Local seniors compete in 804 All-Star Game
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Mar 25, 2013, 13:29
RICHMOND – Amid a great deal of pageantry and just as much talent, five Central District basketball players capped their high school careers by participating in the 804 All-Star Game on Saturday at Benedictine College Preparatory in Richmond.
Kavon Waller (Thomas Dale), Dre Strickland (Prince George), B.J. Allen (Matoaca), Dashaun Coleman (Dinwiddie) and Khalil Hardy (Meadowbrook) donned South jerseys in the North-South senior showcase.
They shared the court with seven reigning state champions from three different schools, six of whom played for the North. But the upstart team from south of the capital city nearly toppled their vaunted counterparts.
Prince George senior Dre Strickland scored 12 points in the 804 All-Star Game on Saturday in Richmond (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
The South led by as many as 11 in the second half and by nine with 6:30 remaining, but the North assembled a 20-3 stretch run to clinch a 106-100 victory, their eighth win in the 10-year history of the annual event.
“I think we could’ve won,” Waller said. “Actually, we should’ve won. We kind of gave it away at the end. We went out there and competed. We played good on defense and offense, then let off a little at the end and gave it up.”
When asked to describe the experience, the Central District Player of the Year found himself at a loss for words. “Some of these guys … oh man. They just run,” Waller said. “The way they create their shots – there was a lot of talented people out there.”
Chief among them – at least on this night – was North forward Tavon Mealy, who spurred the comeback by securing a second-half double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Mealy finished with a team-high 16 points, grabbed 15 boards and took three charges. For his wide-ranging contributions, the 6-foot-2 Armstrong senior was named most valuable player.
“In my mind, I knew I would be the MVP,” Mealy said. “I just had to come out in the second half and do my thing. That’s all.”
Cosby guard Troy Caupain finished one assist shy of a triple-double, pacing the South with 15 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Hardy and Javonte Reddick (L.C. Bird) notched 14 points apiece in the losing effort.
Strickland, a second-team all-district selection, came off the bench to provide a spark in the first half. He led the South with eight points at the interval and finished with 12 points, four assists and four rebounds in a 6-of-12 shooting performance.
“It was a fun time,” Strickland said. “We left everything on the court. We’re all going off to college and trying to get better.”
Waller finished with nine points in 10 minutes of action, Allen chipped in with four and Coleman two. All five of the Central District inclusions are unsure of their college plans.
Marvin Smith (Henrico), Brian White (John Marshall), L.G. Gill (Benedictine) and Jimmy Marshall (Douglas Freeman) scored in double figures for the North, notching 15, 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The North roster included three players from Henrico and two from John Marshall. The Warriors topped the Justices in the Group AAA championship game on March 8.
By winning the all-star game, the North completed a sweep of the event’s three competitions. Gill, playing on his home floor, prevailed in the 3-point shooting contest and Marshall, a 6-5 combo guard, edged Brandan Stith (Brunswick) in the dunk contest.