All-Star basketball: City boys, girls turn it on late to beat County

The Fresno BeeJune 25, 2014 

The City's girls and boys followed similar scripts -- lead big, see it go, regroup late -- to sweep in the City/County All-Star Basketball Games on Wednesday night at Buchanan High.

The City girls bolted to a 17-point first-half lead only to trail on a few occasions in the second half before game Most Valuable Player Samantha Earl of Clovis took over in her team's 93-87 win.

The City boys, likewise, mounted a 17-point first-half lead, had it reduced to one in the final seconds of the half, then dominated late behind guards Dylan Eamigh of Clovis East and Quinn Rystad of Bullard for a 104-94 win before a crowd of more than 2,000.

Forget the fact that it was June: Eamigh was on top of his game while producing 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and the game MVP award as the City increased its series lead to 33-11.

His offseason sharpness was no accident: "I've been in the gym a lot; I'm always there."

He'll next play for former Fresno Pacific coach and Fresno State assistant Jim Saia at Cal State San Marcos, an NAIA program preparing to jump to Division II in three years.

"From what I've been told and seen (Saia) is a great coach," Bee All-Star Eamigh said. "They get a lot of D-I bouncebacks and JC players. I'm the only freshman coming in. I know it will be an adjustment, but I'm excited."

Hoover's Rakim Murphy scored 18 points, and Fresno's Daryl Edwards and Rystad added 16 and 13 for the City, which was coached by Carvell Wafer of Central Section D-III champion Fresno.

Central's Murshid Randle and Washington's Shakor Major had 29 and 23 points for the County, led by Coalinga coach Jason McFarlin.

Earl, headed to West Hills College-Lemoore, dominated early and late while scoring 21 points for the City girls, who tied the series 20-20.

Her layup after her own steal and a 3 moments later gave the City a 9-3 lead.

That advantage swelled to 26-9 following a 14-0 run and and a left-handed 3 by Sunnyside's Monteil Reeves with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

But the County would roar back behind a triple-double by Hanford's Brooke Johnson, who routinely delivered that combination for the Bullpups in one of the most prolific four-year careers in Central Section history.

The County took the lead on four occasions in the second half as the UNLV-bound Johnson assisted or scored on virtually every possession on a night she produced 22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in 29 minutes.

It was 80-79 City with 2:30 remaining when Earl hit the decisive throttle.

The 5-foot-8 guard scored on two drives and a free throw for an 87-83 City lead.

A jumper by the County's Kim Alfors of Selma reduced the gap to 87-85, setting the stage for the play of the game -- and Earl was responsible.

County coach Paul Romig of Selma called a timeout with 35 seconds to go, his team trailing by those two points and with possession.

But the problem: Johnson had left the game briefly at that point with a twisted ankle.

And her absence -- and floor management with it -- became immediately magnified when Earl stole the inbounds pass and flew three-quarters of the floor for a layup and 89-85 lead with 30.8 seconds remaining.

The third-leading career scorer in Clovis history then removed all doubt 12 seconds later with two free throws.

Just four months ago, Earl severely sprained her right ankle late in a 63-53 section Division I quarterfinal win over Edison. She hobbled through a 67-50 semifinal loss at Hanford a few days later, took some time off and then closed her Clovis athletics career in track and field in the spring.

"I'm happy my ankle didn't give out tonight," she said. "Win or lose, I was going to push, push and push. But I think I may have made it worse in track. I'm going to have it examined."

Malerie Crenshaw, working well with former Clovis teammate Earl, delivered 22 points and nine rebounds, and Buchanan's Alexa Sperling had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the City, which was coached by Hoover's Dara Johnson -- bouncing on the sideline despite wearing a medical boot because of an inflamed Achilles tendon.

Alfors, Immanuel's Sara Vasquez and Kerman's Penelope Kastsaridis scored 12, 11 and 10 points for the County.

The reporter can be reached at aboogaard@fresnobee.com or @beepreps on Twitter.

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