The game itself will not top the list of memories for the local East All-Star girls’ basketball standouts.
That’s what an 82-62 loss in the annual N.C. Coaches Association All-Star game will produce, but the week itself was a great finale for three Triangle-area players and two coaches.
The West squad took control of the game late in the second quarter, finishing the half on a 9-0 run, and led by as many as 20 in the second half. Rebounding and transition scoring were the biggest issues for the East, according to coaches Michelle Wood of East Chapel Hill and Toni Vick-Dupree of East Wake.
“Defensively, we didn’t match up very well with them,” Wood said. “And we missed too many shots. We tried a few people on (game most valuable player Shaylen Burnette) and we didn’t have an answer.”
Burnette finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. North Carolina recruit Jamie Cherry of West Craven led the East stars with 24 points. The East shot 32 percent from the field.
“We got out-rebounded and just didn’t hit shots,” said Vick-Dupree, who as a player helped East Wake win a state championship in 1997. “And we got hurt in the transition game. It’s an experience to coach this caliber of players.”
Chapel Hill grads Jamella Smith (four points, six rebounds) and Catherine Romaine (four points, two rebounds) led the Tigers to an unbeaten season and the 3A state championship.
“It was really great to play with Catherine one more time,” said Smith. “And being on the same team as coach Wood after always playing against her was a great experience, seeing a different coaching style.”
Smith, who kept a photo of herself in agony after losing the 2013 state championship game on her phone all season, said she didn’t fully realize what her Chapel Hill team had done until it was presented with the state championship rings the day before graduation. She will play at S.C. State in the fall.
Romaine, the N&O’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2013-14 after compiling a 5.01 GPA and starring for the Tigers’ basketball and volleyball teams, will play at Bucknell.
Southeast Raleigh grad Tiffany McCarter, who has recently decided to play at Fayetteville State, had six points for the East.
Her Bulldogs squad fell in the 4A state title game in March.
“We just didn’t play together as (the West squad) did,” McCarter said. “There were times when we took too many shots when we could have passed more.”