Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Nike Tournament Of Championship Preview: Riverdale Baptist vs St. Mary's

Rarely in your wildest imagination would you conjure up a team that features an emerging star who arrived in the U.S. three years ago to chase a basketball-financed college education, and then pit it against another whose core watched, wide-eyed, as Tina Charles outdueled Ashley and Courtney Paris during the very same game in which they'd play years later.

But this is the season of making dreams come true, after all, and thus the 2011 Nike Tournament of Champions will feature Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and senior Jonquel Jones against St. Mary's (Phoenix, Ariz.) and its long-united nucleus in Thursday's title game of the Joe Smith Invitational Division that carries the event's final-day East-West flavor to an ultimate conclusion.

Competitions like this frequently are won by teams with the kind of star power that, like a gathering storm, Jones has been conjuring for Riverside during this TOC. Her 26-point, 12-rebound performance during the Crusaders' 70-61 victory over Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the Smith semifinals on Wednesday was a stunning piece of bravado exceeded only by her 12-point, 16-board outing against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) the previous day.

Click here for complete ESPN Hoopgurlz Preview

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