Not much was decided during Saturday’s Louisiana High School Coaches’ Association All-Star game in the BPCC gym when Natchitoches Central senior Brandon Rachal sat on the bench.
But when the LSU signee was in the contest, there was no doubt he’s an SEC-caliber player scoring 24 points in leading the West Team to a 105-93 victory over the East in a game that highlighted the best the state has to offer.
Sponsored by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission for a fifth consecutive year, the event is a showcase for future NCAA stars with only seniors, selected by their coaches, eligible to participate. Western Kentucky signee Mitchell Robinson of Chalmette led the East Team with 17 points, and dominated during his time on the court. The 7-footer dropped in a pair of 3-pointers and added a couple of backboard-rattling dunks to invigorate the crowd.
But it was Rachal’s play on both ends of the court that made the difference.
“They had the size advantage so we knew we had to come in and play defense and execute,” said Rachal, who was named the game’s outstanding player. “It was a lot of fun and we had a lot of support out there.”
The game was in doubt well into the second quarter until a 24-2 run, ignited by a trio of 3-pointers from Woodlawn’s Telvin Thomas, put the East in a 57-27 hole with about 2 minutes remaining in the first half. The East was able to get within 71-66 five minutes into the second half following a Robinson trey, but six points from Rachel in a 12-0 West run over the next couple of minutes pushed the margin back to 19 points and the West was never threatened.
“A lot of people looked at the rosters for this game and gave the East the advantage,” West coach Chris Kovatch (Carencro) said. “But these kids were a pleasure to be around over the past couple of days and they are some grinders – so we rolled with that philosophy.”
Lamar signee Jordan Foster (Comeaux) was big in the paint for the West, scoring 14 points. Thomas, who led the Knights to the LHSAA Class 4A semifinals, had 12, all in the first half. In addition to Mitchell, the East managed 11 points from Kevin Norman (Peabody) and 10 from Jamel Robinson (Madison Prep).
The West busted by the 100-point mark on a dunk by Trent Guidry (Hathaway) with 4 minutes to play.
A 3-point shooting contest at halftime was won by Dutchtown’s Neil Caldwell in a matchup with Captain Shreve’s RJ Heard.
Twitter: @Jimmy Watson6