City All-Star basketball dominance was delivered in two time frames Wednesday night at Hoover High.
For the girls, it didn't kick in until midway through the second half, when game Most Valuable Player Tiana Maxwell (Central) and Alexandria Orlich (Clovis West) powered a 32-20 closing surge and a 79-69 win over the County.
For the boys, well, if you blinked following the opening tip, you missed it: 3-pointer by Aaric Armstead (Bullard); jumper by Alex Fertig (Buchanan); 3 by Armstead; 3 by Fertig; it was 11-4 City and away it flew to a 117-104 decision before a packed house of 2,200 at The Event Center.
The City, while increasing its series lead to 31-11, bolted to a 63-48 halftime lead and coasted behind MVP Fertig's 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Armstead's 21 points, six rebounds and two steals.
"It's part of my game. I'm always shooting," said Armstead of Central Section Division I champion Bullard.
It marked Eric Swain's final coaching appearance before leaving Buchanan to become Clovis North's athletic director.
"I thought there was a lot of high IQ level on this team," the City coach said, "and there was a comfort level once they stepped on the floor."
The County, coached by Sierra's Anthony Patino, stayed within respectable range while shooting 48.8% (40 of 82) as Devin Gaines (Chowchilla) scored 23 on 10-of-13 marksmanship and Robert Beauchamp (Coalinga) added 20.
The County girls, with a game-high 19 points from Kayla Luis (Hanford) and several impact plays from small-school players such as Jackie Robles (Parlier) and Trina Torres (Corcoran), led 49-47 with 10:16 remaining.
Then the City took over.
Orlich -- a four-year varsity veteran, co-MVP of the Tri-River Athletic Conference and headed to Sonoma State -- scored 11 of her 12 points from that point.
Maxwell -- who shared the TRAC top honor with Orlich and exited Central with a school, four-year record 1,881 points -- delivered 10 of her 14 points in the final 8:30.
Leaving for Humboldt State in two months, she also had nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
"Ali [Orlich] and I work together because she was a leader on her team just like I was," Maxwell said. "It was fun working with her. It took us a half to get going, but it was good once we did."
The taller City received 13 rebounds from 6-1 Heidi Johnson (Buchanan) and 11 from 5-11 Rogenee Russell (Edison) while crushing the County 83-62 on the boards and trimming the County series lead to 20-18.
"We got outrebounded and missed too many free throws, that's what it came down to," said County coach James Stevens, who will move from Parlier to Immanuel, his alma mater.
Hall of Fame inductees
Entering the City/County All-Star Hall of Fame were Jolayne Thompson, Nick French and John Thiesen.
Thompson was a three-sport star at Hanford, including a four-year starter in basketball. French starred at Clovis West as a player and then coached at Liberty-Madera Ranchos before moving to Hoover, where he's won two North Yosemite League titles and a D-III crown the past two seasons.
Thiesen was a 301-game winner with seven league titles and six D-V championships at Immanuel between 1991-2005.
Hoops coaching moves
- Jaleesa Ross, leading scorer in Fresno State history, takes over Central's girls.
- Clovis West assistant Heather Bates to Kerman girls.
- Clovis East assistant Ian Hayashi to Kerman boys.
- Central assistant Josh Henderson to Hanford West boys.
- Josh Justin, after leading Fresno Christian's boys to consecutive D-V titles, hired as Immanuel assistant under C.J. Haydock. They were teammates on two Fresno Christian league title teams.
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