Table Set For Epic TOC Finish

Table Set For Epic TOC Finish
No. 1 LuHI advances.

MESA, Arizona – The 2023 Nike Tournament of Champions has wrapped up its third day with the championships of seven brackets ahead on Thursday.  Some marquee games have set the table that could ultimately crown this season’s national champion.

 

PATH TO THE TITLE


Syla Swords led a high powered Long Island Lutheran (NY) to the Nike TOC championship game. *Photo by Eliteye Media.

Long Island Lutheran 
vs 
Bishop McNamara

 

The first semifinal of the night saw the No. 1 ranked LuHi Crusaders (NY) best the No. 8 Mustangs of Bishop McNamara (MD).  McNamara made a 10-4 run to close out the first quarter and cut the deficit to four but the second quarter was all LuHi, including a 13-9 run midway through the quarter to put the game out of reach.

LuHi did a terrific job of moving the ball, being patient and finding really good looks.  Michigan signee Syla Swords led the way with 20 points, including five 3-pointers.  Her sister Savannah finishes with 15 points, 12 in the first half.  Defensively LuHi did a terrific job on South Carolina signee Maddy McDaniel early and that ultimately disrupted McNamara’s offensive flow, led by USC signee Kayleigh Heckel who also chipped in 10 points.

Zhen Craft gave McNamara a spark in the third quarter, finishing with a team high 11 points.

LuHi will move to the championship while McNamara should still see its stock rise after knocking off No. 2 Montverde Academy (FL) in the quarterfinal.

 


Morgan Cheli was one of three Monarchs to score 20 in the semifinal showdown with Crestwood Academy. *Photo by Eliteye Media.

Archbishop Mitty 
vs 
Crestwood

 

When you get 29 points from your star player you expect to win.  So with Crestwood getting just that from Duke signee Toby Fournier you’d have bet they were headed for the championship.  But Archbishop Mitty had other plans and had three players, Connecticut signee Morgan Cheli, McKenna Woliczko and Bucknell signee Elana Weisman, score 20 points each to power the Monarchs to the championship for a showdown with Long Island Lutheran.

Mitty threw the first punch , surging to a 14-3 lead midway through the first quarter led by Woliczko, but Crestwood found rhythm in the third quarter, outscoring Mitty and using a 9-0 run to make it interesting.  But every time Crestwood drew close Wiesman seemed to make a play, scoring 10 of her points in the final quarter.

Mitty would lock in and outscore Crestwood 20-12 in the 4th to ice the game and set up Thursday's No. 1 vs No. 3 showdown in the championship game.

Mid-Tourney Rundown

 

Cydney Bryant, a sophomore forward for Corona Centennial has had quite the following all week from college coaches to hopeful travel ball coaches angling for her stellar inside play.  She’s a smart player on top of her physical tools.

The Tuesday morning showdown between Phoenix Country Day (AZ) and St. Joseph (CA) went down to the wire. The two premier players on the floor put on a show to end it with UCLA signee Avary Cain hitting big shots for St. Joes and junior Olivia Owens answering with her ability to attack downhill.  Cain made one last play to ice the 47-45 win.

Bullis School (MD) made its way to the Joe Smith semifinal round in part by the stout play from 2027 Ivanna Manyacka and 2025 Meghan Yarevich. Their impact on the interior has Bulldogs rolling.

Class of 2025 guard Addie Deal of Mater Dei (CA) found her rhythm against a loaded IMG Academy team on day two. Deal facilitated for teammates, scored the basketball and found her way into passing lanes on multiple occasions as well. 


Sienna Betts of Grandview (CO).
*Photo by Eliteye Media.
UCLA commit and Grandview (CO) junior Sienna Betts had her hands full with a talented and versatile Willamette squad. She found was to beat double teams and create advantages to pull out a win.

Class of 2024 guard Maddy McDaniel of Bishop McNamara (MD) is the straw that stirs the drink for one of the nation’s premier teams. McDaniel went toe-to-toe with Jaloni Cambridge as McNamara advanced. 

Class of 2026 guard Addison Bjorn of Park Hill South (MO) was a factor in multiple facets of the game on the opening two days here. She is a distributor, scorer and brings real energy to her team throughout the game. She hit a big three with five seconds left to force an overtime her team went on to win Tuesday.

Keep an eye on Class of 2028 post Avery Bollin of Dexter Southfield (MA). Sean “Sticks” Smith has been talking about Bollin all year long. It’s easy to see why. She has a ton of next level tools. 

Class of 2025 guard Aubrey Beckham of Hebron Christian (GA) made her presence felt in a tough game against Long Island Lutheran. Beckman was in attack mode from the opening tip. 

Keep on eye on youngster Grace Hall of Denver East (CO).  Just a freshman but she’s clocking big minutes for Carl Mattei’s group and should be a force for years to come with this experience.

Kaeli Wynn gets a lot of praise for her shooting ability but it was her being in the right spot at the right time and finding smart easy baskets that allowed the Mater Dei to bounce back after two early losses.

Saguaro (AZ) junior Alexa Simpson is a fast, athletic guard who pushes tempo and creates for her team.

Folsom (CA) has no shortage of talent.  The trio of juniors, Dixie McLanahan, Jada Tupou and Sophia Mindermann, make it hard for teams to key on any one player.  Despite a first round loss in the top division the Bulldogs have been rolling.

Alabama commit Leah Brooks of Hazel Green (AL) what to expect when she reaches the SEC.  She was physically imposing and dominated the paint area from scoring to rebounding and everything in between.

Taylor Shipley, the 2026 post for Hamilton (AZ), scored 15 points in Tuesday’s win over Buena Park (CA). She’s a tough and physical finisher in the paint.

Class of 2025 Brynn Smith of Willamette (OR) was balling.  She scored 28 points in a heart-breaking loss to La Jolla Country Day (CA), scoring it at all three levels.  Part of the reason for the loss was the strong play from LJCD sophomore Mei-Ling Perry who is really coming into her own this winter.

 

Chris Hansen is managing editor of ProspectsNation.com and serves on the McDonald’s All-American and Naismith Trophy selection committees.  He was a co-founder of and the national director of scouting for ESPN HoopGurlz from 2005 until 2012 and is the director of the Check Me Out Showcase and ELITE is EARNED events.  He can be reached at chris@chrishansenbasketball.com.

 

Brandon Clay serves as the Director of Scouting for ProspectsNation.com and owns The BrandonClayScouting.com Evaluation Report, which is read by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He also serves as the Executive Skills Director for the Brandon Clay Scouting Academy Series.

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