Wabash Valley basketball fans were treated to a special demonstration of hoops talent on Friday night during the WTHI All-Star Basketball game at North Clay Middle School.
In an unusually hard fought and closely contested basketball game, the West squad got a Mike Davis Jr. 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining to earn a 112-111 win over the East squad.
The East team had two chances to earn the victory, one resulting in a turnover, the last a narrowly missed halfcourt 3-pointer by Logan Whitman.
Fittingly, the last two shots were taken by the game's leading scorers as Davis Jr. tallied 13 fourth quarter points to lead his Western squad back from a deficit.
Whitman on the other hand scored 18 of his team-leading 32 points in the first half and helped his squad out to as much as a 16 point advantage before the halftime intermission.
Much of that lead can be attributed to a healthy rebounding advantage by the East spurred by Bloomington North's Bil Duany who pulled down 10 of his game-high 16 rebounds in the first two quarters.
Duany was the source of quite a few 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the crowd as he hooked up twice an alley oop lobs from Northview grad Josh Timm, one a spectacular behind the back pass for a dunk that had the entire crowd on their feet.
To go with double-digit assists, Timm also showed off some scoring ability with 17 points. Afterwards, the Lincoln Land Junior College-bound Timm spoke of his experience in the first annual All-Star contest.
"It's been great getting the chance to play with some of these guys. They are so athletic. I've been making some of these passes all year, but Bil (Duany) is so athletic. I just had to throw it up," said Timm.
Jon Crooks, who helped to organize the event to promote area basketball talent, believes that the game was an absolute success.
"This is a great turnout for the first time round," Crooks said following the game. "The kids really played hard and kept it close. For an All-Star game there was a lot of electricity."
That was likely due to the battle for bragging rights amongst a group of players on each side who've spent the better part of four years on the court versus each other.
For fans, it was one last chance to see Vigo county's best facing off versus Clay County's finest. And for others it was an opportunity to see IU-bound Kyle Tabor for the first time. Tabor scored 23 points to go with eight rebounds.
Northview's Zack Keyes added 16 points for the East squad while fellow teammate Tyler Akers chipped in with five points. Clay City's Roger Harden held his own inside with six points and six boards.
Former Terre Haute South Brave and incoming DePauw freshman hoops player Jeremy Lock stood out with his 15 point, nine rebound performance as well.
All in all, the experience was a treat for all involved, including Crooks who believes that the game can become a tradition rich contest.
"This has really been a great experience for everyone involved I think," Crooks commented. "For the IU kids to come out and really get involved with the youth clinic was great."
Crooks was referring to the presence of current IU players Mike Roberts and Pat Ewing Jr. who were honorary coaches. Incoming freshman standout DJ White also made an appearance with Ewing Jr. on the sideline.
"We really had some big-time players here tonight and for them to take part in the clinic was really special for the kids."