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Senior basketball players show off their skills in showcase games

by John Wareham

FREDERICKTOWN – More than 20 girls and 20 boys from several Knox, Morrow and Licking County-area schools participated in one last basketball game in their respective senior years and it was a no-holds-barred collection of shooting, scoring and dunking on Friday night at Fredericktown High School.

The girls game was a runaway almost from the outset with Team Tyler Mathias defeating Team Grant Pepper 87-65 and then the boy’s Team Tyler also won in a high-scoring matchup, 114-96.

Each game featured a steady stream of three-point shots, with Shalen Guilliams from Loudonville hitting four three’s and Lexi Wenger of Northmor and Beth Hardwick of Cardington nailing three each in the first game. Because of her long shooting and 14 points, Guilliams was voted the girl’s game MVP.

“Really the ultimate goal was to come out here and have fun, play with people I have never played with before,” Guilliams said after the game. “Just the have fun part. That’s just what I came out here to do.”

Guilliams did the majority of her damage in the latter part of the first half, hitting three there-pointers in a row in the last four minutes, extending the Team Tyler lead to 41-19, then getting five more points a minute later which got the lead to 50-19.

Wenger added to the long-range shooting with points in the last minutes of the first half and early part of the second, but then after the game, she won the girl’s three-point shooting contest, which was held between the two contests.

Lexi Wenger won the 3-point shooting contest

Alexandria Magers of East Knox led all scorers on Team Tyler with 19 points, while Hardwick had 13 and Wenger had 11 to go with Guilliams’ 14.

The boys game featured just as much long-range shooting, but also dozens of dunks and dunk attempts. The players stoked the anticipation for dunks while in the pre-game warmups, with several players either successfully dunking or coming close.

Once the game started, it was a free-for-all.

After a few minutes of play, everyone started taking Steph Curry-style three pointers, with the most successful shooters being Utica’s Seth Cooper and Nic Minder of Northridge, who played on the same team (Team Tyler) and seemed to have a three-point competition between each other.

Cooper finished the game with eight made three-pointers and 28 points and Minder, who was voted the boys game MVP, had six and 30 points. Interestingly, the boys winner of the three-point contest was Dillon Moreland of East Knox.

Many boys’ players attempted dunks during the game, including McKinnon Mead of Centerburg

This was the first game of its kind in the area and it was chosen like a fantasy sports draft.

Mathias, of WMVO Radio, and Pepper, of Knox Pages, drafted their teams at an earlier date and each person selected their players from schools the included Fredericktown, Mt. Vernon, Cardington, Highland, Northmor, Centerburg, Danville and East Knox. Their picks were sometimes from the same schools, which then pitted school teammates against each other – making interesting interactions during the games.

The girl’s game had teammates from Fredericktown, Northmor Danville and East Knox on opposing teams and the boy’s game featured four players from East Knox on one team and three on the other.

Mathias was one of the coaches of his own teams and had thoughts about both games.

“On the girls side, we jumped out to a big lead and then put it on cruise control a little bit,” Mathias said. “The boys game, they kept it close, they weren’t going anywhere and it was just buckle down, buckle down.”

The girl’s Team Tyler
The girls’ Team Grant Pepper
All of the boys’ players

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