The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Classic at McKale Center (held every MLK Day) showcased some of the better talent in Tucson, some of whom are destined for careers beyond high school.
The following are interviews with some of the top girls basketball players.
CDO senior forward Tianna Carter
Carter, who has signed a national letter of intent with UNLV, is averaging 24.6 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. She tried her best to keep CDO competitive against Tanque Verde — hitting two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter — but she would foul out in the 46-40 loss. CDO trailed by as many as 14 points before rallying. In the video, Carter talks about her senior season and her recruitment by the Rebels.
Tanque Verde senior forward Nikya Orange
Orange, 5-foot-11 senior, is averaging 15.9 points and 13.3 rebounds for Tanque Verde, which improved to 18-5 overall and 3-1 in the 3A South with its 46-40 win over Salpointe. Orange, who did not start playing organized basketball until she was a freshman at Sabino, is now getting recruiting interest from a few colleges, including Arizona Christian and Ottawa in the Phoenix area and Pima College. In the video, she talks about her remarkable development aided by her inclusion with the Tucson Rattlers club team.
Salpointe Catholic sophomore guard Jaya Nelson
.@SalpointeLancer guard Jaya Nelson, who led her team with 16 points in a 51-23 win over Flowing Wells today in the #MLKBasketballClassic, talks about the big 4A Kino rematch with Sahuaro tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xlU9AKDrJn
Nelson had 16 points to lead Salpointe in its 51-23 win over Flowing Wells. The Lancers managed to keep their focus and did not look ahead to a showdown with 4A Kino rival Sahuaro tomorrow at home. Salpointe cruised after leading the Caballeros 18-0 after the first quarter. In the following video, Nelson discusses her season and her fun one-on-one battles with her sister and brother. Her brother, Evan, is a junior standout with the boys’ team. She also talks about being part of the AZ Supreme summer basketball club that includes Sahuaro’s Alyssa Brown and Lucky Franke and Sabino’s Kam’Ren Rhodes and Kamryn Doty.
Sabino freshman guard Kam’Ren Rhodes
Rhodes, only a freshman, looked like one of the more tenacious and composed players of the day, scoring 28 points in the Sabercats’ 62-50 win over Sahuaro last night. Sabino, a 3A school, gave Sahuaro, a 4A school, only its second loss of the season. In this video, Rhodes talks about the key 3A South game tomorrow at rival Tanque Verde and the Sabercats’ character-building stretch of road games as the season winds down.
Sahuaro sophomore forward Alyssa Brown
Brown had 26 points to lead the Cougars, who are now 19-2 overall and 5-0 in the 4A Kino going into a pivotal showdown at region rival Salpointe tomorrow. The Cougars have defeated Salpointe twice, both at home, this season and the Lancers now get them on their home court. In the video, Brown talks about the task at hand and her experience of playing against AZ Supreme teammates Rhodes and Kamryn Doty of Sabino.