2025 Makena Christian (Wisconsin Lakers)
2025 Jaylah Lampley (Blaze United)
Warsaw, IN: The Drive To The Hoop Classic is one of the top middle school events in the country. With nearly 100 teams in attendance this past weekend at the 9th Annual Drive To the Hoop Classic in Warsaw, IN; parents, fans, and evaluators saw an amazing start of the middle school basketball season for 2021. With a range of fourth graders all the way up to eighth grade, several young ladies showed that they had been in the gym in the offseason for sure. Here are a few that caught my eye.
Vanessa Wimberly | Nike Lady Gym Rats (IN)
With hundreds of players coming through the doors for the Drive To the Hoop Classic, Wimberly stood out as one of the most energetic players in the gym. Her high motor translated to immediate buckets! She finished with an array of moves in the paint after repeatedly beating multiple defenders off the dribble. This young player was so explosive and lightning fast in transition. Her defensive prowess in the open court was sensational as her on the ball defense was fantastic. This uber-competitive standout will continue to lead her team to future victories.
JJ Barnes | Wisconsin Playground Elite
This lefty combo guard is the very epitome of a blue collared player. Her hard-nosed style of play came to life as she dove for loose balls, closed out to shooters quick for deflections, and ran the floor with reckless abandon at times. Barnes seemed to do all the little things necessary to boost her team's chances for a win. She worked tirelessly in the middle of the press breaker, flashing and cutting, as well as handled the ball calmly under pressure. She also had the lofty responsibility of needing to score the ball for her team in which she did every way conceivable. This all-around player from the Badger state should stay on the scene for some time.
Makena Christian | Wisconsin Lakers
Watching Makena from the first tip to her last championship game on Sunday afternoon, one thing was certain-she got stronger as the event went on. Her consistent improvement was evident in her final game as she showed how effective her footwork was on the inside with deadly up and under moves as well as her attacking mentality was from the high post area. She maintained her toughness and grit throughout the game as she pounded the boards on both ends. Christian gave her team the inside-outside presence they needed to take home the 8th Grade Division Championship at the Drive To The Hoop Classic.
Jaylah Lampley | Blaze United
It didn’t take long to see Jaylah’s athleticism stand out. Her long and springy frame allowed her to operate from anywhere on the court and take her defender off the bounce with ease. She wasn’t afraid to get out on the perimeter and defend smaller, quicker players either. The Hoosier state class of 2025 is loaded and Lampley is one of the main reasons why. Trust me when you watch this kid play in a few years, you will not be disappointed.
Elisha Dykstra | Michigan Basketball Academy
A versatile player that has so many offensive weapons, Dykstra is a scorer that will always find a way to get it done. She drove to the rim strong, often finishing with contact and making the free-throw line her home. She also was able to spot up and knock down some very deep three-point shots. Looking forward to watching Dykstra's development as she has the size and skills to make an impact once she gets to high school.
Elise Bender | Bates Fundamentals
Bender did a great job, not only pushing the tempo for her team but controlling it as well. She made easy passes in the full court when her opponents tried to bring the pressure. She did a great job of not turning the ball over and keeping much-needed possessions. Elise also showed very nice form and range with her three-ball. She did a great job of hitting the open three when the defense showed zone.
As we all know, it is never too early to start looking for future prospects. The Drive To The Hoop Classic had plenty of players that we should be hearing from in years to come.
Lola Lampley '26 Blaze United
Jayla Jackson '26 1 Nation Elite
Myah Epps '26 Always 100
Stella Sakalas '26 Midwest Elite
Kendyl Smith '26 Michigan Mystics
2026 Lola Lampley (Blaze United)
2026 Jayla Jackson (1 Nation)