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Philly Takedown 2024: Coverage Notebook (Pt. 3)

04/15/2024, 4:45pm EDT
By Owen McCue

By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

The Ohio Basketball Philly Takedown took place this past weekend at the Westtown School and West Chester University, with girls’ grassroots competition from 12U up through 17U spread across the two venues. CoBL was in attendance at Westtown to check out the 16U and 17U action as many of the area’s programs used it as a tuneup for next weekend’s live recruiting period.

Here’s the third of three recruiting/coverage notebooks from interviews conducted this weekend:


Philly Takedown Coverage: Saturday standouts | Sunday standouts | Notebook Pt. 1 | Notebook Pt. 2 | Notebook Pt. 3 |


Kennedy Henry (2025 | Philly Rise EYBL 17U)

The area’s most dominant basketball squad will have another high-major talent at its disposal next season.

Hockessin, Del. native Kennedy Henry announced April 2 that she will attend Westtown School for her senior season, joining a core that graduates just one starter from a 2 that won its fourth straight Friends Schools League and third straight PAISAA championship this season.

The 6-foot guard/wing in the Class of 2025 makes her way to the Moose after three years at Blair Academy (N.J.), another top boarding school in North Jersey, where she won three Mid-Atlantic Prep League championships, earned three straight first team all-league honors and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark.

Philly Rise 17U guard/wing Kennedy Henry will play at Westtown next season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“I’m super excited. I feel like I’m going to better my basketball game as well as grow as a person,” Henry said. “I loved Blair, but I feel like coming to Westtown for basketball purposes, I’m going to get extremely better. Playing with good competition against my own teammates during preseason is going to make me extremely better.”

Henry will be pretty familiar with her new teammates by the time she arrives on campus at Westtown. She is back on the Philly Rise EYBL 17U tesam this AAU season after playing an age group up last year and will be joined by future Westtown teammates Olivia Jones, Atlee Vanesko, Jordyn Palmer and Jessie Moses, who were all on the Rise 16U team a season ago.

She played with them one tournament last summer and then went against those four when Blair lost to Westtown 60-39 during the CoBL Girls Winter Classic in December.

Henry practiced with the Rise at Westtown last season and she toured the campus a few weeks ago before returning to the Moose’s gym this past weekend for her first game action with her new teammates at the The Ohio Basketball Philly Takedown event held on Westtown’s campus.

“I didn’t really get to play with them or get to know them on a friendship level or team chemistry wise,” Henry said. “... I’m playing with all of them now so it’s pretty exciting.”

Henry was on the Division I radar before she even got to high school with St. Joe’s the first program to offer her in August prior to her freshman season in 2021-22. She verbally committed to play at Virginia Tech in June 2022 after her freshman season at Blair, choosing the Hokies out of a long list of top college programs. 

Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks took the head coaching job at Kentucky in March after leading the Hokies to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four run in 2022-23. He was replaced by former Marquette coach Megan Duffy on April 4. Henry announced six days later via Instagram that she was reopening her recruitment.

“The coach left, and I felt like I wanted the new coach to recruit me and get to know me on a different level,” Henry said. “But I feel like in order to do that I needed to re-open my recruitment and get to know other coaches as well to further my basketball career and see what’s best for me.”

Pitt, Arizona State, Princeton, Miami (Fla.), Florida State, Harvard, Columbia, Boston College and Penn were some of the other schools to offer Henry before her commitment to Virginia Tech. She should have plenty of suitors once again after playing with the Rise on arguably the top girls AAU circuit. Her new teammates won the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League 16U championship last summer.

Jones, Vanesko, Palmer and Moses are all high Division I recruits as well, Palmer and Moses two of the top-ranked high school freshmen in the country. The Rise also include 6-foot-4 forward Olivia Vukosa, ESPN HoopGurlz No. 2 player in the Class of 2026, along with Garnet Valley’s Haylie Adamski, Audenried’s Shayla Smith and Penn Charter’s Kaylinn Bethea and Kailah Correa, an all-state player from Lebanon, who all have D1 offers on the table.

Henry is a versatile piece with a pretty outside shot, who can fit in a number of different lineups with the star-studded group. She hopes to work on getting her shot more consistent, staying in front on defense and creating for herself on the ball before she gets to the next level.

“Some say I have really good intangibles,” Henry said of how college coaches have described her game. “I do the things that aren’t necessarily scoring, but I can also play different positions on the floor.”

Florida State, Wisconsin and UNC are three of the programs who have recently reached out. Henry’s first priority will be to find the right academic fit. 

Henry plans on studying criminology, political science or sociology with goals of becoming an FBI agent or a lawyer someday — ambitions stemming from her love of criminal TV shows with Law & Order: SVU at the top of her watch list.

“I’m really excited to tour new schools, get to know different coaches, but it’s a little nerve wracking because it’s a lot of pressure,” Henry said.


Reginna Baker (2027 | Philly Belles EYBL 16U)

Neumann-Goretti freshman guard Reginna Baker had some pregame jitters this past January before her first game in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

Backcourtmates Carryn “Clutch” Easley and Amya Scott, both juniors, reassured Baker she was ready.

They were right.

Baker dropped 20 points, three assists and three steals in the PCL opener against West Catholic, setting the tone for a first team All-Philadelphia Catholic League season that elevated her among the top players in the area.

Philly Belles 16U guard Reginna Baker was a first team All-PCL selection as a freshman at Neumann-Goretti this winter. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

“It was a little nervewracking coming in and starting, especially for Coach (Andrea) Peterson because she taught us a lot of things and she’s really aggressive, but I had a lot of help from Amya and Clutch and they really push me,” Baker said. “My first (PCL) game against West Catholic, I was really nervous and they were like, ‘Shake it off you’re all cool.’ And they just gave me that confidence boost, my whole team.”

Baker knew Scott and Easley from growing up playing together, which made the transition to the high school level easier. She led Neumann in scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) and added 1.9 spg to become the first freshman All-PCL first teamer since Lola Ibarrondo was a first team All-Blue Division honoree at Conwell-Egan in 2020-21. 

The lefty has a fun offensive game with a quick burst, strong finishing ability and a nice shooting stroke. What wasn’t quite ready for the Catholic League heading into this season was her defense.

“Sit down, sit down, hands up, hands up, talk, talk,” were the commands Saints coach Andrea Peterson and her assistants barked out to the young guard every practice this winter.

“My defense coming in was really bad, and in my opinion over some games my defense got really better everyday at practice,” Baker said. 

Baker knows Peterson’s credentials — a former standout at St. John’s and Drexel, with Division I coaching experience and a USA Today National Coach of the Year on her resume — and embraced being challenged by her coach daily.

“She’s a really good coach,” Baker said. “She really knows what she’s talking about.”

Baker is playing up an age group with the Philly Belles 16U team this summer, ironically with West Catholic sophomores Ciani Scott and Jasmine Butler, who saw firsthand how talented the 5-foot-7 guard is. 

She shared the ball handling duties with Scott and Easley during the school year, deffering at times to the upperclassmen. This summer she’ll play a little more at the point, sharing the backcourt with Cheltenham sophomore Maya Simmons and a few other area standouts.

“I definitely have the ball in my hands more because I usually have Clutch and Mya and they’re better ball handlers with me,” Baker said. “Now I kind of have to take over a little bit.”

Neumann’s talented backcourt drew in college eyes this winter and it will likely be a similar story with the Belles, a renowned AAU program, this summer. Baker received an offer from the University of Delaware last August before she stepped onto the floor at N-G. Temple second-year coach Diane Richardson offered her a scholarship in late January.

“I’ve talked to her, she’s really funny, a great personality,” Baker said of Richardson.

The focus for Baker this summer will continue to be on defense and her leadership. She’s proud of the strides she’s already taken, barking out her own commands to her teammates on that end of the floor in a recent AAU game.

“I never used to talk coming into the season, and now if you see me out there I was talking on the bench and off the bench,” Baker said.


Quick Hits

— Sicklerville, N.J. native Nal’la Bennett (2025 | BBA GUAA) has established herself as one of the area’s top shooters in her two years playing at Friends’ Central after starting her career at Timber Creek (N.J.). Bennett is a lights out scorer who can get hot shooting threes or attack defenses with her deadly midrange pull-up.

This summer on the Girls Under Armour Association circuit, she’s trying to show there’s much more she brings to the table.

Bennett received her first Division I offer when Delaware State offered in September before her sophomore campaign. Long Island and Coppin State added offers before her senior season and Maryland-Eastern Shore joined the list of offerees in February.

Bennett said all four schools have continued to recruit her with Fairfield, Central Connecticut State and Wagner among the other programs who have recently reached out.

“They just see that I’m a pure scorer, and that over the years I’ve worked on my defense,” Bennett said. “Being able to be a combo guard and shoot off the dribble, my midrange is really good. That’s what they look at a lot.”

After playing off the ball alongside Sana’a Garrett (Jacksonville) in the Phoenix backcourt as a sophomore at FCS, Bennett prepped for a combo guard role this season with assistant coach and trainer David Williams. She and newcomer Saniyah Washington split point guard duties for the team, which ran a lot of its offense through forwards Kaiya Rain Tucker and Logyn Greer.

Listed at 5-foot-6, Bennett knows along with her shooting ability and quick hands and feet on defense, she will have to create for herself and her teammates off the bounce at the next level. She’s trying to show college programs she is capable of that.

“I’m just trying to show more of my point guard skills,” Bennett said. “I’m going to be a one guard in college, so that’s what I have to work on the most.”

2025 forward Amaya Stewart is playing with K-Low Elite-Edwards this summer. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

— After running with the Philly Rise 17U National team last summer, Wyomissing Area star 6-foot-1 forward Amaya Stewart (2025 | K-Low Elite-Edwards 17U) joins a new group this AAU season with a K-Low team that impressed over the weekend. 

The back-to-back Berks County Player of the Year joins a team filled with plenty of her Berks County high school rivals, including Wilson sophomore guard Laila Jones, who seemed to have plenty of chemistry with Stewart in the pick & roll game.

“I’m really hoping that we’re sharing the ball and everyone gets some love from colleges,” Stewart said. “I know I have mine, but I want them to get theirs. I’m here to have fun and just work hard and just continue balling out like we always do.”

Stewart was a first team all-state player at Wyomissing during her sophomore campaign and topped that this winter when she averaged 19.5 ppg to lead the Spartans to 31 straight wins before their first loss to Blackhawk in the Class 4A semifinals. 

Temple coach Diane Richardson offered Stewart before her sophomore season. Rider, Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina-Upstate, Maine and D-II Tampa are programs she announced offers from last offseason. She’s excited to get back out in front of coaches this summer.

Stewart has a versatile game at 6-foot-1. She blends her size and aggressiveness inside with the ability to sprint the floor. Stewart said her midrange jumper became a weapon this winter and her ability to widen her range and space the floor could dictate whether she’s a ‘3’, ‘4’ or ‘5’ in college and how high of a level she ends up at.

“It’s a slow process,” Stewart said. “Shooting doesn’t just happen tomorrow. It doesn’t happen after one good shooting rep. It’s ups and downs to it. It’s not a plateau. I’m just going to continue to get my reps in the gym, do my offseason work and do the work when no one’s looking and just continue to grind each and everyday.”

Sammie Faella (2026 | Comets Select 16U) had some upperclassmen to lean on as a freshman at the Hill School. With a couple of them gone this winter, Faella went from the team’s young point guard finding her way to a key cog for the Blues, shouldering a lot of responsibility on and off the court.

“But I liked that challenge,” Faella said.

Faella, a Collegeville native, averaged 14.5ppg to lead Hill in scoring this season, adding 4.8 rpg despite often being one of the shortest players on the court. The 5-foot-4 guard earned an All-MAPL honorable mention selection the first time, joining juniors Kayleigh Ludwig (HM) and Lily Soller (First Team) on the list. Soller, a 6-foot-2 forward, was a welcome addition for Hill, which played in the PAISAA Tournament for the first time since 2019-20, losing to Shipley, 44-43.

“Going from my freshman year to my sophomore, I think it was just having more confidence,” Faella said. “I played with a lot of seniors my freshman year, so then they sort of set the foundation and this year it was my turn to step up since they were all gone. …Just it being another year and my freshman year getting used to the pace and playing against people who are much bigger and older and stronger than me, I was used to that so then I was able to do more.”

She’s playing for the Comets Select 16U group for the first time this summer, going 3-1 over the weekend and hanging for a half with a loaded Philly Rise 16U group in the lone loss. Her point guard skills and long-range ability should be a welcome addition.

“I just want to have a good season,” Faella said. “I’m still getting used to this new set of girls, but we all work together well and we have a lot of good chemistry, passing and cutting.”

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