Hardwood Stars: Points aplenty in hoops All-Star game

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

The stars were shining inside Oak Pavilion on Saturday as area hoopsters hit the court for Columbia College's annual Madness in the Mother Lode All-Star Extravaganza.

A total 31 players were invited to compete in the game, with Summerville head coach Ben Watson's "Away" team being narrowly defeated by Central Catholic boss Mike Wilson's "Home" team, 104-103.

Players had to be nominated by their coaches and several from Summerville, Sonora, Bret Harte and Calaveras were selected to play in Saturday's game, which is intended as a way to recognize talented graduating seniors from high schools across the Mother Lode and San Joaquin Valley while also raising money for the Claim Jumper basketball program.

"There wasn't a whole lot of offense or defense played but the kids got to run out there one last time and have fun which is what it's all about," Watson said.

The annual event usually features a "large school" and "small school" game but had to be consolidated due to lack of players as several schools held seniors proms that same night.

Each quarter lasted 12 minutes so both teams formed three rotating squads that all played an equal number of minutes.

One such squad on Watson's team was the entire starting lineup from his Summerville Bears team that went undefeated in the Mother Lode League before winning the school's first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Boys' Basketball Championship.

The lineup consisted of captains Rosendo Amaya-Wood and Jesse Roberson, Connor Morningstar, Logen Foster and Joey Brocchini. Roberson managed to score a team-high 14 points in the 16 total minutes he played.

"It was amazing that the starting five got to play together," Amaya-Wood said. "(Watson) told us he was going to do that because everyone's family was there, and it was just really neat to play basketball with each other again."

Amaya-Wood also earned the title of dunk contest champion, which was held at halftime. He said the first round consisted of two dunks and players who advanced to the final round were determined by how loud the crowd cheered for each contestant.

Summerville Bear Connor Morningstar and Oakdale's Dewayne Finney made it to the final round with Amaya-Wood, who won the crown with a tomahawk dunk.

Also at halftime, Bret Harte sharpshooter Tyler Evans, who played on the "Home" team in the All-Star game, won the 3-point contest. He went 3 for 4 in the first round, 3 for 6 in the second and 7 for 8 in the final to win the competition.

He said Calaveras Redskin Wyatt Madrid, who played on Watson's team, also advanced to the final round in the 3-point contest.

Along with Evans on Wilson's team were Bullfrog teammates Rodney Riner and Conor Zumbach. Sonora Wildcats Ben Bates and Nick Mays also were on the winning squad.

"It was a fun way to end my high school basketball career and I'm happy we got the win," Evans said.

The Union Democrat
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