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Nation's top girls basketball stars shine at The Run 4 The Roses Tournament

More than 1,500 teams compete in Louisville, Kentucky event

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – If you have any interest in girl’s high school or women’s college basketball, chances are you at least stopped by Louisville, KY in July.

Or at least were watching events that were taking place in Louisville.

That’s because Louisville was host to The Run 4 The Roses Basketball Tournament, which had approximately 1,500 teams with players ranging from middle school through high school. Some of the top games were carried on ESPN.

“Louisville was the place to be,’’ said Nate Altenhofen, the National Scouting Director for All-Star Girls Basketball Report. “It was top-notch and a showcase for all the best players.’’

Altenhofen should know and he wasn’t just in Louisville for the entire month. There were stops in Chicago and other venues that featured the nation’s top players.

He’s been an assistant coach at Arkansas State and Murray State. His first job as a head coach came at Odessa (TX) Junior College, where he led the program to an NJCCA National Championship in 2007.

He then moved to Saint Ambrose, an NAIA school in Davenport, Iowa. The Bees went 73-25 in Altenhofen’s three season. He also has been an assistant at Indiana University.

Altenhofen spent July watching as much basketball as humanly possible and talking to his vast network of sources. He came away from the event with a bunch of new observations.

In no particular order, let’s run through them:

Shooting star. Altenhofen already had a high opinion of 5-foot-7 shooting guard Milaysia Fulwiley and nothing she did this summer changed that.

Altenhofen moved Fulwilely up to No. 3 in the nation and placed her as the top guard in the Class of 2023. Fulwiley has played against tough competition at Keenan High in basketball-rich South Carolina and she first played when she was a seventh grader, averaging 11.7 points a game. She upped her scoring average to 19.7 points a game as an eighth grader.

A big summer has raised Milaysia Fulwiley to the No. 3 rated player in the Class of 2023.

A big summer has raised Milaysia Fulwiley to the No. 3 rated player in the Class of 2023.

Fulwiley has averaged over 20 points per game each of the last three seasons, including 2021-22 when she averaged 29.6 points. She also showed she can do a little more than shoot as she averaged 6.8 assists and 8.8 rebounds this past season.

But Fulwiley’s most impressive stat may be in an area that is easily overlooked. She averaged an outrageous 4.6 steals a game.

As is usually the case with any in-state product, the University of South Carolina is in prime position to land Fulwiley. The Gamecocks are recruiting her. But so are a lot of other big-time programs, including Florida.

Holding steady: Aaliyah Chavez used the summer to solidify herself status as ASGR’s No. 1 player for the Class of 2025. That’s the same spot Chavez has been in since 2020.

Chavez is a 5-foot-9 point guard out of Monterey High in Lubbock, TX.

Aaliyah Chavez has been the No. 1 player in the Class 2025 since 2020.

Aaliyah Chavez has been the No. 1 player in the Class 2025 since 2020.

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“She has taken things to a whole new level,’’ Altenhofen said. “She’s the No. 1 player for 2025 and the No. 1 point guard of any class. She is breaking ankles off the dribble and creating three-point shots for herself like (NBA star) Trae Young.’’

That last part is ironic, because Chavez’s father, Sonny, once thought his daughter was one of the most unathletic children on the planet.

“She couldn’t ride a bike or swim, but she suddenly wanted to play basketball in the third grade,’’ Sonny Chavez said. “I told her she better take it seriously if I was going to pay $145.’’

Aaliyah Chavez has taken the game very seriously.

“There are a lot of kids that are way more athletic,’’ said Sonny Chavez, who trains and coaches his daughter. “We’re big on fundamentals and determination to win. She just plays the right way.’’

Moving on up. One of the players that helped herself the most was Xamiya Walton from the Class of 2024. At 5-foot-6, the No. 2 guard played up to the name of her high school – Academy of Excellence in Chicago. ASGR now has her ranked No. 36 nationally.

Xamiya Walton has climbed to the No. 2 player in the Class of 2024.

Xamiya Walton has climbed to the No. 2 player in the Class of 2024.

“She’s hearing from some big-name schools,’’Altenhofen said. “She’s a gym rat and a flat-out scorer. Plus, she’s also capable of guarding the other team’s best scorer.’’

And she can shoot it. One of the more dominant emerging front-line players is 6-4 Me’Arah O’Neal, who ASGR has ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2024. She plays for Cross Roads School in Santa Monica, Calif., and played on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit this summer.

Me'Arah O'Neal is the No. 2 player in the Class of 2024.

Me'Arah O'Neal is the No. 2 player in the Class of 2024.

O’Neal has been dunking since she was 13. In case you haven’t guessed it, she’s the daughter of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal – with one big twist.

Her father was strictly a power player, but Me’Arah is more than a chip off the old block. She has a more versatile game than her father ever did and can score from anywhere on the floor.

“She has guard-like skills,’’ Altenhofen said. “She has (current Los Angeles Sparks and former UConn star) Katie Samuelson’s skill set and her outside shot is comparable to Rasheed Wallace’s.

The Point Guard State. If you thought Texas was only known for its high school football, think again. Chavez isn’t the only point guard from Texas that is getting attention from colleges.

Victoria Flores, a 5-8 point guard from L.G. Pinkston High, jumped to No. 69 in ASGR’s Class of 2023 with a strong showing on the EYBL circuit this summer.

“She’s a true leader, a coach’s dream,’’ Alntenhofen said.

Flying high. The Wisconsin Flight came away with a Session 2 Pool/ championship in Louisville and the main reason for that was the play of 6-foot shooting guard Allie Ziebell.

The Neehah High player scored 30 points in the championship game. She now is ranked No. 24 in ASGR’s Class of 2024.

Allie Ziebell is a sharp-shooter out of Wisconsin who is now ranked No. 24 in the Class of 2024.

Allie Ziebell is a sharp-shooter out of Wisconsin who is now ranked No. 24 in the Class of 2024.