Cincy Finest 4th grade girls’ basketball team places third nationally. Front row, from left, Heaven Sneed, Kemariah Gerton, Niyala Walker, Ahrya Simmons, Cy'aira Miller, and Ky'Aira Miller. Back row, from left, Coach Ryan Simmons, Coach Jay Harmon, Alexis Hayes, Saniyah Carr, Darriana Alexander, Saniyah Sherrer, Kennedy Walker, Raegan Robinson, Mckenzie Jones, Coach Chris Williams, and Coach Mike William. Photo provided

Cincy Finest 4th grade girls’ basketball team placed third nationally in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Division 1 tournament recently in Orlando/Kissimmee Florida. The homegrown talent based in Woodlawn competed against highly recruited teams from all over the country.

The story begins with Coach Ryan Simmons, his daughter and stepdaughter. He gathered up his cousin, his daughter’s cousin, and the little girl next door and a team was born. He adds on a few more girls, finds a gym, gets some T-shirts and its official, game on.

Simmons certainly had his work cut out for him. Some of the girls had never played before, others had limited skills. Good friend and coach Chris Williams, along with dads Jay Harmon and Kenneth Gerton pitched in to help. Simmon’s successful independent team soon caught the attention of Steve Saunders of the Cincinnati’s Finest Girls basketball program. The girls joined the Cincy Finest program and continued to develop.

The girls have worked hard since last July. During their 4th grade year, the team has played 90 games. Their record was 83-7. The amazing thing was this team played most of their games against 5th grade girls. The girls even played in a 4th grade boy’s league, winning the championship and a winning record of 10-1.

With limited funds, providing the girls with what was needed has required the village. The girls pulled together calling on friends, families, and strangers to help make a way for the team to play.

Follow the team on Facebook at Cincinnati’s Finest c/o2025/2026

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