GEICO Nationals Runner-Up and Semifinalists Kick Off Season:
The aggregation of talent for this event was very impressive. The recent early signing period for the 2024 class saw a sizeable number of players within the field underscores the attention the Northeast part of the country draws from college programs at on a national level. Of the 4 teams making up last year’s GEICO Nationals field, 3 were present at the Art Turner Memorial: Long Island Lutheran (NY), McDonogh (MD), and Westtown (PA).
LuHi picked up where they left off last season, following a loss in the GEICO Nationals title game. An opening game blowout of Catholic (VA) by 32 was an impressive and reaffirming result, following last year’s title push. However, a 68-point win to back it up only reiterated the immense versatility, danger and depth the Crusaders roster features.
Semi-finalists McDonogh and Westtown each squared off against a tough Sidwell Friends squad, who won the 2023 State Champions Invitational last season. Westtown was able to prevail behind the play of forward Jordyn Palmer, while McDonogh suffered their first defeat of the season. Despite the differing results, both squads roster young players (Autumn Fleary – McDonogh and Jordyn Palmer and Jessie Moses – Westtown) already showcasing their potential to uphold last year’s production and successes.
Underclassmen playing heavy minutes and key roles:
The aforementioned Fleary and Moses, for McDonogh and Westtown respectively, were among a large number of teams trotting out underclassmen to lead their teams on the court. Fleary and Moses more than held their own throughout the event, but Ava Yoon (Sidwell Friends), Ryan Carter (Penn Charter) and Maya Land-Dailey (Catholic) joined them as well with their production.
Each generated momentum-building plays for their programs and controlled the flow of games setting up teammates to produce. Guards weren’t the only young players carrying their teams however, as frontcourt prospects and wings stepped up in a big way as well.
Westtown’s Palmer, Sanai Green (The Steward School) and Olivia Vukosa (Christ the King) put forth dynamic skillsets to disrupt defenses and adjusted accordingly to sustain production in the face of multiple styles. Vukosa specifically is showing signs of developing a strong ability to facilitate on the offensive end, much in the way older, elite bigs Kate Koval (2024) and Sienna Betts (2025) have displayed in their arsenals.
Sidwell Friends wing Jayla Jordan Jackson was also a part of the above group and continues to take leaps forward in her development.
Kate Koval, Long Island Lutheran (**signed with Notre Dame)
Syla Swords, Long Island Lutheran (**signed with Michigan)
Jayla Jordyn Jackson, Sidwell Friends
Kiyomi McMiller, Life Center
Kayleigh Heckel, Long Island Lutheran (**signed with USC)
Kendall Dudley, Sidwell Friends (**signed with UCLA)
Tatum Greene, St. Johns College (**signed with Boston College)
Savvy Swords, Long Island Lutheran
Jordyn Palmer, Westtown
Olivia Vukosa, Christ the King
Kyndal Walker, St. Johns College (**signed with Maryland)
Zania Socka-Nguemen, Sidwell Friends (**signed with UCLA)
Caliyah DeVillasee, Good Counsel
Autumn Fleary, McDonogh
Sanai Green, The Steward School
Kaylinn Bethea, Penn Charter
Toby Nweke, Georgetown Visitation (**signed with Princeton)
Ava Yoon, Sidwell Friends
Nyla Brooks, Bishop Ireton