CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The 10th Annual girls’ All-City Classic took place at Imhotep Charter on Tuesday night, with three games bringing together some of the city’s best freshmen (Class of 2026), sophomores and juniors for an evening of all-star games.
Here’s the first half of our notebook from the evening; CLICK HERE for the rest:
Emily Knouse (2025 | Archbishop Wood)
Knouse didn’t think she had all that great of a weekend.
Emily Knouse (above) picked up four new offers last week. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Apparently, several college programs thought otherwise. Knouse, who competed with her Comets 16U GUAA team in Atlantic City last week found herself quite busy last week fielding four new college offers.
While the Archbishop Wood sharpshooting sophomore already had four to her name, she was not taking this new wave for granted.
“It was really surprising. I’m always super grateful, but definitely shocking,” Knouse, who played in Tuesday’s sophomore game, said. “I had four previously, I would have been good with that and then it was just one after another.”
Knouse added Siena, Lafayette, Army and Iona to her list of offers in the past seven days, doubling up a list that already included St. Joe’s, Monmouth, Holy Cross and Drexel. The 5-foot-11 guard knocked down a three in Tuesday’s game, had the first of a three-player, two-pass sequence that got Shayla Smith an open layup and she even brought the ball up the floor a few times, something she’s been working to add to her game.
“I'm always trying to improve my game. Some of the coaches I’m talking to, they’re looking for me to do all these different things, so that’s what I;m focusing on,” Knouse said. “Being a team player is my area of strength, so that’s my first priority, looking for my teammates and working on myself.”
With Wood graduating seven seniors, including three starters, Knouse knows she’ll have to bring a little more back for her junior year with the Vikings. Wood, which won the PIAA 5A title in March after back-to-back 4A titles, will have some new faces in the lineup but Knouse said she’s looking forward to this new group finding its identity.
She’ll play a big part in that too, as the junior was selected one of four team captains along with seniors Ava Renninger, Alexa Windish and Lauren Greer for the 2023-24 season.
“It means so much to me that they have the faith in me, that they think I can lead this team along with my other teammates,” Knouse said. “I thank them so much.”
Knouse, who made 66 threes and shot 37 percent from deep this season for Wood, doesn’t want to be just a shooter and with a pretty versatile roster around her with the Comets, it’s easy for her to fill any role she needs. College coaches tend to notice those types of things, even if she didn’t necessarily think it was her best weekend.
“I thought I just did ok,” Knouse said. “I guess they thought otherwise.” — Andrew Robinson
Shayla Smith (2025 | Audenried Charter)
It’s nothing new that Smith is a Division I recruit. The Audenried guard picked up her first scholarship offer, from Delaware State, more than a year ago; Temple and Monmouth both jumped on board during her standout sophomore year, when she led Audenried to a Public League title and won league MVP honors along the way.
Shayla Smith (above) picked up four high-major offers in the last six weeks. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
But the last month has been a deluge for the 5-9 guard, who’s picked up six scholarship offers since April 25, including four from high-major programs: Arizona, St. John’s, Penn State and DePaul all extended offers, as did Delaware and Bethune-Cookman, running her list to nine. That’s all after playing with Philly Rise’s 16s during stops in Virginia and Dallas, her squad off to a 6-0 start in Nike Girls EYBL play
“I like that my whole team is high level, so it’s preparing me for the next level,” she said. “And it’s fun, because we win all the time.”
Smith’s 17-point effort showed plenty of the reasons why she’s a hot commodity amongst college coaches: a couple 3-pointers, the ability to break her defender down off the dribble and score in the mid-range, or get to the rim and finish. She also grabbed nine rebounds (three offensive), and made some nice passes, though she only ended up with one assist.
“I’m very confident. But…I still know I’ve got a lot of work to do,” she said. “That boosts my confidence as well, getting all those offers.”
Smith said at the moment that Temple and Arizona are the two schools that are in touch most often; a visit to Penn State in the near future is also in the works. Things will change quite a bit on June 1, when college coaches can directly reach out to rising juniors without having to first go through a parent or high school/grassroots coach. She’s looking forward to having increased conversations and starting to figure out what’s the best fit for her at the next level.
“I want to learn if they’re going to let me be me when I go there, that’s what I’m really looking for in a school, I just want to do what I want to do,” she said. "Not crazy stuff, but I just want to be myself.” — Josh Verlin
Colleen Besachio (2026 | Upper Dublin)
There’s no way to prepare for the first time the voice on the other end of the phone belongs to a college basketball coach.
Colleen Besachio (above) is picking up collegiate interest after playing up on the grassroots circuit. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
That’s the scenario Besachio found herself in recently, the Upper Dublin freshman forward getting her first experience of the recruiting process this spring. Besachio, a 5-foot-10 stretch forward, played in Tuesday’s freshman game but for the second straight AAU season, she’s playing up a year with the 2025s including this spring and summer with the Comets 16U GUAA squad.
“It’s been good but a little nerve-wracking,” Besachio said. “You know the right things to say, but you also don’t want to say the wrong thing. It’s gotten easier, you talk to one coach for a little bit and you know what to say and what to do.
“It’s fun because you’re getting interest and you realize how good you are.”
Besachio said she’s only talked with Holy Cross directly so far, but she’s gotten some correspondence from fellow Patriot League programs American and Boston University.
Besachio, in her second year with the Comets and second year playing up an age group, said her teammates don’t make her feel like she’s the young one on the team.
“I feel like I can keep up with the girls, especially now after my first high school season, I know I can play with bigger girls and older girls,” Besachio said. “Most of the team was together last year, Molly (Rullo), Emily (Knouse), all of them and we hang out a lot so we really know each other well.”
Besachio, who started all year along with fellow classmate Megan Ngo, helped the Cardinals qualify for the PIAA 6A tournament and reach the second round. With just one starter graduating and UD expecting a full year of a healthy Amy Ngo - Megan’s older sister - the Cardinals should be a team to watch in the SOL next year.
That’s why Besachio is taking this spring and summer with the Comets so seriously. She surprised herself a little bit this past winter and also saw some areas she needs to improve, all things college coaches will start to point out the more she starts to interact with them.
“A thing I learned I definitely need to work on is having a more consistent shot,” Besachio, who can step out behind the arc with comfort, said. “Seeing when the floor is open and driving, I’m working on that a lot more.
“One thing I thought I did way better than I thought I would was rebounding, I didn’t expect to have that many double-doubles and rebound as much.”
The soon to be rising sophomore said she’s most looking forward to her Comets team’s trip to Kentucky this summer and of course, her second campaign with Upper Dublin. And if any college coaches come calling in that time, she knows how to handle it. — Andrew Robinson
Haylie Adamski (2025 | Garnet Valley)
The “all-star” game format can sometimes be challenging for a player that prides themselves on defense.
Garnet Valley's Haylie Adamski is quickly growing her list of D-I offers. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Adamski got around it by not worrying about it. The talented wing simply doesn’t turn off her defensive intensity, so it wasn’t really surprising to see her pressed up on a baseline drive and forcing an errant pass on the first play of Tuesday’s sophomore game.
That defensive intensity, plus some knockdown shooting, have started to bring in some attention for Adamski as she’s picked up a few Division I offers since the end of the high school season.
“It’s been really exciting,” Adamski, who plays AAU with the Philly Rise, said. “I’m just looking to play some more and see what comes.
“I’m a lot more comfortable with it now, I wasn’t really seen a lot last year because I was hurt so coming into this year I wanted to do something big. It started with Towson, so now I want to keep going.”
Towson was the first to extend an offer to Adamski, who has also added offers from Monmouth and most recently, St. Joe’s. She added that she spoke with Columbia on Tuesday morning and has heard from Virginia Tech as well.
The 6-foot sophomore even mentioned defense as an area she’s improved on and is still working to get strong at. She had a nice block from behind on a drive in Tuesday’s game as well, refusing to give up on the play.
“My coach preaches defense, so I try not to turn it off or else you get into a bad habit,” Adamski said. “I’m always going to play hard all the time.”
She didn’t just play defense either. In the second half of the sophomore game, Adamski connected on two early threes, then got out on the run following a turnover allowing Sanford School’s Jada Snow to hit her with an outlet pass for a layup.
She’s found a good niche with her Rise team as a determined defender and a floor-spacer, trying to play to her strengths.
“I feel like I’m a knock-down shooter, so anywhere they can get me the ball,” Adamski said. “They move the ball really well and find me, I think we work really well together as a team.”
Ideally, that all leads to more good things with her high school team as well. The young Jaguars surprised a bit this past season by securing the last berth into the PIAA 6A tournament out of District I before falling to eventual state runner-up Cedar Cliff in the first round.
GV’s starting lineup featured three sophomores this past season and won a couple elimination games in the postseason just to make it to the PIAA bracket.
“We did not plan on making the state tournament, it was not expected of us, but we just kept going,” Adamski said. “Even that first round of districts was tough, we beat Pennridge and kept it going from there.”
The Jags figure to be a player in the Central League along with Conestoga and perennial contender Springfield Delco. While the GV players have split to their respective AAU programs for the summer, they’re all equally eager to build off last season’s success.
“We work together but we have fun, that’s really all that matters,” Adamski said. — Andrew Robinson
Tag(s): Home Recruiting Josh Verlin Owen McCue High School Andrew Robinson Emily Knouse Catholic League (G) Archbishop Wood Central League (G) Garnet Valley Public League (G) Public League A Audenried SOL Liberty (G) Upper Dublin