San Antonio (Wagner) guard Amber Ramirez, a Texas Christian signee, had 23 points. Cedar Hill forward Joyner Holmes, who is headed to Texas, was named her team’s Most Valuable Player with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Flower Mound forward Lauren Cox, a Baylor signee, added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“I started off kind of slow but I inched my way back in,” said Holmes, who had six points in the first half. “I was just trying to get rebounds and score when my opportunities came.”
West coach Tom Gonsalves of St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calif.) said that Holmes reminds him of a recent WNBA draftee from Connecticut.
“She’s a physical specimen,” Gonsalves said. “She reminds me of Morgan Tuck. Our front line with her and Lauren Cox was pretty impressive and our guards weren’t bad, either.”
Ramirez, one of the smallest players on the floor at 5-8, pushed the West team’s go-go offense.
“If you can shoot the ball, you can pretty much play, no matter how short or tall you are,” Ramirez said. “I wanted to get the win, come out and show what I have on the offensive and defensive end. Of course, it’s an all-star game, so there’s not going to be a lot of defense, but I think both teams played a great game and scored a lot of points.”
Cox said the game showcased the caliber of play from Texas.
“Texas obviously is one of the big powerhouses on the girls side,” Cox said. “Coach (Gonsalves) said his high school team liked to get off a shot in six seconds, so we went out there and pushed it.”The East led 46-44 at the half and the West didn’t assert itself until the third quarter when Miramonte (Orinda, Calif.) guard Sabrina Ionescu, the only undecided player in the game, hit a three-pointer and Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) guard Valerie Higgins made a steal and layup.
“At halftime, I told them, ‘I don’t know you that well, but my teams play a lot harder than this. You need to get a character check and see where you’re at,’ ” Gonsalves said. “What was so good on it is they pressed on their own. I didn’t tell them to do that. I think their intensity level picked up and it was contagious and that was the difference.”
Erin Boley, a Notre Dame signee from Elizabethtown, Ky. who was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, had 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the East.
“I don’t think we improved very much from the first half, and we didn’t play very good defense the first half,” Boley said. “I thought especially down the stretch, we were letting them get some offensive rebounds, and get some open threes.”
Holmes said as much as she enjoyed winning, there were other benefits to playing an all-star game.
“It was great meeting all the players, having all the fun,” Holmes said. “Just the experience, being able to get free shoes and free gear, it was amazing. … When we were in timeouts, I saw Maya Moore, or at least more so than when we were in the game.”
Contributing: Joe DePaolo