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High school girls basketball: Utah's top seniors compete in all-star games

Published: Saturday, March 22 2014 7:35 p.m. MDT

Viewmont's Caitlyn Larsen falls over Riverton's Lateesha Richards as they fight for the ball in the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Viewmont's Caitlyn Larsen falls over Riverton's Lateesha Richards as they fight for the ball in the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

TAYLORSVILLE — Morgan guard Lisa VanCampen drove the lane, pivoted, and passed the ball right to Desert Hills forward Emily Seifert.

Seifert caught the ball and, in perfect stride, launched a shot from the right wing and drained a game-winner.

Just weeks after playing against each other for the 3A state title, Van Campen and Seifert, along with eight other seniors from around 3A, joined forces to take on the 4A seniors in the Utah Women's Basketball Coaches Association all-star game, held at Taylorsville High on Saturday afternoon.

VanCampen's shot capped the 3A squad's rally from a double-digit deficit late in the fourth quarter to give the smaller classification the 94-92 victory.

"It wasn't exactly what we drew up," Seifert said of the final play, which was executed immediately after a timeout that was called following a game-tying free throw from Springville's Savannah Park.

Copper Hills' Savannah Sandberg dribbles around Layton's Maddi Smith during the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Copper Hills' Savannah Sandberg dribbles around Layton's Maddi Smith during the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

"It was what we all knew we needed to do," Seifert said. "(The game) was always competitive — just the intensity level kept getting higher and higher as the leads kept changing."

Seifert had 12 points for the 3A team, while her Desert Hills teammate Blair Bliss led all scorers with 27 points. Taylor Gordon of North Sanpete scored 21 and Morgan guard Rashel Blazzard added 13.

Timpanogos forward Eternity Galeai led 4A with 16 points, while Highland forward Ma'ata Epenisa had 14 and Park scored 13.

Prior to the 3A-4A game, the 5A seniors split into North and South teams and faced off. After holding just a two-point lead after three quarters, the 5A North team went on a 10-0 run over the first four minutes of the final quarter to pull away with an 85-71 win.

"We just came together really well," said Brighton forward Maddie Chin, who scored eight points for the North team. "It seemed liked it didn't matter where we were from, we all just played really well together."

Layton's Cassidy Anderson guards Lehi's Kaylie Bartholomew as she dribbles during the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Layton's Cassidy Anderson guards Lehi's Kaylie Bartholomew as she dribbles during the 5A girls all-star basketball game at Taylorsville High in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

She then added, "We wanted to win. We knew it was mostly for fun, but we still had that competitive drive."

Caitlyn Larsen of Viewmont, Kaelani Sagapolu of Fremont, and Maddi Smith of Layton each tallied 15 points for the North, while Riverton guard Shelby Richards led all scorers with 17 points and two 3-pointers for the South.

Tess Matagi of Hunter had 10 points and Lateesha Richards (Riverton) and Madyson Quigley scored nine points apiece.

In the final game of the day, a matchup between the 1A and 2A all-stars, the 2A crew steadily pulled away for a 72-56 victory.

Class 2A guard Alisha Lewis of South Summit led all scorers with, 20 points while South Sevier's Shantae Dustin had 12 and North Sevier's Devyn Sorenson added 11. The 1A group was led by Piute guards Whitney Westwood, who had 12 points, and Kierra Gleave, who had 10 points.

In addition to senior all-stars, who were voted onto their teams by the coaches of their classification, region coaches of the year were also honored.

Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.

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