LOGANVILLE — It is an accepted axiom that all-star basketball games are supposed be filled with plenty of points and not a whole lot of defense.
But the boys game in the 11th Annual Gwinnett County Senior All-Star festivities Thursday at Grayson High School has so much offense that the scoreboard often had trouble keeping up.
Ironically, however, the game was decided with a defensive play, as Greater Atlanta Christian’s Hunter McIntosh came up with a steal with his team defending a three-point lead, and his breakaway jumper at the buzzer counted to push the final margin for him and Team Cooper to 146-141 over Team Robinson.
Earlier in the evening, the score of the girls game was more like one would see in a regular season contest, though there were still plenty of outstanding individual performances, including a stretch of three straight 3-pointer over a minute and a half span in the second half by Brookwood’s Mariah Callaway to lead Team Diaz to a 62-59 win over Team Williams.
Fans who blinked during the boys game may very well have missed a basket here or there in a game that may very well have been the highest-scoring contest in the history of the event.
Shiloh’s Kendall Lewis may also have put his name in the event’s record book, if they were in fact kept, with a stellar night of 47 points, which included several breakaway and highlight reel dunks, and 18 rebounds for Team Robinson.
“It was real fun,” said Lewis, who is set to choose between TCU and St. Bonaventure for his college destination when the spring signing period begins in less than a month. “I enjoy competition and coming out and playing with the guys I’ve been playing with my whole life. It’s just good to come out my last (high school) game and just have fun.”
Lewis’ big night was just one of a handful of strong performances for Team Robinson, which rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to take the lead late in the second half behind 14 points each from Daily Post Boys Player of the Year Jamir Chaplin of Meadowcreek and Dacula’s Brendan Tucker, plus 12 points from Grayson’s Jevon Tatum.
But it wasn’t enough to stop Team Cooper from rallying behind Chaplin’s Meadowcreek teammate Jalen Benjamin, who finished with 20 points and five assists, and Buford’s Eric Coleman, who added 17 points, five boards and two blocks. Grayson’s Reco Hallmon also had big night with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The aforementioned defensive play McIntosh with Team Robinson trying to tie the game with a 3-pointer as the clock wound down helped seal the win for Team Cooper.
In the girls game, Team Williams, like Team Robinson in the boys game, tried to rally from a big deficit, including trailing 28-21 at the half.
In fact, Team Williams took its first lead of the game at 38-37 following a 3-pointer from Kendall Bollmer of Dacula with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
That lead grew to as much as eight in the fourth quarter before Team Diaz rallied behind Callaway, who took passes from Brookwood teammates Kiki Adams and Alea Spears on consecutive possessions, and then added an unassisted trey on the next possession for a 9-0 run that reclaimed the lead at 53-52 with 5:22 remaining.
Callaway, who finished with a team-high 13 points, was able to stay with both of her Bronco teammates during the game, while teammates from several other teams were split up among the two teams, which she credited with helping her find her shooting rhythm during the second half.
“It was such a blessing to have both of them (on the same team) instead of playing against them,” said Callaway, who will play college basketball at Division III Manhattanville College in Harrison, N.Y. “I found that really funny, and I just found that (to be) a blessing because I got to play with them one more time. It was bittersweet because I love them.”
Archer teammates Amari Heard (10 points, eight rebounds) and Madison Gatewood (eight points, six boards) also played a big part in the win for Team Diaz.
Norcross’ Tionna Carter led Team Williams and all scorers with 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Peachtree Ridge’s Yewanda Bello had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Norcross’ Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu also added four points, six rebounds, four assist and five steals for Team Williams.