EST WNY Warm-Up: The Super Seven

A great number of players at the 2nd Annual EST WNY Warm-Up had their moments & helped themselves at the event – many of them have already been documented in recent recap articles. However, a select few always seem to steal the show in their own ways. Sometimes it’s the most established prospects playing at the level everyone knows they’re capable of; on other occasions, it’s new faces jumping on the scene & making a loud statement. When I’m lucky, it’s both. That was the case at Roberts Wesleyan, as usual suspects flexed & newer names made sure everyone knew who they were going forward.

I hoped to narrow this article down to a ‘starting five’ format, but at the end of the day, it was like your traditional 21st century all-league team – we’ll call it The Super Seven of April 28. Who shined the brightest? This group is a good start:

Kyleigh Chapman (Canandaigua 2024, NY Royals)

Kyleigh Chapman (2024): I raved about how well Kyleigh played in the initial 2024 post, but her performance bears repeating. I assume all of Section V is familiar with Kyleigh’s prowess on the basketball court by now & respects her game, but this is what ‘putting it all together’ and playing with a point to prove looks like. The positional range the 5’11” southpaw showed here was ‘whatever you want’. Wing work, frontcourt, on the ball as a lead guard/’point forward’ type – Kyleigh displayed as the most versatile player in the building. She scored it consistently while displaying a crafty finishing package, capable in-between game, and she shot the three well in stretches as well. She proved to be just as effective as a creator with a few passes that not many others in the gym could see or make. On the defensive end, she used the IQ/’savvy veteran’ things that often shine through offensively for her, baiting opponents into turnovers on a handful of occasions. Her instincts on the basketball court were second-to-none and shined in all forms of play. While Kyleigh was on the court, there wasn’t a way that she wasn’t impactful, and with the quiet confidence that was so apparent that it felt tangible, all the positive impact was noticeable.

Peyton Dincher (Jersey Shore (PA) 2025, Next Level Strong)

Peyton Dincher (2025): If we’re talking developed skill & basketball instincts, there might not have been anyone in the gym that showed as complete a repertoire as Peyton. The recent 1st team all-state selection in Pennsylvania has received increasing Division I attention of late, and when you sit & really pay attention to her game, the only question you may have is why she isn’t receiving more. This wasn’t even her best shooting day – I’ve seen her torch the nets from behind the line, and she only hit a couple of them here – but her impact was felt throughout as she showed the ability to do nearly everything you could ask for on a basketball court. There’s shooting in rhythm & then there’s the ability to create your own rhythm – Peyton can do that with her ability to use jabs to dictate her defender’s positioning & effectiveness off limited dribbles to create space & rise. Peyton heavily tapped into the midrange and even showed some back-to-basket fundamentals vs. a couple smaller matchups. As 5v5 progressed, teammates started to happily run when she had it in her hands because she pushed the pace & showed exceptional court vision in transition. There’s a balance between playing aggressively & making the right play that many players often miss in this kind of setting, and Peyton – who plays like the game flows in her blood – achieved that balance. She also showed instincts & feel off the ball, willingness to be an off-ball mover to create scoring opportunities or better spacing, and she went to the other end and defended 1-3. Call this event the appetizer sampler of Peyton’s talents – she provided a taste of everything.

Mallory Heise (Hilton 2025, XGen Elite)

Mallory Heise (2025): It’s entirely possible that Mallory possessed leadership qualities when she was still in diapers. It was the beginning of 7th grade when I first watched her play, and Mallory was far beyond her years mentally & with the intangibles at that point. There’s a step to take from ‘having leadership qualities’ to ‘being the leader’ though, and make no mistake, you felt that she was a leader at this event. A Division I offered talent already, she aimed to set the table for others through much of the event. When her team had a few shaky possessions in a row (natural in this environment), she took it upon herself to get them back on track. Beyond that, what stuck out was the skill development and how she’s added to her game. The range is more consistent… now the ‘midrange assassin’ is rising up & hitting the three consistently. She was successful operating & attacking off high or wing ball screens. She was successful operating & creating in iso situations. Although she looked to create for others, she created shots for herself & scored effectively in 1v1 opportunities. I watched the game film and thought this is the next step. Many players’ development slows in high school and they just become a slightly better version of what they already were as a youngster. Mallory Heise is clearly ’embracing the difficult’ when the cameras aren’t around and continues to build & grow. A Division I player that showed it here.

Rhylin Fehrenbach (Victor 2026, Buffalo Titans)

Rhylin Fehrenbach (2026): Someone coming in on their EST debut and immediately tearing it up is always noteworthy. When it’s a freshman at a HS event, it’s a rarity. Rhylin welcomed herself to the party from the opening moments. This was apparently the night of the Swiss Army knives – the overall versatility of Kyleigh & backcourt versatility of Peyton were mentioned above – Rhylin’s frontcourt versatility & how she attacked bigs vs. wings was impressive. The 5’9″ lefty may have been one of the youngest players in the gym, but she was also one of the best overall athletes. Whether it was strength/physicality around the rim, leaping ability off 1 or 2 feet, speed in running the floor, or acceleration to cover ground in short spurts, Rhylin was an alpha athletically – and she maximized those talents by playing with unmatched motor. She was one of the most engaged on the defensive end & genuinely impacted games with her activity and ability to guard some of the best players on the floor, regardless of position/skill set. When matched up with a wing, she willingly took them to the post and showed some back-to-basket game. When it was a big that took her, Rhylin took them to the arc & went to work, whether it was attacking off the bounce or rising up for one of her handful of threes. This may have been Rhylin’s first time at an EST event, but basketball is a universal language. If you can speak the game, you’ll look like a vet. A heck of a debut showing for Rhylin, and if she continues this path of progression, she’s on track to be ‘next up’ on the list of scholarship players out of Rochester.

Emily McDonald (St. Mary’s-Lancaster 2026, XGen Elite)

Emily McDonald (2026): When you expect a freshman to be one of the top dogs, that kid is different. EMac is all of that, and she didn’t disappoint at this event. The skill level keeps improving, the bag continues to expand, she’s developing physically, and she just keeps growing too… not a bad combo. Now up to around 5’10” with superior length, the measurables are impressive as a lead guard. She uses that to its fullest extent on the defensive end, where she displayed here as an exceptional shot blocking guard that used active hands & light feet to get deflections up top as well. Because of the length, instincts, timing, and willingness to stay in the play, even when it looks like she’s out of the play, she never really is. Offensively, in an environment where players often come in looking to get theirs (I call it as I see it), Emily showed her IQ & understanding of the game by looking to make ‘the right play’ – and she scored efficiently in the process while displaying an array of skills. She simply made plays with the ball in her hands that no one else in the gym could do, got to spots that no one else could’ve got to, scored at three levels while consistently making correct reads, and made tough rim finishes look casual. Emily makes the game of basketball look easy, and if you walked over to the skill work court & watched her there, maybe you’d have an idea why as she attacked that segment with the same attention to detail as the competition courts. All of that while being a steady source of positive energy… developing into the total package. EMac is already D1 offered, but that recruitment is only beginning. I envision some major D1s coming in before long – most likely the highest-level prospect in the building at this event.

And two more young guns for your Rolodex, as their performances at this event can’t go without mention here:

Natalie Hollingshead (Baldwinsville 2026, Syracuse Nets)

Natalie Hollingshead (2026): It’s impossible to not include the hottest hand in the gym. Couldn’t have asked for Natalie’s EST debut to go any better. With how well she shot the ball, how efficiently she scored it in general, and the energy & enthusiasm she played with, she made one of the biggest statements in the gym in my eyes. Natalie took advantage of every opportunity given and was the most potent scorer in every game she played in. The number of threes she hit in game play was in the double digits (with not many misses). She attacked the rim effectively with space & created that space by leading with pace. Her motor never died; she stayed engaged on every possession, whether it was 5v5 or the 3v3 courts that some others like to fall asleep for. We don’t keep score at these events, but when I go back & watch game film, I may or may not tally the score (hint: I do). All night long, whatever team Natalie was on won. There’s real value in that. Big night for Natalie.

Skylar Herington (Randolph 2027, XGen Elite)

Skylar Herington (2027): This event wasn’t even ‘open’ for 2027s, so Skylar not only performing but standing out here should tell you just what the Southern Tier of WNY has on their hands. The region has been home to some stars in the more recent & more distant past… Sky’s next up. The exceptionally advanced skill set, willingness to assert herself & put her stamp on a game in any setting, understanding of how to do it, and her overall court presence are a combo not often seen at this age. Those eye-catching characteristics that we throw in a pot and call the ‘it factor’… Skylar has it. She exuded confidence on the court, brought additional life in every rotation she played, and seemed to make a play off the dribble & score almost on command while displaying one of the most refined finishing packages in the gym. There’s good… then there’s different. Skylar Herington is different.

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