Raising 5 year old grandson with my wife doesn’t allow me to be away from home
for significant chunks of time. So a girls high school game here or there or
at least a portion of a local showcase works real well for me.
The weekend, multi-day format of most all AAU events knock me out
of play to attend as I’m on duty full time. So my summer girls
hoops watching is pretty limited.
A number of years ago I had heard about the highly competitive Under Armour
Best of Maryland team tournament played every summer. I know it involved
8 hours of driving (1 day) and figured I just couldn’t swing it.
But when I took a look at the roster of the 22 teams participating
last week in Ijamsville, MD (yes that is the correct spelling
for the town), my jaw dropped. First of all, four of the top 5 teams from the
highly respected Shore Conference teams in the form of St. John Vianney
St. Rose, Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven (all 4 live in the top 20
were playing. Then in add in one of my 2 favorite NY times in Ossining High School.
The rest of the line was filled with prime time teams form OH, NC, PA, CO, IN, MD,
KY and London, England. That’s it, I was off to MD for opening day.
There are 2 adjacent courts at Oakdale HS with games being played in 11 consecutive
times slots. I knew it would be tough to arrive in time for the 8am start
time but I was optimistic for the 9am game (arrived at halftime). Plus I knew from
the schedule, I was interested in at least one game in every time slot (except one
which became my nap time).
When I arrived, I was very excited to see that they had a program for fans
listing the players names; year in school and Roster number. For Hoops junkie
like me who likes to keep a score book, I was in heaven.
It was very clear to me early on that there was no pushovers in his 22 team format.
I was in for some really,really good hoops. Plus I saw on the wall that OVER 110 college coaches were in attendance on day (and we are talking premier college hoops programs) which validated the tournament. Also that this was a tournament format (playing to a championship) vs. just a show case really amped up the event. Every team played all 3 days and at least 5 games.
An uber shout out to Tournament Director Steve Pisarski and his staff What a
remarkable tournament! My only regret was that I could only stay 1 day…have to
figure out a way to change that next year.
I was tweeting regular observations, scores & player shout outs. But if you also
check revisit them, you will see how impressed I was by the St. Rose Roses
who in their first-round play first game played in very reputable Ohio team, I’m
talking really impressed. There were machine like and dominating a la those Larry
Johnson/UNLV teams and really raised eyebrows with their complete team game and
both ends play some new found depth.
It is not fair to judge any team, good or bad, on just 1 performance so it was then
and there that I decided to stay for their 8:30pm game (even though it meant I would
get home after 2am and having to be at work by 7am).
Watched a whole bunch of good players and games and then saw St. Rose redux at 8:30.
Again, another most impressive performance that was a clear notch above what I saw
among the rest of the very good teams (and tweeted so). I know the next day they
were down 9 at halftime to a very good Elizabeth Seton (MD) team and stormed back to
St. Rose worked their way thru the rest of the tournament and won most games by
double digits which is really impressive. Joe Whelan and staff really have a
special season in front of them….very early…but one has to keep an eye on them
as a state and regional powerhouse