SHOSHONE – In a game that pitted the cream of District 4’s small-school senior basketball crop against one another, the South squad pulled away in the final three quarters to win by a score of 76-56.
The South (comprising players from Declo, Castleford, Oakley, Raft River, Hagerman, and Lighthouse Christian) was led in scoring by a quartet or players from Declo and 1A-DII consolation champion Castleford.
Kelsie Hamilton (Declo) scored a game-high 17 points and Haddee Reynolds (Castleford) scored 15. Paige Ramsey of Declo and Elly Machado of Castleford combined for another 22 points.
“The all-star games are about fun, and hopefully they had that, but they also gave the game respect. We have a bunch of great seniors. They played great defense, rebounded well, and played hard,” said Oakley head coach Matt Payton, who coached the South.
For the North (comprising players from Valley, Glenns Ferry, Shoshone, Carey, Wendell, and Dietrich), Valley teammates Kynsee Mussmann and Madisyn Kimmel led the way with 16 points and 14 points, respectively.
“The players play against each other for years, so it’s neat to see them all come together. Before the game, they’re all talking about where they’re going to college or what they’re doing after school is over. With them competing against each other for so long, it was cool to see,” said Carey head coach Merrilee Sears, who coached the North team.
The game tipped off with a gesture for injured Valley senior Tannah Sellers, who was elected play in the game, but was unable to compete because of injury. She took the court with her four other Valley senior participants scored two uncontested points to give the North squad an early 2-0 lead.
She checked out to a round of applause immediately after.
“We talked about it before the game. I told her I’d check with Matt from Oakley, but joked that he wouldn’t let it slide since she’s from Valley,” said Sears. “It was good though. Of course, he was on board, and I think it was special for her to take the court in a Valley jersey one more time.”
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Lighthouse Christian’s Allie Brandsma narrowly missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, and the two teams were deadlocked at 16 after one quarter.
A three-pointer by Declo’s Kelsie Hamilton put South up seven midway through the second quarter. Brinley Reed of Valley answered with a three-pointer of her own at the other end, but Hamilton hit another three-pointer a few possessions later to put South up 36-27, which is where the score stayed until halftime. Hamilton scored a game-high 10 points in the first half.
Mussmann and Co. had no trouble finding points in the second half, but a barrage of three-pointers from the South squad kept North at bay. In all, nine of the ten players that suited up for South cracked the score book.
“This was fun. I like that it brought all of the talent together, and we were all able to share the ball with each other,” said Hamilton. “It’s good after going to state and not making it as far as we wanted to. It was good to win the last one.”
South 76, North 56
South; 16; 20; 15; 25;- 76
North; 16; 11; 15; 14;- 56
Hamilton 17, Reynolds 15, Ramsey 12, Machado 10, Brandsma 7, Elquist 5, Whittle 4, Drinkall 4, McCrorey 2
Mussmann 16, Kimmel 14, Reed 6, Hernandez 6, Hodges 5, Rodriguez 3, Parke 2, Solosabal 2, Sellers 2.