“It meant everything,” Holladay said of the opportunity. “We lost a hard game against Reno and they went on to win the state championship. So to be able to play one more time and represent my school, that’s the thing that I have the most pride about because Spanish Springs has given me so much these past four years, especially coaches there. It was just awesome to be able to represent my school again.”
Fellow Cougar Laneesha Terrance joined her teammate on the Girls Blue Team, 82-75 winners over the White Team. Terrance shared the same sentiments about the exhibition contest.
“It felt pretty good,” she said. “It’s the last time I’m going to be able to play high school basketball, so it was fun to play with different people from different teams.”
After the girls took the court, it was the boys turn to put their game on display. The all-star squads representing the High Desert and Sierra Leagues did not disappoint. With the help of Austin Damoth and Zack Shaw of Spanish Springs’ and Sparks High’s Bobby Brown and Keiffer Putman, the HDL all-stars grabbed an 85-78 overtime victory.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Damoth said. “We ended high school and it’s just pretty sudden how it ends. So to get to come here to play one more game is nice. It’s cool to see everybody again.”
While the teams consisted of a blend of uniforms from different schools, Shaw said the players gelled well together despite being rivals during the season.
“It’s almost like an oxymoron because you have to play with people that you’ve hated on the court, but we’re all cohesive,” he said. “Some of us have played together on travel teams. We’ve all seen each other and know playing styles from that and watching film. We’re all good players and I think we can all figure out how to play together and mesh together.”
“Oh yeah, it was definitely a little bit weird,” she said of playing with a new set of teammates. “You’re used to playing against them, but once you find out you’re playing with them, it’s nerve wracking but exciting at the same time. All of these girls are awesome basketball players, so just to be able to play with them was awesome.”
While the players all had fun in the exhibition contest, victory was what mattered in the end.
“The whole goal to be here is just to have fun and show our skills, but everyone wants to win,” Putman said. “It was competitive. I know my goal was to play defense and to change that aspect of what you normally see in all-star games.”
However, win or lose, the chance to hit the hardwood one last time was special for the players. Boys High Desert All-Star coach Keith Crawford said it was also special for those in attendance.
“This is a very talented group, so it’s one last time that not only myself and the coaching staff get to see them play, but the community gets one last chance to come out and see these kids play,” Crawford said. “This is a very talent-laden senior group this year, so both teams are very talented.
“This game was fun to watch. This game was competitive right from the jump. It’s for fun, but this is it. This was their last chance to show what kind of player you are to the community, so it was competitive and fun.”