For all the great teams that have passed through Pickerington during the holiday break, some individual talent also has left its mark.

For all the great teams that have passed through Pickerington during the holiday break, some individual talent also has left its mark.

In 2003, Maryville (Tenn.) Heritage High School sophomore point guard Cait McMahan set the for most points scored in three games with 90. The same year, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton of Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley tied a six-year-old record for most blocked shots in three games held by Pickerington's LaToya Turner with 18.

In 2004, Phoenix St. Mary's Catholic junior guard Dymond Simon scored 80 points in three games. In 2006 and 2007, West Chester Lakota West's Amber Gray stole the show. In 2006, she scored a tournament-best 41 points in one game. Last season, she shot 65 percent from the field and averaged 25 points as the Firebirds won their second consecutive title over Pickerington North.

Gray, who was Classic MVP both seasons, and McMahan now are teammates at Tennessee.

"When teams come to this, these are not league games so it's a great opportunity for players to highlight themselves," North coach Dave Butcher said. "You look at what Amber Gray did, or Cait McMahan did. It's showtime for them. That's what's been a major factor since this tournament came to North (in 2003). Premier players use this as their stage to send a message. We've had some outstanding players these last five years at North."

Among the eight teams in the 2008 Kroger Holiday Classic, which will run Saturday through Monday, each has at least one Division I recruit. The host Panthers had two players sign a letter of intent Nov. 14 in Brittney Callahan (Northern Illinois) and Brittany Gamby (University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

"This year, (the Classic) has some great individual talent," Butcher said. "There should be some competitive games."

Knoxville (Tenn.) Webb is led by 6-foot-3 senior post player Faith Dupree. Last season, Dupree, a Tennessee signee, averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 blocks. Webb also features 5-7 point guard Jessica Goswitz, who has signed with Rice.

"I really wanted us to come up last year," Webb coach Shelley Collier said. "But I asked my seniors where they wanted to go and Glory Johnson (two-time Miss Basketball in Tennessee) said she wanted to go somewhere warm. I hated missing out on it. I told (Butcher) that if they asked us again, we would come. This time I didn't leave it up to my seniors.

"We're excited. We know that it has a very good reputation for being one of the top tournaments in the country. We've always heard good things about it."

Ashley Robinson and her Warminster (Pa.) Wood Catholic team returns for the second consecutive season. Last season, Wood Catholic placed fifth. Robinson was Player of the Year in the Philadelphia Catholic League the last three seasons.

"Ashley gets a lot of double-teams, but that's only made her a better passer," coach Jim Ricci said. "We move her to the outside at times, and she's played well there, too."

Chicago Bogan features Lynette Holmes and Ariel Haynes, both being recruited by Ohio State, according to coach Gary Bell.

Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, which has won the last three Division I state titles, also is in the field. Kendall Hackney, a 6-2 senior forward who has committed to Southern California, was the Most Outstanding Player in the state tournament the last two seasons. Point guard Ashley Fowler is an Ohio University recruit.

"We feel fortunate we were able to attract some top-quality teams," Butcher said. "The competition gets tougher to bring the teams in, but they still come to Pickerington because of the competition and how they're treated."

"You can't ask for better hospitality or better competition," Ricci said. "It's everything you want out of a holiday tournament, except for the weather."

At a glance

•What: Kroger Holiday Classic

•Where: Pickerington High School North

•When: Saturday through Monday

•Visiting teams: Chicago Bogan, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, Kettering Fairmont, Knoxville (Tenn.) Webb, McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township, Warminster (Pa.) Wood Catholic, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne

•Tickets: Available at the Pickerington North athletics department. Three-day books (12 games) are $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Daily passes are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. No single-game tickets are available.