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MTW at Mater Dei, day two

Cal Sparks Gold was playing Tree of Hope Grey and Cal Sparks Black was facing the Vancouver Heat when I arrived at the Michael T. White Tournament this morning, so I did double duty.

Gold was making easy disposal of Tree of Hope, so I went over to the other game, which turned out to be a goody. Both Black and the Heat played each other hard, and the score was even until the last portion of the game, when Black went ahead by a few. The Heat fought back, but Black was able to hold them off.

IM in OC and I stayed right where we were for the next game, which was a battle of the Magics: So Cal Magic of San Diego and the Inland Empire Magic. SCM had an easy time of it, pummeling IEM 59-29. But SCM was really fun to watch. For one thing, they play together as a team. They have good offensive flow, and effective defense. They’re a deep team with a lot of options.

The other two reasons I liked SCM were named Kandiss Barber, a 2014 guard from Mater Dei High School in San Diego and Ashley Newell, a 2013 guard from Corona Centennial High School. Barber’s defensive intensity is awesome, and Newell is a fluid scorer, able to put up points inside and outside the arc.

The game following that was Georgia team Peak Performance vs. the Fresno Stars. IM and I expected a blow out, with top recruit Sydney Umeri heading PP. But the Stars came out strong and PP began slowly, so it was a close game until the second half.

Umeri wasn’t that impressive, but maybe she was having an off-game. Her teammates Taylor Brown and Mackenzie Ingram looked great in what became a thrashing by PP.

The evening session featured Cal Sparks Gold vs. the Utah Flight in one semi-final, and Cal Sparks Black vs. the elite Tree of Hope team in the other semi. TOH capitalized on Black’s lax defense, and easily won the contest. Gold had a more difficult time with the Flight.

Gold was the better team despite missing two starters in Jordin Canada and Kari Korver, who are both injured. But they had trouble with stuttering offense, and the Flight took advantage by using pressure defense. Gold was finally able to begin finishing under the basket in the game’s final minutes, with key buckets by Erica McCall, Mercedes Jefflo and Keyla Morgan. Final score: 58-54.

Check out my big phat photo gallery of today’s games and players, and be sure to check out the second page too, as I took a lot of photos.

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