Three games were held for the Greater Cleveland Basketball Coaches Association All-Star event on April 7 at Gilmour. Players from across the News-Herald’s coverage area took part in all three games at the Lancer Gymnasium.
The event allowed seniors to dress for their high schools once again in their careers and call rivals teammates of the season for a game.
North was represented by Jaheim Turney and Noah Adams in the first contest. They both hit multiple 3-pointers. Both have been crucial to Rangers’ success this season and were honored to be part of the festivities.
“It means a lot and shows that hard work pays off,” Adams said. “Coach Vespa has made sure we have everything we need this season to improve on previous years. It means a lot to be able to help change the culture at North.
Division IV state champion Richmond Heights was also well represented, with Jaiden Cox-Holloway and Detric Hearst in Game 2 and London Maiden in Game 3. Cox-Holloway had several dunks and opened 3s to help guide the East team to victory.
While it was a rare time for members of opposing teams to call each other teammates, Cox-Holloway and others know their styles of play from AAU seasons and open gyms.
“We all knew each other already and had some chemistry,” Cox-Holloway said. “But being able to play together in the past and already knowing my teammates’ tendencies helped me a lot to feel comfortable before this event.”
Gilmour entered three players, with Nathan Nootbaar and Nathan Flaherty in Game 1 and Ryan Mueller in Game 3. Mueller didn’t think he’d be back at the gym he’s called home for the past four years.
“It’s a really special opportunity to be able to play one last game here,” Mueller said. “To be able to play with close friends at home one last time is great. Myself, Flaherty and Nootbaar have played together since seventh grade and to be able to see them play one last game as well as one of mine is a bit surreal.
Mueller’s coach for his final outing as a Lancer was none other than his head coach during the season, Dan DeCrane. The Lancers coach spoke about the last time of his three players under the colors of Gilmour.
“It really feels like a magical end to the season,” DeCrane said. “To be able to add that moment to the season we’ve had and race through to the national final is great for them. To see Flaherty and Nootbaar play once again and be on the sidelines with Ryan one last time is something I’m happy to have been able to take part.
The event also featured the last time Sean Collins and Jake Ferritto put on their mentor gear. The duo reflected on their time with the Cardinals, including the lessons they learned throughout their time under coach Bob Krizancic.
“They taught us a lot about leadership and it paid off this season,” Collins said. “We learned that we had to do everything to the best of our abilities if we were to follow in their footsteps.”
Ferritto added: “The seniors were always pushing us last season in training so when we came up against teams bigger than us we were ready. The coach was also always pushing us and that’s something we got used to.
As for the results, the West team won the first game, 158-153, while the East won the second game, 187-148, and the third game, 159-148.