By Michael Rich
The weather outside was frightful, but the action at the boys and girls District 11 all-star games at Olentangy High School Saturday night was quite delightful.
“We had a bigger crowd than I can remember for an all-star game,” District 11 director and Olentangy girls basketball coach John Feasel said. “I think a lot of that had to do with the snow and it was cold and there wasn’t that much going on outside.”
Delaware County was well represented in both games. Seven of the 10 players on the girls’ West roster were from the area, as were nine of the 12 players on the West roster of the boys’ game.
“I probably could have made it Delaware County versus the rest of the district,” Feasel said. “And there were years where it could have been Pickerington-Fairfield County versus the rest of the district and it would have been a good game.”
The games were mirrors of each other. The girls’ game was close at the break before the West team pulled away to win 89-54.
In boys’ action, the East squad led big in the first half before the West team came back and took the lead late in the second half before Zach Montes of Pickerington North made a reverse layup with 25 seconds remaining that ended up being the game winner in a 117-114 win for the East squad.
“That was an impressive show,” Feasel said. “It was a very good game — very entertaining. It was a close, hard-fought game and nobody got hurt.”
The East team built a 20-point lead on the strength of some hot shooting in the first half. Austin Springer of Mount Vernon scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the first half as the East squad led 71-57 at the break.
Zach McIntire of Delaware Hayes and Danyon Hempy of River Valley paced the second half comeback for the West squad, which was finished off by McIntire’s three-pointer from the top of the key with 2:45 left to give the East the lead.
McIntire scored 13 of his 21 points and Hempy poured in 11 of his 18 points in the second half.
Colin Shepherd of Olentangy Orange kept the East squad within shouting distance in the first half with 20 of his game-high 26 points, which included six of his eight made three-pointers.
“He was making shots everywhere,” Feasel said. “The players on the Orange team on the bench were laughing because they say he hasn’t touched a ball since the last game because he went right to baseball — 26 points in the District 11 All-Star Game … that’s something that he’s never going to forget.”
Nick Hyatt of Buckeye Valley scored 11 points, Olentangy’s Derrick Wyche scored all of his eight points in the second half and Spencer Mitchell of Olentangy Liberty added seven points.
Jesse Tomlinson (BV), Jake Bourget (Hayes) and Grant Gossard and Evan Lewis (Orange) were also on the West roster.
Alexa Fisher of Liberty got hot in the second half, scoring 14 of her game-high 21 points as the West girls pulled away.
“It looks like she’s getting back to normal — back to herself,” Feasel said. “She looked good making shots. She wasn’t making shots in the first half and I said, ‘normally you don’t miss those shots when you’re playing against us. What’s going on here?’ The second half, she shot like she normally shoots.”
Kelly Meade of Olentangy scored 14 points, including 10 in the second half, and Elizabeth Blackburn of Delaware Christian and Fallyn Stephens of Marion Harding had 11 points each while Liberty’s Lauren Hofer added 10 points.
Other area players included Chelsea Moore (Olentangy), Savitha Jayaraman (Liberty) and Erin McCullough (Delaware Christian).
Kamryn Kimmel of Marion Pleasant had an East-leading 16 points and Crystal Jackson of Licking Heights added 11 points.
Orange coach Anthony Calo won Division I Coach of the Year and coached the West squad in the boys game while Feasel won Division I Coach of the Year, coached the West team in the girls’ game and assisted Calo in the boys’ game.
The award winners were announced between the games and included Meade, who won Division I Player of the Year.
District 11 covers six Central Ohio counties, including Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Licking, Marion and Morrow. The game has been played at Northridge, Berne Union and Granville in the past.
“Most of the reason it was at Olentangy this year is because I’m running it,” Feasel said. “If I’m running it, I might as well do it at my own place.”
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.