Video by Paul Bandong and Chauncy Miller
The ground was shaking and the rims were rattling in the Vista Murrieta gym, but it wasn’t from the 5.1 earthquake that hit the area Friday night; it was the 8th Annual Desert-Valley All-Star Basketball Game that saw the boys game scoring a combined 228 points! The Away team coached by Norte Vista coach Geoff Gorham won 124-104 over the Home team coached by Roosevelt’s Von Webb.
In the pre-game festivities, Spenser Kenshael Airrington from Arlington stroked 24 straight to win the free-throw shooting contest. Great Oak’s Jeremy Smith sank fourteen three-pointers, the last one at the buzzer to beat a tie with Leo Goodman from Roosevelt.
Smith continued his hot streak hitting two three’s in the opening minutes to give the Away team a 20-14 lead, after trailing 4-0. JW North’s Deshon Taylor excited the crowd with two dunks and a three on the way to a team-leading 11 points in the first half. Smith also had 11 points as the Away team led 56-47 at halftime.
CSU Northridge–commit Taelin Webb from Roosevelt led the Home team with 12 points in the first half, including a short jumper, a dunk, a twisting penetration lay-up, and a three in the closing minutes of the half. He was also an unselfish teammate dishing numerous assists.
Dashon Taylor won the half-time Slam Dunk Competition over eight other competitors with a lob off the back wall and a half-windmill finish.
The pace picked up in the second half as Patriot’s Gugliotta facilitated the Home team offense and the team went on a 13-3 run to take the lead 60-59. Beaumont’s Sam Roberts hit a three to give the lead back to the Away team; Roberts’ layup seconds later broke a 64-64 tie to give the away team a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
In the second half, Vista Murrieta’s Spencer Benson scored 15 of his 21 points and Roosevelt’s Leo Goodman lit up the scoreboard for 18 of his 20 for the Home team. Webb added six to finish with 18.
Taylor helped the Away team retain their lead with eleven second-half points, including two more dunks, an off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself and free throws. He ended the game with 22 points and was named MVP of the game.
Smith ended with 21, including the last two baskets of the game – a three and a lay-up. Perris’ Elishua Jackson scored all 14 of his points in the second half. Roberts, Norco’s Alonzo Woodridge, and Perris’ big man Tyler Cooper each had ten points.
Other featured All-Stars include: Rey Solarzano (Elsinore), Shondell Smith (Murrieta Mesa), Michael warren (La Sierra), Felipe Gonzales (Norte Vista), Ethan Alvano (Corona), Drake Powers (Chaparral), Matt Wager (Rancho Christian), Lamontrae Hudson (San Jacinto), Luke Timm and Jay Merriweather (Temescal Canyon), Luke Knapp (Woodcrest Christian), Jalen Hall (Rancho Verde), Robert Brooks (West Valley), Ryan Schaefer (Temecula Valley), M. Williams (Roosevelt), and Chris Lott (ML King).
MVP Taylor led his JW North team to an undefeated season (two losses by forfeit), and an eventual loss to Mater Dei in the Open Division CIF Southern Section semifinals. Despite averaging 24.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game, earning his league’s Player of the Year and All-CIF First Team, the 6’1” guard is still looking for a college offer to play basketball. But for this night, Taylor is the star among All-Stars, MVP of the 8th Annual Desert Valley Classic.