Behind the back passes. No look passes. No defense. Plenty of 3-point shots, many from more than 30 feet. Oh, and countless “cherry pick” buckets.
The inaugural “Cream of the Crop All-Star Game,” held at Bakersfield College in front of several hundred fans featured plenty of action that excited the crowd.
“It’s an all-star game. It’s about having fun out there,” said Bakersfield High senior Xavier Esquivel, who had a Red Team-best 23 points in its 108-82 win over the Black Team.
The doubleheader — the Gold team beat the Silver team 57-42 in the girls all-star game — featured some of the top senior players from throughout Kern County.
“Basketball season is over,” Esquivel said. “This was a chance to play with friends from other schools.”
BC men’s basketball coach Rich Hughes was one of several community college coaches in attendance. Reedley, Fresno, Sequoias and Porterville also had coaches present, according to game coordinator Joey Velasquez, an assistant coach at Kennedy High in Delano.
“We’re trying to bring extra exposure to our local players,” Velasquez said.
Two of the most notable local seniors, Division I-bound Ridgeview players Jordan Roberts (Long Beach State) and Justin McCall (Cal State Bakersfield) were invited to play and attended but did not compete.
Roberts and McCall said NCAA rules limit incoming freshmen to two all-star games. Roberts and McCall said they will play in this Wednesday’s Kern High School District All-Star Game at Centennial High and have also accepted an invitation for a Northern California all-star game in early April.
Stockdale point guard Grant Johnson added 18 points for the Red Team and Independence’s Elijah Cardenas scored 13.
The Black team was led by Liberty’s Anieus Medrano, who had a game-high 28 points. North’s Shannon Wafer scored 11 and McFarland’s Sergio Franco added 10.
“We just wanted to put on a show for the crowd,” said Medrano, who added that he plans on playing at BC next season.
The girls game MVP was Ridgeview’s Dana Degraffenried, who has signed with Sacramento State and had a game-high 21 points for the Gold team.
“Having fun with the game I love,” Degraffenried said of her favorite aspect of the game.
A 5-foot-10 guard, Degraffenried said she committed to Sacramento after making her official visit.
“I liked the school and the girls,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus.”
One other Division I commit played: Independence’s Jasmyn Dixon, who will play next season at Cal State Bakersfield.
She had 12 points, all in the second half, to lead the Silver team.
“Just getting a chance to play for one last time with some girls I’ve been playing with for years,” Dixon said.
As for her own performance, Dixon said: “My shots weren’t falling. I’ll get it together.”
Tori Dunn from Golden West of the Silver team scored the game’s first bucket but injured her left knee 18 seconds into the game. She could not put any weight on her left leg and was carried off the court after the game.