High school girls basketball all-stars come together, compete
That's because for four years, those girls, who wear different uniforms and play for different 1A schools, have been battling against one and other.
On Saturday afternoon, however, they were teammates as they battled the 2A senior all-stars in the Utah Women's Basketball Coaches Association Senior All-Star games at Highland High.
"I love it," said Milligan, who led the 1A offense with 14 points. "I was so excited to get to play with them. It's just a game for fun."
That doesn't mean the girls don't want to win.
The 1A and 2A Senior All-Stars were tied at 33 points each at halftime. But the 2A senior all-stars came out on fire in the second half and finished with four players in double digits. The 2A squad defeated the 1A all-stars 94-55.
"It's really fun," said Parowan's Rickie Warr, who scored 17 points in the 2A win. "We knew in the second half we'd get it going. We only practiced maybe a half hour. But it worked okay today."
Some girls were nervous, others excited, to be playing with the best athletes in their classifications.
"I was excited," said Monticello's Abigail Chadwick. "I was a little bit nervous, but not once we got playing. It's fun to just read what the other team is doing and play real basketball."
The freedom, which included some unorthodox plays and shots, was something most of the girls enjoyed.
"It's fun because you don't have a set thing you do," said Milligan. "You can just go where ever and make something happen."
Beaver's Lexi Moss led all scorers with 19 points, while Enterprise's Tressa Lyman added 18 points. South Sevier's Kayla King finished with 16, and Hannah Snyder scored nine points in the win.
For 1A, Wayne's Cassey Manzanares scored eight and Piute's Kandice Gleave finished with 10 points.
The 5A contest was essentially a Region 1 All-Star team vs. Senior All-Stars from the other three 5A regions. The South defeated the North, 86-81, in what was a pretty competitive matchup.
The game was close until the 5A South pulled away in the third quarter. Whitney Johnson, of Lone Peak, gave the southern all-stars the momentum when the forward hit a 3-point shot just before half to tie the game at 46.
She finished with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, while her Lone Peak teammate Marquelle Funk added 15 points, including two 3-pointers.
Pleasant Grove senior Danyele Hoffman added 14 points in the win and Riverton senior Kylie Hogue finished with 11 points.
The North all-stars were led by Layton's Addi Moore, who finished with 20 points, and Viewmont's Xojian Harry, who added 13. Machenzie Day scored 12 points and Fremont's Haley Sturdavant finished with eight points.
The most lopsided contest was the 4A vs. 3A contest. The 3A All-Stars soundly defeated 4A, 102-63, in the second game of the day. Reigning 4A MVP Lexi Eaton and her Springville teammate Jen Mason, who was the 4A Defensive MVP, were both at a track meet and unable to play in Saturday's game.
Without Eaton, who led the state in scoring with 29 points per game, the 4A all-stars struggled to keep pace with the hot-handed 3A all-stars.
The 3A All-Stars were led by Unions Katie Richens, who scored 21 points. BYU-bound Ashley Garfield scored 17, Emery's Taylor Mann, who added 11, and Carbon's Tia Pappas, who finished with 11 points.
On the 4A team, Mountain View's Shanna Halalilo led the team with 18 points, while her twin sister, Shyanne Halalilo, added 11 points. Mountain Crest's Jordi Willden and Bonneville's Valerie Buckway each added eight points in the loss.
All of the players received T-shirts and plaques from the UWBCA. Coaches of the Year from each class and region were also honored.