High School Basketball

Columbia girls basketball star, USC target throws down dunk at national NBA event

Cardinal Newman's Ashlyn Watkins
Cardinal Newman's Ashlyn Watkins jblake@thestate.com

For the second time this summer, Ashlyn Watkins is making news with her dunking ability.

The Cardinal Newman rising ninth grader threw down another dunk Wednesday at the Jr. NBA World Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

Watkins is playing with SC 76ers, who qualified for the inaugural event by winning the Southeast Regional championship.

Watkins’ dunk came on a fast break during the first quarter of the 50-30 win over Northeast squad and brought the crowd to its feet. She finished with 11 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in the win.

Watkins’ other dunk this summer came last month at the Apache Paschall Memorial Showcase in Louisville, Ky. In March, Watkins dunked as part of the school’s Dance Marathon Fundraiser Dunk contest for Palmetto Children’s Hospital.

Through the first three games of the tournament, Watkins is averaging 14 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks. The 76ers are 2-1 in pool play.

Watkins has an offer from South Carolina among others and interest from several Division I schools. This season, she averaged 14.6 points and 11.8 rebounds in helping the Cardinals to an appearance in the SCISA3A championship.

The tournament runs through Sunday with most of games including the championship being televised on FS1.