LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Marion County, nationally ranked at No. 39 in the Powerade Fab 50, is a team full of talented youth and the Lady Knights are getting better with each game. Most recently, they beat Scott County, the fourth-ranked team in the state, 51-47 at Rupp Arena in a battle of a couple top-five teams in Kentucky.
The Lady Knights play a power triangle offense with two forwards, as junior Bre Elder and sophomore Kyvin Goodin-Rogers occupy the paint while sophomore guard Makayla Epps, watch-listed in the 2013 class by ESPN HoopGurlz, does a majority of the ballhandling on the perimeter. They complement each other on both ends of the court and with a very limited bench they are required to put in a lot of minutes.
Elder had a very impressive game nearly completing a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. She is a 6-foot swing player who is a very aggressive defender and can score in a variety of ways. Elder scored a lot of her points off mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket which usually resulted in two points of a pair of free throws. Marion County got to the line 32 times and only shot 56 percent but that proved to be enough because Scott County was only 1 for 10 from the line.
It was a close game all the way until the final minute when Scott County missed a jumper that would have tied the score and then were forced to foul. Every game is a learning experience for the Lady Knights and coach Trent Milby is seeing the necessary improvements with each win.
"We have gotten better over the last couple of game from playing good competition," Milby said. "We just need to get better at making free throws and finishing teams off."
-- Rebecca Gray, ESPN HoopGurlz
Duke signee Amber Henson, ranked 20th in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100, may be out until 2011 after suffering complications from arthroscopic surgery on her left knee. Henson, a senior at Sickles (Tampa, Fla.), had the surgery in early September, played three games, but has not played since Dec. 1 because of swelling in the knee. ... Jessica Howard, a senior at Galesburg (Ill.), hit a school-record nine 3-pointers, six in the third quarter, en route to a 31-point performance in her team's 82-60 victory over Peoria. She later the same day had another 18 points as Galesburg beat Peoria Notre Dame 73-60. ... Tiffany Jones of Nazaeth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was assaulted on a subway in the lower eastside of New York just after midnight last week after scoring 15 points in a win over rival Christ the King. She only will dress this Friday's game at Mary Louis and is expected to return to play next week. ... Johnnah Johnson, a 6-foot-1 freshman at The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.) produced her fourth double/double of the young season leading her team in the win against Pennigton. ... Katelyn DeWulf had a game-high 32 points for Tipton (Iowa) as the Tigers topped West Liberty 73-57 on Tuesday night. ... One team to keep an eye on is Fairmont (Kettering, Ohio). The Firebirds are coming off a Ohio state division I final four appearance and have reloaded with Makayla Waterman and Kathryn Westbeld, both 6-1 and two of the top freshmen in the Midwest.
The real shakeups in the Powerade Fab 50 likely are coming after the Nike Tournament of Champions, which begins Friday in Chandler, Ariz., but this week sees considerable movement, likely the product of the increased parity across the country, as well as the usual early adjustments in performance versus expectations.
The biggest upward mobility was enjoyed by St. John's College (D.C.), which had a Breezy good time in Baltimore last weekend. The Cadets, which entered the week at No. 40, dropped then-No. 13 Nazareth Regional, then benefitted from a great run in the showcase by Archbishop Spalding (Glen Burnie, Md.), which they defeated 52-46 earlier this season. Following so far? This all means St. John's jumps 19 spots to No. 21 and No. 6 in the East regional rankings.
Brea Olinda doesn't have much higher to climb, clocking in at No. 2, where the Ladycats have been since the preseason. If anything, they have created a death grip on the position by beating then-No. 6 Memphis Central in the Iolani Classic championship game. Heading into the TOC, where it is one of the favorites, Brea now has beaten the national Nos. 6 and 9 (Long Beach Poly) teams.
A team very familiar to national aspirations, Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), debuts in the Fab 50 this week at No. 42. Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) and another familiar name, Cy Fair (Cypress, Texas) also debut at Nos. 49 and 50.
The other movement was the result of upsets. Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), which has undertaken the most ambitious schedule in the country, has fallen a bit under the weight of that schedule and also recently suffered the sudden transfer of Tasia Butler, who is watch-listed in the 2013 class by ESPN HoopGurlz. Riverdale lost to a good, but so-far unranked Archbishop Spalding team to drop to No. 25. However, the Crusaders' tough schedule, which turns to the Joe Smith division at the TOC, also ensures they have ample opportunity to climb back.
Additions: Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 4-1; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 4-1; Cy Fair (Cypress, Texas) 5-1
Subtractions: Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) 2-2 (31); Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 1-1 (32 ); Lakeville North (Lakeville, Minn.) 2-2 (25)
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ESPN HOOPGURLZ HS RANKINGS PANEL
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously wrote a column for the website about her experiences as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.
Kara (Harrison) Howe founded and coached in the Utah Sky club program, which sent several players, including sister Michelle, a recent Stanford, graduate to Division I schools. She played college basketball at Utah Valley State, was an all-state performer at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, and coached high school in the Salt Lake area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.