CANTON: For one night Lake girls basketball coach Henry Cobb just sat back and relaxed while watching Canton McKinley senior Ameryst Alston.
During the regular season, that wasn’t the case.
Wednesday night it was possible as Alston played under the direction of Cobb and led the Stark Team to an 85-69 victory over the Summit Team in the 24th annual William Heichel Memorial Plain Rotary All-Star Classic at Malone University’s Osborne Hall.
Alston, an Ohio State University recruit, had 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals to earn Stark’s MVP honor.
“Ameryst is Ameryst. What else can I say?” Cobb said. “What a humble kid she is. She went in front of the entire bench and gave every one of her teammates a high-five when she received the MVP award. She was taught the right way on how to do things.
“She’s as good a player on the girls or boys side I have seen. I can honestly say that. She is one of those special kids that comes around on a basketball court about once every 25 years. I wish her all the best at Ohio State. The Buckeyes got themselves a really good player.”
The Stark Team also won the boys game by defeating the Summit Team 120-110. Alliance senior Vernon Martin and Canton McKinley senior DeVaugntah Williams both scored 21 points for the Stark side.
Alston, 5-foot-9, scored eight in the first half as the Stark girls held a 43-25 advantage at the intermission.
“It was just really fun to get to play with so many good players,” Alston said. “To get the opportunity to play with the best players from each team is special. We compete against each other during the season, but we’re all friends and respect each other.”
Twinsburg senior Leah Fechko helped the Summit Team cut its deficit to 58-53 after three quarters by scoring eight of her 12 points in the quarter.
Alston and Perry’s Macy Byrd each scored eight points in the fourth quarter for the Stark Team.
Byrd finished with 16 points. McKinley’s Gabby Kendall added 14 points and seven rebounds. Louisville’s Brianna Libertore contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was enjoyable to coach the other girls and get to know the personalities of the girls from teams that I coached against,” Cobb said.
Fechko got the MVP nod for the Summit Team by also having five rebounds and three steals.
Highland’s Karissa Steffas scored 10 points for the Summit Team. Green’s Lydia Corle totaled nine points and 11 rebounds, and Archbishop Hoban’s Janaya Feaster scored eight points.
The Stark boys led 57-54 at halftime and then overcame a 86-84 deficit after three quarters.
Martin, 6-foot-1, added 11 rebounds to his 21 points to nab the Stark MVP award.
“It was a good opportunity to play in this,” Martin said. “It was fun to play with friends.”
Alliance senior Jalen Mays also contributed 14 points and six rebounds in the triumph.
“It was good to see our Alliance kids do well,” Alliance coach Larry Kukura said after leading the Stark Team. “I am proud of them. Overall, we had a lot of scorers on this team tonight. We had some good shooters and had some good passing.”
Nordonia senior Jarrett Ruffin had 24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two assists to earn the Summit Team’s MVP accolade.
East’s Davonte Brunson scored 20 points and Dragons teammate Mycle Shadie had six points and six assists.
Also scoring in double figures for the Summit Team were Kenmore’s Antonio Hearn (14 points), Streetsboro’s Ben Gency (13 points), Wadsworth’s Josh Kipfer (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Green’s Evan Keeslar (10 points).
Massillon’s Bobby Conley finished with 18 points, five assists and five steals for the Stark Team. Canton Timken’s Malik Ruffin scored 17 points.
North Canton Hoover’s Taylor Moore and Perry’s Jordan Humphrey both scored 10 points.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.