Sierra Grande's Ricardo Howard (31) electrified the crowd as he was able to sink several dunks on Friday night.
Courier Sports Editor
ALAMOSA — There was plenty of excitement for everyone at Friday night’s Arby’s All Star Games at Adams State Univeristy’s Plachy Hall.
From a close 3-point shooting contest that came down to the final shot to a crowd-pleasing and controversial slam dunk contest to two come-from-behind victories, and a splash of cheer, it was a night to enjoy for the seniors of the San Luis Valley teams.
Despite several of the players participating in a track meet in the bitter cold wind in Center, they laced up the shoes for one last chance at glory.
According to Ted Morrison, the organizer of the event, senior players are nominated by their coaches with the number one player from each school automatically on the team. The remainder of the team is filled by a selection committee of ex-coaches and referees from throughout the Valley. The coaches are selected by the committee on a rotating merit vote.
The visiting teams won both games, the girls in a close one at the finish as the Top Shots pulled out a 55-52 game in the final seconds after trailing the Hot Shots 27-21 at halftime.
Unlike normal high school games, the Arby's All-Star games are played with college-like rules with two 20-minute halves.
The Top Shots, who were coached by Centauri Head Coach Dave Forster and his assistants Mark Parrish and Erin McCarroll, out scored the Hot Shots, who were coached by Centennial Head Coach Ramiro Ramirez and his assistant Liz Ramirez, 34-25 in the second half of the game.
The game ended as Sierra Grande's Chelsea Roybal, who was injured the later part of the season and wasn't even suited up to start the game, came and was allowed to score a field goal, those two points sealed the game in the final 15 seconds.
Centauri's Taylor Wilson led the Top Shot scorers with 17 points, while Kathleen Ruybal, Itzel Ortiz and Kendra Neese each scored six. Alexa Lobato and Kassidy Jones each scored four while Lena Atencio, Victoria Taylor, Savannah Plane, Roybal, Mizokami and Brianna Archuleta each scored two points.
The Hot Shots were led by Sanford's Kelli Canty, who scored 12 points. Blake Faucett scored nine points while Camrey Garoutte and Ashley Martinez scored six. Hannah Goldsberry and JoAnna scored four. Arianna Cordova scored three and Alexis Albert, Megan Torrez, Kathryn New and Brooke Lucero each scored two.
The boys’ game saw plenty of scoring as the Hot Shots pulled off incredible come-from-behind win over the Top Shots 97-75.
The Top Shots, who were coached by Brandon Sanchez' coaching staff at Centauri, came out on fire as they opened up what seemed like an insurmountable lead but the Wade Mortensen coached Hot Shots clawed back. They did trail 43-31 after the first 20 minutes before they dominated the second half and got the win.
Centauri's Justin Gallegos led the way for the Hot Shots with 19 points while Ricardo Howard scored 13 points. Zach Meyer scored 12 points, Scott Dillon scored eight, Servando Moreno and Austin Heersink scored six, Michael Ontiveros scored five and Kevin Trujillo and Devin LeDay each scored four. Jordan Albert scored three and Bryan Garcia each scored two.
The Top Shots were led by Braydon Wakasugi, who scored 14 points. Austin Dillon scored 11 points, Chris Glovan scored nine, Tomas Vigil scored eight, Noah Sellman, Colin Trujillo and Franklin Kuhn each scored four. They were followed by Russell Shawcroft and Colton Cooley, who scored three, and Sam Bilderbeck and Stephan Carson, who each scored two.
In the 3-point shooting contest, Centauri’s Wilson won the girls’ contest by sinking 8 of her 10 shots, while Scott Dillon of Sargent sank 7 of 10 from behind the arc to win the boys’ contest.
But when it came to the battle between Wilson and Dillon for the overall 3-point crown, it came down to the final shot.
That’s because Wilson started the contest by hitting 4 of her ten shots before Dillon took his shot. During his round he missed his first six attempts before he started hitting them. He hit the next three to set up a sudden death shot. As he took the shot it was a little to the left and his shot from the left baseline clung off the back of the rim and rattled out to give Wilson the win.
The slam dunk contest boiled down to a showdown between Alamosa’s Bilderbeck and Sierra Grande’s Howard. The Adams State men’s basketball team was brought to their feet as they served as the judges.
A unique bounce and 360-degree dunk by Howard was enough to get the judges and the crowd to their feet but consistency by Bilderbeck helped seal the win for the Moose senior.
It was another great night of Arby’s Games, raising money for ASC Arby’s Scholarships to aid the college in recruiting outstanding local student-athletes.