High-SchoolGirls-Basketball: Alexis Prince

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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 1 seed Riverdale Baptist’s 73-42 win over No. 4 seed Edgewater in the semifinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep on Friday:

Overview: Both teams were missing their top player, with Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) senior Jonquel Jones and Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) senior Alexis Prince both in Denver this weekend to participate in an All-American game. The difference, however, was that even without Jones, Riverdale Baptist still had six other Division I college recruits to work with.

The No. 6 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, Riverdale Baptist played suffocating defense for 32 minutes to cruise into Saturday's NHSI final, which will be televised live at noon ET on ESPN2. With three starters taller than six feet, the Crusaders made it almost impossible for Edgewater to get a good look at the basket, forcing Edgewater into 13 percent shooting in the first half and a 19 percent mark for the game. Riverdale Baptist opened an 18-point margin in the second quarter and never looked back.

The trio of sophomore Auteaonna Gilmore, senior Kelila Atkinson and freshman De’Janae Boykin was especially productive for Riverdale Baptist, combining for 36 points. Senior Jennie Simms finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.

Riverdale Baptist is also without head coach Diane Richardson this weekend. Richardson and Jones are in Colorado to participate in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association High School All-America Game.

Turning Point: Edgewater jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the game, but once Riverdale Baptist settled in defensively, the game was over. The Crusaders forced nine turnovers in the first half and converted them into nine points. Edgewater managed just seven points in the first quarter and found itself trailing 33-18 at the half.

Boykin was a defensive catalyst for Riverdale Baptist, coming up with a pair of steals and five rebounds.

Key Player: Boykin put on a show in Jones’ absence. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward scored 12 points in addition to her five boards and two steals. The freshman’s play will be critical in Saturday’s championship game, when the Crusaders will once again be without Jones.

“De’Janae Boykin stepped up,” said Simms. “She’s capable of doing the same things as Jonquel. She really helped us on the boards.”

Key Stat: Baptist crushed Edgewater inside, finishing the game with a 54-10 advantage in scoring in the paint. With no player taller than 5-11 seeing minutes for Edgewater, the Eagles simply couldn’t compete under the basket.

Playing without the 6-foot-2 Prince certainly didn’t help matters. The Baylor-bound forward won MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game earlier in the week.

“Normally Lexi handles the inside and locks that down,” said Edgewater junior guard Trimaine McCullough. “We weren’t able to fill that.”

Up Next: Riverdale Baptist will once again be without Jones in Saturday’s title game (ESPN2, noon ET), but the Crusaders have already proved they can play without her. Players like Boykin and reserve senior forward Brittany Murray (eight points, three rebounds) will have to continue to fill the void.

Riverdale Baptist gets No. 1 seed for NHSI

March, 21, 2012
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SimmsGlenn Nelson/ESPN.com Jennie Simms and top-seeded Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) will take on Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) in the first round of the NHSI.
The seeds have been announced for the ESPNHS National High School Invitational, and Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) has earned the No. 1 spot.

The top-seeded Crusaders (35-2) are currently the nation's No. 6 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 after winning an NACA national championship earlier this month. The team is led by Jonquel Jones, a senior who is currently ranked as the nation's No. 36 senior in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100. Jones, who has committed to Clemson, is unlikely to play at NHSI because she has been invited to participate in the WBCA All-America game in Denver on March 31, coach Diane Richardson said. Fellow seniors Kelila Atkinson, a Wake Forest recruit and the nation's No. 85 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100, and Jennie Simms a West Virginia recruit ranked No. 87, will lead the team.

The Crusaders will face Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) in the first round after the Eagles drew the No. 4 seed in the tourney. Edgewater (28-4) is currently the nation's No. 28 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 and recently won a Florida Class 6A state championship. Edgewater will most likely be without its star as well, as Alexis Prince also plans to play in the WBCA All-America game, according to her club coach Kimberly Davis-Powell. Sophomores Markeema Crawford (15.9 points per game) and Haley Clark (9.2 points per game) will lead the team.

The other first-round contest will pair second-seeded Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) against HD Woodson (Washington, D.C.).

Dr. Phillips (29-3) is currently the nation's No. 22 squad in the POWERADE FAB 50 and is the reigning NHSI champion. The team recently won the Florida Class 8A championship. Sophomore Taryn Griffey, the daughter of former MLB superstar Ken Griffey Jr., is the team's leader and is considered one of the top players in the Class of 2014. She averaged 16.4 points per game this season. Junior Sydnei McCaskill is also one of the team's leaders, and the duo forms one of the nation's most dangerous backcourts.

HD Woodson (26-5) enters the NHSI tournament as a No. 3 seed after earning an upset win over Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in the Washington D.C. city title game on Tuesday. Good Counsel was previously ranked in the POWERADE FAB 50. The senior-laden HD Woodson team is led by Jephany Brown, who averaged 17.6 points per game this season for the Warriors.

The tournament will begin on Thursday, March 29 and continue through March 31 at Georgetown Preparatory School's Hanley Center for Athletic Excellence in Bethesda, Md. The girls' first-round games will be on March 30 on ESPNU, and the championship game will be on March 31 at 12 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

Field set for girls' teams at NHSI

March, 8, 2012
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The fourth annual ESPNHS National High School Invitational, which will take place March 29-31 at Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, Md.), features three girls' teams ranked in the ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, including defending champion Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.).

The girls' semifinal games will be broadcast on ESPNU and the championship will air on ESPN2. All telecasts will also be available through ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) won last year's event as the No. 5 seed, beating 2011 No. 1 Riverdale Baptist 64-61 in a play-in game, overcoming a five-point halftime deficit to beat third-seeded Archbishop Spalding (Md.) in the semifinals and rallying past fourth-seeded Murry Bergtraum (N.Y.) 60-45 in the final. Dr. Phillips joined Seton Keough (Baltimore, Md.), and Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.) as NHSI girls' champions. Seedings and matchups for this year's event have not been set.

"Just being invited to [NHSI] means a lot for our high school and also for every player in the state of Florida," said Dr. Phillips coach Anthony Jones.

2012 NHSI GIRLS TEAMS

FAB 50 No. 7 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
Coach:
Diane Richardson
Key player: Jonquel Jones, the No. 6 ranked forward in the Class of 2012 according to ESPN HoopGurlz, is also the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Maryland. Her range and shooting stroke have earned her comparisons to Kevin Durant.
More Info: Jones (Clemson) is one of five Riverdale Baptist seniors who have committed to a Division I college program. The others are Jennie Simms (West Virginia), Brittany Murray (La Salle), Domonique Johnson (Towson) and Kelila Atkinson (Wake Forest).

FAB 50 No. 29 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)
Coach:
Anthony Jones
Key player: Sophomore Taryn Griffey, a four-star guard with explosive leaping ability.
More Info: Griffey, the daughter of former MLB star Ken Griffey Jr., led the Panthers to their second consecutive Class 8A Florida state title, pouring in 17 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in a 72-50 win over Dr. Krop (Miami, Fla.). Junior guard Sydnei McCaskill also had 17 points in the state title game.

FAB 50 No. 34 Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.)
Coach:
Malcolm Lewis
Key player: Senior wing Alexis Prince, a Baylor commit and the No. 16 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100.
More Info: The Eagles (28-6) beat Miami Norland 46-36 to win the FHSAA 6A State championship. Prince had 13 rebounds and seven blocks in the title game. Sophomore guard Markeema Crawford led the team in scoring with 15 points.

H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Coach:
Frank Oliver Jr.
Key player: Senior post Jephany Brown, a 6-foot-1 power forward and Providence commit.
More Info: Brown and Chanel Green, a 5-7 point guard, led the Warriors to their seventh straight D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title. Woodson will face Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champ Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in the Abe Pollin City Title Game on March 20.

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