The 12th-annual Raatz Fence/O’Shea’s Classic will be held later this week on Friday and Saturday; the prestigious girls’ basketball classic at Mercy Academy in January every year brings in some of the top teams from both in and out of the state to perform in front of large crowds, different media outlets, and a slew of college coaches. For Mercy head coach Keith Baisch, the RFO classic continues to grow in both popularity and quality.
“It has kind of turned in to its own animal”, he explained. “Teams are wanting to come in and play in it and I think a big reason is the hospitality, which helps us here at Mercy put on a great event. To get the best teams, I think you have to treat them right, and I think that’s something we’ve been able to do. It just keeps getting better and we’re excited for another year.”
The 2020 edition of the classic is headlined by a plethora of Kentucky’s top teams and players. Eight of the state’s Miss Basketball contenders will be playing at Mercy over the weekend: Maddie Scherr (Ryle), Shelby Calhoun (CAL), Erin Toller and Kristen Clemons (Sacred Heart), Ta’Ziah Jenks and Hope Sivori (Mercy), Kennedy Igo (George Rogers Clark), and Whitney Hay (Elizabethtown).
Three of the participating teams are ranked in MaxPreps national top-25: Hamilton Heights (2), St. Joseph’s Central (21), and Sacred Heart (25).
Out of the 11 in-state teams competing, nine of them are ranked in Dave Cantrall’s top 25. Sacred Heart (1), Elizabethtown (2), Christian Academy (3), Mercy (5), Bullitt East (7), Ryle (8), and Butler (10) are all sitting in the poll’s top ten, while duPont Manual (13) and Franklin County (22) are present as well.
Along with the Miss Basketball contenders, the 2020 class is highlighted by Sacred Heart’s Destinee Marshall (Radford signee), Bullitt East’s Lexi Taylor (Georgetown College), Christian Academy’s Mia Beam (Cornell), and Etown’s Ellie Taylor (Northern Kentucky).
Notable 2021 players: Brie Crittendon (Ryle), Tiarra East and Dynastee White (Butler), Brooklynn Miles (Franklin County), Kayra Freeman (Etown).
Notable 2022 players: Jaya McClure (CAL), Patience Laster (Franklin County), Tyra Flowers (George Rogers Clark), Kennedy Lee and Daisha White (Manual)
Notable 2023 players: Xaviara Smalley (Etown), Triniti Ralston (Sacred Heart), Brianna Byers (George Rogers Clark).
Ten teams from outside of Kentucky will respectively represent five different states.
Incarnate Word (Missouri) and St. Joseph’s Central (West Virginia) come into the weekend as the top rated teams in their states. Montini Catholic is the fourth ranked team in Illinois, while Pickerington Central is 15th in Ohio.
The RFO classic has a ton of Tennessee flavor, with four teams playing from across the state. Top ranked Hamilton Heights features a likely McDonald’s All-American duo of Kamilla Cardoso (Syracuse) and Treasure Hunt (Kentucky). Arlington and Lebanon are ranked third and 15th respectively, in Tennessee.
The full two-day schedule can be found at https://www.mercyacademy.com/page.cfm?p=609.