HOLLADAY — The most talented seniors from all around the state came together Saturday night at Olympus High to bask in the illustrious glory of their high school boys basketball playing days for the last time.
With no guarantee of ever playing competitive basketball again, Saturday night’s all-star games proved to have much more meaning for the student-athletes than they might have appeared to.
“It’s just so much fun, especially to play with all your friends,” Bingham’s Jordan Evans said. “I have played with these kids for so long, so it was just fun to get a chance to keep playing with them. And on the other team, with TJ (Haws) and Zach (Frampton) and all of them, it was really fun to play against them, too.”
The 5A game wrapped up the day’s action, with the visiting team (Regions 2 and 4) topping the home team (Regions 1 and 3) 157-142 in a run-and-gun, high-scoring affair.
Pleasant Grove’s Matt Conway led the visitors with a game-high 29 points, while four-time state champ and BYU signee TJ Haws facilitated his team’s offense and had another solid performance with 22 points in the win.
Before embarking on his collegiate career, Haws has some other important missions he plans to complete. He is set to serve a two-year LDS mission before moving forward with his promising basketball career.
“It really means a lot to me,” Haws said of serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I made the decision a long time ago that I was going to serve a mission. I’ve been blessed with so much and I just feel it’s the right decision to give back.”
Earlier in the night, the 4A all-star game illustrated just how talented the 4A class was this year, as the two teams combined for a staggering 38 made 3-pointers in the home team’s (Regions 7 and 8) 140-117 victory over the visitors (Regions 5 and 6).
Deadlocked at 53 at the half, the home team caught fire and outscored the visitors 52-24 in the third quarter to pick up the victory.
Orem’s Cooper Holt was especially hot from outside, as he drilled seven treys en route to a game-high 23-point performance.
“It was a really fun time,” said Holt. “I really like this up-and-down kind of game. You really just get to shoot the ball, and I obviously like that style of game.”
Holt is also temporarily putting his collegiate basketball aspirations aside to serve an LDS mission this July.
Monson has received interest from several small colleges, but he also expressed his desire to serve a two-year LDS mission before making any decisions on what school to attend.
“I’m heading on a mission in July, but I’m still trying to decide between a couple of schools,” Monson said. “But right now, I’m still trying to pick one, so we’ll see.”
In the 3A All-Star game, the team from Regions 10 and 12 knocked off the team of Regions 9 and 11, 123-112. Payson’s Daniel Reno and Richfield’s Brenan Thomas combined for 51 points in the win.
In the first matchup of the day, the 1A all-stars took on the 2A all-stars, and 2A was able to come out on top, 141-110. Wasatch Academy star Geno Luzcando went off for a game-high 39 points, while LCA’s Joe Reddish chipped in 27 more to propel 2A to the double-digit win.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724