It was just a senior all-star game. But the players didn’t treat it as just an exhibition on Wednesday night.
After falling behind 67-51 in the third quarter, the Sunrise boys team fought back and won 102-98 in overtime at Foothill.
“The game started off real fun but once the guys got warmed up and started playing, it got really competitive,” Sunset coach DeShawn Henry said.
Canyon Spring’s Gerad Davis, an Eastern Washington-signee, led the Sunrise with 16 points and eight rebounds. After the score was tied 98-98 in overtime, Davis hit four consecutive free throws to seal the win.
“Nothing ever changes for my kids,” said Sunrise coach Freddie Banks, who led Canyon Springs to the state championship game this past season. “They know if they don’t play hard, they don’t play.”
Banks’ team kicked it up a notch in the second half after falling behind early.
“The game was an all-star game, so a lot of the kids were trying to show their talent for the last time in their high school career,” Banks said. “But we got down really bad, almost 20 points, and I told them, ‘We’re going to pick them up full court and make them bring the ball over.’ That’s what we did and that’s how we got back into the game.”
Foothill’s Jalen Shepard had 15 points, and Valley’s Spencer Mathis added 13 second-half points and six rebounds for the Sunrise.
“It means a lot to them to be all-stars,” Banks said. “They’re getting ready for their college careers, so hopefully they can use this and take it to the next level. They’ll be representing themselves, their schools and their families.”
The Sunset led 47-36 at halftime, thanks to 16 first-half points by Bishop Gorman’s Obim Okeke. Okeke connected on four 3-pointers in the opening half and finished with 18 points.
Durango’s Darryl Gaynor, a San Jose State-signee, led the Sunset with 21 points.
“It was a lot of fun to coach Darryl (one more time),” said Henry, who coached Gaynor at Durango this season. “I have a special place in my heart for him. He’s a sweet kid. I’ve had a lot of fun with him, so it was nice to be able to coach him and see him perform at a high level.”
Centennial’s Eddie Davis finished with 13 points and six rebounds, and Cimarron-Memorial’s Tony Harrison scored 13 for the Sunset.
“It meant a lot to them to suit up once last time,” Henry said. “A lot of these guys know each other. They know each other from way back, so it was nice for them to get together one last time.”
In the girl’s game, Canyon Springs’ Cherise Beynon, a New Mexico-signee, had 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists to help the Sunrise top the Sunset, 60-49.
Foothill’s Kelsey McFarland added 12 points and five rebounds, and Liberty’s Jamellia Clark pulled down nine rebounds.
Sunrise coach Roger Hansen thinks having one practice yesterday was the difference.
“We were able to have one practice yesterday even though only eight of the 10 girls were there,” Hansen said. “That gave the girls a chance to meet each other and talk. We were a lot looser at the beginning of the game. The (Sunset) didn’t have a chance to have a practice and I think it showed early. Our kids just gelled in practice and had a lot of fun.
“It’s fun to have so many kids that know what to do. This group was really good.”
Centennial’s Teirra Hicks, who will play at UC-Irvine next season, led all scorers with 25 points for the Sunset. Hicks scored 21 in the second half, and added six rebounds and three steals.