The East proved in Wednesday’s boys contest at The Ada News All-Star Classic that bigger isn’t always better.
Facing a West squad that had six players from the area’s two largest schools — Ada and Byng — and was led by three first-team All-Area players, including Player of the Year Tate O’Grady from Byng, the East took command midway through the third quarter and cruised to a surprising 62-56 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score.
In the girls game, the West fought off a determined bid from the smaller East and held on to win, 41-36.
East 62, West 56
The East led 42-35 after a putback of an offensive rebound by Roff’s Jeremy Grinstead with 4:33 left in the third period, but the West put together a 9-2 run in a span of less than three minutes and took a 50-37 lead on a fast-break layup by MVP Michael Olivo of Moss at the 1:47 mark.
Olivo’s left-handed layup in traffic with 32 seconds left in the period again put the East up by 13 at 52-39, then Paxton Kilby answered with a layup in transition off a nice assist from Ada teammate Sam Bolitho 10 seconds later to cut the deficit to 10 heading to the fourth. The West managed just one basket — a 3-pointer by Vanoss standout Ethan Low with 4:45 left — over the next five minutes, however, and by the time Bolitho drained a 16-footer with 3:22 to play, the East had built a 62-44 lead and was able to withstand a 12-0 West run to end the game.
“You put Allen kids with Coalgate kids and it’s a good mix,” Allen coach Greg Mills said after directing the East — which included three of his own players and two from Coalgate — to the victory. “We play the same kind of basketball.”
Olivo, who scored a team-high 13 points off the bench, turned offensive rebounds into baskets on back-to-back East possessions to extend a 10-9 lead to 14-9 with less than two minutes left in the opening quarter, then Koty Embry of Vanoss scored the final three points in the period to make it a two-point game heading to the second.
But the East got a point-blank turnaround from Allen’s Grant Rowsey and a 3-pointer in transition from Coalgate point guard Colby Lackey in the first 1:02 of the second period, and Allen’s Brett Edens grabbed a long rebound and drove to the basket for a layup at the 5:39 mark to extend the East lead to 21-12.
Coalgate’s Lance Walker answered a long jumper by Byng’s Eli Bailey with 4:46 left in the quarter with a drive through traffic for a layup 21 seconds later to again put the East up by nine at 23-14 before a putback of an offensive rebound by Byng’s Matt Gore at the 4:13 mark ignited a 9-0 run that tied the score for the final time.
Kilby, who finished with a game-high 15 points, hit a tough baseline turnaround off an assist from Low and added a free throw during the spurt, and Embry also drained a tough-one-hander from about 12 feet. Bolitho’s fast-break jumper — following a steal by Kilby — with 2:30 left in the period knotted the game at 23-all, and the West still triled just 26-25 after Kilby drained a baseline jumper off another assist from Low just over a minute later.
The East closed the period on a 9-3 run, however, that included 3-pointers by Stonewall’s John Clemmons and Tupelo’s Matt Benedict and was capped by a coast-to-coast drive with a rebound by Tanner Davis that ended with a layup to beat the buzzer and make it 32-25 at intermission. A 3-pointer by O’Grady and a baseline jumper by Bailey off a dish from Gore in the first 56 seconds of the third quarter offset a point-blank jumper by Walker and trimmed the East lead to 37-33, but the West couldn’t get closer.
Edens scored 12 points to join Olivo in double figures for the East, which also got seven points apiece from Walker and Allen point guard Brady Caldwell and six points from Benedict. The East hit 10 3-pointers in the victory to just three for the West.
Kilby was the only player in double figures for the West. O’Grady scored eight points and hit two of his team’s three treys, Bolitho and Byng’s Chad Cloud added seven points apiece, and Bailey and Stratford’s Tyler Gaines scored six points apiece in the loss.
West 41, East 36
Defections by Latta guard Kaitlin Hisaw and forward Siera Green (who were on their senior trip) left the East with just nine players and virtually no size at all to combat the formidable front-court duo of Asher’s Erin Casey and Roff’s Felicia Logsdon. That pair combined to score 17 points, with Logsdon scoring a game-high 10 to earn MVP honors.
The West led just 34-33 after Allen’s Marissa Prentice drained the seventh of eight 3-pointers by the East in the game with 3:52 to play. But Byng’s Stormy Sayre answered with a 3-pointer of her own off an assist from Roff’s J. J. Steward with 3:10 left, and the West lead grew to six just over a minute later when Byng’s Mahgen Boissenin drilled a baseline jumper off a feed from Sayre.
A long 3-pointer by Coalgate’s Tandra Elkins with 1:02 remaining made it a three-point game, but the East managed just one shot the rest of the way, and a baseline turnaround by Roff’s Jordan Grinstead with 30 seconds showing on the clock finally clinched the victory.
Casey capped a 9-0 West run to start the game with a 3-point play that began with a long right-handed jump-hook with 4:16 left in the opening period, but the East cut the deficit to 12-10 when Stonewall’s Cheyanne Miller banked in a 3-pointer with 6:22 left in the half. Logsdon hit a short jumper 42 seconds later to push the West lead back to four, then the East got a 3-pointer from Miller and two from Allen’s Amber Coody over the next two minutes to take a 19-14 lead.
The West trimmed the deficit to 19-18 at intermission when Boissenin hit a layup off a nice pass from Sayre on an inbounds play with 27 seconds left in the half but didn’t take the lead for good until Casey hit a jumper off a feed from Logsdon to make it 26-25 with 3:51 left in the third quarter.
Sayre’s 3-pointer from the left wing off an assist from Vanoss star Gage Parker at the 1:29 mark pushed the West lead to 30-25, but Elkins banked in a 3-pointer with 5:53 to play to pull the East to within 32-30. Just over a minute later, Sulphur’s Ashley Welch saved a turnover for the West when she dove out of bounds to tip the ball to Konawa’s Ciara Kuestersteffen, who made a pinpoint pass to Ada’s T’ata Robers for a layup to make it 34-30 with 4:43 left.
Logsdon was the only player on either team to finish in double figures, but Casey added seven points, Sayre scored six points and Roberts added five for the West. Miller and Coody scored eight points apiece to lead the East.