Two McDonald’s All Americans, several of California’s top stars and national level talent grace Fourth Annual PassThaBall Senior All Star game
The Fourth Annual PassThaBall All Star game at Chabot College in Hayward featured two games.
The second and marquee game at 1:30 may very well have had the best talent ever assembled in California for a girls showcase event. Not only were there 16 Division I bound girls between the two teams, two McDonald’s All-Americans, Louisville-bound Mariya Moore of Richmond Salesian, and UCLA-bound Texas star guard Recee’ Caldwell (FEAST, San Antonio) squared off on opposite teams.
The Moore-led Team West team jumped out to an 11-2 lead, had it cut to 25-18 at halftime, but Moore and her teammates took charge after halftime and won easily, 55-35, with the certain Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist named the team’s MVP. Moore only scored seven points but could have had eight to 10 more, she snagged a game-high nine rebounds, and had a game-high seven assists that should have been four or five higher. She also had three steals.
The MVP for Team South was not Caldwell, nor was it Georgia Tech-bound Zaire O’Neill, who flew in from the East Coast after starring for New Jersey TOC winner Shabazz of Newark. It also wasn’t one of the UCLA-bound duo of Monique Billings (Santiago, Corona) or Kelli Hayes of San Jose Archbishop Mitty.
The MVP for the South was flashy point guard and North Carolina-bound Jamie Cherry. She flew out to the Bay Area from North Carolina after starring at West Craven of Vanceboro. Cherry finished with 16 points including three long three-pointers.
“I brought Jamie (Cherry) out here because she should have been a McDonald’s All-American and she proved me right,” said event director Marissa Holbert of PassTheBall.
MVPs Mariya Moore and Jamie Cherry (photo by Harold Abend)
A near miss for Team West MVP was University of Pacific-bound Desire Finnie and her game-high 17 points. Other key contributors for Team West were Loyola Marymount-bound Breanna Alford of Orinda Miramonte (eight points and six rebounds) and Etiwanda star and Southern California-signed Amy Okonkwo. She had seven points and six rebounds.
Team West was coached by CIFCCS Open Division runner-up Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) head coach LyRyan Russell. “I knew we could win this thing. I just needed to get everyone in and at the right time,” Russell told Cal-Hi Sports.
The right time was mostly when Moore and her best friend, Nebraska-bound Natalie Romeo (Carondelet, Concord) were in the game together.
“I didn’t even realize it would be our last time playing together,” said Romeo, who played with Moore on the Cal Stars club team. Romeo finished with six points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
Team South was coached by Mike Boles of CIF Division IV state runner-up Justin-Siena of Napa. It will be the last time Boles coaches girls in the near future as next year he will take the helm of the Braves boys team.
The early game was also lopsided in a 51-32 win by Team North over Team East. There were seven college-committed girls on the two rosters combined.
Northern Colorado-bound Savannah Scott of Westmont (Campbell) was a unanimous choice as the MVP of a Team North team coached by 2013 State Coach of the Year Malik McCord of Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland. Scott finished with 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists, went to the floor for loose balls and played harder than anyone. Northwest University-signed Charmaine Bradford of Eastside Prep (East Palo Alto) also looked very good.
The Team East MVP went to Kayla Taylor of Concord Clayton Valley after she had team highs of eight points and five rebounds. Taylor will attend Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. Team East was coached by CIF Division I state runner-up James McKeever of Elk Grove Pleasant Grove.
MVPs Kayla Taylor and Savannah Scott (Photo by Harold Abend)
Special mention goes to Nevada Las Vegas-bound Simone Sheppard of Sacramento. She played in both games and looked good in each of them.