Dragons host 35th C103 All Star Game, SHAC seniors on display –
By Mark Carpenter –
For the 35th consecutive season, senior basketball players from the Southern Hills Athletic Conference got one final opportunity to display their talents as local radio station C103 and West Union High School played host to the annual Senior All-Star Game.
Again, it was a big night with an overflow crowd, with entertainment for everyone, along with some pretty good basketball in both the girls and boys All-Star Games. The girls game saw the White Team, led by double figure scoring from Fairfield’s Grace Shope and the North Adams duo of Avery Harper and Lakyn Hupp, pulled off a 59-45 victory, while the boys game saw the Red Team make a furious comeback in regulation to force overtime, where they claimed an 82-78 triumph. Both games were played in the format of eight minute quarters, with just a few entertainment interruptions.
The night began with the Girls All-Star Game, where the White Team, behind three Hupp baskets, led 18-10 after one quarter. In the second stanza, the Red squad got a pair of three-pointers from North Adams’ Madee Shipley, but still trailed 29-23 at the intermission.
Getting five points from Shope in the third period, the White team increased their lead to 44-32, and though the Red rallied in the final frame as Shipley put on a shooting exhibition with three more from beyond the arc, the White squad held on to post the 59-45 win.
Shope led the winners with 12 points, with Hupp and Harper adding 10 apiece. With her five treys, Shipley led the Red Team all scorers with 17 points. Eastern Brown’s Mikayla Farris also hit double figures for the Red side with 10 points.
Between games came the always popular Hot Shot Contest, which is designed to resemble the Three-Point Shootout held at each year’s NBA All-Star Game. Each contestant had three racks of basketballs and 45 seconds to clear them, with each score from behind the three-point arc worth one point, except for the final “money ball” on each rack, which was worth five points. The participants were determined by a shootout that took place when the All-Star teams met to practice at an earlier date.
The girls’ competition included: Madee Shipley (N. Adams), Whitney Broughton (E. Brown), Abby Blankenship (Lynchburg), Baylee Justice (Peebles), Avery Harper (N. Adams), and the eventual winner, Grace Shope from Fairfield.
The boys’ participants were: Ryan Shupert (N. Adams), Elijah McCarty (W. Union), Eric McLaughlin (Lynchburg), Eli Fuller (W. Union), Ethan Pennywitt (Manchester), and Tanner Utterback (Manchester). It came down to the final shot when Pennywitt’s money ball just rimmed out, giving the title to West Union’s Fuller.
Local auctioneer Sam Bolender helped to auction off basketballs signed by the boys and girls teams and a large megaphone signed by the All-Star cheerleaders and the later C103 “Money Grab” earned $39 for contestant Justin Maddox.
Up next the Boys’ Red and White Teams took the court and for most of the game, it looked as if the White squad would win in a rout. On the strength of four three-point goals, two each by Shupert and Ripley’s Ryan Harney, the White Team took a commanding 24-6 lead after the first quarter. With their own series of three-point goals, the Red Team was able to cut into the lead a bit in the second stanza, but four scoring trips in succession by Manchester’s Jamie Combs helped stake the White squad to a 38-25 halftime advantage.
To begin the halftime ceremonies, Don Bowles, President and General Manager of Dream Catcher Communications, awarded the annual C103 Scholarships of $1,000 each to 10 deserving athletes from the SHAC. (See all of the winners in the photo on Page B2.)
Next up was the highly entertaining Slam Dunk Contest, one of the most competitive in recent years. After a series of intriguing “slams”, the final two competitors came down to McLaughlin and North Adams’ Michael Gill. It was McLaughlin making it back to back titles, being crowned the champion again in 2018.
When the basketball action resumed, the Red Team turned it up a notch, putting up 47 points in the third and fourth quarters combined, led by the hot hands of Utterback, Eastern Brown’s Garyn Purdy, and Fairfield’s Cody Gragg. While the White Team offense slumped, the Red side made its comeback, pulling to within 58-49 after three periods, finally coming all the way back to tie the game late in regulation on a layup by Whiteoak’s Trever Yeager, forcing a three-minute overtime, called by a consensus of the fans still in attendance.
In the extra period, two baskets by Purdy, and one each from Gragg, Peebles’ Tanner Arey, and West Union’s Elijah McCarty led the Red Team to the improbable come-from-behind victory by a final score of 82-78.
The winners were led by 16 points from Gragg, followed in double figures by Purdy’s 12 and 10 from McCarty. The White Team was paced McLaughlin with 14, Combs with 13, and Harney with 10.
10 13 9 13 —45
18 11 15 15 —59
Red (45): Hesler 3, Blankenship 3, Broughton 4, Shipley 17, Stout 5, Reiber 3, Farris 10
White (59): Moore 2, Shope 12, Justice 3, Nichols 2, K. Daniels 3, Wylie 3, Mills 6, H. Daniels 4, Harper 10, Ryan 2, Adams 2, Hupp 10.
Red (7): Shipley 5, Hesler 1, Blankenship 1
White (5): Shope 2, Justice 1, K. Daniels 1, Wylie 1
6 19 24 23 10 —82
24 14 20 14 6 —78
Red (82): Utterback 8, McCarty 10, Purdy 12, Staggs 6, Pennywitt 3, Stivers 4, Minton 3, Arey 7, Shumaker 4, Ayres 3, Gragg 16, Lucas 2, Yeager 4.
White (78): Hawes 8, McLaughlin 14, Ross 2, Shupert 9, Dunn 5, Walker 3, Combs 13, harney 10, Ison 5, Smalley 2, Fuller 5, Robinson 2.
Red (8): Utterback 2, McCarty 2, Pennywitt 1, Minton 1, Arey 1, Ayres 1
White (10); Shupert 3, Dunn 1, Walker 1, Combs 1, Harney 2, Ison 1, Fuller 1