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West Sacramento News-Ledger

Local high school hoops stars shine at 45th Optimist All-Star Game

Apr 04, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

Members of the girl's small school South Team pose for a photo after defeating the North Team 73-52 in the 45th Optimist All-Star Game on Sunday, April 3 at Capital Christian High School in Sacramento. Photo courtesy of Optimist Sacramento

Local high school hoops stars shine at 45th Optimist All-Star Game [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – High school basketball players from across the Sacramento region descended upon Capital Christian High School on Sunday, April 3, for the 45th Annual Optimist All-Star Game.

The game exclusively for high school seniors is hosted for several different sports yearly and has been held for basketball since 1978. Four separate games were played, as the teams were split by gender and school size.

The first game of the night was between the small school girls. The South Team was led by Dixon head coach Mike Gilliard and his three assistants. Four out of 12 players on the team came from Dixon as guards Talia Medalle, Janie Ming, Gracie Nickum and forward Brianna Humphries played in the game.

Humphries averaged 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds this season en route to leading her team to the Division IV section title. The 5-foot-11 senior is now on her way to San Diego Christian College.

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Representing Woodland on the girl’s small school South Team were guards Marina Montez and Alex Romero. The South Team pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning 73-52. Isabella Felix from Liberty Ranch was named the team’s most outstanding player.

The girl’s small school North Team’s most outstanding player was Heaven Lafata from Bear River. Ike Prince and his five assistants from Marysville comprised the coaching staff. Prince had two of his guards, Katen Johnson and Danae Keeney, representing their school.

Point guard Kyalei Williams, who is on her way to CSU Chico, put on for Rio Linda. Guards Gwen Fayard from Sacramento Adventist Academy and Gracie Williams from Valley Christian Academy represented their respective schools.

The second game was also contested between small schools, this time on the boy’s side. The South Team prevailed for the second straight game, defeating the North Team 99-78. Point guard Drew Fischer from Liberty Ranch was named the South Team’s most outstanding player.

Guard Juanluis Rubio from Rio Linda was named the North Team’s most outstanding player. Freddie Bryant from San Juan served as one of the assistant coaches and guard Nanik Tagore represented on the court for the Spartans.

Mesa Verde had one player in the game, point guard Anthony Arguelles. Victory Christian was represented by two players, guard Gabe Santiago and forward Zach Ward. Finally, Valley Christian had Brady Meyers putting on for their small school.

The third and penultimate game was played between the large school girls. The South Team triumphed for the third consecutive game, this time in a closely contested affair, 66-63. Laguna Creek guard Ahrray Young, who is taking her talents to the University of Tulsa, was named the team’s most outstanding player. Capital Christian guard Donnelli Allen played in the game for the home team Cougars.

Oak Ridge center Ella Ray, who is headed to the University of Pennsylvania, was selected as the North Team’s most outstanding player. Del Campo forward Paige Krenecki represented for the Cougars in this matchup.

The final game of the night was by far the highest scoring. The large school boy’s North Team led a comeback attempt of over 20 points, however, the South Team won once again 129-121. Elk Grove guard Ameere Britton took over in the final three minutes of the game to lead the South Team to the victory and secure the team’s most outstanding player honor.

Guard Anthony Garcia, who is on his way to play football at San Jose State University, suited up for the home school Capital Christian on the South Team. Grant guard Rishod Brown was named the North Team’s most outstanding player. Rio Americano was represented by shooting guard Matt Hoffman who will be attending Lewis & Clark College in the fall.