skip navigation

GUAA/Live at the Nook Notebook (Pt. 1) (April 21-22, 2023)

04/23/2023, 2:30pm EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
MANHEIM — The April live periods kept on trucking in Lancaster County, with a massive tournament taking place at Spooky Nook Sports — a combination of the first Girls’ Under Armour Association stop and the Select Events “Live at the Nook!” competition, with hundreds and hundreds of teams descending upon central Pennsylvania for three days of intense competition.

Here’s a catchup with some of the local prospects we saw during the first two days of the event:


More Coverage: Day 1 Standouts | Day 2 Standouts | Day 3 Standouts | Notebook (Pt. 1) | Notebook (Pt. 2) | Notebook (Pt. 3) | Notebook (Pt. 4) | Notebook (Pt. 5) | Notebook (Pt. 6)


Liv Stone, 2024 Fencor

Liv Stone (2024 | Fencor 17U) 

It wasn’t quite Norman Dale saying “My team is on the floor,” but Fencor’s 17U team almost had its Hoosiers moment this weekend.

With an accident causing a heavy backup of traffic on the way to Spooky Nook, twins Nora and Brighid Brady (Upper Dublin) arrived as players four and five with just minutes to spare Friday night for their first game of the weekend. Luckily, traffic issues were better on Saturday, but when Fencor took the court for its first game, they were still incomplete with just six available players.

It wasn’t a problem against Team Saints’ 17U team, thanks to some good shooting by Anna Barry (CB East) and a strong finish by Liv Stone (North Penn) leading to a 40-31 win.

“We’re all best friends and we help each other so much,” Stone said. “I love the high school season but I’m really looking forward to this AAU season.”

It’s that typically crazy time of year where school functions — proms, senior trips, all those memory-makers — start to overlap with the start of club and travel sports, so coaches aren’t surprised when they have a few less players than the mid-summer events may bring. Yes, Fencor is expecting everyone to be back eventually but they more than made do with what they had on Saturday night.

The six who hit the floor on Saturday: Nora and Brighid Brady, Barry, Stone, Casey Balkir (CB South) and Kelly Donnelly (North Penn). 

In the first half, it was shooting with Barry — her dad Rick coaches the team — and Nora Brady each knocking down a pair of threes and Donnelly getting inside for two hoops as part of a 21-14 Fencor lead at the break. After halftime, it was mostly Stone with the North Penn junior scoring nine points to fend off Team Saints’ comeback bid.

“My teammates pushed me, they’ve all kept lifting me up because I can get down on myself really easily,” Stone said. “Them telling me to keep being aggressive and going to the basket really helps.”

Stone, who earned Honorable Mention All-SOL Colonial honors this winter, and Donnelly are teammates for a Knights team that took the next step in its second season under coach Bri Cullen. After falling short of the District 1 playoffs in Cullen’s first season, North Penn got in and won a game this year before losing a playback game to miss out on the state tournament.

“All of us now, we’ve had the experience,” Stone said. “We got close, we won a playoff game but I think next year we can go even farther but we’re going to miss Abby (Plaugher). Bri changed the style, we push the ball, it’s defense-first and we get lots of shots.

“It really counters well with our team, it’s what lets us play the best that we can.”

Stone is listed at 5-foot-11, she had to be the big for Fencor on Friday and Saturday with the absences, and is an all-around good athlete so it was just a matter of figuring out how to use it. She did a great job attacking the rim against Team Saints, getting to the line once in the first half, then drawing a pair of and-one finishes in the second half and earning two more trips to the foul line on top of that.

“When I first started in fifth grade, I was focused on defense, everyone else knew how to shoot and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Stone said. “As I’ve gotten older, my coaches have all told me I’m an athletic kid and helped me learn to use it, like the first step, to the best of my ability.”

Stone hopes to continue athletics at the next level, but her choice will first be which one she wants to pursue. The same things that make her a threat on the basketball court make her a terrific center back in soccer, where she currently has an offer from Division III Bates College, a prestigious liberal arts in Maine, and interest from Drexel and American.

“I don’t want to close any doors, so I’m just going to see what happens,” Stone said. — Andrew Robinson

Mac Pettinelli, 2024 Comets

Mac Pettinelli (2024 | Comets GUAA 17U)

It’s been pretty clear for three years now that Spring-Ford’s 2024 backcourt is a special one. The duo of Anna Azzara and Mac Pettinelli have been impact varsity players since helping the Rams to the PIAA title game as freshmen in 2021.

The high school and grassroots teammates appear to be following in the footsteps of the likes of Sammy Stipa (Lafayette) and Lucy Olsen (Villanova) as the Rams’ next D1-bound guards, taking a significant step in that direction recently.

Azzara secured her first D1 offer from College of Charleston in late March, and Pettinelli received her first D1 offer from St. Bonaventure on a visit this past Wednesday.

“I’m really thankful that they had me up there and gave me the offer.”

Jim Crowley, the all-time winningest coach in Bonnies history, took over the program again Mach 13 after seven seasons at Providence. He officially added former players Tiara Johnson and Kelcie Rombach, who both coached him with the Friars as well, to the staff.

Pettinelli said the St. Bonaventure coach has been in contact since taking over at the A-10 school. It took a few weeks before they were able to set up Wednesday’s visit, which was certainly a memorable one.

“I think just the way they treated me it kind of felt like a good environment to be in,” Pettinelli said. “We took good pictures when we were there, I liked the campus and the two assistant coaches used to play there, so they know a lot about the college and that’s pretty cool.”

Pettinelli, a 5-10 guard, said her passing and IQ are what stuck out to Crowley. He also noted — as of others — he’d like to see the unselfish guard shoot a little more. That’s something she’s working on this summer.

“High school and AAU is really, really different, especially at the 17U age group because girls are bigger, better and faster,” Pettinelli said. “You’ll play girls who are going to the top college in the country and you just gotta kinda stick to your own thing. I’ve been working on creating more shots because they’re not going to be as easy, so I just gotta focus on that.

St. Bonaventure had staff at the Comets’ game against the West Virginia Thunder on Friday. Pettinelli said she’s been in touch with Bryant for a little bit and new UMass head coach Mike Leflar recently reached out. The Comets should have plenty of D1 staffs in attendance throughout the rest of the spring and summer.

“I’m really grateful that me and Anna get this opportunity to get a lot of show,” Pettinelli said. “We get to be put out on a big stage, get a lot of coaches to come watch us, and I’m really grateful for both of us that we got offers.” — Owen McCue

Lola Ibarrondo, 2024 Mid-Atlantic Magic

Lola Ibarrondo (2024 | Mid-Atlantic Magic 17U)

Like that old Converse commercial Dwyane Wade had, no matter how many times Lola Ibarrondo hit the deck in the Mid-Atlantic Magic 17U’s game with Lady Rivals 3SSB on Saturday, she got one up one more time.

The junior guard, who attends Neshaminy, got back to being herself and reignited her love for the game this past year, so even a game against a physical foe that kept putting her on the deck wasn’t going to be a bother. 

“I just want to come out here and play, pretty much,” Ibarrondo said. “I don’t really feel the pressure anymore.”

After spending her freshman year at Conwell-Egan, Ibarrondo transferred to Neshaminy for her sophomore year when her family moved into the school district. Even though she earned First Team All-SOL Patriot honors that first year, it was a struggle.

Ibarrondo, who bravely opened up to Suburban One Sports about everything she had to deal with, claimed another First Team All-SOL honor this season playing alongside Magic teammate Reese Zemitis under coach John Gallagher, also their AAU coach with the Magic.

“It’s awesome, I feel like there’s not that much on my shoulders anymore and I can ease into everything,” Ibarrondo said. “It allows me to play smoother and play like myself again.”

Against a physical opponent that also had a good bit more size than the Magic, Ibarrondo didn’t back down. She attacked the basket over and over, drawing three trips to the foul line plus finishing a layup with a whistle and competed hard on defense.

Zemitis just committed to Bucknell last weekend and Ibarrondo is looking to join her Magic and Neshaminy teammate as a future college basketball player soon. The guard has narrowed down her final choices to a pair of local Division II programs in CACC rivals Jefferson and Holy Family, saying they’ve been showing consistent interest and have the right mix of what she’s looking for.

“I’m thinking sometime in June is when I’d like to commit,” Ibarrondo said. “I’m playing this season out, see what happens but hopefully by June I’ll be able to say I’m committed somewhere.”

Ibarrondo said she’s trying to become a more consistent shooter, something to add to her always high effort and maybe reduce a couple of those instances where she ends up on the floor. It won’t stop her from playing hard, that’s a staple.

“I think we just want to make it last, you know? It’s the last one,” Ibarrondo said. “We just want to make memories and have fun.

“I’m going the right direction, I feel like I bounced back from last year and I’m looking to enjoy this season.” — Andrew Robinson

Molly Rullo, 2025 Comets

Molly Rullo (2025 | Comets GUAA 16U)

For many sophomores around the country, Rullo included, their 16U summer is the first time that recruiting really comes to the forefront. 

It’s not that college recruiting is brand-new to the Cardinal O’Hara sophomore: she’s already got six Division I offers, including Drexel and St. Joe’s. But this is when the college coaches who are turning out to their games become a little more real, the eventual collegiate decision moving into view on the horizon, the transition from underclassman to upperclassman in full effect.

She’s here for it.

“It's really good, I mean, it’s everything you always dreamed of doing, it’s kind of coming true,” she said on Friday after leading the Comets to a 57-51 win over MBA (Michigan). “You’re seeing all the coaches there and it’s pretty cool, it’s a pretty cool environment to be in.”

Rullo certainly made a positive impression on the couple dozen D-Is watching the win, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, including a second half where she didn’t miss a single shot or free throw (7-7 FG, 4-4 FT). 

All of her production came at the rim or in the mid-range; she didn’t attempt a 3-pointer. Stretching the floor is something she has the ability to do, but she wants to make it more of a weapon for her this summer.

“Definitely my dribbling, be more consistent to push the ball and be able to go in transition once I get a rebound,” she said. “And just being able to shoot the 3-pointer more consistently and develop my skills so I can be more of a threat in different ways.”

While she’s happy to be in the midst of the recruiting world, playing a more uptempo style than she typically gets to display at O’Hara — the 30-second shot clock in use this weekend a major reason for that — Rullo isn’t taking the recruiting stuff too seriously just yet. Holy Cross, Rider, Quinnipiac and Monmouth are the four other schools who’ve offered, and while she said she’s visited “most of” her six offerees, she’s still figuring out what she’s looking for at the next level.

“I think I’m going to start limiting down after this AAU season, see what my options are by the end of it and start seeing what I like.” — Josh Verlin

Kylie Mulholland, 2025 Delco Goats

Kyle Mulholland (2025 | Delco Goats-Port 17U)

With her team trying to put together a late comeback, Kylie Mulholland’s three from the top of the key was off the mark.

That was only the beginning. Mulholland, playing up a class for the Delco Goats - Port 17U team, was simply not going to let a miss be the end of it.

Instead, the Garnet Valley sophomore chased after the ball and the player who had rebounded it, catching up to them and ripping the ball away to get her team another possession. It’s the kind of edge Mulholland, listed at 5-foot-4, is trying to bring this summer and back to her Jaguars team next season.

“I want to outwork the other team,” Mulholland said. “I can use my speed and just never lose focus.”

In her team’s loss to Rhode Island Basketball Club’s 17U squad on Saturday, Mulholland was high-energy all the time. She didn’t let aggressive defense on her be a deterrent, on a second-half drive she missed the initial take, the guard beat everyone up to grab the miss and finish the putback and in the waning seconds, she was there on the ground diving to force a tie-up.

On top of AAU, Mulholland said she’s hoping to attend some college camps this summer and would like to play at the next level. She’s also got a Garnet Valley team coming off a state playoff appearance with most of its key players coming back to go back to next year, so she’s planning on this being a productive summer.

“I’m working on my shooting, ball-handling and being a leader on this team so I can bring it to my high school team next year,” Mulholland said. “I want to get my shot off faster, but also keep my team motivated even if we’re down. This high school season, we had a lot of losses but I have to be one to stay positive.” — Andrew Robinson

Bailey Balkir, 2026 Runnin' Rebels

Bailey Balkir (2026 | Lady Runnin’ Rebels 15U)

A good point guard is aware of the nuances of what their team needs at the right moment. They are part traffic cop, part symphony conductor looking for harmony and flow for their team.
Gwynedd Mercy’s Balkir is a gritty 5-8 point guard, a young player with an old hoops soul who seems to innately understand what a point guard needs to do so her team can be successful.

“It's being a leader and especially since I'm on the smaller size on the court and younger, I have to take a role and I really try to focus on being a playmaker,” Balkir said. “Obviously, making a good pass to my teammate so they can finish but also like scoring  so when I need to score if the team needs it. 

“I really just try to focus on the team having a good flow and make sure everyone is working together. If we have good energy and everyone's just pumped up then we play so much better.” 

She also recognizes that confidence is key and is one reason why she admires UConn star Paige Bueckers.
“She's just so confident, and I think I can work on my confidence,” Balkir said. “I feel like that would really help me get further in the game.”

High school teammate Hannah Griffin is Holy Cross bound, so Balkir knows she needs to assume a bigger role next season.

‘Building my confidence and being a leader are my focus because during high school season I was a shooting guard mostly because Hannah was a point guard. I learned a lot from her and she taught me a lot as a mentor for my freshman season because I’ll be point guard next year.” — Matt Gaffney

Natalie DiBlasi (2026 | Lady Runnin’ Rebels 15U)

The 5-10 Cardinal O’Hara small forward got her feet wet in the PCL this year as a freshman, but she is looking to play an even bigger role in the 2023-24 season. The rigors of her high school play helped prepare her for the talented players she is playing against this spring.

“I think my high school basketball helped prepare me for this level because there was good competition,” DiBlasi said. “You were playing games with older girls that could be more skilled than you and were more experienced, so that helped get me ready for AAU.”

As she looks ahead to her sophomore season, she believes that gaining confidence will help her expand her game. 

“I want to get more confidence, drive to the hoop more and show them what I can do,” DiBlasi said. — Matt Gaffney

D-I Coverage:

Small-College News:

Recruiting News:

Tag(s): Home  Recruiting  Contributors  Josh Verlin  Owen McCue  High School  Andrew Robinson  Girls HS  AACA  Gwynedd Mercy  Catholic League (G)  Central League (G)  PAC (G)  Suburban One (G)  Cardinal O'Hara  Garnet Valley  PAC Liberty (G)  Spring-Ford  SOL Colonial (G)  SOL Patriot (G)  North Penn  Neshaminy  2025 Profiles  Molly Rullo