WASHINGTON, D.C.—There seems to be a tendency these days to self-proclaim as the “leader” of this or the “premier” of that among the entities making up the landscape of girls basketball. One reality that can’t be argued is the status of the USJN National Championship in Washington, D.C. No other event has stood the test of time, evolved with the operational and legislative changes or consistently attracted the number and quality of teams and coaches as “D.C.” has.
In its 29th year, the event attracted 344 teams from 29 different states as well as 14 more from two provinces in Canada. Validating the Gold Standard status of the 2015 D.C. National Championship was the 757 college coaches on hand enjoying the competition, quality and convenience that is the hallmark of USJN. For the third consecutive year all of the action was under the big top of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center right in the heart of the nation’s capital. On tap was pool play among 58 groups all looking for the opportunity to advance into Saturday’s championship brackets and the chance claim one of eight division crowns.
For a complete event wrap up follow the link below to the USJN post event page for results, pool all – stars, participating teams, college coaches on hand and more.
For a visual look, follow the link below to the 2015 “D.C.” Sizzle video courtesy of HCP.
The high profile Diamond Division featured 48 teams looking for a shot at the ultimate in bragging rights among open tournaments. Seven Nike EYBL teams were on hand including five who qualified for the upcoming action in Augusta. However four teams departed following pool play to accommodate their travel plans creating a wide open battle for the 2015 USJN National Championship title. By the time Saturday afternoon’s semifinals had rolled around the remaining teams represented an East – West line up. In one semi the Colorado Rockies had no trouble with the New England Crusaders moving into the final by way of a 58 – 24 win. The Arizona select earned their ticket the hard way going to overtime before getting by the New Jersey Panthers 72 – 67.
Out of the gate in the final it looked like the overtime action had taken the wind out of the Arizona Select’s sails as they fell behind quickly trailing by double digits the majority of the first half. However, at the break they were looking at a manageable 10 point margin and a chance to keep the Rockies within reach. By the 10:41 mark they had the lead down to five and had tied things up at 36 with 7:56 remaining. Their first lead came just two possessions later and the back and forth was on for the homestretch. It was tied at 41 at the five minute mark and with 2:56 remaining it was knotted up at 43. The Rockies put up the next points and didn’t give up the lead the rest of the way surviving the free throw parade to claim the 51 – 45 win.
The Rockies got contributions from quite a bit of depth on Coach Johnnie Bratton’s roster. As always 2016 point guard Brenna Chase ran the show creating options for both her teammates as well as herself. The 5-8 Chase is at her best in transition and reads the floor as well as any of her peers. On the interior the Rockies got a strong effort from 2017 forward Jasmine Jeffcoat. The 6-2 forward utilizes her agility and ability to run the floor to challenge defenders and force them to work outside of their comfort zones. Probably the most eye catching performance for the Rockies came from 6-1 Nicea Eliely. A 2016 forward, she was consistently making plays and challenging both off the drive and around the rim. Despite her lean build she handles contact well and finished effectively in the paint. Eliely anticipates defensively and elevated for some impressive rebounds throughout the event.