Yes, the high school girl’s basketball season came to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t stop several junior hoopsters from making their marks before high school athletic officials drop the curtain on the spring sports season.
But here are six girls from the New York/New Jersey area who are set to come back next year and ball their hearts out in their final season of high school hoops.
Wildwood Catholic High School (NJ) rising senior wing Marianna Papazoglou enjoyed a fantastic junior year, dropping in 473 points, grabbing 231 rebounds, and handing out 139 helpers while registering 26 blocks and 89 steals last season.
As just a sophomore, Papazoglou drained an amazing 537 points.
And there’s no reason to believe Papazoglou will slow down her tremendous court production next campaign after two monster years.
She led the Lady Crusaders to a 22-5 record in the 2019-20 campaign and plays AAU hoops for the Philadelphia Belles.
Additionally, Papazoglou is an excellent student, evident by her Ivy League University of Penn scholarship offer.
Morris Catholic Girl’s Jadyn Watson, a Hudson Catholic-transfer, was flat out excellent, draining a team-best 438 points and grabbing 292 rebounds in 27 games during the 2019-20 campaign. She also contributed 38 assists, 32 blocks, and ten steals.
The New Jersey native plays multiple positions and all well, which should help her land a scholarship at a solid basketball college.
Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology’s Kaila Dawkins was spectacular this past season, draining 13 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per contest.
The forward helped the Lady Jets to a 22-4 record. Dawkins has improved every year since becoming a Lady Jet and next year should be no different.
Head coach Micahel Lloyd said she has been invaluable to the team, providing a versatility rarely seen in other players.
“Kaila Dawkins has one skillset nobody has on the team,” the Harlem-born, current Brooklyn resident said. “We probably have five or six guards, but nobody can do what she can do: rebound, finish on the inside, hit the mid-range shot, get the rebound, go coast-to-coast, finish on the right side, finish on the left side,” Lloyd said in an August 2018 article. “She also has a great (academic) average.”
Chatham (NJ) junior point guard Tess Ford garnered first-team All-NJAC American, All-Morris County, and MCT All-Tournament Team acknowledgments for the 2019-20 campaign.
Ford used her tireless engine to record 247 points, 83 boards, 97 helpers, and 29 thefts in the season, not too mention she sports a wonderful work ethic.
The Lady Cougars’ head Coach Joe Gaba sang her praises on Twitter.
“A true leader w/ great vision and can score in many ways. Lockdown defender. The Captain is going to have a HUGE Sr. Year! Amazing teammate!
Barbara Bruno, a teammate of Dawkins at BHSLT, dropped in 13 points, 3.7 boards, and 3.1 steals per tilt for BHSLT this past season. And she just keeps improving every chance that she gets.
Lloyd said this about Bruno in August 2018: “She can do a lot of things — she can handle the ball, attack the basket, got a nice pull-up game. She’s working on her three and gets after it defensively. She’s big for us. Plus, she’s got great grades, has a great attitude; very respectful. She’s a great kid overall.”
Manchester Township High School’s Destiny Adams, who’s committed to the University of North California, is one of New Jersey’s High School hoops’ best post players, according to many NJ high school girl’s basketball insiders. Plus, she’s a terrorizing force on defense, registering 78 blocks and 79 steals last season.
But that won’t stop Adams’ relentless pursuit of excellence as she enters her senior year.
The six-foot-three versatile Adams is currently listed at the 33rd overall spot and fifth at her position on ESPN’s HoopGurlz 2021 Recruiting Rankings, ratings that should go up in 2020-21.
The Whiting, New Jersey, native enjoyed a tremendous offensive season, draining an amazing 580 points while grabbing 376 rebounds in 32 contests, good for an average of 18.1 points and 11.75 rebounds per game.
Additionally, Adams guided the Lady Hawks to a 28-4 record, a Shore Conference final appearance, and their fourth straight South Jersey, Group 2 sectional title.
— Jerry Del Priore
Del Priore is a sports writer/blogger with several years of experience in covering high school, college, minor league sports, as well as other levels of athletics.
Additionally, Del Priore is the author of a book about sports heroes called Running Through Roadblocks: Inspirational Stories of Twenty Courageous Athletic Warriors.
This donation, small or not, allows me to keep offering high school, college, and minor league sports, plus other levels of sports, to athletes who otherwise might get overlooked. They deserve the press and recognition. Therefore, help me help them. Thanks, Jerry Del Priore