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June 10, 2013

Wabash Valley’s best on display in FS the Magazine’s annual All-Star Saturday

Rockville — A trio of recent Rockville stars nearly had an unbelievable comeback in their last high school basketball appearance in the Rock-a-Dome during FS the Magazine’s annual All-Star Saturday.

Another trio, featuring a player with some Rock-a-Dome history of his own, was too much to overcome, however, as the South boys team held off the North team 107-97 in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader. North won the girls game 72-60.

“I told myself I was going to do that,” said Terre Haute South’s Jeffrey Turner after a 35-point, 13-rebound performance that earned him Most Valuable Player honors for the South team. “I had some bad experiences [in the Braves’ regular-season loss at Rockville]. This was my last time playing here, and I wanted to make it a good one.”

Lane Mahurin, Jordon McFall and Gary Ulrich of the host school threatened to repeat the pattern of a Rockville second-half comeback that it used in a victory over South. Mahurin and McFall combined for 43 points in the last two quarters as the North team cut a 29-point lead to five in the fourth quarter.

But in Turner, Blake Cesinger of Clay City and Dess Fougerousse of Linton, the South team had three of the Wabash Valley’s best full-court streetball players, for whom the all-star format is perfect. After a three-point play by Mahurin cut the lead to 89-84, the South team scored the next 10 points — eight by Turner — to pull away again.

“Lots of shooting, not a whole lot of defense,” Turner noted. “That’s the funnest type [of basketball] to play.”

The trio from the South team, complemented nicely in the starting lineup by Logan Steward of South and Brodie Crowe of Shakamak, jumped out early in the first half and never let up. The score was quickly 13-4, then 19-7, then 36-17 by the end of the first quarter. South’s biggest lead was 29 points, for the first time at 50-21, and it was still 61-32 at halftime.

“It was just an all-star game, and we were here to have fun,” McFall noted after the game, “but being down [almost] 30 was a little harsh. A couple of us wanted to play a little harder [in the second half] — make some actual shots.”

Mahurin had 14 points in the first half of the third quarter as North got the lead under 20. A spectacular steal-and-layup play from Steven Davis of Terre Haute North to Adrien Corenflos of West Vigo cut the margin to 82-67 at the third stop, and in the fourth quarter McFall hit four 3-pointers and Mahurin and North’s Casey Vickers two each.

Fougerousse added 24 points and 13 rebounds; Cesinger had 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists; Steward scored 13; and Crowe had seven points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals for South. Mahurin led North with 30 points and 11 rebounds, while McFall scored 28.

The girls game was closer throughout, even though the North team had a balanced attack led by Jenifer Lee of Rockville and its two Division I recruits, Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke and Nicole Anderson of North.

South didn’t have as many go-to shooters, but one was nearly enough as Tasia Brewer — also from Terre Haute South — had a spectacular effort and her role-playing teammates contributed too.

South got six straight points early in the third quarter — Brewer getting a 3-pointer, an assist to Shakamak’s Kelsey Pilant and a free throw — for the game’s last tie, but then Dickey took over on the offensive boards. She scored her team’s next six points on putbacks, giving North the lead for good with the second one after Sullivan’s Caelan Jones had answered the first with a 3-pointer for South’s last lead.

North built a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter on a bucket by Lee and a 3-pointer by Anderson. Back-to-back baskets by Sullivan’s Cobie Harrison and two free throws by Brewer cut the lead to 53-50. But Jones, the team’s floor general, had fouled out by that time, and North finally pulled away.

Brewer finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots while Harrison scored 11 and Jones had eight points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals. Pilant also scored eight.

Lee finished with 18 for North, while Dickey had 17 and Anderson 16.

“[MVP] is a good award to have; it made it worthwhile,” said Brewer, who — along with Anderson — had played in the Hoosier Reunion Classic a night earlier at Knightstown. “I liked this game better,” she joked. “More playing time.”

Two of the Valley’s best girls teams lately had four representatives each on the teams Saturday, and at one time the North lineup included all four from Riverton Parke and the South lineup all four from Sullivan.

“It was just fun getting to play with all of them,” Dickey said, “because you don’t know when the next time you’ll see them all is going to be.”

n Contests — North Vermillion’s Kylee Karr, who ironically took just one shot during the game, won the girls 3-point competition, nipping Lee and South Vermillion’s Bailey Mack at halftime of the boys game.

Steward edged McFall and Riverton Parke’s Brendon Bovair in boys 3-point competition at halftime of the girls game, then nearly pulled a gigantic upset in the dunk competition between games.

Mahurin won it, starting with a one-hand slam while leaping over a volunteer from the crowd and also getting a two-hand jam from the baseline after McFall lobbed a pass off the side of the backboard. Fougerousse might have won if his execution had kept up with his creativity, including setting a glass of water on the back of the rim and hoping to drink it on the way down.

But those two and Marshall’s Taylor Maurer are all at least 6-foot-5. Steward is a 6-footer, a 6-footer with a twice-repaired knee, and he finished second. He got the evening’s only perfect score on his last attempt, taking the ball off a high bounce and flushing it backward with one hand.

“I was going for the sweep [of the two contests],” he joked after the game. “I didn’t think I was going to come close to [winning the dunk competition], but that [score of] 50 was a great feeling.

“It was definitely a way to go out,” Steward continued. “I wouldn’t say it made up for the two half years I missed [after football knee injuries], but this may be the most fun I’ve ever had.”

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