The stars were out Saturday night at Nipomo High School.
Local high schoolers got one last chance to shine when the Nighttime Kiwanis Club of Santa Maria Valley brought back their annual All-Star Game — the 30th Kiwanis Central Coast All-Star Basketball Spectacular.
“This should be our 32nd annual Show, but we’ve lost two years to the coronavirus pandemic,” said longtime Show organizer Gary Prober. “It’s a labor of love. All of our employees are volunteers and all the money we raise goes back to the community.
The Spectacular is a doubleheader; girls’ and boys’ games with northern teams made up of seniors from San Luis Obispo County schools and southern teams with seniors from high schools in northern Santa Barbara County.
The players delighted the crowd with non-stop action in two close games – the North swept both with the girls winning 68-62 and the boys mounting a fourth quarter comeback for a 99-98 triumph.
The North team was led by Kacie Slover of Nipomo High who scored 28 points and was named Most Valuable Player.
“It was really nice to play the game on my home turf. It was a good environment with the crowd cheering all night long,” said Slover, who still hasn’t decided which university to attend next year. “It’s great to win the MVP. A lot of my best friends were on the pitch tonight. I think we had great chemistry.
Jacey Loewen of Paso Robles High added 14 points, Ashlyn Janzen of Templeton had nine points and Jaspawan Kaur of San Luis Obispo had eight points.
St. Joseph’s Andrea Stajic led the South, matching Slover’s 28 points. The Orcutt Academy duo of Chyanna Medina-Tell and Giselle Calderon added 12 and 10 points respectively.
“It was so much fun. I love playing against Kacie and all the girls on Team North,” said Stajic, who plans to play at Cal Poly next year. my friends. I’m glad I finally managed to land my punches. It was an incredible experience.”
The North opened up and thinned the 20-16 lead after the first 10-minute quarter and stretched it to 39-22 at halftime.
But behind the big three from the South, they fought back to cut the lead to 52-42 after three quarters. Although they outscored the North 20-16 in the fourth quarter, they were never able to close the gap below five points.
At halftime, Stajic, who sank six 3-pointers during the game, won the girls’ 3-point shooting contest in a sudden-death shootout against South teammate Gaby Cordova (Cabrillo High) .
The Northern team was coached by Alex Engel of Morro Bay.
South was coached by Erik Ramos of Santa Maria and Randy Stanford of Valley Christian Academy.
The boys’ game went to the wire.
The South took a one-point, 22-21, lead after one quarter and extended it to 13, 56-43, at halftime.
But the North kept up the pressure, cutting the South’s lead to seven, 80-73, after three quarters before catching the South in the fourth.
The North tied the game at 84-all with 7:15 left in the game when Nipomo’s Louis DiModica scored back-to-back baskets.
The South took a 98-94 lead on a David Vidor (St. Joseph) jumper with 1:21 left in the game.
A three from Luke Olmstead (Coastal Christian) cut the lead to 98-97 with 55 seconds left in the game.
But then the South made one of its rare mistakes.
Coming out of a timeout, the South team was penalized for a technical foul for having six men on the pitch during the throw-in.
Olmstead made both free throws, giving North a one-point lead and the ball.
The South had a shot for the win but South coach Mike Alexander called a timeout just as Vidor kicked in a 3-point attempt. The ball went in but time out had already been called.
The North managed to tie the ball in bounds that followed and made the possession arrow follow.
South quickly committed a foul with 0.6 seconds left.
North’s Stevie Waiters missed the one-on-one attempt, South grabbed the rebound and fired a shot across the court that missed the target.
North was led by DiModica with 21 points, MVP Dylan Schmidt (Arroyo Grande) with 20 points, Olmstead with 19 points, Brody Naber of Arroyo Grande with 16 points and Logan Reyes of Atascadero with 10 points.
“Dylan was just a beast in attack and defense,” said Coastal Christian’s Paul Dabdoub, who was the team’s coach. “He really deserved the title of MVP.”
“It was so exciting,” said Cal Poly-bound Schmidt. “At the end of the match, we let out all our emotions. After finishing the regular season with a loss, it was great to come out with a win in our last game. I played against all these amazing people, tonight was great to play on the same team.
Vidor, a Hungarian exchange student who referees between two Virginia universities – Radford or James Madison, led the South and all players with 30 points.
“I was missing my shots early on, but I got hot and couldn’t miss,” said Vidor, who had his last six 3-point attempts. “They played a lot more physically than us. We were playing it like an all-star game, but they were playing like it was the CIF playoffs.
Jonathan Triqueros of Righetti had 17 points, followed by Elijah Allen of St. Joseph (14), Jomar Soriano of Pioneer Valley (12) and Bradley McCune of Cabrillo (11).
Prior to the match, Pioneer Valley’s Marcus Minera defeated Elijah Allen in the 3-point shooting competition.
At halftime, Vidor defeated Olmstead and DiModica in the slam dunk contest.
“Most of the money we raise will be used to fund scholarships for the children who live at the homeless shelter. It will give them the money they need to play sports – money for registration, uniforms, sneakers. And some of the money will go to a student to help in college and a student to go to trade school,” Prober said. “And I would like to send a big ‘Thank you’ to the students of New Tech High. They designed all the T-shirts, game programs, and even put the game on YouTube. If you missed it, you can still watch the game on YouTube.
Photos: 30th Annual Kiwanis Star Show
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