- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It had all the ingredients of a basketball all-star game: high-scoring, up-and-down action and mass substitutions.
But when RJ Smith of Calvert High School let a three-point shot fly toward the basket as the buzzer sounded, it barely missed, and the perfect cake of an all-star game failed to receive the cherry on top.
Played at North Point on Friday night, the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference North All-Stars, comprised of all six Charles-County high schools, defeated Smith and the South All-Stars, made up of all St. Mary’s and Calvert County high schools, 97-95.
As Smith missed his three-point attempt, Westlake senior Desi Wiseman scored all of his game total 18 points via the three-point shot and was named the North Most Valuable Player for his efforts.
“It feels good,” Wiseman said. “I was just playing with the rhythm of my team. We were all trying to make each other happy, but we all tried to get the ‘W’ at the same time and we did that.”
Wiseman and his North teammates built a lead as large as 15 points at 71-56 on the heels of a 17-2 run over the late stages of the third quarter, only for the South to come back and take an 87-86 lead with 4 minutes 28 seconds remaining in the game.
The game was tied at 95 with 1:11 left in the contest until Thomas Stone’s Jordan Battle (9 points) and Westlake’s Chris Craft (13 points) each converted one of two free throws to give the North the two-point advantage.
“About the third quarter when they started coming back,” said Wiseman of when the game got serious. “I remember it was 79-72 and they were making a run and getting close. We needed to strap up on defense and get the ‘W’.”
The score went to 79-72 with 8:13 left in the fourth quarter when Patuxent senior Jake Anderson finished an alley-oop pass from Great Mills senior Ray McLeod (17 points) to help ignite the South’s late-game surge.
Anderson finished with a game-high 21 points and was named the team MVP for his efforts.
“It feels good,” Anderson said of the award. “My teammates did a really good job of setting me up for a lot of plays. I felt that it was more of a team effort. We really got together over the two practices we had and really bonded and I thought we had a good time. We had fun.
“They had the music playing so I was just grooving the whole time. It was just really fun going back and forth with the music playing and the crowd going crazy.”
The Great Mills-Patuxent connection helped lead the comeback for the South as a representative from either school accounted for the first 21 fourth-quarter points.
Bernal Day of Great Mills (15 points) was responsible for five of this points, Anderson for 11 and McLeod for the remaining five.
“It got serious because we were all saying, ‘Man, we can’t have them blow us out,’” Day said of the fourth quarter. “We just had to turn up on the defense and the rebounding.”
And despite one team having to lose, all the players agreed that it was fun to represent their school on a SMAC court for one final time.
“It was so fun,” Day said. “The fact that I get to end my career with this, it’s really fun.”
Anderson added, “Really, it was fun just playing ball for the last time of your high-school career.”
Lastly, Wiseman said, “It was great. It was one of our last times playing high-school basketball and a lot of fans came out to support us and we just had fun. We played our hearts out.”
North Point’s Ochae Dejene scored 14 points for the North and Lackey’s Juwan Malry rounded out the North’s double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Leonardtown’s Damien King added 10 points for the South.