Spectators at the Class 5A Colorado Springs Metro League vs. Class 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference all-star basketball games Thursday night at Coronado High School got the best of both worlds, one hard-fought game and another that was more of a skills showcase.
The CSML swept a pair of close games between some of the area’s best hoopers.
Fans got a competitive game in the opener, a 71-66 win for the CSML girls behind 15 points from Doherty junior Brionna McBride, the league’s player of the year.
“It was mostly for fun, but we’re all competitive on the floor, so we can’t have 4A beat us,” McBride said.
A couple 3-pointers from Falcon senior Ena Keco helped the PPAC squad jump out to an early lead, but the CSML rebounded to take a 33-29 advantage to the half after a triple from Palmer junior Sanee’ Cates.
“I thought it was going to be like an NBA All-Star Game,” Keco said. “It was definitely a little more competitive.”
Fountain-Fort Carson junior Sami Worrell hit consecutive 3s to open the third quarter before McBride added a couple scores to help the CSML establish a double-digit lead before the PPAC closed within a basket in the fourth.
Rampart’s Madi Wriedt joined McBride with 12 points for the CSML squad, while Discovery Canyon junior Ashten Prechtel and Keco led the PPAC with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
“It was fun,” McBride said. “I wish we could’ve done a little more tricks to make it more exciting.”
The CSML girls were coached by Doherty's Pat McKieran, while the Air Academy staff coached the PPAC.
The tricks came a little later, as the boys’ game took a decidedly different turn when Falcon’s Noah Martinez and Rampart’s Josh Kavalec, the shortest starters on each side, battled for the tip off.
What followed was 40 minutes of mostly dunks, both spectacular finishes and missed attempts, and deep 3-pointers.
The final minute looked more like real basketball with the CSML holding on for a 115-112 win as Vista Ridge junior Tristan Pratt watched his 3-pointer that would’ve forced overtime rim out at the buzzer.
“I thought it was going in,” Pratt said.
Doherty senior Kyrele Benford led the CSML boys with 32 points on a mix of dunks and 3-pointers, including a put-back slam that broke a tie late in the fourth quarter, while his Spartan teammates Joe Golden and Alijah Bates added 15 and 11 points, respectively.
“I came in just to have fun and play the game of basketball,” Benford said. “This is my last hurrah as a senior, so I just came out looking to have fun.”
Fountain-Fort Carson’s Rashon Barron added 13 points, while Rampart’s duo of Dawson Carper (10) and Xavier Johnson (12) combined for 22 points.
The PPAC squad got 22 points from Lewis-Palmer junior Joel Scott, 14 from falcon’s Reece Warren, 11 from Sand Creek junior Jevaughn Williams, 10 from of Palmer Ridge’s Nick Boldvich and 16 from Pratt in an effort that came up just short.
Liberty's Ivan Chambers coached the CSML boys, while Lewis-Palmer's Bill Benton directed the PPAC team.
“It was an an amazing experience,” Pratt said. “There’s great talent on both teams, and it was just an all-around good game.”
There were two quality contests for fans, and the CSML squads left Coronado gym with bragging rights.
“We lost to 4A last year,” Benford said. “We just didn’t want to lose again, so we had to turn it on.”