This Saturday’s FCA All-Star Festival at the Brownwood Coliseum will feature some of the best basketball players and students from across the Big Country, but several local faces will be on hand as well.

Brownwood’s McLane Moore and Early’s Drew Sessler and Lauren Jesko were all chosen as part of the 44-player field of hoops talents, which will play two North vs. South contests on Saturday. The girls will start the action at 4 p.m., while the boys play at 6.

Jesko said it is a “huge honor” to participate in the event. “It means a lot,” she said, “because it’s not only about the kind of basketball player you are, but also your character. It definitely means a lot that people see me as being a Christian athlete.”

Jesko will be attending Dallas Baptist University this fall and will major in communications. DBU doesn’t have a women’s basketball team, which means the FCA tournament may be her last competitive event. “It’s pretty sad,” she said. “I’m definitely going to miss it.

“I’d like to become better friends with my teammates this weekend,” she said. “A lot of them I’ve actually played against, so it’s kind of cool to be on their team now.”

Moore, too, won’t be playing any more varsity ball when he begins his college career at Pepperdine this fall, but hopes to continue with intramural play. “Just to keep competing and doing what I love,” Moore said.

Moore, who earned valedictorian honors at Brownwood High School, will major in business at the southern California school. He said playing sports actually made it easier for him to become valedictorian. “I just felt like the busier I was, the better I was able to keep up with classwork,” he said. “If I have too much free time on my hands, I’ll end up not doing my work. Staying busy helped me keep up with my grades.”

At Pepperdine, though, Moore joked that he’ll be staying busy “on the beach.”

Moore said it is an honor to compete with top athletes at the FCA event. “I almost don’t feel up to the level of all these people,” he said. “There are so many great athletes here. It’s just a great honor.”

He said he looks forward to hoops and fellowship with his fellow competitors.

Sessler, finally, said he “didn’t really expect” to be chosen for the FCA event. “It’s awesome. It’s an honor,” he said. “It’s really cool to be here with all these big guys. It’s going to be fun.”

Sessler’s not sure if this is the end of his basketball playing days — “Wherever God leads me,” he said — but is looking forward to the fellowship as much as the basketball. The all-stars will practice today, but will also attend several chapel sessions throughout the weekend.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a nonprofit organization with “huddles” on campuses across America and around the world. It allows coaches and players to congregate and discuss the Bible through the prism of athletics.

Tickets to Saturday’s games are available for $5 apiece.