Basketball showcase features top underclassmen

Averaging more than 30 points per 10-minute quarter, the Yellow team in the Louisiana Rising Stars Showcase boys basketball game put on a show with dunks and 3-pointers.

Seven players scored in double figures as the Yellow team turned a 69-50 halftime lead into a 122-113 victory over the Green team Saturday at Baton Rouge Community College. The two teams were made up of top high school players from freshmen to juniors.

In the girls game, the Purple team defeated the White team 92-76.

Richwood junior Reginal Johnson scored 25 to pace the Yellow team.

Others in double figures for the Yellow squad were Country Day freshman J.C. Younger (19), Washington-Marion freshman Mark Vital (16), East Jefferson junior Shaquille Preston (13), St. Augustine junior Craig Victor (12), University freshman Jalen Johnson (11) and Bogalusa junior LaDamean Keys (10).

“There was definitely a ton of talent on both teams,” said Green coach Aaron Pearson of Istrouma High. “We came up a little short, but our effort was good. The Yellow team played a little more together instead of one on one.

“The guys gave a great show for the fans with their dunks.”

The 6-foot-9 Victor had three rim-shaking dunks in the second quarter.

“I was impressed with Victor,” Pearson said. “Of the guys I hadn’t seen before, Country Day’s Scott Plaisance impressed me. He ran the floor well and stepped outside and knocked down a 3-pointer.”

Plaisance, a 6-foot-9 junior, scored 15 for the Green. Others in double figures were Brother Martin junior Jordan Cornish (27), Parkview Baptist junior Will Jones (18), Christian Life junior
Johnathan Stove (18),
Holy Cross junior Greg White-Pittman (15) and East Ascension junior Ja’Cardo Hawkins (12).

Younger, who had the game-winning shot in the Class 1A semifinals against Christian Life, scored the final nine points of the first quarter for the Yellow team. He hit two tough layups, a 3-pointer and baseline shot in the run.

“That scoring run was nice,” said Younger. “I felt good shooting the ball. I got in the groove. It was a real honor for me as a freshman to come here and play. Every one of the players here can play college ball. Playing well is a big confidence booster, but I know I need to continue to train and work hard.”

Purple girls 92, White 76: Warren Easton freshman Kechelle Figueroa, Loyola Prep freshman Amber Smith and Ursuline junior Jenna Deemer each hit three 3-pointers to pace the Purple. Figueroa scored 16, Smith 15 and Deemer 15.

University sophomore Mikayla Bates and Helen Cox junior Wendion Bibbons added eight points for the Purple.

“Both teams had a very talented group of girls,” said Purple coach Kristy Englade of St. Amant.

“We were able to come out and execute on offense and played pretty decent team defense. This was good exposure for the kids.”

Helen Cox junior Troyian Brooks led the White with 17. Others in double figures were University junior Alanie Fisher (16), Warren Easton junior Lawriel Wilson (12) and Washington Marion junior Ashley Cherry (11).

“I told the girls to play hard, have fun and show your best basketball,” White coach Barbara Farris of John Curtis said.

“We turned the ball over too much and didn’t find any real rhythm on offense.”