GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – In the intense battle between the victorious Fairfax Stars and the DFW T-Jack squad in the championship game of the Nike Summer Showcase, there was no shortage of individual talent. But this trio of players proved their worth and came up big for their teams in a game that will rival most in drama as well as entertainment value for the rest of the summer.
Brionna Jones (Havre De Grace, Md.), Fairfax Stars
Having played DFW during the pool play round, Jones knew exactly what to expect this time around. The 6-foot-3 post from the class of 2013 was the difference in the game. Though defended by another post, Kristina Higgins, who could match her size and strength, she played as is she knew she was the key to victory. With the game getting down to crunch time in the second half, Jones scored six points in less than three minutes giving Fairfax some breathing room just before the two-minute mark of the game. She held her post position strong, keeping Higgins from getting a full front position while creating a seal, and when she got the ball, she converted or got to the line. She led all scorers with 14 points but her dominance came when DFW was in a groove. She rebounded the basketball well and did a good job defending Higgins, holding her to seven points. Though she's shy and humble off the court, she led without saying a word in an important game.
Moriah Jefferson (Glen Heights, Texas), DFW T-Jack
There will be little that can ease the sting of Jefferson's three-point second half in her own eyes. So frustrated by losing, she was on the adjacent court getting shots up immediately after the game. What shouldn't be lost are Jefferson's contributions in other areas. She contributed some fantastic passing, nabbed a handful of steals, and had two play-of-the-day caliber blocks that rarely come from a point guard. The No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2012 by ESPN HoopGurlz still scored 11 points in a low-scoring affair but her desire to compete and win is what always stands out, and today's loss was no different.
Katie McCormick (Charlotte Hall, Md.), Fairfax Stars
Shooters have to shoot. So even with the iron unkind in the first half for McCormick, she refused to change to a passive game. She attacked the swarming and unrelenting perimeter defense of DFW and on top of breaking the pressure; she infused her team with confidence to do the same. And true to form, she stroked a picture-perfect three from the corner in the second half that kick-started her team's response to one of the many DFW runs. She never lost her cool, kept grinding and attacking and made plays, like her no-luck pass to Jones that almost lifted the roof of Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center with the fans going nuts, just seconds after DFW got the crown on their feet with a flashy drive and dish. McCormick, the No. 66 prospect in the 2012 ESPNU HoopGurlz 100, finished with 11 points and an undefeated tournament run.
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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. He is a member of the McDonald's All-American team selection committee. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.