If March Madness was based on the number of high school grads from a DMV-based school playing in the tournament, the Crusaders would win hands down. Four alumni of the Riverdale Baptist High School girls’ basketball program are on teams competing in the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.
Jonquel Jones (Clemson), 16 ppg, 14.7 rpg, and Lauren Chase (UMBC), 9.8 ppg 6 apg, will lead George Washington (26-6) against Kansas State (18-12) in a first round game in South Carolina March 18. Chania Ray (Florida State) will suit up for West Virginia (24-6). Khaila Prather is on Miami’s (20-13) roster.
Paint Branch would be the runner-up with two entries. Fifth-year senior Brene Moseley is an important part of the Terps 30-3 team. She averages 11.1 ppg and a team-leading 6 apg. Bridgette Ocran is a contributor for Army (29-2). The Black Knights also feature the 2016 Patriot League All-Defensive Play-of-the-Year Janae McNeal (Courtland).
Sixteen other players from the area will play in the women’s championship including two who will probably meet in the final. Lindsay Allen (St. John’s) was stopped last year, but her Fighting Irish (31-1) are back. As a sophomore last year, Allen made Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America and Full Court Press Honorable Mention All-America. She averaged 9 ppg and 6.9 apg this season. UConn has former All-Met and Big East Freshman-of-the-Year Natalie Butler (Lake Braddock) coming off the bench. She missed the beginning of the season with torn ligaments in her thumb, but Butler rebounded to play in 21 games averaging 6.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg.
Some others will eliminate each other in the opening round March 18. Ray’s Mountaineers are scheduled for a shootout with Princeton (23-5) at high noon. Sydney Jordan, (Stonewall Jackson) and Kenya Holland (Colonial Forge) play for the Tigers.
Other local players preparing for the big dance include: Caira Washington (Georgetown Day), 13.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg and Kelli Prange (Damacus), 8.2 ppg 5.2 rpg with the Colonials; James Madison’s Tasia Butler (North Point/Syracuse), Amber Porter (Woodbridge) and Kayla Cooper-Williams (Hylton); UNC Asheville’s: Tyler Smith (St. Mary’s Ryken); Robert Morris’ Janee Brown (Holy Cross); Duquesne’s April Robinson (West Springfield) who averages 15 ppg 6.5 apg; Florida’s Carla Batechlor (Northwest HS/Northwest Fla. State College); Syracuse’s: Maggie Morrison (Archbishop Spalding/Vanderbilt); and Troys’ ArJae’ Saunders (HD Woodson/Walters State CC) who is second on team in scoring with 12.8 ppg.