With most of the hard work already done, it was time to start pushing the tempo, launching long 3-pointers and step-back fadeaways.
That’s when the smiles really started coming – exactly the way things should be in a high school all-star game.
In a showcase featuring the best seniors in the state from all classifications as voted by coaches, the Class 3A team jumped to an early lead and coasted to a 104-83 victory over the 4A squad on Saturday night at Curtis High School in the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association All-State Games.
Kennedy Catholic’s Mitch Penner, a Seattle Pacific University recruit, paced the 3A team with 29 points, while Shadle Park’s Brett Boese, headed to Washington State, added 18 points and nine rebounds. O’Dea’s Sekou Wiggs chipped in 16, and Decatur’s Dom Hunter added nine.
“We definitely wanted to just come out hard early on so we could (mess) around the rest of the time,” Penner said with a grin. “We definitely had a lot of fun once we got up.”
The 3A all-stars ran out to a 15-4 lead, and Penner scored the final six points of the half on back-to-back three-point plays, pushing the lead to 53-34.
“From the get-go we were in the huddle talking about trying to get up by 20,” said Wilson High guard Phoenix Waters, who didn’t score but had a few nice assists and a couple of steals. “I just came out here to distribute the ball, play with my friends and run up and down. I’m not trying to impress anybody. I just came out here to have fun.”
The 3A lead ballooned to as many as 19 in the second half, and Wiggs brought a loud cheer from the crowd after drilling a long 3-pointer to break the century mark for his team.
Curtis’ Darius Johnson-Wilson finished with seven points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot for the 4A team, and Bellarmine Prep’s David Smith added 10 points. Union’s Jordan Chatman, Washington’s Mr. Basketball, scored 11 points.
In the lower-classification matchup, the 1A team held the 2A team without a field goal for a four-minute stretch midway through the second half and cruised to an 85-70 victory.
Leading 56-53 with 12 minutes, 27 seconds remaining, the 1A team went on a 12-0 run. Okanogan’s Joe Townsend scored a layup off a behind-the-head pass from Toledo’s Jesse Wallace in transition to cap the run, forcing Lynden 2A coach Brian Roper to call a timeout.
“Things really clicked out there,” said Wallace, who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists. “It felt pretty good. A lot of those guys are unselfish (with the basketball).”
Eatonville’s Erik Swartout tallied eight points and five rebounds for the 2A team, while North Thurston’s Matt Reid added six points.
In the first game of the day, the 2B team defeated the 1B team, 99-86.
This year’s event marked the first time in more than seven years the showcase has been played in the South Sound.