Fairfax’s Danah Haley goes hard in the paint in their opening game of the tournament. Photo by Jason Lewis Fairfax, Washington, Narbonne, Carson, View Park, and LACES are looking to make early season statements.By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
League play is right around the corner in high school basketball, but if anybody wants to get a preview of what is to come in girl’s City Section basketball, then Fairfax is the place to be.“There is a wide variety of teams from the LA City Section, so we get a preview of what the season has in store,” said Judi Edwards, Fairfax High School girl’s basketball coach. “It’s like a showcase to see what the playoffs may look like.”The 14th annual L.A. City Showcase features some of the top City schools, and can be viewed as a playoff preview. But the design of the tournament is to really give the top City Section players exposure to colleges recruiters and influential individuals in the world of basketball.“Gonzaga is in the gym right now, and so it Lisa Leslie,” Edwards said. “It just brings a lot of people to the gym to see the top talent in the LA City Section.” A number of four-year and community college coaches and scouts attend the tournament, and they enjoy the convenience of seeing the top players under one roof. “There are a lot of talented teams and there are a lot of schools that we recruit from here,” said Carrie Miller, head basketball coach at Glendale Community College. “So it’s nice to see them all in one place. It defiantly helps (to have the top teams here) because there are so many schools. It’s hard to get out if you have to go individually to each school, you’re going to miss a lot of talent. It’s huge to come to this tournament because you get so see a huge amount of players all at one place.”Leslie, who is one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time, was on hand watching the games, signing autographs, and letting the players and parents know about the Lisa Leslie Basketball & Leadership Academy. “It’s basketball skills as well as leadership skills,” Leslie said. “Twice a month we will have a sit down with the groups and talk about different things in regards to etiquette, public speaking, appearance, and how important that is. It’s not just about basketball. Basketball has been great to me, but it was just a tool that I used to get the education that I wanted and travel the world.” The L.A. City Showcase has one feature that is not found at most tournaments, and Leslie felt that it was something that was really helpful for the younger players.“It’s nice that you have both of the JV and varsity players here in the same tournament,” Leslie said. “A lot of times they usually separate it. I think it’s good that the JV players can sit and learn from the varsity players and also as I hear the young girls talk, they’re learning from their mistakes. It’s a good way to learn. I was a visual learner, so it helped me to watch other players play, good and bad, you learn from them. I think that’s an added benefit for this tournament.”The tournament began on Tuesday and will run daily through Saturday. The consolation game will be on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., the second place game will be at 2 p.m., and the championship game will be at 4 p.m.
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