FREDERICKTOWN — Centerburg’s Camaranne Myles led a second-half scoring outburst to help lift the All-Stars over the Senior-Stars, 71-67, in the 30th annual Mount Vernon News All-Star Senior Showcase at Fredericktown High School on Tuesday.
It looked like it would be the Senior-Stars’ night as they went up early with some strong play and getting some key putbacks under the offensive boards. Utica’s Tricia Harvey (3-of-6 field goals) led all rebounders with nine. She and Johnstown’s Chelsea Cannon (seven rebounds) proved to be a formidable pair.
A 3-pointer by Sara Hitchman (nine points) of Clear Fork, followed by a bucket from her teammate Rebecca Mottayaw (14 points, seven rebounds), gave the Seniors a 25-13 advantage with a little over six minutes remaining in the half. The All-Stars struggled to find a rhythm early, shooting 10-of-48 from the floor in the first half.
The All-Stars started to chip away at the deficit, getting a 3-pointer from Loudonville’s Chris Kranz (13 points) before halftime and another just after to get within three, 34-31.
Danville’s Scott Ewing, coach of the All-Stars, knew that no lead was safe against his team.
“When I saw the lineup we had, I knew there were some girls that could shoot the ball,” said Ewing. ”We showed it tonight. We got behind tonight. I think we might have been a little edgy or a little nervous, but we really warmed up in the second half.”
With 14 minutes to go in the second half, Highland’s Danielle Snell (three assists, three 3’s) hit a bucket to keep it close, 41-35.
“I saw Danielle play at Highland,” said Ewing. “I knew she could shoot the ball well. She’s a real nice player.”
That’s when Myles cut loose, launching a 3-pointer from one side of the court and then the other, and hitting both. Utica’s Kandis Walker (four steals, three rebounds) answered with a bucket to maintain the Senior’s slim margin.
“A lot of us were talking,” said Myles. “We said, ‘We don’t want to lose this.’ Knowing that we were down, we knew we had to step up. I usually get in my rhythm in the second half. Everyone kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting. Keep shooting,’ and I did and when it all just came to me; it felt really good.”
The All-Stars tied it at 43 with a basket from East Knox’s Lynn Tullos (four points, eight rebounds), with 12:00 left in the game.
Cannon grabbed a steal, scored and drew a foul. Her foul shot, along with one from East Knox’ Leslie Schultz (eight points), put the Seniors back in the lead, 47-43.
All-Star’s Kristen Siegfried of Highland hit a bucket, then Myles landed a baseline jumper to again tie it at 47.
Cannon and Mottayaw gave their team back the lead, scoring to make it 54-47 with eight minutes remaining.
Once again, the All-Stars launched an attack.
First, Snell landed a 3-pointer. Next, it was Myles (three 3’s) with another 3, followed by Danville ‘s Tracy Payne (10 points) with a 3 of her own, to help the All-Stars grab a 56-55 lead. Snell and Myles led all scorers with 15 points each.
“It was fun,” said Snell. “We came together as a team. We played as one team. Despite not knowing each other that well, we just started playing together. We were all rivals during the season, but we came together as a team, because we knew we had to.”
The game has given intense competitors like Payne a chance to see former rivals in a new light.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Payne, “It’s so nice to have so many players all around you that can shoot and are such great all-around basketball players. I played Camaranne when we were at the YMCA and then, we really went at it in high school. Now, to get to be on her team — we’re really close, now.”
“Tracy and I were talking with coach Ewing and we said, ‘We want to play together. When one of us gets taken out, then the other gets taken out,’” said Myles. “It was just a good overall experience for us to play together and become friends.”
“(Camaranne) and Tracy kind of worked together a little bit,” said Ewing. “They had it planned. We knew that if Camaranne got the ball enough that she would get hot and she hit some big 3’s for us in the middle of the game.”
Another bucket by Myles with 6:10 left completed a 10-point swing in less than two minutes and put the All-Stars on top, 58-55.
Although the seniors came close a couple of times, the All-Stars never relinquished the lead from there. Snell and Kranz hit 3’s down the stretch to help give the All-Stars the win.
For Walker, who was one of four players from Utica named to the Senior-Stars, it was a final opportunity to play alongside her longtime teammates and for Utica coach Michelle Snow.
“It was really fun to play with them for the last time,” said Walker, who also appreciated having Harvey and Cannon in the post. “Having two post players that strong was a good help tonight.”
“That’s what all-star teams are all about,” said Senior’s coach Snow. “It is kind of fun to watch them out there and say, ‘Wow, if you had this team on the court every night, maybe you do win the state championship. It’s fun to coach that caliber of player. It was also the last time with my seniors and to be in this kind of an atmosphere, where there is absolutely no stress and no pressure, is just pure enjoyment to cap off a real nice season for us.”
“It means a lot to play with you senior teammates one last time and it was fun to play with all the seniors that you played against and get to know them,” added Utica’s Brittany Vickers (five points).
For Fredericktown’s Mackenzie Logan, playing for the All-Stars was an opportunity for a final victory on her home court.
“It went really fast,” said Logan of her four years as a Freddie. “The first three years I didn’t really have a leader position, so in my last year I took on that role the best that I could. Tonight, I just wanted to be a winner for the last time, so that was a plus.”
Mottayaw savored her last hurrah in high school basketball.
“It’s nice to get another chance to play high school basketball before my career is over,” said Mottayaw of the game. “All the girls are really nice. It’s been nice to meet them. It’s sad knowing that I won’t be playing again.”
“Everyone got along really well,” said Cannon of playing with her former rivals. “It was great to play together. We had a really good team chemistry for never playing together, I thought.”