Blazing Summer Invitational

Blazing Summer Invitational

Jaden Bush (right) of the NW Blazers races Dana Evans of the Indy Gym Rats for a jump ball in Saturday's bracket championship. *Photo by Ty Freeman.

MARIETTA, Ga. – Championship Day at the PSB Summer Invitational may go down as the single best day of summer basketball with bracket championships pitting some of the best teams in the country against one another. 

The night cap was a terrific game but provided a bit of déjà vu, as the Northwest Blazers stormed into Suwannee Sports Academy-Cobb on a mission, culminating in a championship.  Last year Steve Klees’ team knocked off  an uber talented DFW T-Jack team and this year drew the Indy Gym Rats EYBL and dispatched them 70-59.

The Blazers came out on fire, surging ahead in the first half 37-19 and then weathering the eventual storm and comeback from the Gym Rats.  Dana Evans finished with a team high 17 for Danny Riego’s team, but all of them came in the second half after digging a 19-point hole.

The Blazers have incredible balance and depth on their roster.  Rising junior guard Aleah Goodman of Battleground, Wash., lead the way in the first half, scoring 8 of her 13 points in the first 16 minutes.  Jaden Bush led the team with 15 points and was terrific in both halves.  With terrific spacing offensively with shooters all around her, she used her length, quickness and balance to score the ball and keep the momentum going the Blazers’ way.

The Gym Rats made their run with Evans leading the charge.  In the games final minutes the lead was trimmed to four but Boise State commit Riley Lupfer, who has been on her game all three days here, hit a dagger from the left corner to push the game to 3 possessions with less than two minutes to play, effectively slamming the door on the game.



There were two games that were incredible down to the final possession, the first of which was the 9:40 AM third place game of the @JLHemingway Bracket between the Cal Swish and San Antonio’s Finest Blue. 

No. 47 senior Chelsea Dungee of Okmulgee, Okla., came up with a steal and converted the 3-point play after drawing contact, giving San Antonio Finest the final lead of the game with 4.3 seconds remaining.

The Cal Swish, playing without Arizona State commit Reilli Richardson, came out strong, pounding the ball inside against a Finest team that was without 6-foot-3 post Nalyssa Smith.  The Swish quickly established a double-digit lead and went into the half up 29-20. 

With 10:00 remaining in the game the intensity level ramped up as No. 10 Amber Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas, got hot from 3-point range.  She hit six of her seven threes in the game in the second half, including scoring 9 of the Finest’s 11 points in a 11-4 run that got the team back in the game.

Ramirez gave the Finest its first lead of the game at 49-48 when she went baseline, wrapped the ball behind her back to avoid the help defender and scooped in a reverse with 1:11 to play.  That play came one possession after Dungee converted an and-1 with 1:38 to play to cut the lead to just one point.

This finish set the tone for a day of great competition and was rivaled only by the 65-63 overtime win the New Jersey Sparks EYBL team had against the Carolina Flames EYBL.

The gym went on tilt when Kai Crutchfield seemingly hit 3-ball after 3-ball to answer every Sparks basket in the games final minutes.  She finished with 25 points, including a corner trey with 25 seconds left that felt like it could have been a game-winner, giving the Flames a 63-60 lead.

The Sparks called timeout with 18.3 and off a broken play, 6-4 post Raven Farley-Clark of Paterson, N.J., pulled back and hit a fadeaway three to tie the game with 10 seconds to play.  The Flames would advance the ball before calling a timeout with 5.6 seconds but turned it over before the Sparks got two wild shots up and we were off to overtime.

The Sparks got three shots up on the first possession of overtime but there was a lid on the rim and the Flames would get the ball in sudden death overtime to try and win but the red-hot Crutchfield could not connect on a pull-up.  The Sparks would seal the deal with a block to block screen to free up Breyenne Bellerand of Emerson, N.J., for a right-hand jump hook and the win.



Amber Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas, was the player of the day. The saucy San Antonio's Finest shooting guard buried seven 3-balls in a close win versus Cal Swish. Her incredible shooting performance was finished off with an unbelievable around the back reverse layup in transition that made the gym erupt. Ramirez continues to show why she is one of the most talented scorers in the country.  She scored 19 of her game-high 27 points in the second half and her team needed each and every bucket.

Chelsey Gipson of Los Angeles, Calif., spurred GBL to quick start, dialing in three 3-pointers early in their win against Legacy Elite in the @ChrisHansenPSB bracket championship. She continued to show her range.  The class of 2017 guard, who impressed this spring at the Check Me Out SoCal Showcase, had all eyes on her to ignite the offense.

Ozahria Fisher of Phoenix, Ariz., picked up where Gipson left off, but in a different fashion. The 5-6 guard showed off her passing ability, tallying several eye-popping assists. The class of 2016 guard really ignited the crowd with her passes behind her head and her court vision in the half court.

Mykassa Robinson of Catlettsburg, Ky., was putting her defenders on skates against a talented West Virginia Thunder Soph team. She has unbelievable shift and ball handling skills to her game. She can get her midrange jumper off against anyone with her inside out crossover combinations and has an ability to stay balanced on the release. Only in the class of 2018, she is an incredible breakdown scorer.

BC's Finest forward Savannah Dhaliwal of Surrey, B.C., came out aggressive, attacking the basket against an athletic Michigan Shock Team Williams squad. The 6-1, class of 2017 prospect turned the corner to the left block scoring two consecutive layups and then hit a midrange shot in transition. Her confidence is beginning to soar this summer.

Kai Crutchfield of Raleigh, N.C., had a breakout game in the McDonalds All-American bracket championship game. The 5-9 rising junior guard scored over 20 points with a terrific shooting performance a nearly led a successful comeback for the Carolina Flames EYBL.


Riley Lupfer of Spokane, Wash., was knocking down shots from all over the floor for her Northwest Blazers. The 5-9 guard hit some key 3-pointers down the stretch to seal the game against the Indy Gym Rats.

Dara Mabrey, a 5-6 guard out of Belmar N.J., made some impressive plays with the ball, including a behind the back euro step in the lane. She led Epiphanny Prince Exodus with 25 points in the win over Kentucky Premier.

Breyenne Bellerand, a 2017 guard out of Emerson N.J., was the emotional leader for the New Jersey Sparks in a comeback win over the Carolina Flames. Bellerand hit the game winner in sudden death overtime and finished with seven points.

Shea Plocharczyk of Raleigh, NC., was one of the better 3-point shooters at the Summer invitational. The class of 2018 shooting guard gave Team Carolina Seymour at least 21 points from beyond the arc in at least two games. 

Kaylee Wasco of Midland, Mich., utilized her size efficiently around the basket. The 6-2 post player takes up a lot of space with her length. Wasco, of the 2017 class, did a great rebounding and was a strong impact for Michigan Shock Team Williams. 

Point guard Shelbe’ Piggie of Kansas City, Mo., displayed great playmaking skills in a win for St. Louis Running Angels. The high energy guard displayed range to the 3-point arc while also hitting pull-up jumpers around defenders.

Ciara Thompson of Winter Garden, Fla., was instrumental in Central Florida Elite’s championship in the @NaismithyTrophy bracket. The 5-11 wing forward combination of strength and slashing ability makes her a tough match-up.

Jordan Strange of Columbia, S.C., hit a game winning free throw to lift South Carolina Future to an overtime victory Saturday. The 5-8 guard gained recognition among college coaches this weekend.

The second half play of Donyetta Johnson from Far Rockaway, N.Y., lifted Epiphanny Prince 15U to a championship win in the @MercedesPSB bracket. The left-handed power guard dominated the game down the stretch with finishes at the rim.

Chris Hansen is managing editor of and serves on the McDonald’s All-American and Naismith Trophy selection committees.  He was the national director of scouting for ESPN HoopGurlz from 2005 until 2012 and is the director of the Check Me Out Showcase.  He can be reached at

Gray started working for Peach State Basketball as an evaluator in 2012.  She’s been in the community as a columnist since 2008 and also serves on the Naismith Awards selection committee. She played college ball at both Kentucky and North Carolina.

Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the National Scouting Report, is on the Naismith Trophy Board of Selectors and owns, the go-to source for coaches for X’s and O’s.  He is the floor director of #TeamEBA camps, a site director for #TeamPSB tournaments and can be reached at

Stephen Peck is the owner of Dream In Motion Athletics and is a national evaluator for the National Scouting Report.  He also serves as a on-floor skills coach at the Elite Basketball Academy events.  He can be reached at

Wetmore joined in the summer of 2014 after graduating from the University of Washington with a Communications degree.  She left Washington as the all-time leader in games played and also played with the softball team in the College World Series.  She was the Gatorade State Player of the Year her senior year in high school capping off a career which included three state titles.  She can be reached at

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