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Hoop Group Girls' Live in NE Notebook (July 21)

07/25/2022, 11:00am EDT
By Meghann Morhardt

Meghann Morhardt (@Meghannmo14)

 

The final AAU weekend of the 2022 summer saw the Hoop Group Girls’ circuit making its final stop of the summer at Mohegan Sun last weekend. 

Here’s a notebook from Thursday afternoon and evening’s action:

Madison Siggins (2024 | Lehigh Valley Fever 16U | Parkland) 

Just minutes after scoring 16 points to lead her team to a 30-point victory over NEPA Valley Elite on Thursday night, Siggins led her team over to the adjacent court where their 2023 group was playing. The 16U Fever joined the bench, supporting the older group as they cruised to a strong win of their own.

“These girls are like family to me,” Siggins said. “We're all supportive of each other. We're always there for each other. And [the] Fever as a whole is just like a family group.” 

The team-oriented mindset was even more apparent when Siggins was discussing how the tournament had been going for her so far. Her first instinct was not to talk about her stats or the coaches she had talked to, but rather the success of her team. 

“It’s going really well, both of our teams have won all of our games so far and we're all playing to a high standard,” Siggins said. “We're playing tough and aggressive and we're having a really good time.”

It took several more questions to get Siggins to share her thoughts on her individual 16-point performance. 

“I feel like I definitely got a lot better from the high school season until now,’ Siggins said. “I have definitely improved my shot and just being more confident with the ball. And definitely defense,  being more aggressive and getting out on the shooters.”

The 6-foot swing has an impressive basketball IQ that shines through in her ability to read the defense and find the open lanes. Eight of Siggins’ 16 points came off of backdoor cuts or pick-and-roll sets that were created by her constant motion. To go along with her diverse skill-set, Siggings possesses natural leadership qualities and consistent effort that make her more attractive to scouts. 

During the offseason, the Parkland rising junior has attracted some more attention from coaches, especially following the Hoop Group Girl’s Championship at Spooky Nook last weekend. Most recently, she has been in contact with American University and Quinnipiac, making a pit stop at Quinnipiac during her stay in CT. 

“I just talked to them and decided to go down and see the school,” Siggins said. “It’s a really nice school and a beautiful campus.” 

With all of the intangibles that college coaches look for, and more performance’s like Thursday’s, Siggins expects to hear from more coaches and visit more campuses in the near future. She said she will look to continue playing more aggressively while adding more range to her game to include a consistent three-point shot.

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Emily Arel (2025 | CT Attack | The Gilbert School, CT)

Standing at 5-3, Emily Arel does not let her size disadvantage or inexperience affect her level of play. Coming off a successful freshman season, starting every game for a team that went to the CT state quarterfinals. 

Her relentless effort and determination allow Arel to overcome any doubts or obstacles that may come her way on the court. From the stretching circle pregame, until the final buzzer sounds, Arel’s voice can be heard throughout the gym, whether calling out screens and help on defense to show support for her teammates or yelling in excitement following an and-one. 

“I know that if I talk my teammates are gonna start talking,” Arel said following a 26-point performance in a 69-53 victory over Jersey Gemz on Thursday. “So I know I have to set that example. It’s always something I’m thinking about, never stop talking.” 

This leadership role can be tough to embrace as a rising sophomore on a team with multiple juniors, but the point guard's experience last winter gave her the maturity and confidence to exceed. 

“It really helped me playing in high school, especially with my coach like having so much trust in, me,” Arel said of Gerry Hicks, the head coach at Gilbert. “I feel like one year of high school really showed me what I need to work on during AAU.” 

The increased competition and a more organized style of play allowed Arel to identify her weaknesses. She has taken the last few months to work on those so she is more prepared entering her sophomore season. 

“I definitely improved on trusting my teammates,” Arel said. “Just making extra passes and knowing that I can pass the ball to them and be confident in them.” 

This is a skill that comes with time and as a freshman playing with a new group of girls at Gilbert followed by an AAU season with different teammates, building that trust and chemistry was a challenge and is something she is still looking to improve on, among other things. 

“I definitely want to start making better decisions,” Arel said. Making better passes, getting back on defense and reading when to switch more on defense and communicating that [with my teammates].”

As a rising sophomore, Arel is still in the very early stages of the recruiting process. She has contacted and heard from a few Division III schools, but the point-guard has more room to grow and will continue to attract coaches’ attention along the way. 

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Quick Hits

Grace Corelli (2024 | Lightning 16U | Byram Hills, NY) 

Corelli is a true point guard. Playing the role of floor general with a strong ability to protect the ball, run the offense, and score when needed. The 5-8 rising junior showed this skill set on Thursday, scoring 14 points to lead her team to a 48-33 victory over United NJ Platinum. 

As a strong student with a 4.2 GPA, Corelli is hoping to take her talents somewhere with high academics. She has been in contact with some Ivy League schools as well as some higher academic D-III schools. There were multiple NESCAC schools, including Bates, in attendance on Thursday, a level that could be a suitable fit for Corelli. 

“We've progressed a lot,” Corelli said. “We're really starting to play as a team [...] And even though it’s our last tournament, we’re gonna keep having practices to make sure we’re ready for varsity. 

~~~

Jineen Ayyash (2024 | NJ Shoreshots 16U | Ocean Township, NJ)
A 5-8 swing with a versatile skill set, Ayyash can beat her defender using strength down low while also using her range to knock down shots from distance. On Thursday, the rising junior scored 14 points to help the Shoreshots to a 55-47 victory over United NJ Platinum. 

Ayyash knocked down two triples, including one with just over a minute to play that extended the Shoreshots’ lead to eight and knock the wind out of United. Her ability to score and defend multiple positions has attracted some coaches in the off season. She is hearing from multiple D-III schools and recently got her first D-I contact from Mount St. Mary’s. Ayyash is excited to be getting the attention, but she knows she can do better. 

“I've gotten a few interests and a few college coaches talking to me, but it's not where I'm not satisfied,” Ayyash said. “It’s not where I wanna be, I can still get better.” 

~~~

Abby Congdon (2025 | CT Attack 16U | Loomis Chaffe, CT) 

Congdon is a solid point guard with a high basketball IQ and strong shooting ability. The 5-6 guard scored 16 points in the team’s 69-53 win over Jersey Gemz including four 3-pointers.

She brings control and pace to the game with the ability to slow down and run a set or push the ball to get a transition opportunity when available. 

The rising sophomore was a role player on a championship team last season and is looking to increase her impact this year in order to start attracting attention from college coaches. She has contacted a few coaches, but without a strong freshman campaign on the stat sheet, she is relying on her recent play and more opportunities in the fall and winter seasons to attract more attention. 

“I definitely want to play in college,” Congdon said. “But, I know I need to work on my driving and passing abilities to do that. [...] I’m also hoping to help my school win another championship this year.” 

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