LANARK, Ill. — No one forced 33 senior athletes onto the Eastland High court Tuesday night. Even though the Illinois high school basketball season ended almost three months ago, seniors from Fulton, Fulton Unity Christian, West Carroll and Morrison (among other northwest Illinois schools) still showed they had the drive to put it all on the court one last time.
Of course, there was still plenty of room for laughing and enjoyment during the 16th Annual Jim Shaw All-Star Game. For instance, when Scales Mound’s Derian Phillips had a ferocious throwdown near the end of the boys contest, even his opponents were seen grinning with awe.
“I’d have to say that was my favorite moment,” Mustangs point guard Alex Volckmann said.
“I agree, that was pretty sick,” echoed Nick Fish, Fulton big man, who teamed up with Volckmann on the South squad in the senior showcase.
Both the boys and girls games saw plenty of body banging and finesse. Phillips and Forreston sharp-shooter Anna Drake took home MVP honors for their respective games. Both were on the winning side: Phillips with 17 points in a 70-56 South win for the boys; Drake with 14 points for a North squad 48-46 victory.
Morgan Wierema (Fulton), Erin Wessels (Fulton Unity) and Ieshia Larson represented local schools in the girls game, with the North team. Volckmann and Fish joined Fulton Unity’s Collin Willoughby for the South, while West Carroll’s Tommy Losch and Nick Hughes represented the Thunder once more for the North.
Joining the action was a no-brainer for some of the boys, most of whom grew up watching their predecessors play.
“I’ve always watched this since I was young. It was definitely a relief to get an invitation to play,” Volckmann said.
“There was no way I was going to pass this up,” Fish said. “It looked fun, and it was fun.”