It was a night of razzle dazzle, slam dunks and three point bombs as the Calgary High School Athletic Association put on its annual boys and girls basketball selects games Wed., Feb. 21.
The girls and boys double header consisted of one grade 12 player from each school in Calgary divided into North and South teams. While technically not a "true" all star game, since some star eleventh grader's are ineligible, some high schools have multiple stars and can only send one, and factors other than pure basketball prowess can be used in deciding who is sent, the games feature a high level of talent.
In the girl's game, confirmed Dino recruits Megan Lang of Bishop O'Byrne and Lauren MacDonald of Bishop Carroll demonstrated their skills as South teammates. Megan Lang scored the game's opening points with a no-rim three pointer while 6'2" MacDonald dominated the inside, at times piling up a number of lay-ups.
Other players looking ready to crack a university roster were St. Mary's three-point shooter 6'2" Brittany Pekar, E.P. Scarlett's speedy 6'1" Anne Mercer and Sir Winston Churchill's Alyssa Wolfe amongst a list too long to name all.
For the girls' games a number of post-secondary coaches could be seen in attendance, including representatives from Mount Royal College and sait.
"This game is important to see because you can see the players compete at a higher level," said SAIT assistant coach Murray Soctton. "[In league games] the kids they play aren't at their level. This is more competitive with athletes at the same level and peers with similar skills."
The South roster proved to be a little more star-studded, cruising to an 87–63 victory over the North.
While the girls' game might make a good bench mark to recruiters in assessing talent, the boys' game would be less so and more about some good old fashioned show-boating to entertain the crowd. It featured dunks, missed dunks and some creative basketball acrobatics which weren't always successful.
Coaching the boy's South team was one-time Dino and Penn State Nittany Lion Romel Raffin, who presently coaches the Central Memorial Rams.
"It's a blast, you get to work with some talented kids," says Raffin. "But I wouldn't use this to access players for the next level. This is not a defensive game and the offense is more about getting close to the basket and throwing the ball than you'd see in a real game. I like what I've got [at Central Memorial] but, wow, what you could do with this team if you had some time to work with them."
In attendance watching the spectacle was Dino player Ross Bekkering who shared his personal wish list for next year's Dino team of those playing.
"Definitely Tyler Fidler!" exclaimed Bekkering. "He is great all around and has solid basketball fundamentals.
Tyler Fidler, at 6'8" has already led his Western Canada Redmen to the inaugural post-season Higher Hoops basketball tournament championship and has his Redmen in first place in the North Division going into the end of the season. He is at the late stages of deciding whether he will play for the Dinos next year or for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
As for this game, Fidler, who missed a daring would-have-been-spectacular spin-around dunk, chuckles in summing it up.
"No, I don't think anyone should use this in making recruiting decisions," said Fidler who cited his personal highlight on the night as making the free throws. "It's just fun."
In the end the north prevailed over 7 block specialist Jordan Bachynski of Centennial and 6'6" Pierce Anderson of Central Memorial as Henry Wisewood's Cam Perry missed a last second desperation shot to preserve a 99–98 North victory.