By Bradey King
The inaugural Triple Crown Basketball NIC kicked off Saturday at the Plano Sports Authority 2 in Plano, Texas. Six teams took to the hardwood from Texas, Missouri, Colorado and Alabama.
The standout squad was the All AL Roadrunners. The team went undefeated on the day, taking down Lady BIQ 2020, 45-21, and later beating Houston Flight Elite, 78-20.
The Roadrunners outscored and outsized their opponents all day. However, no matter the score, their energy and hustle remained at a high level throughout the entirety of both games, showcasing maturity, coach-ability and pure love for the game.
“My biggest rule is if you don’t play defense then you have to come sit by me. They should always play as if it’s tied up. They all abide because they want to play,” said head coach Beverly Kirk. “You can have the height but if you don’t have any skills it doesn’t do any good, so I really focus on developing their skills. I teach them to be aggressive and always go hard to the basket because at some point we’ll be the smaller team.”
The day’s roster was made up of 10 players, all 2019 graduates. Impressively, all the players scored at least two points in both games. They shared the ball and every single player did their part to contribute in one category or another. Taylor Henderson led the way in Game 2 with 17 points and also grabbed five boards.
“We are so blessed because most of our girls live in Birmingham, so we have the ability to practice twice a week. Those things we need to develop, we have the opportunity and time to develop them,” added Kirk.
The girls have been playing together for several years, which is a rarity in club sports nowadays. Their team chemistry was extremely obvious as the day went on. A few players, including Henderson and Terri Crawford have been playing together since elementary school.
“Chemistry goes a long way. If you’re good buds off the court, it makes you so much better on the court. Nothing can come between y’all,” said Henderson.
“We know each others talents and style of play so we know to look for. It just makes it more fun,” added Crawford.
For the girls looking to play at the collegiate level in the near future, this 2019 summer is a big deal for these soon-to-be high school seniors. Elite tournaments such as the TC NIC provide an opportunity for college exposure as well as a time to work on skills while facing varying levels of competition.
“We’re working on getting better and preparing ourselves for college. Here, we’re exposed to some of the girls we’ll compete with at the next level,” said Crawford.
The Alabama squad will bounce back onto the court on Sunday morning with hopes of remaining undefeated through bracket play and ultimately claiming the Triple Crown NIC title.
Support Your Officials Campaign
Starting Memorial weekend, Triple Crown Sports® (TCS) will have stricter enforcement towards respecting officials and allowing players a better event experience.
Officials and TCS staff will have an expanded commitment to enforce good behavior through:
Why is TCS doing this? Two main reasons:
Can I still debate a call with the official?
Are you a head coach? Then yes, go for it. Do it in a positive manner and not to ridicule or belittle the official. If you’re a parent then please enjoy the game and don’t confront the official.
What is considered bad behavior?
We know that you don’t always agree with the official and we acknowledge that they make mistakes. That said, sports officials rarely, if ever, determine the outcome of a game. Players and coaches cause the true outcome of a game.
Triple Crown’s purpose is to “bring athletes and families together in competition and create experiences that embed lasting lifetime valued memories”. Our “Respect of All” value says that there’s “no grunts, no servants and we’re all equal, real people”. These two guiding principles lead us to the decision to crack down on poor treatment of officials and we’re excited to improve the youth experience.
Thank you and enjoy the game,
Keri King- CEO
Triple Crown Sports, Inc.
Briggs & Stratton is a reliable place to turn if you’re looking for a powerful engine.
Briggs & Martin know how to propel a basketball team as well.
Lavender Jalissa Briggs and Kemery Martin, the two primary guards for the Colorado Premier girls basketball club 17u team, led their squad to a resounding finish Sunday at the Colorado’s Finest Exhibition with a 68-49 Elite Division victory over EJ Hoops 16u at the Colorado Christian Events Center. Briggs closed with 21 points and six rebounds, and Martin added 12 points and five assists as Colorado Premier jumped to a large early lead and never looked back.
In the open court, the two guards showed plenty of flair with the ball and got to the rim in myriad ways, but they also knew how to look for open teammates and meet coach Keith Van Horn’s expectation of good basketball plays. Either way, Colorado Premier was determined to wrap up the weekend with the title.
“It’s a team sport, and always good to involve everyone. It’s important to build chemistry and trust with each other, and this tournament was good for us,” said Martin, who will be a senior next fall at Corner Canyon HS in Draper, UT. “Good to get teammates the ball, and when you do that, everyone is happy, and it’s more fun to play. We’re also trying to realize that when we do get as lead, in big games like that, to not to let up.”
“We’re trying to make it fun for everyone; if you don’t then people won’t work hard. I think we really improved on our team’s offense, and that’s what we wanted to work on, really,” said Briggs, heading into her senior year at Provo (UT) High School. “We know leads can go away in a matter of minutes or seconds, and we wanted to play as hard as we would against anyone, to prepare ourselves.”
The EJ Hoops 16u team also had a nice tournament in reaching the finals, but Colorado Premier jumped ahead early, extending the lead to 36-18 with 42 seconds left before halftime on a spinning layup by Briggs. EJ Hoops would on occasion cut into the lead and get back within 10 or 12 points, but Colorado Premier always answered.
A step-back 3 from Briggs made it 59-45 with 4:30 left in the contest, and Martin wrapped the ball around her body before a layup at 3:22 to push the score to 61-46.
“It’s hard when you’re that talented, to not feel like you can do it by yourself. It can be a challenge to integrate them, but that’s something we’ve emphasized a lot because we have high-level players elsewhere,” said Van Horn, who starred collegiately at Utah and was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and played 11 years in the NBA. “It was great to see how the entire team moved the ball – I thought it was a very unselfish weekend for us.
“I told them after, these championship games are a grind. You’re tired, so you focus on playing defense and executing. It’s very rare to run away in a championship game, and you have to be prepared for the other team to make a run. Ultimately, our goal is to put kids in position to be successful on the court and secondly to get the win and do it the right way.”
Kali March had 10 points for EJ Hoops, and Jenna Siebert added nine points. The tournament also was a benefit event for the Colorado Women's Sports Fund Association.
From left, TCS basketball directors Sarah Sullivan, Renee Carlson, BallN Prep Editor Prentice Beverly, and TCS basketball director John Casale. Photo by Nathaniel Chu.
In order to get a handle on the talent level up and down the reaches of girl’s youth basketball, you’ve got to love the game, and at least tolerate the road.
From his younger days soaking up all things basketball in the South to his life today based in Los Angeles, Prentice Beverly has carved out a useful and important role in girl’s basketball. You’ll see him at showcases getting the updated take on top players, with his insight and rating the fuel behind the BAllN Prep Report, and he also run a Skill Academy Series, which is designed to help players build the skills that will resonate at the next level.
Beverly coached girls basketball in Alabama and got into scouting when he saw the flaws in a Georgia man who was scouting Alabama players – and doing a pretty lousy job of it. And the girls game got in his system, meaning he turned down multiple opportunities to scout the boys game. That’s not to say the girls game is bulletproof – he thinks the length and demands of the girls club season tips too far to game-play, meaning players don’t get as much time to work on the finer points.
He stopped by the Triple Crown Sports corporate offices in Fort Collins in late April to visit with staff and talk about what it takes to stay ahead in the fast-moving world of youth hoops. Still working full-time with the U.S. Air Force, Beverly has grown his brand to include several contributing writers who also tour the basketball landscape and help boost the value of BallN Prep Report.
Q: What’s a day in the life look like?
A: I’ll field calls from college coaches, and also from players who might be looking for advice on what level I think they play at, what school might be interested. When I’m on the road, I’m looking for talent. People ask me who won a certain game, and I just laugh. I can tell you who played well. The kids that shine, I write them up and put it in my database for BallN Prep. I talked to one coach the other day who may be getting a new opportunity, and that team needs a couple players. She wants me to start looking … it’s just basketball, every day.
Q: What do you go through when you’re traveling and researching?
A: There are always two big tournaments in the spring, and maybe others you end up going to … the Boo Williams Nike EYBL (in Virginia) with all 32 teams on that EYBL circuit; then you have the Deep South (in Raleigh, NC). That will have maybe 600 teams, 400-500 college coaches … I catch the red-eye east, walk in and get my coaches book that has every roster, and I start walking court to court. I write notes, and in between talking to coaches I do my evaluations. It’s fun, but you’ve got to stay on top of what you do.
Q: How do you decide where to focus your work, seeing as so many people would want you watching their court?
A: I don’t pay a lot of attention now to, say, the 2019 graduating class. If I haven’t seen you yet, you’d have to do something to really grab my attention. Every once in a while, I’ll catch a diamond in the rough. A couple years ago, there was this kid named Jensen Caretti (now a sophomore for Ohio State) – I’m sitting in a media room eating, and I hear this guy talking about they’ve seen a female LeBron James. I’m just listening, and I’ve heard this stuff before. I ask about her, and it turns out she’s going to play at this gym across town – I hurry over there and walk in, and I say don’t anybody tell me which kid is which. Just let me watch.
I see this kid, 6-1, athletic, and she goes up, snatches a rebound off the rim, and I’m like, ‘Oh! What was that?’ Then she takes long 3-pointer, bucket … and after, a coach comes up and says, ‘Do not blast this on social media! I know you – we’ve got a chance to get her.’ And I said, coach, you know that’s my job, though. I got to. I checked the databases, and she was just a total unknown. I had found the unicorn. She went from unranked to top 30 in two weeks and went to Ohio State.
Q: How do you pick and choose which events to attend?
A: I get tons of phone calls. If it’s an area I haven’t been to, or somewhere I haven’t been lately, I’ll probably go. I need a list of the kids who are coming, how long the event has been going … some people get me to come and then advertise it using my name. I don’t mind that, but be sure there’s something to watch when I get there.
The girls game is more pure – what are the guys usually working on? What dunk they can do – sorry to say it, but it’s true. Girls don’t get the attention and the money and the accolades the boys side gets, and I was sympathetic to that. But I like the purity with the girls game; they work hard. There all All-Star competitions, and a lot of the times in the 3-point shooting competition, the girls beat the guys. The girls are more fundamentally sound. You’ll always need shooters, and you’ll need players with high basketball IQ.