In a tightly-contested battle through the majority of the first half, a 9-0 run late in the second period by the North All Stars triggered a swing in momentum that eventually resulted in an 86-76 triumph over the South in the FCA All-Star Festival Boys Basketball Game at the Brownwood Coliseum Saturday night.
Leading 30-28 midway through the second period, the North chalked up the next nine points to open a double-digit advantage. The South tallied the final bucket of the opening half to trim the halftime deficit to 39-30.
The North gradually extended its cushion throughout the remainder of the contest, building a 63-49 lead by the end of the third period.
The South crept to within single digits, 69-60, with 6:56 remaining, but the North delivered the knockout punch with a 15-3 spurt that resulted in an 84-63 lead — the largest of the contest. MVP Elijah Johnson of Abilene Cooper ignited the surge with a back-to-back three-pointers en route to a team-high 21 points.
Brownwood’s McLane Moore, who pulled down seven rebounds and sank a free throw, was a member of the victorious North squad.
“This was a great way to go out, to have fun with these new guys and experience something different,” Moore said. “I was exhausted running up and down the court but it was fun. I loved it. We gave it our all. It might have looked a little sloppy at times but we haven’t played since February, so I think we did pretty well for not playing for a while. It was a great atmosphere and the FCA did a great job putting it all together.”
Other standouts for the North squad included Bryan Gibson of Aspermont with 13 points; Elijah Brown of Abilene Cooper with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds; Steven Kimberling of Graham with nine points; Issac Moreno of Cooper with eight; Jarrod Griffin of Hawley with six; Parker Roberts of Eastland, Jordan Pleasant of Albany, Cason Cartwright of Hamlin, and Duane Walkingstick of Cisco with four each; and Turner Stark of Reagan County with two points.
The South was led by the 26-point, nine-rebound effort from Timothy Aguero of San Angelo Lake View. Dublin’s Brady Moore chipped in 12 points and eight boards trailed by eight points from TLCA San Angelo’s Lorenzo Gonzales; five points each from Christoval’s Pierce Parmer, Sonora’s Kade Creek, and Wylie’s Kade Brasel; four from Wylie’s Casey Jeter and Robert Lee’s Thomas Boatright; three from Stephenville’s Cody Vandenberg; and two points each from San Saba’s Wyatt Deans and Early’s Drew Sessler.
“I didn’t play as good as I wanted but I contributed a little to the team, not so much on the offensive end but on defense,” Sessler said. “It was fun and high-paced with people running back and forth. I was dying out there, but other than that it was fun.
“This is a bittersweet moment. I’m sad that it’s over but I’m glad I got the opportunity to play with these guys.”