Prep Boys BB: 2As Top 2Bs in Competitive SWW All-Star Game
BIGS VS SMALLS: 2A Squad Wins 97-85; Black Hills’ Walker Wins MVP, Toledo’s Wallace Wins 3-Point Contest
By Aaron VanTuyl
By design, it was not the typical all-star game.
The top senior hoopers converged on Centralia College Tuesday night for the 19th-annual SWW Senior All-Star Game, with a new caveat: One team would be comprised of 2A players, while the other would be made up of 2B players.
“They were really wanting it, and we were, too,” said W.F. West’s Brandon White, who scored 11 points with 10 boards for the 2A squad — which came out on top, 97-85. “I haven’t really played in any other (all-star games), but I felt like it was more of a screw-around, huck-up stuff, but this made it more ‘gotta come to play’ and stuff.”
It increased the entertainment value of the exhibition game, with different section of the crowd breaking into “Two-A Power” and “Two-B Power” chants in the second half — along with the traditional, but more vocal this time around, heckles on airballs and swatted shots.
“I don’t really like coaching in an all-star game, but this one was actually fun,” Morton-White Pass coach Tony Gillispie, who headed up the 2A squad with Onalaska’s Dennis Bower, said. “I think the 2As and 2Bs competing against each other made it more challenging. There’s a little respect factor for life there, so that made it fun, and I think they did a really good job of doing that.”
The 2B squad started off hot, with Toutle Lake Nate Hoff draining a pair of 3s and Napavine’s Jordan Purvis adding another to stake the small-school boys a quick 9-0 lead.
The advantage held until shortly after halftime, when the physically larger 2A team went to work. Black Hills’ Kaena Walker scored 11 of his game-high 17 points after the break and a 3-pointer from Walker’s prep teammate Garrett Glenn pushed the lead to 71-59 with 11 minutes to play.
The 2B squad charged back, cutting the lead to 71-68 with a pair of Purvis 3s with 9:40 to play, but couldn’t come closer than that. A 3-pointer from Adna’s Cody Young trimmed the lead back to 86-80 with 2:54 to go, prompting a timeout from 2B (and W.F. West) coach Chris White. White broke out a clipboard, which got a laugh and a few joking words from Bearcat guard Jordan Thomas, watching from the opposing team’s huddle.
“He knows so many plays, and he’s always looking for new plays,” Brandon White, Chris’s son, said. “So I don’t think it’s anything we run.”
Walker earned the boys game’s MVP award, shooting 8 of 11 for his 17 points, and Tumwater’s C.J. Geathers added 12 points for the 2A squad.
The 2A club held a 62-43 rebounding advantage and shot 42 percent from the field (41 of 98), while the 2B squad went 17 of 53 from beyond the 3-point line.
Hoff and Matt Poquette and each scored 16 points to lead the 2B squad, with Poquette adding nine rebounds. The Morton-White Pass senior provided his share of highlights, with a first-half dunk and a dunk attempt over a pair of defenders in the first half that fell short but got plenty of applause from the packed house.
“It’s different. You sit there on the other side rooting for him to do well and make every shot, so that’s a bit odd,” Gillispie said, “but just watching him play is a lot of fun, and watching the 2B kids play is a lot of fun.”
Young added 14 points for the 2Bs, going 3 of 9 from long range with five rebounds. Purvis added 12 points, and Toledo’s Reece Wallace scored 8 points and won the halftime 3-point shooting contest. Wallace hit 15 shots in the one-minute first round, then dropped in 25 in the second round for a comfortable win over Young, who hit 13 in the first round and another 13 in the finals.
“That was fun. I could do that all day,” Wallace said. “It’s just so much fun when you’ve got guys that are that skilled, and have that high of a basketball IQ — how guys can just come together and play like that. It’s just fun.”
Centralia’s Tyler Ashmore scored 12 for the 2A squad, with prep teammate Ben Janssan adding 10.
2As 97, 2Bs 85
2Bs 42 43 —85
2As 41 56 —97
2Bs (85) — Young 14, Hoff 16, Purvis 12, Weed 2, Poquette 16, Wallace 8, Stanley 6, Ashley 6, Swanson, Arroyo 5
FG: 31 of 87 —.356 FT: 6 of 9 —.667 Reb. 43 (Poquette 9, Arroyo 8)
2As (97) — Geathers 12, Robinson 5, Crumley 8, Cooper 8, White 11, Glenn 7, Walker 17, Janssan 10, Thomas 7, Ashmore 12
FG: 41 of 98 —.418 FT: 4 of 5 —.800 Reb. 62 (Cooper, White 10)