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CHICAGO -- The McDonald's All-American Game is designed to showcase some of the country's biggest and brightest young stars as an encore before they head off to play collegiately. Since the game's inception in 2001, it has showcased the likes of Skylar Diggins, Maya Moore and Candace Parker. This year's version, held at the United Center, was no different as the top 15 players in the HoopGurlz senior class were all on hand. We take one last look at some of the nation's top seniors.
Cierra Burdick, Butler (Charlotte, N.C.): The 6-foot-2 Tennessee signee had a solid performance for the winning team, finishing with seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes. A versatile forward, Burdick, the No. 3 player in the 2011 class, was effective and efficient in a setting where that is not always at a premium. As is often the case with Burdick, her motor was running throughout the contest. She always finds a way to be productive on both ends of the floor.
Briyona Canty, Trenton Catholic (Hamilton, N.J.): On an East team that was stacked with talent, the 5-9 Canty found a way to be effective without taking away from the other talented players on her team. The Rutgers-bound point guard has really come into her own as a player, and you could see the confidence that she had in her game in this setting as she used her athleticism to her advantage. The No. 6 player in the senior class, Canty continues to learn how to use her elite-level speed to attack defenses and change pace. She will be a real weapon for Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer.
Ariel Massengale, Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.): Like her future college teammate Cierra Burdick, Massengale was productive during her time on the floor. Standing 5-6, the nation's No. 1 point guard put on a show in her home state. She scored 13 points on 4 for 7 from the field to go along with four assists and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Playing on the floor that Chicago native and NBA MVP frontrunner Derrick Rose calls home, Massengale hit three triples on the night, including one from behind the NBA line.
Bria Smith, Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.): The No. 8 player in the 2011 class, Smith has had a busy seven days after obtaining her release from Virginia. Her play in Chicago showed why a whole host of BCS schools are after her services starting next fall. In 18 minutes, the 5-8 guard scored 10 points and had three rebounds. Even more important than the stat line, her energy in the early going helped her team get rolling to a lead that they never relinquished.
|Duke recruit Elizabeth Williams dominated the boards and scored at will inside.|
Elizabeth Williams, Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.): On a night full of the nation's brightest stars, the future Duke Blue Devil's game was on full display for the entire world to see. Finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds, she was not just the only player in the game with a double-double, but she also broke Alexis Hornbuckle's scoring record of 22 points set back in 2004. She was dominant in the paint, having her way with the various post players that the West sent her way.
Brianna Banks, Fayette County, (Fayetteville, Ga.): Without a doubt, Banks was the most impressive player on the West. Ironically, she was one of two players on the West that is actually from the East, the other player being Morgan Jones of Lake Mary (Lake Mary, Fla.). Banks, a 5-9 guard that is headed to play her college basketball at UConn, was aggressive from the jump, attacking the basket and trying to ignite her team with scoring and energy. The setting was perfect for the 24th-ranked player in the senior class. Throughout her career, when the lights are on and the seats are full, Banks comes to play.
Amber Orrange, Westbury Christian, (Houston, Texas): Due to the numbers, Orrange was stuck in awkward backcourt combinations for most of the game, but she still found a way to make an impact as she always does. The 5-8 left-handed guard, the No. 15 player in the nation, is known for her smooth floor game and savvy play. She managed to bring energy to her team on the defensive end of the floor while attacking the lane and making plays on the offensive side of the ball. All-star games are typically scenarios that players of her skill set struggle in because the ball tends to stick and the game lacks flow, but like Orrange has done throughout her prep career, she found a way to be effective. Her showing should have Stanford fans excited about their future point guard.
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Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com
Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org