Detroit News top girls basketball players: Elliott takes over at Edison
It’s rare for a player to leave high school with multiple state championships, but Detroit Edison senior Gabrielle Elliott will have the chance to move on to Clemson as a four-time state champion.
Elliott and Edison won Class C state championships in 2017 and ’18, then moved up to Division 2 last year and won another state title.
Miss Basketball winner Rickea Jackson was the face of the program last year, but now this is Elliott’s team, as Jackson has graduated and is starting at No. 15 Mississippi State.
Elliott was a member of The Detroit News Dream Team last year when she averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, three steals and three assists for Edison, which finished 27-1. She had 15 points and six rebounds in the state championship game and enters her senior year as The News’ No. 1 player in the state.
“Going into my senior year I feel good, but I feel a lot more pressure because it’s the fourth, the last one and you want to go out with a bang,” Elliott said. “I feel good about what the team is going to do this year, feel confident about it.”
Elliott is among four starters back with an outstanding backcourt of Damiya Hagemann, Daija Tyson (Bradley) and Shaulana Wagner (Xavier). Ariel Jenkins (Ferris State) and 6-0 Dareonna Little, who returns after being sidelined with a shoulder injury during the second half of the season, are also key contributors.
“She brings a certain type of confidence and maturity that we need, so to have her back feels good because she’s an important key to what we’re trying to do this year,” said Elliott of Little.
Elliott has matured, as well.
“Gabby is a finisher, very poised, not ever rushed,” Coach Monique Brown said. “She’s very focused and a hard worker, and her most special attribute is her will and desire to win. No matter who is on your team she finds a way to get it done.”
Elliott says she feels an uptick in confidence, despite the added pressure.
“My shooting has gotten a lot better and I’m a lot more confident on the court, and I feel like that just helps everything else since I’m way more confident with the ball in my hands,” said Elliott, a 5-foot-10 guard-forward who is the younger sister of Marquette guard Greg Elliott, who played his high school ball at Detroit East English.
Gabrielle took a visit to Marquette and also considered Minnesota before deciding on Clemson.
“I did take an official visit to Marquette, but once the coaching staff changed it opened my eyes a little more,” said Elliott of Carolyn Kieger leaving Marquette to become head coach at Penn State. “I picked Clemson for many reasons. It’s family-oriented and I always wanted to play down south. I’m really excited for what Clemson has planned and what they have coming up and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Other top players
2. Damiya Hagemann, 5-7, Jr., G, Detroit Edison
Hagemann had offers from Ohio State, Michigan and DePaul in her hip pocket before stepping on campus in high school. She is an outstanding ball-handler who can score in transition, set her teammates up or knock down the perimeter shot. She averaged 14 points, 8.1 assists and 4.1 steals last season, coming up big in the state title game with 13 points and nine assists, making 3-of-7 3-pointers.
3. Breanne Salenbien, 6-3, Jr., G-F, Adrian Lenawee Christian
Salenbien is on pace to do what Elliott has accomplished after leading Lenawee Christian to consecutive state championships (Class D in 2018, Division 4 last season). She does an outstanding job of handling the ball, is a strong rebounder and can score inside or from the perimeter. She averaged 23.6 points, nine rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 3.6 steals. She has nearly two dozen offers, including Maryland, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan and Michigan State.
4. Whitney Sollom, 6-4, Sr., C, Hartland
Sollom is an outstanding rebounder and shot blocker who can also score within 15 feet of the basket. She averaged 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks last season to help her team win the regional championship. She will play next year at Michigan.
5. Cheyenne McEvans, 5-10, Sr., G, Southfield A&T
McEvans is physical and plays with great intensity, helping A&T reach the Division 1 state championship game last season, a 55-40 loss to Saginaw Heritage. She can handle the ball, take the ball and score at the basket or make the 3-pointer. She averaged 17.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals last season and will play next year at Buffalo.
6. Aaliyah Nye, 6-1, Sr., F, East Lansing
Nye has been a big factor for East Lansing her entire career, including her sophomore year when she helped her team reach the Class A state championship game, contributing 16 points and 10 rebounds in a state semifinal win over Wayne. She averaged 17.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last season and will play next year at Illinois.
7. Jillian Brown, 5-10, Jr., G, East Grand Rapids
Brown, a combo guard, averaged 18 points last season to help EGR to an OK Gold title. She showed her perimeter skills earlier this season when she knocked down seven 3-pointers, scoring 29 in a 66-57 win over Kalamazoo Central. She has multiple offers, including Michigan, Northwestern, Marquette and DePaul.
8. A.J. Ediger, 6-2, Jr., C, Hamilton
Ediger was a double-double machine last season, averaging 20.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals to help her team earn a state semifinal spot. She is an Iowa commit.
9. Morasha Wiggins, 6-0, Jr., G, Kalamazoo Central
Wiggins has size, quickness and great skills as a 6-foot guard, averaging 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists during her sophomore season to lead Kalamazoo Central to the SMAC East title. She already has offers from multiple Big Ten and SEC schools, including Michigan, Michigan State and Kentucky.
10. Ally VanTimmeren, 6-3, Jr., F, Jenison
VanTimmeren has the combination of size, athleticism and skill to get things done at a high level. She averaged 17.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks her sophomore year and is being heavily recruited, already owning offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, DePaul and other schools.
11. Mya Petticord, 5-9, So., G, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep
Petticord showed why she had multiple Big Ten offers before playing her first game during her freshman year. She came through with a 33-point outing in her debut against Clarkston, followed with 34 points against Maple City Glen Lake. She averaged 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists to help Arbor Prep reach the Division 3 Final Four, suffering an overtime loss to Pewamo-Westphalia in the semifinals.
12. Theryn Hallock, 5-8, So., G, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Hallock, daughter of former Lions and Michigan State tight end Ty Hallock, can play point or shooting guard, displaying her talent in a 57-27 rout of rival Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern when she scored 40 points with 11 steals and seven rebounds in a game earlier this season. She averaged 13 points, 3.7 steals and 2.7 rebounds her freshman year and has already received an offer from Michigan State.
13. Hannah Spitzley, 6-0, Sr., G-F, Pewamo-Westphalia
Spitzley has made a huge impact since her freshman year when P-W put a scare into Detroit Edison, losing 46-44 in the Class C state championship game when she scored 17. She averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals last season to help P-W win the Division 3 state title. She will play next year at Western Michigan.
14. Carlee Crabtree, 5-11, Sr., G-F, Coldwater
Crabtree can play multiple positions, averaging 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season to help Coldwater reach the regional title game with a regional semifinal win over East Lansing. She earned Interstate 8 Conference MVP honors while setting a school record for points (35) in a game. She will play next year at Central Michigan.
15. Aaliyah McQueen, 5-9, Sr., G, Flint Carman-Ainsworth
McQueen is a strong, athletic guard who can get to the rim and also score from the perimeter. She averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season and will play next year at Illinois.
16. Kenzie Lewis, 5-11, Sr., G, Williamston
Lewis is an outstanding ball-handler and playmaker and a strong defender. She averaged 16.8 points, seven assists and four steals last season and will play next year at Bowling Green.
17. Cam Grant, 6-1, Sr., F, Macomb Dakota
Grant is capable of coming up with a double-double every time she steps on the court. She averaged 15.2 points and 10 rebounds last season despite missing 11 games due to an ankle injury. She will play next year at Ball State.
18. Gabi Saxman, 5-6, Sr., G, Schoolcraft
Saxman has put Schoolcraft on the map in girls basketball, taking over the point guard duties her freshman year and helping her team win a regional title for the first time in program history. She averaged 16.2 points, six assists and six steals last season and will play down the road at Western Michigan next year.
19. Sophie Dziekan, 6-2, Sr., C, Brighton
Dziekan averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and two blocks last season to help her team reach the KLAA championship game. She is an outstanding defender and can score around the basket or by knocking down the 15-footer. She will play next year at Bowling Green.
T20. Jasmine Clerkley, 5-11, Sr., F, Okemos
Clerkley is a physical player who can rebound and attack the basket. She averaged a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) last season. She will play next year at Bowling Green.
T20. Shaulana Wagner, 5-7, Sr., G, Detroit Edison
Wagner has been an impact player at Edison since her freshman year, coming off the bench to make the difference that season in the state championship game. She has continued her strong play to help Edison win state titles her sophomore and junior years as well, and will play next year at Xavier.