AURORA | For a debut, the A-Town All-Stars Girls Basketball Game made quite an impression.
The inaugural assembly of 20 of the top girls basketball players from across Aurora during the recently completed season — presented by the Aurora Sentinel — entertained down to the final seconds March 18 at Cherokee Trail High School.
In a see-saw game that mixed players from all 11 of Aurora’s Class 5A and 4A programs, Team West — led by Michaela Onyenwere of Class 5A state champion Grandview — prevailed 77-72 in overtime.
A week before she headed off to be the first player from an Aurora program (boys or girls) in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago, Onyenwere poured in 17 points and led an epic comeback for her team along with Regis Jesuit junior sharpshooter Emma Wrede.
Wrede (who also scored 17) knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half to get Team West in position after it fell behind by as many as 18 points, and Onyenwere made four free throws in the final minute to tie it up. Her short layup attempt in the final seconds of regulation wouldn’t fall, but she opened the three-minute overtime period with a layup that put her team ahead for good.
Team West coach Josh Ulitzky (Grandview) and Team East coach La Monte Weddle (Rangeview) each pulled strings all the way to the end, but Team West had too much Onyenwere, Wrede and Makayla Hemingway — a Cherokee Trail freshman who scorched the nets in her home gym for a game-high 21 points — among others.
Hemingway, the only freshman in the game, displayed great range and finished with three 3-pointers, one behind Wrede for game-high honors from behind the arc.
Senior Kennede Brown, one of three Grandview players on Team West, had a big steal and layup as well in overtime and Cherokee Trail senior Taryn Foxen scored six points as she got a win in her final game on her home floor.
Team East got a big game from Overland sophomore Kailey Brown, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and led her team with 16 points.
Regis Jesuit junior post Noelle Cahill added 12 points and Grandview junior Leilah Vigil — who won the shot put and discus at the Aurora City Championships track meet earlier in the day — added nine for Team East, which built leads of 40-22 and 42-24 in the first half.
There were no opportunities for Regis Jesuit sophomore Fran Belibi to dunk — as she had three times during the regular season and playoffs — but she contributed four points and hit the boards well for Team East.
Only eight of the 20 players in the A-Town All-Star Girls Game were seniors, so 12 players are expected to return next season with a chance to be selected again. Among the underclassmen, there were five juniors, six sophomores and a freshman.
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 GIRLS GAME
Team West 77, Team East 72 (OT)
Score by halves:
Team West 33 36 8 — 77
Team East 42 27 3 — 72
TEAM WEST (77)
Alisha Davis (Grandview) 2 0-2 4, Michaela Onyenwere (Grandview) 4 9-10 17, Kennede Brown (Grandview) 2 0-1 4, Taryn Foxen (Cherokee Trail) 3 0-0 6, Makayla Hemingway (Cherokee Trail) 7 3-5 21, Emma Wrede (Regis Jesuit) 7 0-0 17, Jessica Stoner (Eaglecrest) 1 0-0 3, Makayla Jones (Gateway) 2 0-0 4, Maria del Rosario Garcia (Aurora Central) 0 1-3 1, Aliya Givens (Smoky Hill) 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 13-21 77.
TEAM EAST (72)
Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit) 2 0-0 4, Jaelin Jones (Rangeview) 2 0-2 5, Kailey Brown (Overland) 5 4-4 16, Leilah Vigil (Grandview) 2 7-8 9, Angel Broadus (Rangeview) 2 0-0 4, Noelle Cahill (Regis Jesuit) 6 0-0 12, Lyric Thompson (Overland) 2 0-0 4, Jaiden Galloway (Grandview) 3 1-2 7, Denali Hughes (Vista PEAK Prep) 4 0-0 8, Bre Hill (Hinkley) 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 12-16 72.
3-point field goals — Team West (8): Emma Wrede 4, Makayla Hemingway 3, Jessica Stoner. Team East (3): Kailey Brown 2, Jaelin Jones.