Saturday night was the final time 37 area high school seniors suited up in a competitive basketball game as a part of the Flint Hills Optimist Club’s All-Star Classic at White Auditorium.
The girls’ blue team nearly erased a 17-point halftime deficit, but the red team held on for a 66-62 victory. The boys’ game was knotted up at 48 at halftime, however, the blue team used a strong second half to pick up a 101-87 victory over the red team.
“I told them at halftime that the make-it-take-it rule is either really good for you or really bad for you,” Red girls head coach Kayla Krueger said. “I said, ‘No lead is safe.’ I was really proud of them.”
Wabaunsee’s Abby Oliver was named the women’s MVP with a game-high 22 points. The Class 2A Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas said it was a fun experience to play against players she’s seen before.
“That was a lot of fun,” she said. “(Emporia’s) Taylor Milleson and I worked well together. We play together in Wheat State (Elite).”
Emporia State commit Kirsten Young of Burlington won the women’s 3-point contest and led the blue team with 18 points.
“It was good to get some shots in here and a taste of the future,” she said.
Olpe’s Emma Miiler had 16 for the blue team while Milleson added 12 for the red team.
In the boys’ game, Eric Porter’s blue team was able to give him his fourth career win in the exhibition showcase after his team dropped a close encounter in 2018.
“It’s good to walk out of here with a win,” Porter said. “It’s fun to come back and meet a new group of guys every year. I explained to them (afterwards), ‘This is about (having) fun in this game (and) enjoying it, because the real world is coming up.’”
Burlingame’s Montana Giffin, who led the red team with 17 points and Central Heights’ Bryce Sommer, who had 14 points for the blue team were named Co-MVPs.
“(I) had some great teammates that put me in good positions to score,” Sommer said. “I had a lot of fun playing with these guys.”
Burlington’s Jace Watkins won the boys’ 3-point contest and finished with 16 points for the blue team. Emporia High’s Jace Stewart and Spencer Stewart each had 12 points for the blue team, while Kyler McCullough scored 13. Hartford’s Dalen Kistner also contributed 13 for the blue team.
“I think this is an awesome (event), raising money and it should never end,” Spencer Stewart said.
Chase County’s Maya Eidman and Mission Valley’s Parker Myers won scholarships as their names were drawn at the All-Star banquet on Mar. 25.
Blue 23 39 — 62
Red 40 26 — 66
Blue: Alumbaugh 2, Davis 5, Farrow 5, Gilman 10, Miller 16, Reddick 4, Schroer 2, Young 18.
Red: Dody 6, Doebele 5, Eidman 8, Hilton 2, McDougald 6, Milleson 12, Oliver 22, Thorp 2, Wells 3.
Blue 48 53 — 101
Red 48 39 — 87
Blue: Kistner 13, Leimkuhler 16, Lewis 10, Plinsky 1, Sommer 14, J. Stewart 12, S. Stewart 12, Watkins 16, Watts 7.
Red: Birzer 6, Giffin 17, Groh 12, Lee 6, McCullough 13, Myers 8, Norstedt 12, Ohl 13.