TWIN FALLS | Defense was clearly optional at Wednesday night’s District IV All-Star Game in the Twin Falls gymnasium.
And it was music to the ears of nearly everyone on the court and in attendance.
The Magic Valley’s finest combined to score a staggering 222 points, with the East team playing just enough defense to get a 121-101 victory over the West squad. The East team was coached by Minico’s Ty Shippen and the West was led by Buhl’s Dan Winn. Both coaches led their teams to third-place state finishes in their respective classifications.
“Just playing with the guys I played against all year (was great). And a lot of them are friends,” said Minico’s Josh Pilling, who was recently named the Great Basin Conference West Player of the Year. “It was nice to kind of take down the competitiveness a little and just have some fun.”
The teams scored a combined 106 points in the first half, led by 13 points from Carey’s Joe Parke. The latter stages of the game resembled a combination of a 3-point contest and a pick-up game, with players stepping away from defensive responsibilities to let their peers try various dunks or long-distance 3-pointers.
“It’s fun that the kids will let you shoot it,” said Pilling. “The next one went in and (players) were like ‘Shoot it.’ When you have that support, it’s just fun.”
Pilling got hot from behind the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, making a trio from deep and bringing teammates on the bench to their feet. Not to be outdone, Wyatt Williams laid a perfect alley-oop pass off the glass to Kasey Crossland that the Buhl product slammed down with authority.
“Watching Crossland throw down some of those dunks, that was a blast,” Pilling said with a laugh. “It was fun to just go out and play.”
Crossland led all scorers with 23 points for the West team. Gooding’s Clancy Cockerham and Buhl’s Hayden Eckert chipped in 16 and 14, respectively. Parke led the East with 22 while Burley’s Braydn Bell and Pilling scored 16 and 15 each.
Wednesday was especially meaningful for Pilling, who was a crucial part of Minico’s run at state. He donned his jersey a final time for the only varsity coach he’s ever known as a Spartan.
“Just being able to put on the Spartan uniform and have him be my coach, it meant the world,” Pilling said. “It was awesome.”
East 121, West 101
East 121, West 101
East 27 31 25 38 —121
West 15 33 26 27 — 101
Parke 22, Bell 16, Pilling 15, Garrard 13, Mossman 12, Simmons 11, Cranney, Taylor 8, Stevenson 8
Totals: 49 1-2 121
Crossland 23, Cockerham 16, Eckert 14, Tews 12, Williams 8, Lively 8, Bowers 7, Koepnick 6, Lutz 5, Lancaster 2
Totals: 49 5-9 101
3-point field goals: East 22 (Bell 4, Simmons 3, Pilling 3, Cranney 3, Taylor 2, Mussman 2, Parke 2, Garrard 1, Tidwell 1, Stevenson 1) West 16 (Tews 4, Eckert 4, Cockerham 4, Bowers 1, Crossland 1, Williams 1, Lutz 1)
Team fouls: East 3, West 4
Not Bashful: Superb Seniors Let it Rip in Farewell
TWIN FALLS | Burley’s Kortney Hutchison scored a game-high 19 points in Wednesday night’s 4th District All-Star Basketball Game, leading the East team past the West, 94-61, at Twin Falls High School.
“Being Player of the Year, it kind of gives me the opportunity to show people what (I can do),” said Hutchison, who was recently named the Great Basin West Conference MVP. “It feels good to play with seniors, people my age. It feels good for everyone.”
The best seniors in the Magic Valley gathered at Twin Falls Wednesday evening to don their respective jerseys one last time. The East was coached by Minico’s Terry Merrill while the West was led by Canyon Ridge’s Kevin Cato.
“We told the girls, ‘If you’re open, shoot it,” Merrill said with a laugh. “If you feel comfortable, do it. Don’t be bashful today.”
Filer’s Victoria Deetz got the West team off to a hot start by hitting her first pair of 3-pointers. The East team started off slowly but managed to find offense late in the first quarter and take a lead behind six points from Valley’s Jeorgi Kalisek. The East’s lead ballooned up to as many as 16 points in the second and to 27 going into the fourth behind 12 third quarter points from Hutchison.
The fourth featured a special moment for Kimberly’s Maysi Rongen. The senior suffered a serious knee injury in the state tournament but was given an honorary spot on the East roster after her stellar season. She was able to come in and shoot free throws in the fourth quarter to the applause of everyone in attendance.
“It was a great thing. Fortunately, she hit her free throws too, got into the score books,” said Merrill. “That was awesome. I’m just so proud of her.”
Hutchison led the East with 19 points. Kalisek wound up with 14 while Dietrich’s Katee Hubert scored 13. Five different players for Merrill’s team finished in double-figures. Deetz and Twin Falls’ Brooke Swafford led the West with 12 and 10, respectively.
The game was also a chance for Merrill to coach four of his seniors one last time. It was special for the Spartans’ head coach, who led Minico to a conference title and a fourth-place finish at state just a few weeks ago.
“It was really a special experience, to have those girls since they were in fifth grade,” Merrill said. “And to coach them one last time here today was a great honor.”
East 94, West 61
East 22 26 27 19 — 94
West 16 18 14 13 — 61
Hutchison 19, Kalisek 14, Hubert 13, Peralez 11, Wood 10, Merrill 8, Curiel 6, Phillips 4, Gilchrist 4, Hayes 4, Rongen 1
Totals: 34 15-29 94
Deetz 12, Swafford 10, M. Bell 8, E. Bell 7, Buffington 6, Hughes 6, Vargas 5, Rogers 3, Bartholomew 2, Arygle 2
Totals: 24 5-12 61
3-point field goals: East 6 (Curiel 2, Hutchison 2, Merrill 2) West 5 (Deetz 4, M. Bell 1)
Team fouls: East 10, West 21
North Outshines South Behind Richfield's Walker
SHOSHONE | Hannah Walker wasn’t expecting to get another chance to step on the basketball court wearing her beloved Richfield jersey.
After winning state a couple of weeks ago against arch-rival Dietrich, she had come to terms with the fact that her high school career was over.
But then she heard her name over the intercom. The 1A/2A District IV All-Star game was giving her and several of her Tigers teammates one last memory.
“The school announced it in the morning announcements,” Walker said with a laugh.
“I expected (state) to be (my last game).”
Walker scored a game-high 10 points for the North Tuesday evening, leading her team past the South squad, 50-32, at Shoshone High School.
“I’m so grateful to put the jersey back on again and play with the girls that I grew up with,” said Walker, who helped lead Richfield to a second-straight state championship at the Idaho Center. “It’s awesome.”
Some of the Magic Valley’s best players took part in Tuesday’s game. Representatives from Oakley, Carey, Wendell and Dietrich were on hand, among others. The North was coached by Valley’s Jamie Kohtz while the South was led by Declo’s Deena Garbett.
Richfield represented well in the game’s first quarter for the North as Walker, Taylor King and Brittney Buckner combined to score 16 of the team’s first 20 points.
“It’s nice to know that you can still step out and compete with everyone,” said Walker. “It’s great, that feeling.”
The North led by as many as 22 points in the second quarter and led by 17 at halftime. The South team fell into a deeper deficit in the third, trailing by 21 at one point and by 19 heading into the fourth.
Walker led the way for the North while Shoshone’s Hanna Caylor and Richfield’s Taylor King each scored eight in the win. Dietrich’s Katee Hubert led the South team with eight while teammate Caitlyn Dilworth and Castleford’s Bailey Buffington each scored seven.
Getting to play with girls who used to be rivals was a unique experience in the best possible way for Valley’s Jeorgi Kalisek. They finally got to fight for the same team
“It’s pretty cool because we’ve always known each other as the competition,” Kalisek said. “Just actually learn that they’re pretty cool girls.”
Kohtz’s team did not practice prior to stepping on the floor Tuesday night. It turns out there was no need as the team looked like a well-oiled machine from start to finish.
“Just throw them out there,” Kohtz said with a smile. “And it worked well.”
North 50, South 32
North 50, South 32
North 20 12 8 10 — 50
South 4 11 6 11 — 32
Walker 10, Caylor 8, King 8, Vargas 7, Wood 6, Kalisek 4, Beebe 2, Buckner 2, Cenarrusa 2, Arteaga 1
Totals: 18 12-16 20
Hubert 8, Buffington 7, Dilworth 7, Berry 5, Jones 4, Hawker 2, Larson 1
Totals: 14 4-13 32
3-point field goals: North 2 (King) South 2 (Berry, Dilworth)
Team fouls: North 12, South 13.
Run, Gun and Fun: Boys All-Star Game a Barrage of Dunks and 3-pointers
SHOSHONE | At times Tuesday night the North/South 1A/2A All-Star game was a combination of a 3-point contest and a dunk-off. Under normal circumstances it would drive a coach nuts.
But Wendell coach Sam Kelsey didn’t care this time. Because Tuesday was all about enjoying the moment.
Kelsey coached the North team to a 69-65 win over the South in Tuesday’s 1A/2A District IV All-Star game at Shoshone High School. Coming off games with the highest of stakes at state just days prior, Tuesday night was a very different atmosphere in the best possible way.
“It’s just laid back. It’s not intense. You’re just having fun,” said Kelsey, who coached the Trojans to a third-place finish at state on Saturday. “Not a lot of coaching. Just let them go out there and do what they want to do.”
The North team was led by Kelsey while the South was coached by Raft River’s Brian Poole.
It was a back-and-forth game for the most part, though not necessarily by design. Players took 3-pointers they wouldn’t normally pull the trigger on and attempted dunks that could have been the difference between winning a regular-season or playoff game. It was nice to just sit back and watch the show for Wendell’s Johnny Lancaster.
“There’s no worries in this game, no one is taking it too seriously,” said Lancaster. “On both teams we want the best for everyone and trying to lift everyone up, even if they’re on the other team. We’re trying to help them out and help everybody have some fun.”
Tuesday night was also one last chance for Kelsey to coach four of his seniors for a final time. He took full advantage of the opportunity and enjoyed seeing the group that spearheaded Wendell’s resurgent 2015-16 season.
“It’s pretty special,” said Kelsey. “It’s probably not as special as coaching them in the state games, but this was pretty special just to be a part of something, just to be able to have one last game with them.”
Carey’s Joe Parke and Wendell’s Logan Bowers led the North squad with 13 points each. The South team was led by a quartet of Lighthouse Christian players. Ty Giardina, Josh Fadness Bryce Kostelecky and Cody Holloway represented the Lions well, combining for 52 of the team’s 65 points.
North 69, South 65
North 17 15 17 20 — 69
South 17 14 17 17 — 65
Parke 13, Bowers 13, Taylor 11, Elorrieta 10, Lauert 7, John 6, Mussman 6, Whitby 3
Totals: 31 2-2 69
Giardina 17, Kostelecky 17, Fadness 12, Holloway 6, Wybenga 6, Tuckett 3, Colson 2
Totals: 25 4-6 65
3-point field goals: North 5 (Taylor 3, Whitby 1, Laudert 1) South 11 (Giardina 5, Fadness 3, Holloway 2, Tuckett 1)
Team fouls: North 3, 3