(West Plains) – Area basketball fans took one last look at some of their favorite senior high school players Saturday afternoon, April 19, at the Grizzly All-Star Classic at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
Hosted by the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball program, the annual event gives these student athletes an opportunity to display their skills on the court one more time.
“We were thrilled for the opportunity to honor these seniors one last time as members of their high school basketball teams,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “Without a doubt, we had two competitive games. The girls’ game was close with a minute left before the girls Dark Team spread the lead just out of reach. The boys’ game was very exciting, with the Dark Team coming back to tie the game and then win convincingly in overtime.”
In the girls game, the Dark Team defeated the Light Team 68-57. Scoring for the Dark Team, coached by Doyne Byrd of Bakersfield, were Sarah Cook, Seymour, 18 points; Betsy Minkler, Bakersfield, 12; Brianna Walters, Koshkonong, and Sam Kuk, Bakersfield, each with 10; and Taylor Emberton of Couch, Alicia Bland of Bunker, and Jessica Storm of Licking, each with 6. Kody Smith, Bakersfield, also was a member of the team
Scoring for the girls Light Team, coached by Norman Hollis of Alton, were Alex Mills, Alton, 19 points; Lakin McDaris, Hartville, 13; Shelby Acklin, West Plains, 8; Sydney Cremer, Houston, 7; Brianna Strain, Gainesville, 3; Kianna Frieze, Alton, 2; and Chandra Hollis, Alton, 1. Jordyn Edwards, Alton, also was a member of the team.
In the boys game, the Dark Team tied the contest at 117 at the end of regulation before pulling away to a 137-124 victory in overtime. Scoring for the Dark Team, coached by Pat Rapert, Gainesville, Darrien Dickey, Iberia, 31 points (8 in overtime); Seth Hensley, Hartville, 24; Hunter Simmons, Hartville, 22; James Denton, Mtn. View-Birch Tree Liberty, 15; Harley Taylor, Gainesville, 14; Zach Voss, Gainesville, 8; Jacob Womack, West Plains, and Eric Honeycutt, Alton, each with 5; and Josh Foster, Couch, 4.
Scoring for the Light Team, coached by Matt Pitts, Thayer, were Shade Piper, Hartville, 39 points; Justin Washington, Crane, 30; Levi Hargrove, Thayer, and Chris Lewis, Norfork, Ark., each with 16; Kyndal Smith, Salem, Ark., 9; Chad Sturdefant, Seymour, 4; and Austin Mays, Winona, 3. Jacob Foley, Thayer, and Cody Whitaker, Salem, Mo., also were members of the team.
Sarah Cook of Seymour and Darrien Dickey of Iberia were named MVPs of their respective games.
The event also included a slam dunk contest for the boys and a 3-point shooting contest for both boys and girls. Alicia Bland, Bunker, and Seth Hensley, Hartville, took home the 3-point shooting contest trophies, and Dickey won the slam dunk contest. Walker pointed out Hensley hit the 3-pointer for the Dark Team that sent the boys game into overtime. He also offered his congratulations to each for their respective individual honors.
“The neatest thing about this year’s event was that I saw several of our all-star game alumni in the stands watching,” Walker said.
Walker said organizers of the all-star games would like to thank the sponsors from each of the players’ communities that supported their respective players, as well as the event’s corporate sponsors, Screen Shots Printing and Design, Rebecca Simmons Photography, Colton’s Steak House and Grill, and the West Plains Civic Center.
“We had a great crowd, and that is very fitting. It is admirable how our local communities support their athletes,” Walker said. “I also want to thank our sponsors. I received several thank yous for continuing to host these games, but we couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors.”