Sidney’s Meaghan Ross helped propel the Red to a 100-90 come-from-behind win in the Panhandle Prep All-Star Girls Basketball Game Saturday night at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.
Ross was named the Most Valuable Player of the contest.
“The first half we weren’t doing as well as we thought we would and we knew we had to come back. We all wanted to win so it was a good team effort,” Ross said. “Everyone had awesome shots and every shot counted. Mine just came at the right time, I guess. But everyone had a great effort.”
Ross was one of four players on the Red team to score in double figures. Ross finished the game with 18 points. The Red’s Keyena Wilfred of Mitchell led all scorers with 19 points. Also for the Red, Mitchell’s Kenzey Kanno had 15 and Chadron’s Payton Underwood tallied 10.
Ross, however, hit the big shots when it counted to earn the MVP honor.
“I am honored, honestly [to be named MVP],” said Ross, who is headed to Chadron State College to play basketball. “I didn’t know they gave out that award so I wasn’t expecting anything like that.”
Ross said her Red team had to battle hard to fend off the Blue.
“The key was just to keep fighting,” she said. “Playing 12-minute quarters is hard, so we had to just keep fighting and playing defense.”
The Blue controlled the game for the first three quarters and a big part was due to a balanced scoring as five players hit double digits. Sidney’s Janay Brauer led the Blue with 16 points followed by Mitchell’s Bethany Sterkel with 14. Southeast’s Ellie Schmidt had 12, while South Platte’s Caroline Stanley and Kimball’s Kate Reader each had 11 points.
Sterkel had a big first half for the Blue team as the Blue led 31-23 after the opening quarter and outscored the Red 25-21 in the second quarter to lead 56-44 at halftime.
Sterkel, who was playing against three of her Mitchell teammates in the game, said it was an enjoyable experience.
“I really did enjoy the all-star game,” she said. “It was really fun playing in this last game. Even though we didn’t win, it is still a win for me.”
The second quarter saw the Blue team jump to a double-digit lead at 40-30. Southeast’s Ellie Schmidt then had back-to-back buckets, including an offensive putback for a 51-39 lead. Sterkel finished off the half hitting a trey for the 56-44 Blue lead.
The third quarter saw the Blue lead 68-56 on a Jenna Balthazor bucket. The Red came back to get within 68-60 before Sterkel hit a bucket to go back to 10. Schmidt got another offensive putback late for a 76-67 lead before Kenzey Kanno nailed a trey at the end of the third to cut the Blue lead to 76-70.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Red as they outscored the Blue 30-14. The Red finally tied the game at 81 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Ross and Bridgeport’s Brittany Nelson with 8:25 to play. Seconds later, Kanno nailed a trey to give the Red their first lead of the game since hitting the first bucket of the game.
The Red retook the lead at 87-86 on two Schmidt free throws, but the Red went on a 12-0 run to lead 98-87 behind six points from Ross. Gering’s Kelly Snelling hit a free throw late to put the Red over the century mark.
Snelling also picked up an honor on the night as she won the 3-point contest by nailing seven treys to win over Hemingford’s Lauren Gassling and Douglas’ Haedyn Rhoades. They both finished with five and four 3-pointers, respectively.
South Platte’s Caroline Stanley was also awarded the Panhandle Prep $250 scholarship.
Red 23 21 26 30 — 100
Blue 31 25 20 14 — 90
Meagan Ross (Sidney) 18, Anabelle Gillen (Mitchell) 4, Kenzey Kanno (Mitchell) 15, Katelyn Sylvester (Sidney) 3, Kelly Snelling (Gering) 9, Peyton Underwood (Chadron) 10, Keyana Wilfred (Mitchell) 19, Kelsey Tighe (Crawford) 3, Lauren Gasseling (Hemingford) 7, Brittany Nelson (Bridgeport) 7, Kieyerah Twombly (Scottsbluff) 1, Makenzie Dunkel (Scottsbluff) 3.
Paige Lopez (Gering) 9, Haedyn Rhoades (Douglas) 5, Alexandria Garcia (Minatare) 0, Bethany Sterkel (Mitchell) 14, Ellie Schmitt (Southeast) 12, Kylie Stuart (Bayard) 3, Andrea Lashley (Morrill) 2, Caroline Stanley (South Platte) 11, Janey Brauer (Sidney) 16, Kate Reader (Kimball) 11, Liz Marker (Bayard) 0, Jenna Balthazor (Gering) 7.