White teams win both KBCA All-Star Games
SALINA - Caleb Grill was quick to answer Saturday night when asked which of his plays in the KBCA All-Star Game gave him the most satisfaction.
Was it the 360-degree spinning one-handed dunk in the first half or the four-point play from 22 feet in the second?
"The four-point play, no doubt," Grill said with the smile. "It helped us with the comeback."
It certainly did.
The 6-foot-3 Grill shined the brightest when it counted the most at Kansas Wesleyan's Mabee Arena in the 36th annual all-star game, scoring nine of his 17 points in the final 3:31 to lead the White all-stars to a wild 111-107 victory over the Blue squad.
Grill, who will play at Iowa State next year, was one of 11 players to score in double figures as the White stars overcame a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes. On a night when it was pouring outside, the two teams combined to fire up 199 field goal attempts, with 73 of them raining from behind the 3-point arc.
"You want to win every game," said Grill. "There's going to be some laid backs, but the last couple minutes we turned it up a little and really came back and executed our stuff."
The Blue team still led by seven points (104-97) with 2:14 left after a basket by Chapman's Izek Jackson, but back-to-back buckets by Maize South's Kael Kordonowy and a layup by Grill made it a one-point game (104-103) with 1:24 remaining.
Blue Valley Northwest's Christian Braun, who received his Mr. Kansas Basketball award earlier in the day, made one of two free throws a short time later, but Lawrence High's Clarence King buried a 3-pointer at the 1:11 mark and a free throw by Kordonowy with 49 seconds left made it a two-point lead for the White team.
Braun tied the game with a rousing one-handed driving slam dunk at the 0:40 mark, but a long NBA-style 3-pointer by Grill 10 seconds later was followed by a game-clinching free throw with 15 seconds left by John Pfannenstiel of Ness City.
Grill converted a four-point play and that long 3-pointer to fuel his team's comeback.
"I thought that was the play that gave us confidence that we could come back and win," Grill said of the four-point play. "It was just a lot of fun to get together with a lot of good players and play in an all-star game like this."
King's 19 points led the winning White team. Grill's 17 points was followed by Cevin Clark (Arkansas City) and John Long (Santa Fe Trail) with 12 each. Kordonowy added 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The longest and loudest cheers during the game were for Trinity Catholic's Kaleb Hammeke. It started with the pregame introductions at Mabee Arena and continued throughout the game.
Hammeke didn't disappoint the vocal following from Hutchinson. The 6-foot guard, who will play at Fort Hays State, finished with a team-high 17 points for the Blue team while adding five rebounds and four steals.
"I had a lot of supporters here," he said. "It was awesome. Every time I did something, they blew it out of proportion and they make it a lot of fun, but I'm glad I have people who care about me and that helps me do what I do."
Joining Hammeke in double figures for the Blue team were Braun and Tymer Jackson (Olathe North) with 16 points; Michael Peake (Blue Valley Northwest) and Braden Belt (Topeka Seaman) with 13 each and Izek Jackson with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
It has been an eventful last few days for Braun, who spent the first part of the week working the Bill Self basketball camp in Lawrence and scrimmaging with and against his future University of Kansas teammates. He then headed to Salina for the all-star game and received the honor of being named Mr. Kansas Basketball. The 6-7 guard finished with 16 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.
"The past couple weeks have been awesome," Braun said. "Just moving up to KU; getting to meet all the guys. I got to see a lot of the alums and they really reach out and help you. In that short span, I learned so much and then coming back here and getting to see all these others guys, some of them I didn't know, who are really talented. It's good to see them succeed and a lot of them played really well."
Braun, who helped lead Blue Valley Northwest to back-to-back Class 6A state championships, matched up with Grill in the second half. Expect that over the next four years as Braun heads to KU and Grill to Iowa State. Grill had one of the spectacular highlights of the game with a 360-degree one-handed breakaway dunk, but it was his four-point play with 3:31 remaining in the game that started his team's comeback.
The first half was marred by a leg injury to Andover Central guard Easton Leedom at the 12:26 mark. Leedom, who helped the Jaguars to the Class 5A state title in March, averaged 16.6 points a game as a senior and has signed with Coffeyville Community College. He was helped off the court after playing just 2 1/2 minutes and didn't return.
Michael Peake may have been the lesser known of the two high school stars from Blue Valley Northwest playing in the all-star game - Braun the other - but the folks on hand know his name now. The 6-foot-8 center scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but played just 8 1/2 minutes. He left the game with 5:26 left in the first half, landing hard after a follow-up slam dunk.
WHITE 76, BLUE 65
Kia Wilson (Manhattan) and Emilee Ebert (Frankfort) led a balanced scoring attack for the White all-stars in a 76-65 victory over the cold-shooting Blue squad.
Wilson and Ebert each scored 14 points and Tiffany Dortland (Russell) scored 10 as the White stars led by as many as 19 points in the second half. Abby Oliver (Wabaunsee) and Kirsten Young (Burlington) added nine and eight points, respectively.
Neither team shot the ball well, although the white team did warm up with 45 percent shooting in the second half to pull away for the victory.
Ebert, who has signed with Kansas State, also added eight rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes. Wilson, who will play at Nebraska-Omaha, played a game-high 26 minutes and also added six blocked shots, four steals and four assists.
Macy Doebele (Hanover) led all scorers with 20 points in 19 minutes for a Blue team that shot just 22 percent in the first half and 25 percent for the game. The 5-11 guard, who will play at Washburn next year, was 11 of 12 from the free throw line and also added seven rebounds and three steals.
Madison Haney (Ulysses) added 11 points and Carly Bachelor (Washburn Rural) scored 10 for the Blue team, while Mary Broxterman (Royal Valley) had seven points and a team-high eight rebounds. Bachelor was honored with her Miss Kansas Basketball award earlier in the day.