STOCKTON, CA – The Prep2Prep portion of the Girls of Summer Caravan kicked off once again this year with the Eighth Annual Stockton Summer Classic hosted by Delta College with Chris Roemer, the Lincoln-Stockton Coach and well-respected Northern California girls basketball analyst, as the tournament director.
With some of the national level clubs in action, or top players and some high school teams at camps put on by Division I colleges over the weekend, the Summer Classic was missing a few players, but what we really want to see at this stage of the summer, and almost two weeks before the start of the NCAA Viewing period, are the diamonds in the rough that aren’t getting national attention but will be budding local Northern California stars, and we saw a few in day two of the Summer Classic on Sunday.
We had heard about the shooting prowess of Palo Alto incoming junior guard Annika Shah, but we had never seen her play until two games on Sunday as a member of the Peninsula Basketball Platinum squad.
In the first game, a 9:00 a.m. contest with Sacramento Elite the Peninsula girls won 61-27, the 5-6 Shah put on a show. She made her first three three-pointers, all from behind the college three-point line, with the third trey from NBA range, and ended up 5-of-7 from outside the arc and finished with a game-high 17 points. Shah also showed herself to be able to drive and dish, and was scrappy on defense.
“She can really shoot the ball,” said Peninsula Basketball Club head coach and director, and Woodside Priory-Portola Valley head coach Buck Matthews.
Another girl that looked good for Peninsula Platinum was Megan Norris, a 6-3 incoming junior center from Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton. She used her height effectively by consistently finishing on lobs, and went to the boards as well. Norris needs to develop a little more strength but she has two more years of varsity basketball. She had 14 points, and even made two three-pointers with solid rotation on the shots, and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds in the win over Sacramento.
Talita Falepapalangi, a 6-2 powerfully-built center from Sequoia-Redwood City, added 10 points and seven rebounds, San Leandro incoming senior guard Beverley “BB” Bradley showed a soft tough and was unafraid to go to the basket. She had seven points. The other Peninsula Platinum girls had four points each, Tori Delacroix, an incoming junior guard at Archbishop Mitty-San Jose that showed a left hand finish, Kennedy Anderson, and incoming senior at Sacred Heart Prep that plays bigger than her listed 5-9 height, and incoming Sacred Heart Prep senior guard Denise Stine, who also played good defense.
The game was close early on and Sacramento Elite actually led twice at 15-14 and 17-16, but the NBA-range bomb by Shah gave Peninsula Platinum a 19-17 late first half lead it never relinquished. In fact, Peninsula went on a 32-4 run from that point including Shah’s trey, and they stretched the lead from there to the final buzzer.
Sacramento Elite, made up of girls from Sacramento High was led by Aliyah Harris with 12 points (two three pointers) and incoming senior guard Sania Moore with 10 points including two three-pointers.
The second game matched the two top teams at the Summer Showcase when a very shorthanded Stockton Mavericks squad matched up against Peninsula Platinum that was missing one of its best players, and although a very young Mavericks team only had one of the starters from the St. Mary’s-Stockton team that makes up its roster, they more than held their own before falling 36-32 in overtime.
The Mavericks actually jumped out to a 10-2 but Peninsula Platinum fought back and the entire game was back and forth before finally going to an extra period after the teams tied 32-32 after two 14 minute halves.
In the three minute overtime the only two baskets came from Anderson on an assist from Shah and on an assist from her Gators teammate Nelson.
Nelson finished with game highs of 15 points and eight rebounds, meaning she had 29 points and 17 rebounds in the two games we observed and that is pretty good considering the games were at 9:00 a.m. and 11:10 a.m.
Shah did not have the same legs in the second game as the first. It’s hard enough to play one early morning game, let alone two, and when her shots weren’t falling Shah was content to pass the ball and play defense which she did very well despite some weary legs. She finished with three points and five assists.
Anderson finished with six points as did Stine, and Falepapalangi closed out the scoring with four points.
One of the highlights of the day was the all the young players on the Mavericks, particularly the incoming St. Mary’s freshmen duo of Brooklyn Perry and Nia Anderson.
With incoming St. Mary’s sophomore guard Tai Sherman at a camp at Clemson where she received her second offer on Saturday, the backcourt duties fell on the young pair.
Perry, who already has an offer from Cal after impressing former head coach Lindsay Gottlieb at a camp prior to Gottlieb being announced as the first female assistant in the NBA (Cleveland Cavaliers), hit two early three-pointers but was bottled up by the defense of Shah, and although she only finished with eight points it was obvious why she drew Gottlieb’s eye with the way she carried herself on the court at such a tender age.
Anderson did not look to score a lot but she’s quick, can handle the ball and can play defense. She had four points.
The only player in double figures for the Mavericks was incoming St. Mary’s 5-10 sophomore wing Arianna Webb with 10 points, including one three-pointer.
Besides Sherman, Mavericks coach and St. Mary’s head coach Tom Gonsalves was missing two other players from his Rams high school squad, standout incoming 6-2 senior forward Amaya Oliver, and 6-5 incoming sophomore post Ashley Lewis, plus others.
Peninsula Platinum was missing one of its top players, Woodside Priory incoming junior point guard Aniyah Augmon.
Shah and Nelson will definitely make the Girls of Summer player rankings, and some of the other girls mentioned will as well.
Other girls we liked were Analillia “Lu” Cabuena, although the incoming Lincoln-Stockton 6-0 junior wing did not score in the two games for Peninsula Platinum, St. Mary’s lone starter at the Summer Classic and incoming sophomore Sofia Lee, who Gonsalves called “a blue collar worker,” the third incoming St. Mary’s freshman, guard Makai Nunn, and incoming Modesto Christian senior guard Nia Boston.
Some players that caught our eye from Peninsula Basketball Gold in a game against Trust the Process, were incoming Pinewood sophomore 6-0 forward Valentina Saric, who looks much improved and even hit two three-pointers, incoming Sierra-Manteca junior point guard Jordan Hayter, and incoming senior guard Zay Wade of Mission-San Francisco.
Even though she didn’t have as solid of a performance in the second game as the first, it was still a good showing for Shah and improved her stock.
Asked what her goals were for next high school season?
“To be more of a leader and try to take Palo Alto farther in the playoffs, and increasing my stats,” was Shah’s answer.
Palo Alto was the CCS Division I runner-up and advanced to the second round of the CIF Northern Regional Division II playoffs last season.
The Girls of Summer Caravan continues this week with game and team coverage of the San Diego Classic beginning on Thursday at Alliant University.