Well folks, they're finally here. Thank you for your patience, but we are finally ready to release our list of the top girls basketball prospects in NH's Class of 2016. This is a very deep and talented class. Our goal is to achieve a rankings list that is as accurate as possible for the college coaches to use as a resource. Sometimes though you just have so many good players who are similar in ability and/or size which makes it difficult to differentiate them. That's why we waited a little longer with this particular class. I wanted to get to some workouts, tournaments, events to see them play more and also have reviewed hours upon hours of game tape from this past season as well as talked to many high school / AAU coaches in the area.
The rankings are here in order to get the kids' names out there for college coaches, to give them exposure. They're also posted to recognize the local athletes who have been working so hard. Any player from NH from the Class of 2016 who is looking to play basketball in college is eligible for the list.
Keep reading to see the list, along with scouting reports on each player. All of this exposure is at no cost for the kids. We're just trying to help these talented, hard working athletes get the recognition and exposure they deserve. Any comments / questions on the rankings can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So without further ado, here are the NH Notebook's top 26 girls basketball recruits from the Class of 2016...
1. Madison Springfield, 5’11” Guard, Conant HS
2. Brianna Purcell, 5’5” Guard, Bedford HS
3. Nicole Tucci, 5’7” Guard, Bedford HS
4. Gabrielle Hunter, 5’9” Forward, Tilton School
5. Peace Kabari, 5’7” Guard, Phillips Exeter Academy
6. Mayson Kimball, 5’11” Forward, Merrimack Valley HS
7. Ashley Berube, 6'1" Forward, Londonderry HS
8. Courtney O’Connell, 5’10” Guard/Forward, Bedford HS
9. Dezi Okorie, 5’7” Guard, Nashua High North
10. Meg Knollmeyer, 6’0” Forward, Winnacunnet HS
11. Lexie Hamilton, 5’9” Guard, Hanover HS
12. Jocelyn Chaput, 5’6” Guard, Nashua High South
13. Katie Valcich, 5’7” Guard, Winnacunnet HS
14. Sara Messler, 5’11” Forward, Oyster River HS
15. Jackie Luckhardt, 5’7” Guard, Londonderry HS
16. Alexandra Sirmaian, 5’6” Guard, Salem HS
17. Sara Cordova, 5’8” Guard, Nashua High North
18. Angelina Marazzi, 5’5” Guard, Northfield Mount Hermon
19. Marissa Stacy, 5’7” Guard, Pinkerton Academy
20. Marie LaPlante, 5’4” Guard, Bishop Guertin
21. Madison Borrelli, 5’8” Guard/Forward, Central Catholic HS (Salem, NH)
22. Sara Sherburne, 5’8” Guard, Bishop Guertin
23. Alex Peucker, 5’8” Guard, Exeter HS
24. Hannah Cuthbertson, 5’6” Guard, New Hampton School (Hudson, NH)
25. Ashley Hill, 5’4” Guard, Trinity HS
26. Amanda Carey, 5’6” Guard, Windham HS
Now here's a breakdown of each player on the list...
1. Madison Springfield, 5’11” Guard, Conant HS – the offers just keep on coming in for Springfield, a can’t miss D-I recruit. BC, Providence, UMass, URI and Marist have all offered her – not bad for a kid who’s still wrapping up her sophomore year. You simply are not going to find many kids in the region at her age who have her type of size and skill set. At 5-foot-11 she has the size of a forward but has the quickness of a guard, can handle the ball like a point but can shoot it like a 2. She has a high release on her jumper and can hit shots off the dribble or the catch. She can also take her man off the dribble and finish in traffic. Springfield is a tough competitor who plays hard. She’s a tremendous talent and is still getting better.
2. Brianna Purcell, 5’5” Guard, Bedford HS – A true point guard, Purcell is simply a menace on the court, constantly wreaking havoc on the opposition in every phase of the game. Very few players in the region play the game as hard, with as much heart and help their team win in as many ways as Purcell. She’s tough as nails. She’s always attacking on offense and pressuring the ball on defense. Very quick off the dribble, with ability to create offense for herself or teammates and also hit outside shot. The kind of player you love if she’s on your team but hate if she’s playing against you. She’s a winner.
3. Nicole Tucci, 5’7” Guard, Bedford HS – Tucci may not be 5-foot-11 but she’s very comparable to Springfield in terms of skill set, quickness and athleticism. Tucci is so quick she’s like a blur out there and looks to push the tempo but is always under control with the ball. She has a smooth jumper that she hits consistently in the mid-range area and has the quickest release in the state. Tucci plays at a high level, has a good feel for the game and can also attack the rim. She has great lateral quickness and aggressiveness on defense. Tucci is a natural 2 but is now starting to see minutes at the point and that versatility only makes her a better prospect.
4. Gabrielle Hunter, 5’9” Forward, Tilton School – Hunter was already listed as one of the state’s top recruits for the Class of 2015, and now with her transfer to Tilton that gives her an extra year to get better and refine her skill set which is rapidly improving but still raw. Hunter is physically stronger than anybody on this list, and she is an absolute beast on the boards. She’s 5-foot-9 but rebounds like a 6-footer. She finishes strong inside and is developing good footwork and a soft touch in the paint. Look for her to keep working on jumper and ball handling and the extra year at Tilton will help expand her game to the perimeter and make her an even more intriguing recruit.
5. Peace Kabari, 5’7” Guard, Phillips Exeter Academy – speaking of players who are strong, athletic and play bigger than their height Kabari also fits that mold. Kabari’s athleticism is off the charts and she has a good motor out there. Kabari is always making things happen out there, whether it’s leaping high up for an offensive rebound, coming out of nowhere for a steal on ‘D’ or sprinting ahead the opposition out on the break for a bucket. Just one of those kids who every time you look up is making a play. Very tough when slashing to the rim, Kabari is another kid who will take her game to the next level as she improves jumper and handle.
6. Mayson Kimball, 5’11” Forward, Merrimack Valley HS – Let’s see here, Kimball is 5-foot-11, a true sophomore and scored a whopping 91 points in 4 games to lead MV to a state title – what’s not to like? Not only is Kimball a dominant scorer and rebounder on the low block, but she can also take her defender off the dribble, push the ball on the break, pull up on a dime and hit a pull-up jumper. Kimball is tenacious when attacking the rim, runs the floor well and is also a good shot blocker.
7. Ashley Berube, 6'1" Forward, Londonderry HS – you can’t teach size and the fact is that Berube is a sophomore who is already 6-foot-1 and has a college-ready frame. She can run the floor, rebound and score in the low post. Those two sentences alone should be enough to put Berube on the radar of college coaches. She is still developing her skill set and getting quicker but there’s no question the upside is there. She has already improved her post move, footwork and finishing ability a ton just in the past few months.
8. Courtney O’Connell, 5’10” Guard/Forward, Bedford HS – upside is the key word when it comes to O’Connell. She has a 29 inch vertical, a 6-foot-1 wingspan and both her parents played at UNH. Her best basketball is still to come, and with Bedford graduating 4 starters and Hunter going prep she’ll now have more of a chance to showcase her skills. O’Connell has long strides, a smooth touch on her mid-range jumper and can really get up high on rebounds or to block shots.
9. Dezi Okorie, 5’7” Guard, Nashua High North – Okorie is another player with tremendous upside due to her off the charts athleticism and explosiveness. She’s extremely quick off the dribble, very tough to stay in front of and has some shifty moves with the ball when slashing to the rim and athletic finishes. Okorie has outstanding speed in the open court, so good luck trying to chase her down on the break because she’s probably already laying it in when her defender is crossing half court. She crashes the boards and has a motor that’s always going.
10. Meg Knollmeyer, 6’0” Forward, Winnacunnet HS – there’s nothing flashy about Knollmeyer’s game - she just quietly goes out there, plays hard, plays the game the right way and gets the job done. She’s a good post defender, has good instincts, crashes the boards and always goes up strong with shots inside. Knollmeyer has good size at 6-foot and is a tough, physical presence in the paint. She’s improving her offensive skill set, as evidenced by her game-high 17 points in the quarterfinals vs. eventual state champs Londonderry.
11. Lexie Hamilton, 5’9” Guard, Hanover HS – there’s a lot to like about Hamilton’s game. She can shoot the lights out like a 2, she is one of the state’s better passers so she can pass like a 1, and at 5-foot-9 she has good size for either position. Hamilton has excellent court vision, makes her teammates better with passing ability and can really heat up from the outside. As she improves foot speed and handle will become an even better prospect.
12. Jocelyn Chaput, 5’6” Guard, Nashua High South – a two-guard with a well rounded game, good toughness and an emerging skill set. Also a cross-country runner, Chaput is in great shape and can run for days. She thrives in the open court, either attacking the rim, hitting jumpers or dishing it off. A hard worker who gives it her all on both ends of the floor and plays at a high level.
13. Katie Valcich, 5’7” Guard, Winnacunnet HS – a very skilled offensive play maker who is also an active defender. She’ll poke her way into battles for loose balls, pressures the ball and jumps the passing lane for tips and steals. On offense she’s strong with the ball, is comfortable running the point and has good court vision. She’s at her best in an up-tempo game, pushing the ball in transition and either taking it to the rim or dishing it to open man.
14. Sara Messler, 5’11” Forward, Oyster River HS – versatile forward with good size and skill set. Messler can play the post, face up to the bucket or play out on the wing. Good finisher inside and can also hit the mid-range jumper. Solid rebounder.
15. Jackie Luckhardt, 5’7” Guard, Londonderry HS – Luckhardt was one of the breakout players of this year’s NHIAA state tournament, playing a key role in Londonderry winning the D-I title. What was most impressive was the number of different ways (not just scoring) she affected the game in a positive way. When it mattered most she played tenacious defense coming up with some huge steals, hit clutch free throws and showed the ability to drive and kick the ball out for some great passes. She mostly played the 2, but stepped up at the point when Aliza Simpson was out with a knee injury.
16. Alexandra Sirmaian, 5’6” Guard, Salem HS – clearly one of the best shooters in the class, hit 9 threes en route to 31 points in one game vs. Central this year. Has good confidence in her shot, as well as a quick, compact release. A quick, athletic 2-guard who has also been getting minutes at the point this AAU season. She always plays hard, gets back on ‘D’ and hustles after lose balls. Not afraid to go inside and battle for rebounds.
17. Sara Cordova, 5’8” Guard, Nashua High North – another kid who can flat out shoot the basketball. She can hit shots in bunches from anywhere on the floor. This past winter Cordova not only emerged as one of the state’s top outside shooters, but also as a player with a strong feel for the game ad all-around skill set which made it difficult for North coach Ricky Oliver to take her off the floor. A strong wing player in the half court or in transition.
18. Angelina Marazzi, 5’5” Guard, Northfield Mount Hermon – Marazzi is transferring from Manchester Memorial to Northfield Mount Hermon, where she will repeat her junior year. She is already a quick point guard with a solid handle, crossover dribble and jumper, and those areas will continue to get better working with trainer TJ Thompson.The extra year of prep ball as well as playing with the NE Crusaders will allow her to work on decision making, running an offense, using screens and shot selection. When Marazzi puts it all together she has the potential to be a very dangerous point guard who can hurt teams scoring or distributing the basketball.
19. Marissa Stacy, 5’7” Guard, Pinkerton Academy – Stacy is a scrappy 2-guard who plays hard, hustles after loose balls, gets steals and deflections on ‘D’ and can also really shoot it from the outside. She’s always in the middle of wherever the action is on the court, making plays. A strong shooter who can also take her man off the dribble.
20. Marie LaPlante, 5’4” Guard, Bishop Guertin – a tough, fearless point guard who plays her heart out every time and has the quickness and skill to make plays for herself or teammates. LaPlante is a very unselfish player, a pass-first point guard who is always looking to set her teammates up for scores who is a good passer but also has the ability to score herself. Also a tough on the ball defender and rebounds very well for a kid her size.
21. Madison Borrelli, 5’8” Guard/Forward, Central Catholic HS (Salem, NH) – Borrelli was a key reserve for a Central team that won the D-I MIAA state title as a freshman, and as a sophomore she started at forward and made all-conference for one of the top teams in Mass. She plays at a high level and isn’t fazed by playing in big games on a big stage. Borrelli rebounds well, she can score inside and has a good face-up game. She goes up strong with shots inside and sets good screens. A multi-sport athlete at Central who also plays softball and soccer, it will be interesting to see which sport she focuses more on in the next couple years.
22. Sara Sherburne, 5’8” Guard, Bishop Guertin – an emerging talent, Sherburne was unknown in most recruiting circles up until late during her sophomore season when she got more minutes off the bench for BG providing an offensive spark and outside shooting weapon. She has continued shooting well during AAU season but has also been working on her all-around game and is now one of the more rapidly improving players in this class. Sherburne has a quick release on her shot and plays hard on both ends of the floor.
23. Alex Peucker, 5’8” Guard, Exeter HS – A streaky shooter, but definitely a dangerous one you don’t want to leave open. Has good range and confidence in her shot. Even if she misses her first couple shots you never know when she’ll hit 3 or 4 in a row. Decent size for the 2-guard spot, which allows her to see over the top of the defense to make better decisions with the ball. Peucker is athletic and has a solid handle.
24. Hannah Cuthbertson, 5’6” Guard, New Hampton School (Hudson) – scrappy, fundamentally sound 2-guard who has been a contributor since she was a freshman for a New Hampton team that plays a very competitive schedule. Good basketball I.Q., and can really shoot it off the outside if left open.
25. Ashley Hill, 5’4” Guard, Trinity HS – Point guard who can handle the ball vs. pressure ‘D’, hit open man while also looking for her own shot. Uses her quickness off the dribble to get into the lane and either take it to the rim, hit pull-up in the lane or dish it off. Tough kid and strong defender who has held her own last couple years guarding players like Aliza Simpson, Jamie Sherburne and Sandi Purcell.
26. Amanda Carey, 5’6” Guard, Windham HS – Versatile wing player who can score inside or out. However her best attributes are being able to rebound and defend. Carey is a savvy player who does a little bit of everything and isn’t afraid to step in and take a charge.