#HeatBallShowdown: Immediate Takeaways

The Heat Ball Showdown had several teams from across the southeast region of the US to compete over the weekend. Here are my immediate takeaways…

Cara Jeffery (5’9/C/’27/Tuscaloosa Warriors) 

IG: carakimoraaaa._

Cara is a young player, and at 5’9, she is definitely an undersized post. Yet she did an amazing job on the glass, especially on the offensive end, which led to several put-backs. She was productive in the paint, but I can’t help but suggest that she begin to work on expanding her game beyond the paint. Her squad was overmatched in the game I saw, but Cara proved that she competes regardless of the score.  

J’Bionna Robinson (5’7/PG/’25/FBC Bouncenation) 

IG: jbfor__3 / bouncenation_fbc

X: @JbionnaRobinson / @BounceNation_FBC

J’Bionna is a lead guard who showed a mature floor game as she was productive in the half-court as well as in transition. She lived in the paint and put a lot of pressure on the defense. She got downhill as well as any guard in the entire tourney. She does a good job of changing speeds and picking her spots. She did a good job creating her own shot, but she also got her teammates involved by creating scoring opportunities off the bounce. She showed her ability to be a scoring guard who also has the ability to run the show for her squad.    

Angela Mirkovic (6’3/C/’25/Zone 6 Celtics Team Nard 2025) 

IG: zone6celtics

X: @zone6celtics

Angela is a post player with length who showed she can score on the inside. She is not a player who is going to bang as she has more of a finesse game where she plays more facing up to the basket. She is a rising senior next year and needs to spend time working on her footwork, agility, and strength. She can space the floor with her ability to knock down the trey ball, but as she goes throughout the spring and summer, if she can bring more aggressiveness to the floor, it is going to help her impact the game and impact winning on a higher level.  

Ashlyn Jaida Howard (6’0/PF/’25/Alabama Heat Elite) 

IG: Pretty_big30 / Alabamaheatelite

X: @Big30ashlyn / @Alabamaheatelite

Ashlyn was one of the most dominant players in the entire tourney. She was virtually unstoppable on the inside as she got whatever she wanted when she got paint touches. She is very physical and plays very aggressively. She is a stout forward with good footwork and a good acumen for the game. She’s a scoring threat every time she gets the ball around the rim and does a good job creating space with her broad shoulders, which made it hard for defenders to put up any type of resistance. As she continues to expand her face-up game she will see her stock continue to rise.  

Mariah Reid (5’8/PG/’27/Zone 6 Celtics) 

IG: _.r1ah / zone6celtics

X: @Riahsosolo / @zone6celtics

Mariah is a listed PG, but in the game I watched her play, she was a scoring machine. She is a multi-level scorer who is lightning-quick off the bounce. She is a playmaker who impacts the game with her scoring and her passing off the dribble. She was difficult to contain in iso situations and was a tough shot-maker in the paint. Mariah is best in the open court due to her quickness, and when she gets a head of steam going downhill, there is really no stopping her. One thing to notice about Mariah is that she is a freshman poised to have a good spring and summer while there is still a lot of work to be done in the lab. 

Ava Zenner (5’7/PG/’28/Team Brandon Wright 2027 Black) 

IG: ava.zenner / teambwright

X: @AvaZenner2028 / @TBWExposure

Ava is an 8th grader who was one of the best guards in the tourney, regardless of classification. She sets the pace for her team, is a distributor of the rock, and is a very good orchestrator of the offense. She is a lead guard who can facilitate, but her scoring prowess was nearly unmatched. She does a good job finding open teammates with the pass, loves getting to the rim off the dribble, and can knock down the deep ball. Ava showed a lot of promise, and I see her eventually evolving into a highly skilled, disciplined, and smart overall complete player.