Classic in the Country

The Ticket’s 2019 All-Classic in the Country First Team

What do people want to see when they attend the Classic in the Country Challenge high school girls basketball showcase at Hiland High School’s Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center? Fans want to see athleticism, flash and flair but not at the expense of fundamentals.

Fans got their wish Jan. 19-21 when plenty of athleticism and some good old-fashioned teamwork were on display including nationally ranked talent from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tennessee), who joined some of Ohio’s best and brightest teams.

Following is’s 2019 All-Classic First Team.



MaKayla Elmore, Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains

Photo by James Wagler

MaKayla Elmore is not your typical 6′ 3″ teenager. She is listed as a forward but plays like a guard, which causes a lot of issues for opposing defenses. Not only did the Hopewell-Loudon super-sophomore lead her Chieftains in knocking off West Holmes on the final day of The Classic, but she did it with a ridiculous 27-point, 14-rebound effort. Elmore shot 9-of-16 from the field including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. She stuffed the stat sheet and dominated in a commanding Classic in the Country Challenge performance. Her five steals and two assists supplemented her monster double-double effort and cemented The Ticket’s MVP selection. Elmore’s gaudy point total jumps off the stat sheet, but her 12 defensive boards proves Elmore’s impact on both ends of the floor.


Shyanne Sellers, Aurora Greenmen

Photo by James Wagler

In what could arguably be the most hotly contested game of Classic in the Country Challenge XVI from start to finish, where the scoring differential between Aurora and Bellevue was a single point for three of the four quarters of action, it was Aurora’s Shyanne Sellers who stepped up her game in the pivotal moments when her Greenmen squad needed her the most. The 6′ 1″ sophomore splashed in 24 point and added five rebounds, four steals, three assists and one big blocked shot to seal the victory. Most impressively, Sellers did it from all areas of the floor, where she made 9-of-17 shot attempts including 2-of-6 from behind the arc.


Casey Santoro, Bellevue Redmen

Photo by James Wagler

Did we mention that the most hotly contested game of Classic in the Country Challenge XVI from start to finish was Aurora versus Bellevue? Shyanne Sellers and the Greenmen might have been victorious in the end, but it was Bellevue’s junior guard Casey Santoro flying all over The Reese Center that amounted to an almost Herculean level of heroics for the Redmen. Santoro can do it all and is flat-out nasty on offense and defense. She finished with 25 points on 9-of-21 shooting including 3-of-6 made from downtown. Don’t let her 5′ 4″ frame fool you. She snared five rebounds, thieved four steals, dished out three assists and added a blocked shot for good measure.


Katie Shumate, Newark Wildcats

Photo by James Wagler

Newark’s Katie Shumate can do it all. She can make the big shot, snag the timely rebound or zip a precision pass when it matters most. The senior All-Ohioan’s versatility and ability to dominate on offense, while locking down her opponent on defense, make her enjoyable to watch. Shumate led the Wildcats to two victories over Mason and Wadsworth at Classic in the Country XVI. Averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game, Shumate was just one of three players to average a double-double at The Classic this year. Katie scored 12 points and cleaned 11 boards in Newark’s 52-39 victory over the Comets on Sunday, but it was her 14-point, nine-rebound, three-steal effort against the Grizzlies on Monday that sealed her position on the All-Classic First Team.


Kamilla Cardoso, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy Hawks

Photo by James Wagler

How do you stop a 6′ 7″ post player that seemingly has arms and legs all over the court? Not very easily. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy’s Kamilla Cardoso is generally a nightmare for opposing coaches to game plan against, which is a big reason why the Lady Hawks were ranked number five in the country in the USA Today Super-25 poll heading into Classic in the Country XVI. Mount Notre Dame knocked off Cardoso and company on Saturday, but Kamilla finished with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor while adding 13 caroms and two blocked shots in the defeat. Cardoso and Hamilton Heights bounced back on Sunday in a thrilling 61-59 overtime victory over Lakota West, where she secured another double-double with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.


Zoe Miller, Hiland Hawks

Photo by James Wagler

Maybe Hiland sophomore Zoe Miller didn’t generate a highlight reel of spectacular moments during her two games, but her yeoman’s work helped lead the Lady Hawks to two victories over a couple of tough opponents. In Hiland’s matchup with the Polar Bears from Margaretta on Saturday night, Miller scored 11 points and collected 14 rebounds to go with two steals, helping the Hawks secure the 42-33 victory. On Monday night against Gahanna Lincoln, Miller added another 11-point ball game to her Classic resume and snagged a dozen rebounds in Hiland’s 44-36 win over the Golden Lions. Zoe punched the time clock and came ready to play both days. Her consistent hustle and heart made her one of only three players to average a double-double at Classic in the Country XVI, earning a spot on The Ticket’s All-Classic First Team.

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