Dondre Griffin changed the pace of Saturday’s RDU High School All-Star Game, a contest that pits top Raleigh and Durham seniors against one another.
The Raleigh boys won, 128-96, at host site Millbrook.
Griffin, a Knightdale senior, led the game with 37 points and five assists to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
With Raleigh leading 48-44 at the break, Griffin came out on fire from the three-point line after halftime. The Murray State-bound guard sank four 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the third to match his entire first-half production. He added one more for good measure in the fourth.
Never miss a local story.
“Everything was positive,” Griffin said. “Once my shot started falling, I started fueling off of that. My teammates kept letting me bring the ball up the court, and the defense kept backing us up.”
Griffin was joined on the Raleigh team by his fellow Knight Jordan Shannon, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Word of God senior and Arizona commit Rawle Alkins followed Griffin with 21 points and led the game with 10 boards. Word of God’s Jalen Fornes finished with 12 points.
Neuse Christian’s Matt Kalaf added 11. Millbrook’s Trejon Jacob and Broughton’s Tharon Suggs rounded out double figures with 10 points each.
Charles Norman of Prominence Academy led the Durham team with 32 points, going 14-of-18 from the floor. Riverside’s Anthony Peak was Durham’s top rebounder with four.
The Raleigh team was coached by Millbrook assistant Julius McKinley, and he said it was a good for Raleigh to have players who battle it out on the court all season actually compete on the same team.
“It was a great experience to just get all the guys together in the Raleigh area,” McKinley said.
He added, “To come out on top, especially on our home court, I thought it was huge.”
By Jessika Morgan
Mariah Partin lifts Raleigh girls past Durham
Sometimes, when new rims are installed, they can be very unkind.
That wasn’t the case for Southeast Raleigh’s Mariah Partin during the late stages of Saturday’s RDU High School All-Star Girls’ Basketball Game at Millbrook.
The senior guard drained two clutch 3-pointers in the final two minutes – finishing 3-of-3 beyond the arc with a team-high 12 points – as the Raleigh side held off a furious comeback bid by Durham, 65-57.
“I didn’t notice,” Partin said of the brand new rims on the Wildcats’ home court that were just installed. “My shot just felt good. My coaches told me to take the shots if they were open. And both times, I was wide open.”
Each of the shots was set up by a pass from the game’s Most Valuable Player, Mikaya Wilson of Knightdale. The point guard who will play for Appalachian State University finished with 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.
“This was such a great group of girls, each one of them bringing their own different skill to the court,” Wilson said. “It’s just feels so good to know I’m the first MVP of the first all-star game. It’s such an honor to get it with this bunch of girls with such good skills.”
Raleigh scored the game’s first basket on a short jumper by Leesville Road’s Kelly Funderburke and never trailed in the game.
A layup from Riverside’s Ariel Wilson tied the game at 4-4 at the 5:24 mark of the first quarter, but a 3-pointer by Broughton’s Katie Wadesworth gave Raleigh the lead for good on the next possession.
Raleigh’s lead ballooned to 42-26 late in the third quarter, but that’s when Durham’s defense and Chapel Hill guard Autumn West took over.
West, who led all scorers with 25 points, scored 11 of her team’s 13 points over a stretch of 2:47 that saw the lead shrink to 46-39 at the end of the third. Durham also had four of its eight blocks during the run. Wilson had four in the game, while West had three and Hillside’s Jada Morgan added one.
In the fourth, the comeback continued, this time fueled by the rebounding of Hillside’s Ja’Mia Johnson, who had three offensive boards that all led to scores en route to her 18-rebound game.
The lead was 55-51 after a bucket by Northern Durham’s Rhianna Council with 3:35 to go, but Partin drained a 3-pointer to push the lead back to seven.
Partin sank her last 3 with 1:11 left to make it a nine-point game.
By Randy Jones