Swartz Creek, MI: After several teams participated in NCAA Certified events last weekend and many are gearing up for the May NCAA evaluation period, the 7th Annual Michigan Cagers Invitational was the place to be this weekend as 70 teams invaded Swartz Creek, MI. Several Division II, Division III & NAIA college coaches were on hand checking out the action. Listed below are some of the top teams and several standout players that caught our attention.
Michigan Cagers Invitational Top Teams
Michigan Mystics Dream Team BSTTL
This team came into the season with some high expectations, but after opening the travel season losing 3 out of 4 games at the April Showers Classic, they made some minor adjustments to correct a few things and have played very well in consecutive weekends showing everyone why they have the potential to be one of the top teams in the Midwest. 6'4" Whitney Sollom '20 who missed half of her junior season due to injury, looked like the player that many college coaches have been coveting. She was solid on the boards, handled it in the open floor at times and was also able to knock down a few perimeter jumpers. Post players 6' Jasmine Clerkley '20 & Bowling Green commit 6'2" Sophie Zeiken '20 dominated inside scoring at will when they got the ball inside. 6'2" SF Bree Salenbein was also difficult to contain on both ends of the floor as she is versatile enough to play inside & out. As they continue to gain team chemistry, the Mystics should make a deep run at Blue Star Nationals in July.
Michigan Storm Elite 16U UAA
This group has one style of play & that is pressure, pressure, pressure. They are good at playing full court man-man defense where they force teams into turning the ball over which translates into easy scoring opportunities. Saniia Walker, Emaia O'Brien, Desiree Jackson, Nika Dorsey & Mikayla Finley can all guard on the perimeter which makes it very difficult for any player to beat them off the dribble. After rolling through many teams this past weekend to take home the 10th Grade Championship title at the Michigan Cagers Invitational, this team is proving that there one of top 3 teams in the state of Michigan 16U division.
Michigan Mystics Black 2022
After suffering a loss in pool play to Tri-County Hoopers on Saturday, they avenged that defeat by knocking off that same team by double digits to capture the 9th Grade Championship at the Michigan Cagers Invitational. Their quickness and athleticism were just too much for teams at times. They get up and down the court, share the ball and crash the boards. Even when they were visibly exhausted, they still played hard. This young feisty group is exciting to watch.
Teams To Watch Out For In The Near Future
Michigan Cagers Selvia
The host team did not bring home the trophy, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve any attention. The Cagers are a very well balanced team that can spread the floor and beat you by attacking the basket or shooting it from the perimeter. Abi Tarrant '21, Carly McCrum '21 & Olivia Dirske '22 all are big-time shooters that will play at the next level. This is a very dangerous team that I would not want to face in a win or go home situation.
Tri-County Hoopers 15U
They had a massive program victory over the Michigan Mystics Black 2022 squad in pool play and made it to the 9th-grade division championship game before falling to the Michigan Mystics Black 2022 in the rematch by double-digits. Tri-County have a few legitimate 2022 players in 6'1" Kendall Zeiter & 5'7" PG Ashley Loon. Tri-County is putting together a solid foundation, and as they continue to add a few more pieces, they will become a force on the circuit for the next few years.
Michigan Cagers Invitational Standout Performers
2020 Jasmine Clerkley 6' Post Michigan Mystics Dream Team BSTTL
Clerkley was a force to be reckoned with in every game. She has a solid frame and is strong as a bull. Her strength enabled her to dominate in the paint on both ends and finish with tons of contact.
2022 Kendell Zeiter 6'1" PF Tri-County Hoopers
Zeiter is a vital piece of the puzzle for Tri-County on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. She showed vocal leadership, fought for rebounds, blocked multiple shots and didn’t hesitate to get on the floor to go after loose balls. Kendall can play on the low blocks or above the free throw line which makes her very useful when she's on the court.
2021 Abi Tarrant 5'8" SG Michigan Cagers Selvia
Tarrant did a little bit of everything for her Cagers squad. She is a very versatile player, who can drive hard to the hoop and hit the perimeter shot when left open. She is capable of defending multiple positions on the floor and is a solid rebounder as well.
2020 Lauren Reed 5'5" PG Michigan Storm Elite 2021 UAA Rise
The diminutive PG did what was needed to lead her team. She is quick which allows her to defend without having to foul and get past her defender. Her quickness with the ball in her hands is impressive. I will be keeping an eye on her development as the season progresses.
2021 Alexis Thomas 5'9" PG Factory Basketball Orange
This was my first time watching this kid play, and I came away very impressed with what I saw. Alexis played aggressively on the defensive end of the floor and came up with several big steals. Her lateral movement is excellent for a taller guard. She showed the ability to make shots and get to the basket off the bounce. She had her head up on the break and found open teammates. Thomas simply held her own this weekend.