All-star basketball game could become annual event

News-DemocratMay 4, 2014 


Alton High School senior guard Detae McMurray led all scorers with 25 points Saturday and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the Downstate Illinois squad in a 122-109 loss to an Upstate Illinois team in an inaugural all-star game at Alton.

McMurray is headed to Southwestern Illinois College. Texas A &M recruit Peyton Allen from Chatham Glenwood had 22 points to earn MVP honors for the Upstate Illinois squad.

"We had a good turnout and it went really smooth," Southwest Illinois Jets coordinator Dana Morgan said. "A lot of the guys have been competing against each other on the AAU circuit for a while.

"It was great because you hear so much about the Chicago kids, but to have the Central Illinois and Southern Illinois kids with so many scholarship offers in the gym -- and good quality kids --I thought it was a great event."

St. Louis University recruit Marcus Bartley from Decatur MacArthur won the 3-point shooting contest, hitting 17-of-30 shots in the two-round event.

The slam dunk winner was a real crowd pleaser as Marquette's Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit Deion Lavender brought down the house with an acrobatic move.

"He threw it up to himself and caught it and turned, then dropped it to his waist and dunked it," Morgan said. "It was crazy."

Morgan said other game highlights were some back-and-forth exchanges between Cahokia's Drake recruit Carleton Rivers and Allen, plus the electric play of Springfield Lanphier star Larry Austin.

"His intensity level really set the stage for the game," Morgan said of Austin, a former Tennessee recruit who reopened his recruiting after former Volunteers coach Cuonzo Martin took the job at California. "He walked into the gym ready to get after it and kind of set the tone for everyone. Everyone had some great moments."

Morgan plans on making the game an annual event.

"It's good to get these kids some exposure and have some guys playing together that don't normally get to play with each other," he said. "I thought it went really well."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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