saturday, she got the rim on offense by using her quickness and relentless attitude, finishing at the rim numerous times with tough layups. She can guard any position on the court because she is so laterally quick with long arms and natural instincts. McDonald racked up a couple of steals on defense while matched up with another D1 recruit Kamryn Grant. All the upside on the planet, McDonald’s arrival at Reynoldsburg assures that the lady Raiders will be back in contention for a state title this season.

Rayanna Howell (G / Africentric / 2024): One of the better shooters in the gym all afternoon, the sharpshooter can sink jumpers in numerous different situations. She is an amazing catch-and-shoot player but her bag is deeper than offensively; Howell can shoot off the dribble and screens, all while being able to make good decisions and facilitate the offense when the time called for it. Defensively, she used a combination of quick hands and good instincts to knock the ball away or tie the ball up. Howell will once again be key for the lady Nubians City Championship chances. Any colleges looking for a floor general that can make defenses pay from deep should be running to her.

Sa'Mahn Johnson (G / Reynoldsburg / 2025): A solid young point guard for the lady Raiders, who gained invaluable experience last season, Johnson is poised with the ball in her hands and runs the show effectively as a lead guard. She shows an understanding of how to execute the offense and can get in the paint if things break down for her team. Johnson did not shoot much, but when she did she showed the ability to be a knock down shooter. Defensively she showed that could stay in front of the ball and not let ball handlers get around her. Johnson’s development at the starting guard for this team will be a key to how far this lady Raider team can go this season.

Laila Marshall (G / Gahanna / 2023): A physical player who was slightly hampered by an injury suffered in the first game, but she played through it and played really well. Marshall got some jump shots to fall and could get to the basket really well using her quick first step. She displayed a more than reliable handle of the ball and can make plays for teammates as well as herself. She is strong with the ball in her hands and took care of the ball when it was in her possession. Marshall was the go-to scorer for the lady Lions all afternoon and she delivered all afternoon, the sky's the limit as far as potential for this young lady.

Sam Thompson (F / Africentric / 2024): Thompson has good defensive instincts, she uses her long arms to play passing lanes and deflect basketballs while being able to slide her feet and stay in front of the ball handler to force tough shots over her. She is a reliable mid-range shooter that shoots with confidence and understands good shot selection. Thompson also showed that she could handle the ball just fine without turning it over and could get to the basket off the dribble. Around the rim, the soon-to-be senior finished well with some creative ones at the rim. Thompson is one of the glue girls for the lady Nubian team, and has her best basketball ahead of her.

Jeniya Bowers (G / Africentric / 2026): As a freshman running the point for the pre imminent dynasty in Columbus girls basketball, this young lady did not look out of place. She played with great pace and was a very good decision maker. Bowers ran the offense and was in complete control every game, showing a level of confidence most freshmen do not have. She continuously kept the defense off balance with her handle and seemed to knock down deep jumpers at the right time for her team. This young lady is a poised playmaker that will be on college radars very soon.

Maliyah Lofton (G / Harvest Prep / 2026): Another freshman point guard that led the way for her team by showing leadership and poise as her team is learning to gel during the summer. Maliyah is smart and patient on offense, setting up pick-and-roll situations and working effectively out of those situations. She also showed signs of a flamethrower coming out of that right arm when she is in rhythm with her jumper. L got in the paint whenever she wanted and handled ball pressure like a player well beyond her years, despite seeing a multitude of defenders on the day. A very good guard who has had amazing coaching her whole life, expect her to do big things over the next four years playing with the lady Warriors

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