Cameron Brink and Southridge top Haley Jones and Archbishop Mitty in desert showdown
PHOENIX -- Day 1 of the Nike Tournament of Champions featured an opening statement from Southridge (Oregon) and Stanford recruit Cameron Brink.
Southridge knocked off defending champion Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, California) -- and No. 1 national recruit Haley Jones, who also is a Stanford recruit -- 56-50 in overtime on Wednesday.
"We wanted this game bad," Brink said. "They are the defending national champions, the espnW champion from 2018. We were the underdogs."
In addition to being future teammates, Jones and Brink, the No. 2 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Super 60, also were former teammates. The two represented USA Basketball at the U17 World Cup in July in Minsk, Belarus. The team came away with gold.
Wednesday's game started tight and remained close throughout. Archbishop Mitty led 28-24 at halftime, but both Jones and Brink battled foul trouble for much of the game. Both teams were left trying to find a way to win without their leaders for much of the second half.
"Our focal point was to concentrate on Haley Jones," Brink said. "We knew they were a well-coached team and we tried to stop her from faking and spinning back to the middle for a shot. We also concentrated on boxing out."
Mitty had a chance to win the game in regulation on a lob pass to Jones, but the ball rimmed out. Jones finished with 25 points. Brink had 17.
Next up for Southridge is a loaded Christ the King (Middle Village, New York) team, which started the season with two losses but has now won three straight after a 67-42 win over Grandview (Aurora, Colorado) on Wednesday. Mitty takes on Grandview on Thursday.
"Grandview is our next target," Jones said. "Yes, there is frustration, but [we] have to come back tomorrow and have the confidence to get the job done. We had intensity today and we will have it tomorrow too."
Said Brink, "Haley and I are close. We play travel ball together, compete at USA Trials together, and it's a stressful environment. So, I feel like we have gone through a lot together and it's only the beginning. We have a good connection. I'm so happy that she is my future teammate at Stanford."
Fresh face: She stands nearly 6-foot-7 and is blossoming into a force on the women's basketball scene. Meet Lauren Betts, a freshman center for Grandview. Although Grandview fell to Christ the King on Wednesday, Betts scored 17 points and made an impact on both ends of the floor. Her presence on the defensive end is evident -- she's a shot blocker supreme who seems to be improving at a faster rate than most.
Up next: No. 1 sophomore Azzi Fudd dropped a quiet 23 points in St. John's (Washington, D.C.) 65-31 Day 1 win over Benson Tech (Portland, Oregon). Fudd and St. John's will try to protect their No. 1 national ranking Thursday night against Miami Country Day (Florida), which topped Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, New York) 51-42.