Despite low-scoring efforts from several local boys and girls prep standouts, the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association All-Star experience on Saturday afternoon at Bossier Parish Community College apparently was memorable for those seniors selected for the teams.
Louisiana Tech-signee Branden Sheppard (Huntington) saw his team blow a huge second-half lead and lose 101-99, but he was still grinning afterward while taking photos with teammates and well-wishers.
“I came into this game expecting there wouldn’t be any defense played, but it wasn’t like that,” said Sheppard, who scored two points. “But the competition level was outstanding and I really had a lot of fun.”
North Caddo’s Ledetriha Sheppard managed six points in her West team’s 89-86 loss to the East, but that didn’t diminish the experience.
“I met new people and they were cool and treated me nicely,” said the McNeese State-signee. “It’s one memory I’ll always have – and I’m glad to represent for my hometown and my school.”
It took a dramatic 3-pointer from Tennessee-signee Jordan Cornish at the buzzer to bring the East team back from a 26-point deficit for the boys’ win.
Secured for Bossier City by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, the game annually attracts the top 30 Louisiana seniors from both boys and girls action.
Walker coach Anthony Schiro, who had one practice on Friday to put together a winning game plan, was all smiles following the surprising win.
“That wasn’t the way we drew it up, but it worked,” Schiro said of the last play. “It was supposed to go to Jordan, but Jonathan Stove ended up with the ball and made a very unselfish play to get the ball back to Jordan.”
The West also led the girls’ game for most of the contest before game MVP Kolby Morgan (John Curtis) and Taylin Underwood (Doyle) put together enough offense to pull out the win. The East didn’t get the lead for good until less than two minutes remained and Underwood closed the door by converting 13 free throws for the victory.
Green Oaks’ Princess Davis (ULM commit) and Natchitoches Central Gabriella Cortez also participated on the West squad. But East coach Shelly LaPrarie of Denham Springs put together a winning formula.
“There was a lot of talent out there on the floor today, but we just tried to stay focused and play hard in the second half,” LaPrarie said. “With just one practice, we weren’t able to put much in offensively, but the kids were able to make plays.”
Parkway’s Brodrick Jefferson, a Tech football signee, dropped in 11 points for the West and was effective getting in passing lanes during his limited time on the court. The coaches played their 15 players equally in the contest, which featured 20-minute halves.
“It was a good experience and I was glad to showcase my talent,” Jefferson said. “I just went out there and did what I did during the regular season.”
The West team, led by Northside’s Gerald Andruss (18 points), looked like they had the game well in hand in the second half until the East found some magic behind Cornish, who pumped in 22 points and earned game MVP honors.
“I told coach to give me the ball and let me get it to the goal,” Cornish said. “To finish my high school career in a game like this is incredible.”