South boys topple North in Big Country FCA All-Star basketball game
BROWNWOOD – In a game full of big talent, it was two little guys who stole the show. San Angelo Central’s Raven Ortiz scored a team-high 21 points and Cooper’s Andrew Gonzalez added 17 as he led the South past the North 89-73 in the annual All-Star Boys basketball game. Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes Saturday at Brownwood High. School.
“They’re two very good guards,” said South coach David Bacon, an assistant coach at Cooper. “At the end of the game (in the game), I think they (the North) got it (within) an eight or 10 at one point, and you can put those two guys in front, and they did a really good job finishing the game and stretching the lead and controlling the tempo. Drew has done that for us all year (at Cooper), and I know Raven has done that for Central. They both did a good job defensively as well, putting pressure on their guards.
Ortiz, a 6-foot-1 point guard, made 7 of 9 shots from the field, including 2 of 4 3-pointers, while making five interceptions while being named Game MVP.
“It was good,” Ortiz said of playing – and shining – in a game with so much talent. “I had fun playing with them. In a team with such talent, you have to improve your game a bit more.
Gonzalez, a 5-8 leader, made 7 of 17 shots from the field, including 2 of 5 3-pointers. He also had four assists and tied Ortiz with five steals.
“We both clicked,” Gonzalez said of playing alongside Ortiz. “I’ve known him since we were little. It was really great to play with him – really an honor – especially since he comes from San Angelo. But we really did this job and came out with the W.”
Early’s Victoriano Cooper and Brownwood’s Bryson Monroe added 12 and 10 points for the South, respectively, which ended a two-game losing streak for the Big Country graduates.
Tolar’s Grady McQuain led the North with a game-high 27 points. He also had nine rebounds. Snyder’s Eber Murillo followed with nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds and six steals. Abilene High’s Hayden Williams also had eight points.
The little guys steal the show
You’d think a Southern team with 4-5A co-district MVPs in Wylie’s Avery Brekke and Cooper’s Jalen Cherry, plus other standout players, would be one of the big names to lead the South.
Still, the North double-teamed and triple-teamed 6-7 Brekke, who still finished with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds.
“I can never have fun,” Brekke said. “I always have three teams, no matter the game. It worked for us. They triple teamed me, and I just fired it and knew someone would hit a 3.”
Ortiz, Gonzalez, Cooper and Monroe each hit two of eight Southern treys. The North hit four 3s.
The North also made sure Cherry didn’t look good at the basket. He had two points on 1 of 6 field goal attempts, including misses on all four shots from beyond the 3-point line.
“The North did a really good job shutting down Brekke, and they certainly read their scouting report on Cherry as well, because they pushed him a lot,” Bacon said. “It was definitely a big plus to have two guards to cover for taking those two guys.”
The South forces 23 turnovers and outclasses the North 28-18 on errors.
“It’s a lot, and it’s a good team,” Bacon said. “They (Ortiz and Gonzalez) controlled the game all the way.”
Bacon enjoyed working with a star-studded cast.
“It was a ton of fun,” Bacon said. “It’s amazing how much less you have to say to such smart, talented guys, because they’re so smart and they pick things up really quickly. Things you have to say five, 10, 15 times during the regular season, you don’t have to do it in an all-star game.
While it was an all-star game with low stakes, Bacon was lively and showed a lot of emotion while coaching the game. His feisty attitude may have played a part in two of his players committing technical fouls seconds apart in the second half despite taking a big lead.
“I kind of have a speed, and I tried to slow it down a bit,” said Bacon, who coached the South with Bronte’s Rocky Rawls. “I was a gamey all-star as I guess I can be.
“Having Coach Rawls with me was really good. A big thumbs up to him. He won about 750 more games than me, and he let me have it this week when he could have easily taken over, mainly because we have Cherry and Drew, two of our kids, and he understood why I wanted to coach them.”
Joey D. Richards covers Abilene high schools and colleges, Big Country schools, and other local sports. Follow him on Twitter at ARN_Joey. If you enjoy local news, you can support local reporters with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
BIG COUNTRY FCA ALL-STAR MATCH
South 89, North 79
South … 45 … 44 – 89
North … 35 … 38 – 73
SOUTH – Andrew Gonzalez 7-17 1-2 17, Victoriana Cooper 5-7 0-0 12, Bryson Monroe 4-7 0-0 10, Jacob Richardson 3-7 0-0 6, Avery Brekke 2-5 5-6 9, Bailey Blackwell 0-2 0-0 0, Nathan Treadaway 0-2 2-2 2, Justin Cuellar 0-1 0-0 0, Raven Ortiz 7-9 5-8 21, Dylan Jennings 1-3 0-0 2, Jalen Cherry 1-6 0-0 2, Luke Moss 0-1 0-0 0, Ben Eshelman 2-3 0-0 4, Reagan Mejia 1-3 0-0 2, Chaney Bahlman 1-1 0-0 2, Cason Guthrie 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 34-74 13-20 89.
NORTH – Hayden Williams 2-18 4-5 8, Grady McQuain 11-21 5-11 27, Kyler Phillips 1-3 1-3 3, Eber Murillo 4-9 1-2 9, Cody Harwell 2-8 2-2 6, Kallan Kimbrough 0-1 0-0 0, Jace Richardson 2-5 0-0 6, Mason Hagler 1-4 0-0 2, Joseph Click 1-1 0-0 3, Caden Howard 1-2 0-4 2, Jayce Komppa 0-0 0-0 0, Brayden Pike 1-2 0-0 2, Kort Sargeant 2-5 0-0 5, Colton Dollar 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-79 13-27 73.
Objectives in 3 points – South 8-31 (Gonzalez 2-5, Cooper 2-3, Monroe 2-5, Richardson 0-2, Blackwell 0-2, Treadaway 0-1, Cuellar 0-1, Ortiz 2-4, Jennings 0-1, Cherry 0-4, Moss 0-1, Mejia 0-1, Guthrie 0-1), North 4-29 (Williams 0-9, McQuain 0-3, Phillips 0-1, Murillo 0-2, Harwell 0- 4, Richardson 2-3, Hagler 0-2, Click 1-1, Howard 0-1, Pike 0-1, Sargeant 1-1). Rebounds – South 48 (Brekke), North 53 (Murillo 15). Aids – South 14 (Gonzalez 4), North 3 (three with one each). Total faults – South 19, North 10. Dirty – South: None; North: None. Technical fouls – South: Moss, Jennings; North: None.