GLEN ELLYN, Ill. -- The Katie McCormick pass that words will never give justice to might have been a fluke, but the Fairfax Stars second win against DWF T-Jack in less than a week was not. Fairfax and DFW were placed in the same pool at the Nike Summer Showcase and both teams are undoubtedly loaded with talent. Fairfax took the top spot in the pool after beating T-Jack in the first game on Tuesday and cruised through the rest of the field. The bracket set up for a championship rematch and a chance for Fairfax to prove that the win was not a stroke of luck.
The Stars, based in Vienna, Va., played very consistent throughout the entire week and topped it off with an impressive 59-52 win over DFW to take the championship plaque in the Nike Summer Showcase's elite division.
When you have a lot of talent and athleticism on the floor at one time, it makes for an exciting and fast paced game. Both teams made their respective runs throughout the course of the game with defensive pressure and then converting turnovers into points. Fairfax forced three straight turnovers at the beginning of the game that resulted in easy layups for Stars and a timeout from DFW. Although T-Jack seemed stunned, they countered with their own run as Moriah Jefferson started the spark with a huge block on Katie McCormick that sent the ball sailing into the crowd.
The first half was a spectacle that included numerous athletic plays and plenty of roars from the fans. After a Jefferson jump shot that put DFW up 18-13 with 5:45 to play in the first half, they turned up their defense and made one of the best plays of the game. Jordan Jones got a steal off of the Fairfax inbounds and quickly launched it ahead to Jefferson who was gliding through traffic and made a touch pass to Courtney Walker for the easy basket. Although that had a lot of people in the stands on their feet, the play of the day came from a pass that was not necessarily intended to be as remarkable as it ended up.
Fairfax had the ball for the last possession of the first half as McCormick started the attack to the middle of the paint. When she was picked up by the help-side, she jumped in the air with her back to the paint and threw a no-look pass to the opposite block for an easy layup at the buzzer.
"It was a pass," McCormick said when asked if the play was intentional. "As Logan (Battle) was trailing behind I was trying to get it to her but it curved off of my fingers. It ended up coming right to Brionna (Jones) and I was like, alright!"
While the guard play for each team came at a steady rate, the deciding factor in the game was the post play of Brionna Jones. She led all scores with 14 points and did most of her damage in the second half. As DFW extended its pressure on the perimeter, it left a one-on-one match up in the paint and Fairfax took full advantage. After three straight possessions with Jones scoring from the right block, Fairfax took a 56-48 lead with 2:14 to play in the game and never looked back.
"They maintained their composure despite the great plays and highlights and pulled us through." Jason Simpson, head coach of the Stars, said.
DFW fouled a couple more times before the closing-buzzer which pushed the final margin to seven in favor of Fairfax. With all of the eye-catching plays that came along throughout the game, in the end it was about making the small plays and maintaining composure. Even with an incredible pass that probably shouldn't have happened we know now that Fairfax winning the 2011 Nike Summer Showcase was by no accident.
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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.