St. Frances' Angel Reese trying out for U16 national basketball team

St. Frances freshman forward Angel Reese is in Colorado Springs this week trying out for a spot on the United States under-16 national basketball team.

Reese, 6 feet 2, is one of 35 players invited to try out, although 106 other players who applied will also vie for spots on the 12-player roster.

If Reese makes the first cut to 15-18 players, she will remain in Colorado Springs to train for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, held June 7-11. The final roster will be announced June 4, just before departure.

"I want to compete against a lot of people from across the country and compete at a high level, and if I make the team, I get to compete against people from out of the country," Reese said.

Reese, 15, was a first-team All-Metro selection after playing a key role in No. 1 St. Frances' second straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship. She averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds for the season.

As the Panthers (30-1) went on to win the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Basketball Tournament in Cumberland, she earned Most Outstanding Player after grabbing 45 rebounds in three games.

The Panthers suffered their only loss of the season at the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in New York, but Reese had 20 points, 24 rebounds and six assists in the 56-55 overtime loss to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Tenn.).

Reese is a little concerned that the altitude in Colorado Springs will affect her stamina, but she knows what she has to do to impress the U16 coaches in her first attempt to make a national team.

"Just do what I usually do -- rebound, play defense and get back. I know they told me that the air is kind of a problem, so I just have to keep pushing. I just have to know I may get tired but I can't stop playing."

She said she's received advice from teammates on her Amateur Athletic Union team, Team Takeover, and her Blue Star team, an all-star team with players from across the country and abroad, who have had experience trying out for a national team.

Reese said nine players from her Blue Star team are trying out.

On Twitter, Reese also thanked "my friends, family, coaches, and teammates for putting me in the position to go to the USA 16U Trials!"

Although she's aiming to make the team this year, Reese said if she doesn't, she can use what she learns to prepare her to tryout next year. It will also help her get ready for next winter when she will be an even more critical player in the Panthers' drive to stay No. 1 and win another conference title.

"I can take back some things I learn, because also I'm going there to learn new things," she said. "I know there's a lot of sideline coaches that can teach me new things, so I'm just going with an open mind."

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