East MVP Erin Boley shows versatility in Jordan Brand Classic

East MVP Erin Boley shows versatility in Jordan Brand Classic

Jordan Brand Classic

East MVP Erin Boley shows versatility in Jordan Brand Classic

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4/15/2016 3:30PM -- New York, NY, U.S.A -- East Team forward Erin Boley (21) poses for a photo with WNBA player Maya Moore after Boley was named East MVP during the Jordan Brand Classic Girls National Game at Barclay's Center.The West defeated the East 100-94. Photo by Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 134691 Jordan hoops 4/15/2016 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

East forward Erin Boley (21) poses for a photo with WNBA player Maya Moore after Boley was named East MVP during the Jordan Brand Classic Girls National Game (Photo: Andy Marlin, USA TODAY High School Sports)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — During one particularly frenetic sequence midway through the third quarter of the girls national game at the Jordan Brand Classic on Friday, Erin Boley outfought several taller players and came away with a tough rebound in traffic. The 6-2 forward from Elizabethtown (Ky.) missed the putback, but stayed with the play and grabbed yet another board — one of her 15 for the contest.

Though Boley’s East squad dropped a 100-94 decision to the West, the star forward turned heads with her strong performance on the glass.

“I think rebounding is a mentality,” Boley said. “It’s a matter of wanting the ball. Going in thinking I was going to work harder for it.”

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Lauren Cox, a 6-4 forward for the West who spent much of the game matched up against Boley, acknowledged Boley’s tough play down low.

“She’s a great rebounder,” said Cox, a Baylor signee who is considered the top player in the Class of 2016. “Great player. It was definitely a battle trying to get those rebounds.”

In addition to her impressive rebound total, Boley also scored 21 points to lead the East. She was 9-for-21 from the floor in a game-high 24 minutes of action.

The high scoring output is normal for Boley, who averaged 24.2 points per game during her senior year at Elizabethtown. But Boley, who’s headed to Notre Dame in the fall, has been focused on her defensive play and rebounding of late, in an effort to secure early playing time with the Fighting Irish.

“I feel like I’m a little bit versatile,” she said. “And I know that they’re going to need me to rebound, and they’re going to need me to play good defense if I’m going to get into the game.”

Boley was named the MVP of the East squad on Friday — just the latest addition to her fast growing hardware collection. The 2016 Miss Kentucky Basketball was recently honored with her third consecutive Gatorade Kentucky player of the year award. Last week, she was named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA First Team and in March, she was named the Gatorade girls’ national player of the year.

“The last month has been crazy,” Boley said. “But it really is a dream come true.”

This week has offered Boley an invaluable chance to see how she stacks up with some of the best in the country. Jackie Young, who scored three points in 14 minutes of action for the East, will join Boley in South Bend. While another East teammate, Dominique Touissant, figures to match up with Boley quite a bit in the future, having committed to ACC rival Virginia.

“It’s amazing knowing that you’re practicing with some of the best of the best,” Boley said. “I’m excited to get to play against them in college.”

Boley is excited for her opportunity to suit up for the Fighting Irish, following the path of Notre Dame greats such as Brianna Turner and Skylar Diggins. And she already knows what it will take to forge her own legacy in South Bend.

“I can’t wait,” Boley said. “I’m ready to go in and get to work.”

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