When your team is powered by young players, every coaches realizes that the team is going to have peaks and valleys, especially if they are facing top-flight, mature competition. The SC 76ers were just that type of program this year.
“I have enjoyed this summer. We have had our ups and downs, and we’ve taken some lumps, but this is a good, young group,” said Coach Roger Wiley. “We played a very challenging schedule this summer. The kids learned a lot from those big time teams, and we got a lot of great exposure.”
The 76ers’ final exam for 2014 will come at the Marietta Tournament of Champions. The event will be held at the Suwanee Sports Academy complex in Marietta, just outside of Atlanta over the weekend of September 27-28.
The 76ers will be paced by an impressive list of athletes from the Class of 2016.
“We have 10 very good players in that class,” Wiley said. “Many of them are getting serious attention from BCS schools, and they are all at least going to go to mid-major schools.”
That cast is led by a pair of players who are ranked among the top 100 players in the class by the All Star Girls Report. Christian Hithe (5-8, G) is listed at No. 71 in the class, and Jhileiya Dunlap (6-3, F) is rated at No. 75.
“Hithe is an aggressive, explosive combo guard,” said ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “She is a versatile offensive player with a very good skill set. I like her step back jumper. Dunlap is a long athlete with a very strong inside-outside game.”
“Jhileiya has been playing exceptionally well,” added Wiley. “She is a versatile player who could play just about any position. She can break a press, she can play down low, and she is a great shot blocker on the defensive end.
“Christian is an extremely effective offensive player. She has great speed, she penetrates off the dribble, and she is a streaky shooter who can hit three, four, five straight threes.”
The 76ers also get production from Erin Houser (6-1, WF, No. 171), Lauren Harley (5-9, G), Asiah Jones (6-2, F) and Shaquanda Miller-McCray (6-3, C).
“Erin is playing on our red team right now because we felt she needed that experience, but she got a lot of attention after the Deep South. Schools like LSU, Auburn and Louisville were asking about her. She took a break from the team, but she will be back in Marietta,” Wiley said. “Lauren plays for our White team, and she has already gotten offers from UNC Charlotte and East Carolina. She has been playing well, and her name is coming up more and more.
“Shaquanda and Asiah are great defensive players, and they bail us out a lot along with Jhileiya. We might be averaging 10 blocks per game, and their offense is coming around. Asiah already has a good mid-range game, and Shaquanda is getting better and better on that end.”
“Houser is a strong athlete who can score on the block, and she can step out to the arc,” McCormick said. “Harley is a quick, left-handed combo guard with a nice mid-range game and three-point shooting range. Jones is very athletic. She runs the floor and she is an explosive leaper who will block shots and shoot from 15 feet. Miller-McCray is another great athlete. She has a long wingspan, and she will block shots, score on the block, and run the floor.”