DENVER — Monarch senior Jasmine Jeffcoat got the phone call and almost didn’t know what to do with herself.
When she was selected to be a part of The Show All-Star games just a couple weeks ago, the always jovial Jeffcoat simply “freaked out.”
“I got a call first from coach (Bill) Bradley telling me he had good news for me, and I was just so excited that I freaked out,” Jeffcoat said after the exhibition was over. “I mean, I had to call everybody I knew because it was like that, finally I made it to the game.
“I watched my best friend Raegan Rohn play in this my sophomore year and every since then I always thought to myself, ‘I hope I get to do this someday.’ It was awesome.”
Hard to imagine any less of a reaction from the 40 others that were selected to play in the prestigious event at the Auraria Events Center on Saturday night. That included three other area seniors (Monarch’s Peyton Carter, Fairview’s Grace O’Neill and Longmont Christian’s Luke Puchino) and a junior (Fairview’s Ashley Panem).
All-Star games aren’t anything new, but The Show has always had a you-want-to-witness it sort of feel, even back to the days when the Denver Nuggets were involved.
The Show was not expected to go on after the Nuggets severed ties with it in 2015, but Biokats Sports Network took over in 2016 to keep it on the court.
This year, they decided to expand rosters to 40 players and take on four games instead of two — 20 players of each gender represented Class 1A-3A programs while another 20 were given the invite to the overall Top 20 game for boys and girls.
Jeffcoat and Carter got to team up, as did O’Neill and Panem, for the Top 20 girls game — a feisty 70-48 win for Jeffcoat’s white team. While it was memorable getting to share the court with Carter one last time, especially with a heavy contingent of MoHi players in attendance, Jeffcoat relished the chance to play with some of her peers, as well.
“I was really excited to play with (Horizon’s) Kylie Jimenez because we were both on varsity our freshmen year and just have been playing against each our whole high school career,” said Jeffcoat, who had four points and five rebounds in the contest. “It was great to sit there and admire each other as players and be able to cheer for her, too. I was also excited to play with (Regis Jesuit’s) Fran (Belibi) so I could cheer when she dunked.”
Belibi didn’t get that chance until the slam dunk contest later in the evening, but she did score a game-most 14 points. Carter was given credit for nine points and two steals, while Panem scored seven and O’Neill two for the blue squad.
While the highlight of the night arguably could have been the dunk contest, the small school boys contest that Puchino participated in shed some light on the talent that might not get an equal look on a state-wide basis.
It was a fast-paced game that featured no less than 10 dunks — although Puchino personally was hoping for a few more 3-point looks as is his specialty. Still, it was a memorable night for a kid from one of the smallest schools in the state.
“I didn’t realize at first how big this really is and it’s an honor to be considered in the top 20 players 1A to 3A,” Puchino said. “Being invited to this is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me in basketball.”