PREP HOOPSTERS END ON HIGH NOTE

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Tuolumne County got its last taste of high school basketball for the 2002-03 season when Columbia College hosted the "March Madness In The Mother Lode All-Star Game' at Oak Pavilion on Saturday night.

The game featured an East squad consisting of high school seniors from Sonora, Summerville, Bret Harte, Mother Lode Christian and Calaveras high schools, while the West squad was made up players from Don Pedro, Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon and Ripon Christian.

Following the game, which the West won 91-88, Summerville's Joe Sanders beat Bret Harte's Scott Russell in the slam dunk contest, while Oakdale's Ryan Stevenson topped Summerville's Quint Gerber in the 3-point contest.

Oakdale's Josh Kitchen, who lead all scorers with 24 points, captured MVP honors for the West.

Sanders took home the East's MVP trophy thanks to his team-high 17 points.

Also playing for the East were Sonora's Travis Hendrix (12 points), Aaron Jolley (11 points), Tom McDonnell (7 points) and Rob Hoyt (2 points); Summerville's Gerber (14 points) and Cody Munsel (9 points); Mother Lode Christian's Cory Henson (6 points) and Steven Baldwin (0 points); Russell (5 points); and Calaveras' Brandon Rodgers (4 points).

Don Pedro's Nick Swisegood suited up for the West and scored 12 points after Escalon's Mike Saunders and Todd Olson failed to show up.

The West and East squads were coached by Oakdale's Nathan Rien and Bret Harte's Jerry Rucker, respectively.

Following the game, Sanders dug deep into his bag of tricks to beat Russell in the slam dunk contest with a between-the-legs effort.

"I call it the East Bay Funk," Sanders said of his winning dunk, which he made on his second attempt. "I'd never made it before, not even in practice. I tried it last year at the Stanislaus State 3-on-3 tournament, but I missed it there."

Starting to the right of the basket on the baseline, Sanders dribbled twice before jumping off his right leg. While in the air, and twisting toward the basket, he transferred the ball from his right hand to his left hand by going underneath his left leg. He then completed the move by tomahawking the ball through with his left arm.

In the 3-point contest, Gerber beat Nieweg in the semifinals before losing to Stevenson 8-6 in the finals.

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The Union Democrat
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