Commentary

End of Trail Tip Sheet

Originally Published: July 12, 2008
By Chris Hansen | ESPN HoopGurlz

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- As we reach the end of the trail our tip sheet will highlight some of the top players and performances from the 2008 End of the Trail tournament. From the old Oregon City High School gym to the new campus, from Rex Putnum High School to Gardner Middle School we scoured the cities southeast of Portland for new faces and top players.

Class of 2009

Marissa Ashton (La Marque, Texas/Dickinson) went on a huge scoring binge in Cy-Fair's victory over Irvine Sol. The Texas Tech commit scored 18 first half points and her team never looked back. She did most of her damage on an assortment of mid-range jumpers and short shots but also go out in transition. She isn't the big name on her club team but she is a big reason they're as successful as they are.

Mary Bokenkamp (Parker, Colo./Regis Jesuit) can flat out shoot the basketball and she gets plenty of opportunities with all the weapons drawing the defense for the Mile High Magic. The 5-9 shooter has a sweet and pure stroke that she can get off quickly if the defense relaxes.

[+] EnlargeNiveen Rasheed
Glenn Nelson/ESPN/HoopGurlzNiveen Rasheed has the hops to finish in the paint.

Dannielle Diamant (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) is coming on. Everyone knows the 6-4 forward for West Coast Elite can stretch defenses with her range but her interior scoring has always been questioned. This week she played with strength and confidence on the interior, finishing with both hands both to the baseline as well as to the middle. It is this savvy and versatility that could make her one of the sleepers in this class at the college level. Diamant has shown as much improvement from December to now as anyone.

Meagan Fulps (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) doesn't get as much buzz as some of the bigs on the Mile High Magic but she does a little of everything for them. She is a feisty defender who doesn't take plays off. She can get out and run on the break and has a respectable jumper from three. She needs to continue to add strength as her quickness gets her into the paint often and being able to finish through the contact at the college level is a big challenge for all guards.

Christina Marinacci (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) is like many of her fellow Cal Swish teammates, underappreciated. The USC commit is long and skilled and really leads her team by example. Her face-up mid-range game shines and her passing skills really get overlooked because of the scoring she can do.

Like Diamant, Jacqui Marshall (San Clemente, Calif.) is a mobile forward who can step out and knock down the three-point shot. Marshall doesn't have the strength of Diamant but runs the floor well and in some systems may be able to play some wing. Her versatility makes her an impact player because she can also score inside on smaller defenders. Getting stronger to be able to defend bigger forwards in college will be key for this TSIN forward.

Joanna McFarland (Derby, Kan.) is a gamer. She is extremely active on both ends of the floor and is one of the better finishers. She comes to play every game, rebounds, plays physical and scores both through the offense and on the glass. She also did a good job keeping her hands in passing lanes defensively.

Rachel Messer (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) can handle the ball or be the go-to shooter. She has a sweet release on her jumper and is in her element catching and shooting from three-point range. She can do some things off the dribble but at the EOT it was her shooting that garnered her attention.

Monique Oliver (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic) continues to play at an extremely high level. She is a beast in the paint on both ends of the floor despite not being as tall as some of the other elite posts in this class. She blocked shots, was a rebounding monster and continued finishing her scoring opportunities.

[+] EnlargeEliza Pierre
Glenn Nelson/ESPNEliza Pierre is one of the nation's best defenders.

Eliza Pierre (Pasadena, Calif./John Muir) is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. She should be mentioned along with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt as the best of the best when it comes to really playing some defense. Think Cetera DeGraffenreid on that side of the floor but taller and longer. The West Coast Premier point guard has incredible quickness that she uses on both ends and she is at her best on offense collapsing the defense around her dribble penetration and finding her scorers. Mastering tempo control is her biggest challenge so the car isn't always at full throttle on offense. Pierre is definitely underrated but won't be for long.

Lauren Polansky (Mill Valley, Calif./Branson) did a little of everything for East Bay Xplosion. She ran the point well in getting the team into their sets as well as distributing the ball. She also showed her range off by knocking down some deep shots. In transition she showed the ability to finish with both hands. She has average quickness but she makes up for it with smarts.

Adrianna Prins (Broomfield, Colo.) is one of the tallest players in this post-loaded class but height is not all she brings to the floor. The 6-6 Prins has exceptional footwork in the post and is a solid finisher with both hand on her jump hook. The Boulder Rockies post moves well without the ball as well and utilizes the swim move to gain position on defenders that play off her.

Niveen Rasheed (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) of East Bay Xplosion is one of the better athletes in the tournament and almost to a fault. She surprises people with her burst and leaping ability but at times relies on her hops too much. Because the 6-0 wing jumps so well and has good body controll she can finish in traffic. She has good handle that could be improved to utilize more of her athleticism.

Emily Richard (San Carlos, Calif./Carlmont) showed the ability to make plays for her club team Blythe Basketball. She showed a high basketball I.Q., had good touch on her passes and showed an understanding of spacing offensively by moving without the ball. She has three-point range and quick yet smooth trigger on her shot.

Diana Rolniak (Denver, Colo./Regis Jesuit) was one of the most versatile players in the tournament. At 6-3 she is incredibly agile. Her quickness really shines on the defensive end where she closes in from the weakside to erase or bother a shot. Offensively her footwork is superb and she has nice touch on her interior finishes. She is really fluid for her size and added strength will come an impact player at the next level.

Taber Spani (Lee's Summit, Mo./Metro Academy) continues to improve her stock and is one of the most skilled players in the class. She has good size on the wing and a great sense of when her team needs her to turn it on. She doesn't dominate the ball but when things get dicey she takes over games to push her team over the hump. The lefty sharpshooter rebounds her position as well as any wing and really makes the Cy-Fair Shock a tough team to defend.

Kiyanna Stamps (Moreno Valley, Calif./Perris) along with backcourt-mate Pierre form the best defensive backcourt in the country. She has the size, length and quickness to be a great defender at either guard position in college. She doesn't take a ton of shots yet still impacts the game and has a solid three-point stroke to keep defenders honest. She is strong with the ball attacking the basket as well.

Joslyn Tinkle (Missoula, Mont./Big Sky) joined her Northwest Blazers club team for one last tournament before moving on to practice with the USA Basketball U18 team and she looked every bit the player that should be representing this country in international competition. She is arguably the best finisher of all the bigs in the class and her mid-range scoring is paramount when teams send as many double teams as she sees on the boxes. Her versatility is what makes her a great offensive player and she must now focus on catching her defense up.

[+] EnlargeJoslyn Tinkle
Glenn Nelson/ESPNJoslyn Tinkle showed why she made the USA U18 team.

Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos) doesn't get enough credit because of the talent at the post position in her class but the Cal Sparks center deserves some love for her ability in the paint. Not only is the 6-4 Warren an accomplished low post scorer, she is also the best passing post in the class. She sees the floor as well as any of the bigs and can deliver the ball to her teammates when she's double teamed. Her athleticism also allows her to be a factor on defense.

Mariah Williams (Aurora, Colo./Regis Jesuit) has all the quickness and shake you could ever ask for. At this level she makes up for her lack of size by creating space at will. She throws in some creative dribbles to make it fun at times and has the utmost confidence in herself to pull the trigger on her shot when she does break the defenders ankles. The challenge for the 5-5 point guard in college will be defending the bigger guards she is sure to see.

Amanda Zimmerman (Huyley, Iowa/Ballard) is part of a big North Tartan front court. The Iowa State commit plays a physical brand of basketball and has the body to continue playing physical in college. She is a solid 6-2 that can also run the court. She can finish plays in transition and from the trail though she looks most comfortable banging against the opposition in the paint. She also showed she isn't afraid to let it fly from behind the 3-point line.

Class of 2010

Chelsea Bass (Houston, Texas/St. Agnes Academy) has the quickness and playmaking ability to be an impact player in college. She needs to get stronger but her tenacity on the defensive end more than makes up for her lack of muscle at this level. She makes things happen off the dribble as well as knock down the perimeter jumper. This Texas Blazer should be added to the list of what is becoming a long list of talented junior point guards.

Wichita Bearcats point guard Tiffany Bias (Andover, Kan./Central) is one of the quicker point guards in the tournament. She is fantastic with the ball at full speed. She slithers in-between the interior defenders and has a knack for contorting around them to get shots up on penetration. She has legitimate three-point range and made plays in the clutch.

[+] EnlargeMariah Williams
Glenn Nelson/ESPN/HoopGurlzMariah Williams led her team to the EOT Final Four.

Jenna Cacchillo (Boise, Idaho/Capital) of Hoop Dreams took it upon herself to keep her team in their game against the overpowering Cal Sparks. The 5-7 point guard hit some long three-point shots in the clutch when the game was about to break open. She isn't the strongest kid by any stretch but she played through contact and actually initiated better than a lot of bigger guards. She needs to keep the ball lower when dribbling as under pressure it is exposed to the defense for too long.

Shakila Boler (Burnsville, Minn./Bloomington Kennedy) may not be a household name outside the Midwest but it should be. Add Boler's name to the list of talented point guards in the 2010 class. Boler has filled out in the last year and is very strong with the ball. Even under tight ball pressure she remains cool and under control. Her change of pace is outstanding as she does the little things with the ball to relieve pressure where most guards at this level only use change of pace to try and score the basketball. She has a very fluid shooting stroke and showed she can knock down the mid-range J off the dribble.

Chiney Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas/Cypress-Fairbanks) assumes the role as the leader of the Cy-Fair Shock and it is a role she is excelling in. Despite a bit of a slow start to the tournament individually she found other ways to lead the team and really got herself going as the tournament progressed. To top it off she hit the game winning shot in the bracket finals against North Tartan 15's. Ogwumike continues to prove she's one of the classes top players and she does so much more than score the basketball.

Brianna Orlich (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West) of the Cal Stars is a 5-11 combo guard with a lot of upside. She was strong with the ball and had some nice dribble moves. Those change of direction moves will need to be a tad quicker if she is to play high D-I but the framework is there. She consistently made plays with dribble penetration and showed a good burst on her first step. When she got into the lane she also used her body well. She shot the ball well but may need to work on her left hand to be able to finish in traffic with it.

[+] EnlargeDiana Rolniak
Glenn Nelson/ESPN/HoopGurlzDiana Rolniak's versatility was impressive in Oregon City.

Hanna Potter (Edina, Minn./Hopkins) isn't the star player for her club team, the Northwest Blazers. That role belongs to Tinkle but with their USA Basketball-bound post in foul trouble on Tuesday it was the 6-2 Potter who stepped up and scored eight points in a three minute span to push the lead up and close the deal against the San Jose Cagers. She did damage with nice touch on two 10-foot jumpers and scored twice in the post, one time splitting a double team.

Stephanie Rovetti (Reno, Nev.) stands just 5-feet-5-inches but there's more to this game than size. The point guard for Nevada Basketball Academy is very crafty and deceptive wit the ball. She constantly scans the court taking in the everyone's position both with and without the ball.

Thaddesia Southall (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic) is another player that is extremely underrated because she plays with so much talent around her both in high school and in club ball with the Cal Sparks. Defensively she is a big time player as she can swat shots away in the paint or torment a guard on the perimeter with her length and quickness. The 6-3 forward is comparable to a young Ashley Gayle (Texas) defensively and is also a terror on the glass. Even if she doesn't develop as a major scoring option she will still make an impact at the college level.

Chris Hansen covers girls' high school basketball nationally for ESPN.com and leads the panel that ranks and evaluates players for the network. He can be reached at chris.hansen@espn3.com.

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