By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Exactly which side of the Valley plays the best high school basketball will be decided today when the 10th Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic is contested at Damien High School.
The girls game will be played at 6 p.m. followed by the boys at 8. Each game pits the top senior talent from the east and west sides of the Valley.
Fans are urged to arrive early to avoid a parking crush and traffic delays.
The Star-News will be looking to add to its lead in both series with the boys owning a 5-4 series edge and the girls leading 6-3.
“Anytime you’re competing, you’re trying to win,” said Flintridge Prep coach Garrett Ohara, who will coach the Star-News boys team. “We also think the best way for us to play well is to play together. And if we do that, then I think that will give us a good shot to win.”
The Star-News headliner is Pasadena’s Andre Spight, who was the Star-News Player of the Year this season. But there’s plenty more scoring power than just Spight on the squad, especially from the outside.
The Temple City tandem of Eric Olivas and Felix Awujo are dangerous from outside, as is Maranatha’s Jeremy Major. The Star-News has good size, too, with Pasadena’s Raymond Jackson, Maranatha’s Michael DeMeester and Flintridge Prep’s Kareem Ismail down low.
The Tribune will counter with a team that features several of this past season’s top scorers on the east side of the Valley. Arroyo’s Primitivo Gomez is hoping to showcase himself after leading the Knights with 25 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
Covina’s Mike Peters can be a scoring force. So can Damien’s Jared Dizon.
Being able to play an up-and-down pace with ample athleticism on the team has Tribune coach Matt Dunn of Damien thinking his team could cause the Star-News some matchup problems.
“I think our strength is that it’s a really versatile group,” Dunn said. “We have a lot of guys between 6-foot and 6-3, and that should make for a fun game.”
So often in this series the winning team has been the one that’s played as a cohesive unit, which is something Ohara was stressing in practice this week.
“There’s an opportunity for some people who would want to showcase themselves and I think we’re going to curtail that a little bit,” Ohara said. “Playing together is huge for us. It’s about sharing the ball, effort and not settling for any shot when we can get a better shot.
“I think it will come down to how they cooperate. It’s about 15 guys and not about one guy.”
There will be a 3-point contest at halftime of each game. In the boys game, the Tribune will be represented by Dizon, Jordan Stokes (San Dimas) and Joseph Dionisio (Rowland). The Star-News sharpshooters will be Olivas, Awujo and Spight.
In the girls game, a battle of size against speed should ensue, with the Tribune team possessing a bevy of strong post players and the Star-News heavy with guards.
The Tribune is led by dynamic scorer Imari Brown of Duarte and the inside presence of Bishop Amat’s Mauriana Clayton and Leeah Powell.
The Star-News will counter with Keppel’s Alyson Lock, who was the Star-News Player of the Year and will play at Loyola Marymount next season.
The Star-News’ guards corps is led by Arcadia’s Melody Chang and Keppel’s Samantha Lee. Forwards Kayla Pounds (Blair) and Rosemead’s Melody Gauthier can score from anywhere on the floor.
The Tribune team is coached by Amat’s Richard Wiard while the Star-News is coached by Keppel’s Joe Kikuchi.
The Star-News 3-point contest shooters will be Gauthier, Lee and Chang. The Tribune was to determine its shooters in Thursday night’s practice.
Primitivo Gomez, Arroyo
Osnar Garcia, Workman
Mike Peters, Covina
Jared Dizon, Damien
Korey Hackett, Claremont
Nnadi Udengwu, Diamond Ranch
Skyler Williams, La Verne Lutheran
Jordan Stokes, San Dimas
Danny Johnson, Northview
Chris Arzadon, Rowland
Keith Cavanaugh, Damien
Joseph Cook, Bishop Amat
Joseph Dionisio, Rowland
Ryan Ramirez, Bonita
Jeriko Santos, South Hills
Spencer Briglio, Keppel, Andre Spight, Pasadena, Raymond Jackson, Pasadena, Taturs Mayberry, Muir, Evan Bynum, Muir
Kareem Ismail, Flintridge Prep, Eric Oilvas, Temple City, Felix Awujo, Temple City, Jeremy Major, Maranatha, Michael DeMeester, Maranatha, Tyler Shimamoto, Gabrielino, Jasper Hwang, San Marino, Aarom Cosme, Alhambra, Jack Anderson, La Canada, Ryan Wiley, Rio Hondo Prep
Yewande Alabi, Diamond Bar
Amanda Britt, West Covina
Imari Brown, Duarte
Kelli Calton, Wilson
Mauriana Clayton, Bishop Amat
Aileen Giang, El Monte
Jasmine Hamori, Los Altos
Tai Lark, Diamond Ranch
Jessica Lupercio, Arroyo
Imani Payton, South Hills
Leeah Powell, Bishop Amat
Kristi Sakamoto, Ayala
Stephanie Vana, Bonita
Jennifer Vasquez, Bishop Amat
Megan Ward, Northview
Julissa Aguirre, Arcadia, Melody Chang, Arcadia, Emma Wong, San Marino, Leigh Kunitake, San Marino, Alyson Lock, Keppel, Lesley Tan, Keppel, Samantha Lee, Keppel, Carina So, Keppel, Syndey Hua, Rosemead, Melody Gauthier, Rosemead, Dariel Johnson, Pasadena, Kayla Pounds, Blair, Amber Partida, South Pasadena, Lili Lim, Westridge, Ari Tagdis, San Gabriel