Guest blogger Michael G. Moore gives us insight on some of the top middle school basketball teams in the Louisville area. A separate preview for Jefferson County Traditional Middle School who has won three straight city titles will come out next Tuesday.
JCPS Pre-Season 8th Grade Girls Middle School Jamborees:
Wednesday, October 25th at Butler HS 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday, October 27th at Western HS 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Competition this year for the JR. L.I.T. City Championship will be very interesting with the many different teams and new faces. Fans of middle school girls’ basketball should be ready for some great matchups and rivalries. You will also get a chance to see some of the top individual talents that you will hear about on the high school level over the next few years.
There are a group of contenders looking to separate themselves from the others. Going into the season, many know who the favorites are, and it’s no different this year as Meyzeek, Johnson and Ramsey carry that label.
Let’s take a look at some of the top teams/players this season:
Finished runner-up last year in the JR LIT City Championship and finished third two years agoand return their top three scorers from last year. They will be led by Amaya Asher (the top eighth grader in the city and one of the top eighth graders in the state, and is a creative ball handling point Guard and explosive scorer from anywhere on the court, Aries Harris, a shooting guard with impressive length and a sharp shooter from 3-point land, and Dejah Armstrong, a physical forward who rebounds and scores in the paint and plays with great passion and hustle on the defensive end.
Meyzeek had a good start to the season by making a run to the Final Four at the Kentucky Girls Middle School Eighth Grade State Tournament last weekend and finished third out of 35 teams.
Returns the core that finished as the sixth/seventh grade JV City Champs last year. They will be led by Jakayla Thompson, a lefty combo guard with length and good range, Triniti Ralston, a lighting quick scoring guard whose first step and speed burst is explosive. Both can score in multiple ways and play great on ball defense using their incredible foot speed and hustle.
This team has great size on the inside along with speed and three-point shooting at the guard positions. This is a very deep and talented team up and down the roster. Veronique Ninamou is the top middle school track sprinter in the state, has ncredible athletic ability, speed and length, and impact a game in so many ways, Sydne Tolbert, a true point guard, tough minded/ball handling/passing/scoring/pressure defender/vocal floor leader and, Sasha Thomas, a physical wing who plays with passion/intensity and can dominate on the inside, score in multiple ways including a nice three-point shot. Also look out for Mariah Knight who has great size/length and a nice mid-range jumper.
Returns the core from the sixth/seventh grade JV team that had great success last year and will strive to make a run on the eighth grade level while being led by Ellie Barber, a pure jumper shooter with three-point range, Taylor Saettel, a lead guard with creative ball handling and shoots the three well, and Calise Nichols, a physical forward who rebounds and scores well inside in the paint.
After a great run last year in the sixth/seventh grade JV division, they return to make a deep run while being led by Haleigh Hodge, a scoring combo guard who plays with toughness and has 3-point range, Dajia White, a forward with incredible length, has the ability to score on the inside and also on outside with a nice jumper. Also look out for Maliah Patrick, quick guard who sets up teammates with her passing ability and can score in multiple ways.
A team that was very competitive last year in the sixth/seventh grade JV division, is ready to make a statement this year. They will be led by Paxton Gillispie, a lead guard who plays with great pace and composure, uses her slashing ability to get to the rim with ease and handles the ball well, Desaine Mhango, a very quick ball handling guard who sees the floor well to distribute to her teammates, is a very disruptive on ball defender, and is becoming more comfortable creating her own shot.
Let’s take a look at other talented players who will lead their school teams this season:
Ayanna Stroud: A wing player who plays with impressive power and strength to be a force on the court. She has extended shooting range with her jumper and will be a vocal leader.
Kennedy Lee: A strong post with great length who makes her presence known with strong rebounding and scoring by the rim. Also has great timing with altering/blocking shots.
Nevaeh Richardson: Has a unique skillset. An aggressive defender and can score in many ways on offense. Has the ability as a leader to make her teammates better.
Anaya Brown: Plays point guard and on the wing. Has a nice jumper and shows great leadership with communicating on the floor with teammates. Plays aggressive defense and always plays hard.
Aniya Martin – An athletic lefty who plays guard, has impressive speed to get up and down the court quick for layups and has a nice pull up jumper.
Diamond Roach – Point guard with incredible pace in her game. She knows when to push tempo or slow it up. Shoots the mid-range pull up jumper really well and has a smooth floater in the lane.
Tamesha Dozier: a true center, with a very physical style of play. She crashes the boards and rebounds strong. She is a hustle player who never gives up on a play and has emerged as a leader on the floor.
Camaya Johnson: A physical and high-energy wing player. Quick off the dribble when attacking the rim and effective offensively in transition.
Jamaya Cannon: Has great size and length for a point guard and plays with a high IQ. A very capable scorer from anywhere on the court.
Melaysia Phillips: A lead guard and floor leader. Will provide timely scoring and leadership.
Aliyah Lang: A versatile guard/wing who has the ability to attack the lane for floaters/layups and also has a nice pull up jumper.
A’Niya Haskins: A guard, who plays with toughness and leadership, has great court awareness. Quick ball handling and can score in multiple ways.
Emaree Gober: A crafty point guard with nice ball handling and can score anywhere on the court. Excels in the open and transition.