Rising Forest Park seniors Monica Wright and Ashleigh Braxton have spent much of the summer on the road with various girls' basketball commitments, and that tour will pick up again during the season when the Bruins play in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Dec. 19 to 22.
Wright and Braxton are Division I recruits -- neither has committed -- on a team that won the 2004 Virginia AAA title and finished as state runner-up this past season.
"I think we've gotten to the point where I think we can compete on the national level, and this is the opportunity to do it," Forest Park Coach Chrissy Kelly said. "I think we have the depth. I think we have the experience. We don't have the height, but I'm not really concerned about that because we've never had the height anyway."
The Bruins will play four games in Phoenix. There are about 80 teams confirmed so far for the invitation-only event, according to the tournament Web site. Maryland schools Bishop McNamara and Good Counsel are in the field, and four teams that finished in the top seven of the 2005 USA Today Super 25 final rankings also will be on hand.
It will be fun "as long as these kids get in the gym and do what they're supposed to do," Kelly said. "Because if they don't, it won't be that much fun. This is the most elite high school tournament in the country. It's the real deal."
After returning from Phoenix, Forest Park will play in a holiday tournament at Georgetown University.
The Bruins -- minus an excused Wright, who is resting after a flurry of trips -- are attending basketball camp this week in Pennsylvania. Forest Park is not playing in a summer league because so many players are involved in other basketball pursuits.
Wright said this week that she has narrowed her college choices to five schools -- North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia and Tennessee -- and that she likely would not commit until she takes some official visits after the school year starts.
"They're all equal at this point and not in any order," she said.
In attending camps and playing on the Boo Williams AAU team, Wright has been to New Jersey, Colorado, Brazil, Oregon, Chicago and Orlando already this summer. A trip to Georgia also is planned.
Braxton is "keeping her options open" in regard to colleges, Kelly said.
Among the noteworthy performances for Prince William area athletes at the Virginia High School Coaches Association senior all-star games last week in the Hampton area:
* Manassas Park's A.C. Fitchett catching a 17-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of his East team's 28-20 football win over the West.
* Woodbridge's Chinyere Ukoh and Forest Park's Courtney Portell scoring eight points apiece for the West in a 77-66 girls' basketball loss to the East. Portell sank two three-pointers.
* Potomac's Jacob Scruggs scoring six points and Hylton's Matt Hewson adding three for the West in a 90-85 loss to the East. Hewson made a three-pointer, matching his 2004-05 season total from long range.
* Osbourn Park's Phil Purdy being named the West most valuable player in its 2-1 boys' soccer win over the East.
* Osbourn's Cristi Ecks taking the loss for the West in a 10-3 softball setback.
Prince William had no participants in the baseball, volleyball or girls' soccer all-star games.