Local AAU program making some national noise on girls basketball circuit (VIDEO HERE!)

Ajae Petty has been a shining star for the Power Move girls’ basketball AAU team. The rising senior forward/center from the Institute of Notre Dame has attracted nearly two dozen scholarship offers including LSU and Georgia.

by Derek Toney

Despite its name, the Power Move girls AAU basketball program, had little impact when it started a few years ago. Now, the Columbia-based organization is opening eyes.

“We’re nationally known now. We’re known for having good teams and good coaches,” said Power Move director Al Schell. “We’re getting it done playing at a high level.”

Power Move is one of 36 girls 17- and 16-under programs sponsored by Under Armour. The Baltimore-based apparel company along with NBA superstar Stephen Curry wants to “provide elite girls travel teams with the same league-style circuit as the boys UAA teams.”

Power Move participated in the first UAA-G session in Pennsylvania in late April.

“The landscape has changed with shoe companies and branding,” said Schell, sitting in a chair in the corner of the basketball court inside of Glen Arm Sports in Baltimore County where the teams practice once a week. “Baltimore didn’t have a sponsored AAU girls program.”

Schell started Power Move in 2016 to stem the flow of area top players to programs in the Washington region.

“There was never going to be a sponsored team if all the talent kept leaving Baltimore,” Schell said.

As an independent program, Power Move found the going tough when it started, playing on secondary courts at tournaments.

“I had to make relationships to give us a chance to put on big courts,” said Schell, whose the publisher of 695Hoops.com “If no one’s watching you play, it doesn’t matter what you have.”

Power Move gradually (excuse the pun) made moves, competing and winning against bigger name competition. It caught the eye of Under Armour, looking to expand its name into girls basketball.

“We jumped on it,” said Schell, whose girls program doesn’t have an affiliated boys program, like many of the 36 Under Armour selected.

“We’re feisty, we don’t give up,” said rising senior guard Marisa Sanchez-Henry who plays for Howard. “We like to get down and dirty on defense.”

Sanchez-Henry, an All-Howard County first-team selection last spring who plays on 17-under Black squad, has offers from Coppin State and North Carolina-Wilmington. The 17-under (two teams) and 16-under Power Move squads feature players from area schools Aberdeen, Chesapeake-Baltimore County, Dulaney, Glenelg, Harford Tech, Howard and Institute of Notre Dame.

Marisa Sanchez-Henry is one of the reasons the Power Move 17-under AAU team is one of 36 programs selected to Under Armour’s girls basketball circuit. Henry is a rising senior for Howard.

“We started promoting our teams and players on social media, then boom,” said Terrance Hunter, who coaches the 16-under Black squad. “It’s been pushing a rock up a hill.”

Power Move will play in the UAA second section in Indianapolis, July 10-12. The finals will be in late July in Atlanta.

Schell said the team will also play in an additional event in Indianapolis and Atlanta.

IND rising senior forward Ajae Petty, whose profile has risen last few months to attract nearly two dozen scholarship offers including LSU and Georgia.    

“We’ve built our way up. All the coaches really care about everyone,” said Petty. “It’s not about basketball. It’s like a family.”