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FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007
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North boys win, girls lose in hoops

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

HUNTSVILLE — Basketball continued its tradition of being the best-attended contest of All-Star Sports Week in Huntsville, comfortably filling Alabama-Huntsville's Spragins Hall, which seats about 2,300.

Hazlewood High guard Kerry Jones was part of a dominant performance by the North's boys team, who took a convincing 96-71 win over the South.

Beforehand, Austin's Jazmine Powers and Hartselle's Jessi Smith were part of the closest girls game the series has seen, which the South won 72-70.

The highly competitive Powers just shook her head after the
loss.

"We thought were just going to come out and destroy them," Powers said.

"They were the underdogs. They played real hard in the beginning and just ran with it." The North's girls lost for only the second time, bringing the all-time series record for the girls to 9-2.

The boys series stands at 8-3 in the North's favor.

"We talked about winning, and we knew it would be the eighth time if we won," Jones said.

"I just tried to play my best with the minutes I had because this is an all-star game."

In the boys game, Jones did get the most of his 14 minutes of playing time, scoring 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers amid an 18-0 run for the North in the second half that put the game away.

Jones finished 4-of-9 from the field and was 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

The North led 40-26 at halftime, but the South opened the second half with 10 straight points to pull within 40-36.

It's as close as the game would get. The North scored the next 18 for a 58-36 lead, pulling away for good.

Pleasant Grove's Cory Smith was named the North's most valuable player, posting a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes of playing time.

Blount's Brenton Butler was named most valuable player for the South squad after scoring nine points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 20 minutes.

The week's event will conclude Friday with the North-South football game at Alabama A&M's Louis Crews Stadium at 7 p.m.

It is the only sport of the week featuring graduated seniors, while rising seniors are chosen as participants in all other sports.

For Jones, also a standout for Hazlewood on the football field, he hopes it's not the last experience he has at All-Star Sports Week.

"It was pretty fun, and I hope to be back up here next year in football," Jones said.

South girls 72, North 70: The North squad had the talent to win, but struggled to find the right combination of players on the court.

The North trailed the entire first half, and despite coming within three points of the lead before the break, couldn't find an advantage.

The South had built a 37-32 lead by halftime.

"I think we started off well, but we subbed in and out and did what we had to do," Powers said.

Powers scored seven points and passed out two assists in 11 minutes. She was 3-of-4 from the field and was 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.

Smith was 2-for-2 from the field, scoring four points with two rebounds in 11 minutes.

"We were not rebounding. We really didn't get on the boards," Smith said.

The South out-rebounded the North 59-50 in the game, but the North managed to hang around in the second half.

Smith's basket with 11:15 to play cut the South's lead to 54-52 and the North tied the game 54-54 seconds later.

The score was even again, 57-57, with eight minutes to play and the North gained its first lead of the game with 7:30 on the clock when Midfield's Meredith Mitchell sank a 10-foot jumper to put the North up 59-57.

The South regained the lead with three minutes left, but it was a 1-point game with the South ahead 69-68 with 50 seconds remaining.

The South sealed the win with free throws by Thompson's Rhonda Watts.

Spring Garden's Paige Anderson was selected the most valuable player for the North squad, scoring 12 points with three rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes of playing time.

Davidson's Jasmine Bendolph was the South's most valuable player after a 15-point, three-rebound performance in 29 minutes.

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