SHOSHONE — The District 4 1A/2A all star basketball games featured talented seniors, wacky antics, new teammates and big wins.
The North boys and the South girls won by 20-plus points each on Tuesday night, with each side highlighted by some state tournament stars.
The South girls earned a 66-31 win over the North team. Six of the 10 South side players were from 1A Division I state champion Oakley, and the Hornets’ Rachael Mitton was the game-leading scorer with 16 points.
Declo’s Kelly Montoya added 15 points for the South team, and Quincie Christiansen led the North team with 10 points.
The boys teams played a shoot-first, high-scoring game of pickup ball, with the North team winning 93-69.
The North team included seniors from the second-place Carey Panthers and the third-place Dietrich Devils from this year’s 1A Division II state tournament, and seniors from those teams combined for all but 14 of the North’s points. Carey’s Hayden Wayment led the way with 22 points, followed by Dietrich’s Kade Shaw with 20.
The South was led by Lighthouse Christian’s Jordan Bradshaw with 16 points and Jayden Palmer of Oakley with 14.
Swarm of Oakley Hornets
Oakley was represented well in the girls game with six seniors.
Hornets head coach Matt Payton said it was fun to get another chance to coach his large group of seniors, but also said the same was true for all the seniors.
“We challenged them before the game to play hard,” he said. “It’s the last time they get to represent their teams. It was a fun evening for all of them.”
At times, the South had four Hornets on the floor, and Payton said they joked around if they should call Oakley plays from this season, but they didn’t.
“We tried to let everybody play with everyone on the team,” he said. “All of these small schools have players who aren’t familiar with each other, so we try to mix it up.”
Reflecting on Declo’s growth
The Declo boys basketball team took home the third-place trophy at state this year to cap off a 21-6 season.
It was a far cry from two years ago, when the Hornets went 1-21 and followed it up with a 9-16 season in 2016-2017.
Declo senior Trey Smyer, a four-year varsity player for Declo, witnessed the process firsthand.
“That 1-21 season was a little embarrassing,” he said. “We decided we wanted to ramp it up. We went harder in practice, harder in games. I thought we had more of a mindset. That changed the ballgame for us.”
Jacoby Fox, head coach of the Hornets, was the South team’s coach in the all-star game. Fox is an alumnus of Declo, and Smyer said he did a great job of meshing his own system with that of Declo’s tradition.
“He tried to do a little bit of his own thing, but brought in Coach (Dennie) Smyer to do some of the things we were used to,” said Trey Smyer, Dennie’s son. “He’s a great coach. He really interacted with us well and knew what we were like.”
Carey and Dietrich team up
It’s a bitter rivalry in just about every other game, but the Panthers and Blue Devils teamed up on the North team just days after bringing back hardware from the state tournament.
Carey and Dietrich both lost to Genesis Prep — in the finals and semifinals, respectively — to knock out their championship dreams.
Carey senior Hayden Wayment said Tuesday’s experience was a great show of camaraderie.
“It was nice to see how enemies can become friends and do fun things,” he said. “It was a blast.”
Wayment said it was also exciting to be on the same team as Slade Dill, Dietrich’s 6-foot-7 forward who made life difficult for a much shorter Carey team this season.
“We’ve always been the team that has to worry about getting the rebound,” Waymen said. “It made it easier for us to get open, it made the defense easier.”
Playing with new teammates is nothing new for Wayment. He transferred to Carey from Richfield his junior year, and as he reflected on his time with the Panthers, he had nothing but thanks.
“My peers really accepted me and brought me in,” he said. “They treated me like family, the community made me a family member, and I can’t thank them any more for that.”