Traditionally, when an all-star game takes place, the expectation is that there will be little defense and much offense. For the boys on Thursday night in Topeka, there was a healthy balance of both. Both teams were in the bonus close to the end of the first half, but the final score was 112-101 in favor of the White squad.
The boys squads beat each other up, all the while finding its way to the basket time and time and time again. There were a few moments where it appeared as the guys would start show-boating a bit, just to have some fun in their last high school game.
But each time someone would try a fancy pass or a trick shot, both sides would go back to playing fundamental, defense-first ball.
“It’s always fun to get to coach here,” said Basehor-Linwood head coach Mike McBride. “You get a lot of talent out there with kids from all over the state. It’s neat to get to see where the talent is from kids around the state.”
That’s what happens, though, when you put twenty of the state’s best players on the floor. No matter how tight the defense is, they’re going to score. With the solid defense from both teams, players were forced to get creative with how they scored.
Some drove the lane, others would pick passes and get a free layup, others would drain a deep three, whatever way they decided to do it, there was no denying it was entertaining.
“You get a ton of knowledge coaching with the guys that were here,” said McBride. “You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. They know just as much, if not more, than you do. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s fun.”
Former Wichita Heights standout Terrance Moore finished the first half in probably the most creative way of the night. He got a steal just past midcourt, sprinted down the floor, leaped in the air and threw down the only dunk of the night. He finished the game with 13 points.
Andover Central product Jordan Kaufman led the Blue team with 21 points. The 6’11” center was a force to be reckoned with in the paint.
Clint McCullough of St. James Academy led the White team and all players with 28 points in the win.
Many in the building were expecting much more of the electrifying dunks throughout the game, but that was the only one attempted. Moore will attend Emporia State next year.
The White team was in control from the start, at one point leading by 20 points, but the Blue team did not go quietly into the night.
Blue scratched and clawed and quietly go to within six points at one point, but the White squad proved to be too much as once it grabbed the lead, it put a death grip on it.
Girls: White team overcomes three-point barrage
Defense, defense, defense was the swan song for Wichita Heights’ head coach Kip Pulliam during his team’s back-to-back state championship runs. So when former Heights star Taylor Chandler took the floor for her old coach, the defense was simply too much for the Blue team. White won 79-69.
Chandler was everywhere on the defensive end. She was relentless. She made steals, interceptions and had her hand in almost every shot-taker’s face.
“The girls on this team followed the lead,” said Pulliam. “She’s a great leader. She was my right-hand man all last year and this year, too.”
The Blue squad got hot from behind the arc early in the game, perhaps under the thinking that if it could sink three-point shots, it could overcome a suffocating defense. But as the saying goes, defense wins.
Blue sank eight three-point shots in the first half as it got 24 of its 37 points from three-point land. White didn’t care. It held a 43-37 lead at the break, with only one made three-point basket. Blue made 10 three-point shots in the game.
“They have some unbelievable shooters on that team,” said Pulliam. “If we didn’t play defense and get some steals and some easy buckets, it was going to be a long night for us, but we did it.”
Chandler scored 10 points in the win, while Wellington’s Dani Anderson led the White team with 15 points.
Riley County’s Kelly Thomson and Topeka Highland Park’s Shanise Brooks led all players with 16 points apiece.
"For an all-star game, these girls played hard," said Pulliam.