AURORA | If basketball rim insurance existed, Cherokee Trail was interested in taking out a comprehensive policy ahead of the second annual A-Town All-Star Boys Basketball Game March 18.
With 20 of the top boys prep basketball players from across Aurora — at least one from all 11 Aurora Class 5A/4A programs — head to the school’s gymnasium, it would have been a wise idea to be covered for a rim assault.
The players attacked the rims on both ends of the floor early and often, but thankfully no damage was done during an entertaining 113-91 Team West victory over Team East in an entertaining follow-up to last season’s well-received debut. City prep hoops fans turned out in abundance to watch the boys — and the inaugural A-Town All-Star Girls Game, presented by the Aurora Sentinel — and they didn’t disappoint.
John Olander, the outgoing coach of the 5A state champion Eaglecrest boys basketball team, guided Team West, which included two of his senior standouts in Colbey Ross (a Pepperdine University signee who on March 20 received his second straight Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year award) and Austin Forsberg.
The duo — which helped the Raptors win the program’s second state title just a week prior with a 53-47 win over George Washington at the Denver Coliseum — combined for 27 points and were two of a whopping seven players in double figures for Team West.
Rangeview senior Matthew Johnson led the way with 17 points, while Regis Jesuit’s Sam Bannec dunked three times on his way to 15 points, the same total as Rangeview junior Ryan Ongala.
Ongala uncorked a 360-degree dunk in the second half as the highlight of a game in which he was frustrated by several dunk attempts that came up just short.
Forsberg (who twice tried to shoot from just inside halfcourt) had 14, birthday boy Daijon Smith of Overland and Ross added 13 and Smoky Hill’s Will Becker chipped in 10 with a variety of dunks of his own.
Team West went ahead midway through the first half and led the rest of the way in a game that fell short of matching the 250 points put up last year despite no shortage of dunks, 3-pointers and displays of tremendous skills that were commonplace during yet another outstanding season of boys basketball in Aurora.
Team East had the game’s high scorer in Cherokee Trail senior Jaizec Lottie, who put up a memorable performance in his final game at his home gym with a game-high 27 points.
Lottie dunked twice — a rarity for the uncommitted 6-foot-1 guard this season — and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as well.
Cherokee Trail junior Deon Barfield broke the seal on the dunking when he threw down an alley-oop pass in the first half off a lob from Hinkley’s Dewayne Carter and he finished with eight for Team East.
Team East coach Gary Childress (Vista PEAK) also got 18 points from Grandview senior Gaige Prim and 14 from Smoky Hill sophomore Kenny Foster.
Prim, Foster, Lottie and Vista PEAK’s Te’Rae Johnson of Team East and Ross of Team West all played in the A-Town All-Star Game for a second straight season.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 A-TOWN ALL-STARS BOYS BASKETBALL GAME
Team West 113, Team East 91
Score by halves:
Team West 55 58 — 113
Team East 40 51 — 91
TEAM WEST (113)
Colbey Ross (Eaglecrest) 5 0-0 13, Matthew Johnson (Rangeview) 8 0-0 17, Austin Forsberg (Eaglecrest) 5 2-3 14, Will Becker (Smoky Hill) 5 0-0 10, Goy Wang (Overland) 2 0-0 5, Ryan Ongala (Rangeview) 6 3-3 15, Sam Bannec (Regis Jesuit) 7 0-0 15, Michkaleke Baker (Gateway) 3 2-2 8, Daijon Smith (Overland) 5 0-0 13, Ben Boone (Grandview) 1 0-0 3. Totals 47 7-8 113.
TEAM EAST (91)
Jaizec Lottie (Cherokee Trail) 12 1-2 27, Te’Rae Johnson (Vista PEAK) 2 0-0 4, Marquise Johnson (Vista PEAK) 3 0-0 6, Kenny Foster (Smoky Hill) 6 0-0 14, Gaige Prim (Grandview) 8 20-2 18, Deon Barfield (Cherokee Trail) 4 0-0 8, Connor Hobbs (Regis Jesuit) 1 0-0 3, Jayquawn Thompson (Hinkley) 3 0-0 8, Dewayne Carter (Hinkley) 1 1-2 3, Larry Thomas (Aurora Central) 0 0-0 0. Totals 40 4-6 91.
3-point field goals — Team West (11): Daijon Smith 3, Austin Forsberg 2, Colbey Ross 2, Ben Boone, Matthew Johnson, Goy Wang; Team East (7): Kenny Foster 2, Jaizec Lottie 2, Jayquawn Thompson 2, Connor Hobbs.