Lady Fire Heading To FILA Nationals

Michigan State’s Suzy Merchant will be watching the Lady Fire and MSU commitment Jasmine Lumpkin. Photo credit Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications.

The FILA National event will be filled with high-profile clubs, including the legendary Mac Irvin Lady Fire from Chicago.

The FILA Nationals, which will include over 100 national teams, will be played at the Suwanee Sports Academy outside of Atlanta from July 6-8. This is one part of a series of previews for the FILA Nationals where we will highlight the outstanding programs who will be competing.

The Lady Fire has gotten off to a strong start this summer, and the squad could be peaking when they reach Suwanee.

“We have an outstanding core group of players that we’ve kept throughout the year, and then we can add a piece here and there,” Mac Irvin said. “I think we will have a very, very competitive team at the FILA Nationals.”

Three players are at the heart of the Lady Fire core — 6-4 center Khaalia Hillsman, 5-8 point guard Kiara Lewis, and 6-0 wing Jasmine Lumpkin. Hillsman is rated as the No. 38 prospect in the Class of 2014 by the All Star Girls Report. Lumpkin, who is a Michigan State commitment, is listed at No. 22 by ASGR for the 2014 Class. Lewis is in the 2016 Class, and ASGR has her at No. 14 in the country.

“Khaalia is a rugged, tough kid with a tremendous upside,” Irvin said. “A lot of times the bigger kids develop a little slower, and Khaalia is really coming on now. It seems like she is getting better and better every day.

“I always thought Kiara was the best point guard in her class in the country before she hurt her knee last year. I think she is getting back into a rhythm. I think some people forgot about her, but she is getting stronger and stronger. She has a great basketball IQ and a feel for the game, and she can hit the deep three.

“Jasmine is a super, super athlete, and she has one of the best motors in the  country. She plays hard all the time. She is a hell of a slasher and she is a versatile player. She plays the three, but she could guard a four or a two.”

The three steady contributors will get a boost at the FILA Nationals from Teniya Page, a 5-6 point guard who is listed as the No. 37 prospect in the Class of 2015 by ASGR.

“Teniya is just a tremendous true point guard,” said ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “She is very athletic and very strong, and she can get to the rim just about any time she wants to. But, she is a true point guard who can run the team and make good decisions.”