The shot clocks at Centenary’s Gold Dome stayed stuck at 30 Saturday night – not that it would have mattered.
Fast breaks, dunks, and, plenty of typically ill-advised 3-pointers kept possessions short and the energy high in the eighth annual I-20 Classic All-Star Game at the Centenary Gold Dome. Fans in the smaller-than-expected crowd of nearly 2,000 couldn’t look away without the risk of missing a highlight-reel play from one of the 28 Northwest Louisiana seniors in uniform.
“It felt like the Dream Team in the NBA,” said Minden’s Davien Moore, who took home a trophy as the winner of the 3-point contest. “Everybody can do something. Every position’s filled.”
Parkway guard and soon-to-be Oklahoma State quarterback Keondre Wudtee showed off his arm with a fullcourt assist, and Simsboro’s Zach Taylor got the crowd’s attention via a steal and impressive transition dunk. State champion Arcadia’s lightning-quick guards Travious Fielding and Danquarian Fields penetrated seemingly at will, and Bossier’s Larry Robinson blocked a late 3-pointer, reminding everyone the Bearkats won a 4A title on the defensive end.
But even among the area’s best, North Caddo’s Robert Williams and Lakeview’s Adrio Bailey stood out when they decided to play. As the intensity picked up when the West team made up of Williams and Shreveport/Bossier players rallied to cut the East’s final margin of victory to 72-65, the two future SEC forwards elevated, quite literally, to a different level.
“I can feel the energy and the atmosphere (created) by those two guys,” West coach Gerald Williams said. “They’re the two best in the area and we were wondering when all of that was going to come out.”
Williams, who signed with Texas A&M, hit an early 3-pointer but stayed mostly quiet until late in the second half, when he caught Shakelvin Calhoun’s lob from nearly halfcourt for an alley-oop and threw down another thunderous dunk less than a minute later. Bailey answered with a vicious putback, one of many spectacular above-the-rim finishes for the Arkansas signee.
The District 1-2A rivals kept going back-and-forth up until the final buzzer, which sounded with Bailey’s 17 points leading the East and Williams’ 15 leading the West. He won the dunk contest, as well as both matchups against Lakeview this season and he even took home MVP honors in last weekend’s LHSCA All-Star game, so Bailey relished the chance to get some revenge with a win and an MVP trophy of his own.
“It was exhilarating, just to finish off with Robert,” Bailey said, smiling. “I had to get something before we leave.”
Those two clearly have bright futures ahead of them, but East coach Larry Proctor from Class C state runner-up New Living Word made sure to stress they’re not the only ones. He’s rightfully proud of North Louisiana’s postseason success and individual talent, two things fans can expect to see much more of thanks to a strong group of underclassmen who will get their invites to the Gold Dome in years to come.