Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Boys Hoops: South Holds on to Win OC All-Star Game (4/15/17)

The 2017 Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Stars. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The 2017 Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Stars. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

It might have been an All-Star game, but the North started to get real serious late in the second half.

After being down by 24 points, the North rallied to cut the South’s lead to two points before running out of gas as the South escaped with a 123-119 victory in the 3rd annual Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Star Game on Saturday night at Rancho Santiago Canyon College in Orange.

Tyler Horgan of St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano led the South with 24 points and five rebounds, but it was Dartmouth-commit Adrease Jackson of Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita that kept the South alive in the end with 22 points and 10 rebounds, including a dunk over Kezie Okpala of Esperanza of Anaheim late in the second half.

Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Star MVP Andrease Jackson (left) of Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita and Open Gym Premier director Justin Riley. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Star MVP Andrease Jackson (left) of Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita and Open Gym Premier director Justin Riley. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

“This was an awesome experience,” Jackson said. “I think this was the best way to end my senior season. The crowd was great and the competition was great. That is all I ask for.”

Okpala, who signed with Stanford, led all scorers with 31 points and five rebounds for the North. Northeastern-commit Myles Franklin of Villa Park had 13 points and Paulo Araujo of Foothill of Santa Ana added 17 points and six rebounds for the North, which turned the game around quick after running a zone defense, a rarity in an All-Star game.

“There’s not a whole lot of coaching that goes on in these games,” North coach Mike Murphy of Sonora of La Habra said. “I think both teams had a 20-minute practice. The whole idea was to get the kids out here and let them have fun and compete, but I did say at halftime that I still want to win. We went to the press when we were down. We went to a press and a trap. They just shot it so well. It was unbelieveable. I was really happy that we came back and actually had a chance to win.”

Joseph Riley of Los Alamitos scored 15 points while Kaden Rasheed of Santa Margarita added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the South. Randall Walker of Edison of Huntington Beach, who scored 13 points, scored the final two points of the game from the free-throw line to seal the victory for the South. Edison’s Nate Matthews added 11 points to help the South take a 2-1 edge in the Open Gym Premier OC All-Star series.

Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Star Dunk champion Kezier Okpala (left) of Esperanza of Anaheim and Open Gym Premier director Justin Riley. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Open Gym Premier Orange County All-Star Dunk champion Kezier Okpala (left) of Esperanza of Anaheim and Open Gym Premier director Justin Riley. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

“I just told them to showcase their abilities,” South coach Chris Zeller of Mission Viejo said. “I asked them to do the best at what they do and it was a privilege and an honor to be a part of this. I told them to just showcase their skills. They’re competitive and prideful individuals when you’re that high level of an athlete. I didn’t expect the North team to take the loss. They’re competitive kids and our kids came out there and competed as well. We are fortunate to get the W. This is an incredible and humbling experience for me to be around these young men to work so hard to get to this level at this point of their career and lives. Just to be a part of it is a huge privilege and honor as a young coach.”

Chris Williams of Orange Lutheran scored 14 points and Ramon Lopez-Felix of Godinez of Santa Ana added 12 points for the North to put the exclamation point on their high school careers. One player that put the icing on the cake in what has been an incredible season was Okpala, who defeated Luke Ross of Sunny Hills of Fullerton, Michael Bagatourian of Crean Lutheran of Irvine and Jackson to win the Open Gym Premier Slam Dunk contest.

“It was fun to play with different guys and a bunch of great players,” said Okpala, who led the Aztecs to a CIF State Title. “It was a really fun experience. As far as the dunk contest, I just did what I always do in the gym and after practice. Nothing really new. I’m just blessed about this season.”

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