Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
MANHEIM, Pa. — The Girls’ Under Armour Association Championships took place this weekend at Spooky Nook Sports complex, with some of the best programs from around the country coming to Lancaster County to compete for the GUAA title and plenty of college coaches filling in to see them.
Was on hand for several sets Saturday and for Monday’s three championship games and caught up with a few prospects who stood out during the action from both days:
More GUAA Championships Coverage: GUAA Championships Day One Standouts (Pt.1) | GUAA Championships Day One Standouts (Pt. 2) | GUAA Championships Day Two and Three Standouts | GUAA Championships Notebook (Pt. 1)
Jill Jekot (2024 | Comets 16U | Cumberland Valley)
Jekot’s older sisters have already left their marks on Philadelphia college basketball, making the trip from Mechanicburg to Philly for their college career.
Comets' Jill Jekot dribbles up the court. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Already familiar with quite a few college programs from her sisters’ recruitment days, Jekot is now garnering attention of her own at the next level.
Jekot’s oldest sister Kelly spent three seasons at VIllanova before finishing her career with a two-year stint at Penn State last season. The second-oldest Katie is a grad student playing at St. Joe’s. Julie is set to start her second second season at La Salle this winter.
Then there’s Jill who already has offers from nine Division I programs, including locals St. Joe’s, La Salle, Drexel and most recently Temple.
“Obviously, all my sisters went to college in Philly so I’m familiar with the area,” Jekot said. “Everytime I get to have a new opportunity, it’s very exciting.”
When she sees coaches from Penn State, St. Joe’s and La Salle at events, Jekot is technically allowed to say hello due to having a prior relationship stemming from her sisters playing for those programs. She said she opts for a quick smile instead.
Jekot’s other Division I offers include Richmond, Pitt, DePaul, Bucknell and Delaware.
She showed off why they are interested in her future services with a 23-point outing on Saturday
“Mostly that I can score from three levels,” Jekot said of what intrigues college coaches. “That’s the one thing I want to keep improving on in college and the next level of play is being able to incorporate all those things in my game.”
Jekot’s hoops career is a little different than most. She’s been attending AAU events since she was little, first watching her sister play before becoming a standout player in her own right.
She earned her first Division I offer after her eighth grade season and was tagging along on college visits even before then.
Now, Jekot is taking visits of her own to figure out the next steps in her basketball career. She’s been on visits to Penn State, Pitt, St. Joe’s, La Salle, Bucknell, DePaul and Dayton.
There’s no doubt her older sisters are a big reason why.
“I’m extremely thankful for them,” Jekot said of her sisters. “Obviously, I would not be the player that I am without them. A lot of people say that I’m a mixture of all of them because they each have their own game. It’s kind of cool to see how I develop because of them.”
Comets' Quinn Boettinger, right, goes up for a shot. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Quinn Boetinger and Bella Bacani (2025 | Comets 15U | Perkiomen Valley)
Boettinger and Bacani started teaming up together back in fourth grade.
Over the last five seasons the pair played together pretty much year round with their AAU programs and in the Perkiomen Valley school district.
“I think it’s been great because we work really good together and we’re always looking for each other,” Bacani said. “It’s great to have her on my high school and AAU team.”
As freshmen at PV this past season, Bacani and Boettinger helped the Vikings on runs to the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship game, the District 1-6A quarterfinals and PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals.
Bacani and Boettinger, both starters for the Comets, helped their team to a few more deep runs this summer and all the way to the GUAA title game this past weekend.
“We ended our high school season on kind of a sad disappointing note, but overall it was a great season,” Boettinger said. “We and Bella kind of took that into AAU and kind of took a bigger role on this team and really worked hard to get to a higher level of our game that we can then transfer to next year.”
Boettigner is a 6-3 post player who flashes some unique coordination and touch for a young forward. She averaged more than 10 points per game at PV this past season.
Bacani is a 5-6 point guard. She plays with a scrappiness and toughness that stood out in the GUAA championship game.
The Vikings lose their top two scorers Jennifer Beattie and Emma Miley, but Bacani and Boettinger’s classmates Grace Miley, Lena Stein and Julia Smith all return from the 2021-22 rotation with a season of varsity experience under their belts. Grace Galbavy, the league’s second leading scorer last season as a freshman at Upper Perk, also moved into the district.
History suggests the Bacani and Boettinger duo is ready for another deep postseason run or two in 2022-23..
“This season we made it to our conference championship then there’s all of our AAU championships we’ve played in together since fourth grade,” Boettinger said.
“The competition just gets better and we’re prepared for it,” Bacani said.
Alexis Davis (2023 | Books & Basketball 17U | Woodbury, N.J.)
Davis is going to produce wherever she plays.
The 6-foot small forward scored more than 1,000 points and grabbed nearly 600 during her freshman and sophomore seasons at Glassboro (N.J.).
She proved her game travels when she averaged 27.3 points and 14.7 rebounds per game this past season at Woodbury (N.J.) and continued to put together similar dominant outings for BBA this summer.
Davis has 17 Division I offers, including La Salle and St. Joe’s. She averaged 17.6 ppg and 11.3 rpg during the July live periods and said Rutgers, Florida Atlantic and Florida State are among the most recent schools to show interest.
“They love how I can play all positions,” Davis said. “I can be a guard, I can be a point guard, I can be a small forward or I can play the post. I can defend all positions and I think that’s one thing — or a lot of things — that coaches love about me.”
She planned on putting more thought into her official visits and beginning to narrow her list after the end of the AAU season earlier this week.
The goal is to find a place that ‘feels like home.’ She also hopes to find a school with a good sports medicine/pre-med program that will help set her up for a career as a sports medicine physician.
“Me and my family, especially my mom and my dad, we’ll be able to see which ones fit best for me,” Davis said.
“I just can’t wait to see what college I go to.”
Davis reached the 1,000-point milestone by her sophomore season at Glassboro. Her goal is to reach 2,000 points and 1,000 boards by the time she finishes up her high school career next spring.
She hopes to make a decision on her future college program well before that.
“I definitely want to commit before my high school season, so I can just play freely and have fun my senior year,” Davis said.
Comets' Cassidy Kropp shoots a free throw. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Cassidy Kropp (2023 | Comets 17U | Methacton)
The Methacton girls basketball team has a giant offensive hole to fill this upcoming season.
Nicole Timko, the program’s all-time leading scorer, and her 18.8 ppg are headed to Christopher Newport.
It won’t be an individual effort, but the likeliest candidate to fill that go-to role is Kropp, a 5-10 all-league guard known more for her playmaking and defense during the first three years of her career.
“I’ve definitely been pushing myself to be more offensive and look to score because I have to fill that gap that Nicole will be leaving,” Kropp said. “I just gotta be really ready for this season.”
Kropp averaged 9.7 ppg for the Warriors last season. She and Comets teammate Mairi Smith (7.9 ppg) were second and third in scoring for Methacton last season and return to the starting lineup.
The pair form one of District 1’s best defensive duos with Kropp out on the perimeter and Smith inside. Kropp’s size (5-10) and athleticism help her guard opponents’ top offensive threats during the high school season.
She is also a terrific ball handler and sets up her teammates in position to score with a tough driving ability. Kropp said she is talking to a few programs right now. Locally, Gwynedd Mercy reached out during the high school season and Ursinus College has seen her play this summer.
She will have the opportunity to showcase her full skillset a bit more this season.
“In a way I’m more of a playmaker, but I definitely can score the ball,” Kropp said. “I just have to make sure I’m more consistent at that this season.”
It will be tough sledding in the PAC’s Liberty division with Perk Valley and Spring-Ford returning most of their rosters.
The Warriors have three more rising seniors in Reana Torres, Megan Coupe and Ashley Fisher back in the mix and rising sophomore Abby Arnold should take a step forward. Kropp is excited about leading the group this season.
“We’re playing the school summer league right now. I’m trying to work with our team, get us ready, get a rhythm for this season coming up,” Kropp said.
Nia Henley (2023 | GTS Fusion 17U | Riverbend, Va.)
When you walk into the gym, you’re more likely to hear Nia Henley before you see her play.
Henley truly embraces the traditional point guard role and the leadership responsibilities that come with it.
“I’m the point guard, I’m the talkative one,” Henley said. “Every time you pass the court, you’re going to hear me talk. You’re going to hear me leading my team. I’m a leader naturally on the court, off the court.”
Henley impressed in a win over the Michigan Storm on Saturday.
A pass-first point guard, Henley was always looking to get her teammates in a position to score. She didn’t force shots but did attack when she had her chances, earning quite a few trips to the line. At 5-6, she gave up some size but rounded out her statline with some scrappy rebounds and steals on defense.
“I lead my team,” Henley said. “I get buckets when I need to get buckets. I get the ball to my post players. I’m a traditional point guard. That’s how I play.”
Henley hopes her skillset and intangibles land her a college home. She received offers from the College of Charleston and Maine in May. Another guard recently committed to the Cougars, but the Black Bears are still in the mix in her recruitment.
“That University of Maine offer that was a great offer for me,” Henley said. “Me and that coach (Amy Vachon) connect very well, so we’ll see what happens.”
West Virginia Thunder's Kymora Johnson cuts down the net. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Kymora Johnson (2023 | West Virginia Thunder 17U | St. Anne's-Belfield, Va.)
Johnson, Gatorade’s 2021-22 Virginia Girls Basketball Player of the Year, finished off her AAU career in style at the GUAA championships.
After hitting a game winning three in the semifinals on Sunday, Johnson and her teammates claimed a GUAA 17U championship with a four overtime victory over FBC United on Monday — her birthday.
“They told me they was gonna do it for me,” Johnson said. “It’s my birthday, it’s my last tournament, they said they was gonna do it for me. They stepped up big time. That was a great team. Four overtimes, high intensity game. It was really challenging and I’m so proud of my girls for pushing through.”
Johnson, HoopGurlz’ No. 30 recruit in the Class of 2023, has piled up around 50 Division I scholarship offers during her recruitment. She added to that list with offers from Maryland and Oregon on Wednesday.
She said Tennessee, Baylor, Miami, Virginia and Georgia Tech had eyes on her this past weekend.
Recently, she’s had her focus on winning a championship. After Monday’s win, she now has some time to sift through her options.
Johnson said she planned on setting her official visits on Aug. 1 and looked to announce a list of her top schools in the near future.
“Definitely academics first, and next a place where I have good relationships with my coaches and teammates. And then lastly, a place where I’m going to play,” Johnson said of what she’s looking for in her next school.
Johnson averaged 21.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 6.7 apg and 4.5 spg as a junior at St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) last season. Her team lost by two in the semifinals of the Virginia Independent Schools tournament. The goal this season is to finish her career with another ‘chip.
“I got this, now I want to go win a state ring,” Johnson said.
Breanna Williams (2024 | Northwest Blazers 16 | Skyview, Wash.)
The interior matchup between Williams and the Bay State Jags’ Cameron Rust during Monday’s 16U title game was one of the most physical battles of the weekend.
The two potential high-major forwards both had their moments with Williams’ Blazers’ squad ultimately coming out on top.
“She was really physical,” Williams said. “I had to work my way around her, find little things to do, dance my way around her. I used a lot of energy, but it wore her down as well. … She’s really good.”
Williams noted some big plays by her team's guards proved the difference in the game.
“We were really down and we had to find a way,” Williams said. “It’s really cool just because everybody’s a little bit younger and everybody’s a little underclass, but they found a way to step up and make big shots and just find a way to win.”
Williams has 17 Division I offers and plenty of others who are interested. She’s recently added some Power 5 schools to her list, including Arizona, Washington and Utah. Florida, Gonzaga and Stanford are others who are interested.
“I just focus on going out and playing,” Williams said. “They come with time. Just down the stretch, it’s just going to be the best fit for me. Recruiting it’s been nice. It’s been a blessing."
Maryan Eniafe (2023 | GTS Fusion 17U | Maret School, D.C.)
Like many, Eniafe’s opportunity to showcase herself to college coaches was limited before this AAU season.
With COVID severely impacting the last two offseasons, Eniafe’s recruitment started to pick up steam earlier this summer.
GTS Fusion's Maryan Eniafe, left, looks toward the basket. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
She had an offer from Grambling State, where her older sister Victoria plays, dating back to 2020 and added offers from Alabama A&M and College of Charleston in May and Stetson on June 1. During the July live period, Eniafe added offers from Colgate and Mount St. Mary’s. Utah State is another program talking to the 6-2 forward.
“It’s really new,” Eniafe said of her recruitment. “Because of COVID, 9th grade there wasn’t anything, 10th grade there wasn’t anything so this is my first live period where there’s been coaches at the bench for me so it’s really new.”
There’s a lot to like about Eniafe’s game at the forward spot. She ran the break really well for a traditional post player and also made good decisions and passes with the ball in her hands. Most impressively, she has a motor that shows up in a variety of ways on the court.
”I am tenacious. I always go for every ball and I don’t give up on plays,” Eniafe said of what college coaches like about her game.
Maryan’s older sister Victoria didn’t get the full recruiting experience before committing to Grambling State. Two years later, she will get a chance to get a taste of it with her younger sister later this summer.
Maryan said she has visits upcoming to Colgate and the College of Charleston. She also lives close to Mount St. Mary’s and plans to take a visit to campus soon.
“When she was getting recruited, COVID happened, so she didn’t get to experience the recruiting process,” Eniafe said. “When she comes back for the summer, we’re trying to take her on visits and stuff so she can get the experience kind of.”
Claire O’Connor (2023 | Northwest Blazers 17U | Lakesid, Wash.)
O’Connor and her Blazers teammates tipped-off in front of a plethora of college coaches during Saturday’s win over West Coast Elite, including many of the top programs from the Pacific Northwest.
She said she has around 16 offers, but isn’t yet ready to shrink down her list. What’s she looking for in her future college home?
“Fit. I feel like I value the people a lot,” O’Connor said. “Coaching staff, the players, team culture, wanting to win and all that stuff.”
O’Connor has a terrific game and said she and some of the coaches she is talking to have noticed it getting better as well.
As a 6-1 guard who can really shoot it, she can do damage from the inside and outside and is also effective on the defensive end. Her ball handling continues to improve, opening up even more parts of her offensive game.
“A lot of coaches really like my versatility because I’m a bigger guard,” O’Connor said. “I can be effective inside, outside. I’m working a lot on my handles, which I’ve heard about a little bit.”