SHREVEPORT — Raining down 3-pointers with abandon, Helen Cox’s Marlain Veal ramped up the West All-Stars’ offense and ignited his team to a 119-100 win over the East in Saturday afternoon’s Louisiana High School Coaches’ Association Boys’ All-Star game at Hirsch Coliseum.
Unsigned and looking for a college, Veal, voted the game’s MVP, overshadowed a number of players who have already secured a spot to play for the next four years.
“This was my last high school game, so I wanted to show what I could do,” said Veal, who is considering Southeastern Louisiana and Xavier. “I was trying to represent my school and my team as best I could. I really enjoyed myself over the last two days in this great atmosphere.”
Only seniors are eligible to play in the annual contest and a number of college coaches were on hand in both games trying to secure commitments from some of the top unsigned players.
Higgins standout Melvin Frazier led all scorers with 20 points, but it was Veal with 18 points on four 3s that showed the flash and dash that helped the West team win easily. Parkway’s Artayvious Lynn and Lakeview’s Tivonte “Tay” Hardy added 11 points each.
“It was a little slippery out there,” said Lott about the Hirsch floor that was constantly being mopped dry because of multiple leaks in the ceiling. It was a great experience to play with some of the top athletes in the state. Of course we wanted to win, but it was a lot about having fun with all the guys.”
The offensive assault began early by the West squad, but the East, led by Riverside’s Von Julien (19 points) made it close (59-58) at halftime.
Other top scorers for the East included St. Amant’s Courtney Julien (13 points), St. Michael’s Jacob Evans III (12), University High’s Maxwell Starwood (11), Scotlandville’s LaMarcus Lee (11) and Warren Easton’s Kevin Hicks (10). Lutcher’s Tiajah White scored nine points.
WEST 86, EAST 65: A heavy dose of Baylor-signee Kalani Brown of Salmen after intermission along with some stingy defense allowed the East to dominate the West in Saturday’s LHSCA All-Star game at Hirsch Coliseum.
Featuring some of the top players in the state, the seniors-only event capped the prep careers for the 30 participating players, and gave winning coach Nancy Walsh of Cabrini some respite from her doldrums.
“After my team lost in the playoffs, I needed to get back in the gym, because I’m a gym rat,” said Walsh, a first-time All-Star coach. “I’m not sure how I was selected for this, but I’ve had a blast coaching these great athletes.”
That included Brown, who picked up three fouls in the game’s first five minutes and spent most of the first half on the bench. Brown’s absence allowed the West to control things early with its small, quick lineup.
“We weren’t playing defense as hard as we should have in the first half,” said Brown, who celebrated her 18th birthday by earning the game’s MVP honor. “But we made some adjustments at halftime and did what we were supposed to do.”
Although the West team controlled the first half behind some local stars, Brown was unstoppable down low after intermission. Although she played an equal amount of time with the other 10 roster members on her squad, she finished with 16 points. Mount Carmel’s Taylor Berry also had 16 points and Wichita State-signee Jyar Francis of Ponchatoula 14 for the East.
“With their size in the full court, it was tough on us,” West coach Sheila Dupree of Plain Dealing said. “They took us out of what we were trying to do. But I enjoyed this entire experience.”
Headed to Northwestern State in the fall, Benton’s Gabby Jackson often had to contend with Brown in the paint, but held her own. She was disappointed her team didn’t win.
“Free throws. Free throws. Free throws. We didn’t make them and we gave them too many,” Jackson said. “But this was an amazing experience to play with and against some girls I may be playing against this fall.”
The West pushed out to a 25-13 lead in the first half following a pair of buckets by Ville Platte’s Deja McKinney, who led the West with 13 points. But the East trimmed the deficit to just 25-20 with 7:10 to play in the half behind six points apiece from Francis and Mikayla Bates of University High.
Kaylen Collins of Vermilion Catholic scored for the West with about a minute remaining in the frame to stake her team to a 40-35 halftime advantage.
But the West was held without a field goal until over six minutes had passed in the second half, as the East went on a 14-1 run to take charge of the contest. Anna Claire Shaw of Lake Arthur added 11 points for the West.