Louisville, Kentucky is home to some of the best girls’ youth basketball competition in the country.
That’s because every year, the Kentucky Expo Center hosts "The Classic," an NCAA-certified tournament. And then again in July, it hosts the nation’s largest girls’ basketball tournament, "Run for the Roses," with more than 1,000 teams.
Hudson Middle School student-athletes Grace Jackson and Taylor Angielski are becoming very familiar with the Bluegrass state as they recently made the trip to Louisville to compete.
After winning the Roses Rising Stars Championship as sixth graders, they returned again to Louisville with their Score More Athletic Club Amateur Athletic Union seventh-grade team to play in the 2019 Classic.
"It’s a tournament to compete against national competition," SMAC director and head coach Tucker Neale. "It attracts top colleges. More than half of the top-20 ranked Division I college teams were here."
The team finished undefeated in pool play, winning by an average of 19 points against Southern Kentucky Starz, Tennessee Rush and Illinois Bolingbrook Panthers.
SMAC then beat undefeated Dayton Metro 41-13 in its semifinal game.
SMAC entered the title game against the Indiana Blaze, which won its pool by an average 27 points and beat Kentucky Premier 38-14 in the other semifinal game.
SMAC’s offensive power and rebounding prowess was too much for the Indiana team as SMAC won the Top Platinum North Division Championship 48-37.
"These girls have learned how to win together," Neale said. "Taylor and Grace bring that edge from that undefeated Hudson team. All these girls figure it out when it’s not going their way.
"While it’s a good tournament win, they all know they still need to take it up another level to be successful at Roses in Louisville again and then down at Nationals in Atlanta."