AURORA | After an outstanding debut in 2016, the A-Town All-Star Game is back to feature the best in Aurora boys prep basketball, including players from newly-crowned Class 5A state champion Eaglecrest.
At least one player from all 11 of the city’s Class 5A/4A programs is included in the selection of 20 players that will take part in the game, which is scheduled for approximately 4:30 p.m. — following the debut of the A-Town All-Star Girls Game — on Saturday, March 18 at Cherokee Trail High School.
The A-Town All-Star boys game got a strong start last season in Aurora’s original high school gymnasium — Aurora Central — where Team East downed Team West 133-117 in a compelling contest. (WATCH the replay of last season’s game, here)
Five players who appeared in last season’s A-Town All-Star Game are set to play again, including senior Colbey Ross of an Eaglecrest team that hoisted the program’s second Class 5A state championship trophy March 11 with a 53-47 win over George Washington on March 11 at the Denver Coliseum.
Grandview senior Gaige Prim, Cherokee Trail senior Jaizec Lottie, Vista PEAK junior Te’Rae Johnson and Smoky Hill sophomore Kenny Foster also take the court again, while Grandview’s Lechaun Duhart was selected again, but is unable to play due to injury.
A-Town All-Stars Boys Team East roster, here
A-Town All-Stars Boys Team West roster, here
Joining Ross (a Pepperdine University signee who had 14 points in last season’s game) as Eaglecrest’s representative in the game is senior Austin Forsberg, while John Olander — who will step down from the Eaglecrest bench at the end of the season after a long, successful career that includes two state championships — will coach one of the A-Town All-Star squads.
Representing Grandview alongside Prim (who had 15 points last season) is junior Ben Boone, who subs in for Duhart. Boone knocked down two big 3-pointers that nearly lifted the Wolves to victory in a Great 8 game against Rock Canyon.
Foster poured in 18 points as the only freshmen in the A-Town All-Star Game and returns along with junior big man Will Becker — 5A’s leading rebounder and shot blocker — from a Smoky Hill squad that vaulted from four wins last season to 16 and a Sweet 16 spot this year.
Lottie (who scored six points in last season’s game) is joined by high-flying junior teammate Deon Barfield for a Cherokee Trail team that made it to the second round of the 5A state tournament.
Johnson gets his second A-Town All-Star Game go-round representing Vista PEAK, which finished as the runner-up in its EMAC debut and made 4A’s Sweet 16. The Bison have another selection in explosive senior Marquise Johnson and longtime Aurora fixture Gary Childress will coach one of the all-star teams.
EMAC champion Rangeview — which had a returning player from last season’s game in Elijah Blake, who was lost for the entire season due to a torn ACL — has a pair of A-Town All-Stars in senior guard Matthew Johnson — Aurora’s leading scorer for the season — along with emerging junior post player Ryan Ongala.
With the graduation of a large senior class — including four players who played in last season’s A-Town All-Star Game, including De’Ron Davis, who is getting a lot of playing time as a true freshman at Indiana University — Overland’s run at a three-peat atop 5A came to an end in the second round of the 5A playoffs, though juniors Daijon Smith and Goy Wang helped make the Trailblazers’ a very dangerous team, especially at the end of the season.
Regis Jesuit exited the 5A playoffs in the second round, much earlier than usual, though a pair of Raiders were among the A-Town All-Star selections in senior guard Connor Hobbs and junior Sam Bannec.
Hinkley’s won-loss record suffered from the fact the Thunderbirds put together a brutal schedule that included two teams still remaining in the Final Four — No. 2 ThunderRidge and No. 3 George Washington — but senior Jayquawn Thompson and junior Dewayne Carter gave them the firepower to be competitive with just about everybody they faced.
Gateway junior Michkaleke Baker had one of the top all-around games in Aurora that earned him an A-Town All-Star Game nod, while Aurora Central guard Larry Thomas quadrupled his scoring average as a senior and shone bright in a difficult season for Aurora Central.
Two of Aurora’s Unified basketball teams will play in an exhibition at halftime of the boys game.
READY TO GO?
AURORA | Information for the 2nd A-Town All-Stars boys basketball game, presented by the Aurora Sentinel:
WHAT: Second A-Town All-Stars boys basketball game
WHEN: 4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 18 (following girls game; doors open at 2 p.m.)
WHO: Twenty of Aurora’s top boys basketball players from 11 city prep programs (Aurora Central, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Gateway, Grandview, Hinkley, Overland, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill and Vista PEAK) from the Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek School District and Regis Jesuit as selected by the Aurora Sentinel and a panel of Aurora coaches
TICKETS: $5, Available beforehand online — bit.ly/ATOWN2017 — or at the door