DENVER — With another high school sports season in the books, local basketball players are once again proving just how talented they are.
By the end of Saturday at Metro State University, 16 local hoopsters will have taken part in various versions of The Show All-Star games, which feature some of the best basketball players in all of Colorado that were voted in by media members.
The contingent of BoCoPreps area athletes represent Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts, as well as Holy Family, Prospect Ridge Academy and Jefferson Academy.
The Class 4A and Class 5A senior ladies kicked off the festivities in an afternoon game on Friday. Mead head coach JR Sagner helmed the purple team, which featured Holy Family’s Makenna Bertsch and was supposed to feature Mead’s Maddox Boston. Even though Boston couldn’t make it back from her spring break trip in time, the purple squad still managed to pull off a comeback, 75-70 victory in overtime after being down double digits earlier in the contest.
Bertsch was named the game’s most valuable player for the purple team after netting 12 points.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bertsch said, smiling, “but it was so much fun to play and have my last high school basketball game like this.”
As the matchup fast approached, Sagner didn’t have much time to acquaint himself with his team of ladies from nine different schools. As it turned out, he didn’t really need to do much instructing. These girls were already pros.
“There are a lot of good kids, kids that you play against throughout the year and game plan against, and then you just get them all on your team with no practice, show up an hour before,” Sagner explained. “They made up their own inbounds plays and just got to kind of play basketball.”
Though the crowd at Metro was a bit small, most likely due to the 3 p.m. start, there was no shortage of enthusiasm for the ladies in attendance. Boulder’s Ella Bartsch and Fairview’s Kailey Page, who had been court adversaries for the last four years, finally got the chance to play for each other when they donned their silver team jerseys.
That hardwood chemistry, of course, came naturally.
“It was a big honor playing with all these girls that I’ve seen throughout my AAUs and high school seasons,” Bartsch said. “It’s been awesome to come back and finish my high school career playing with them and playing with Kailey. We’ve played for four years against each other, so that was super cool playing with each other.”
Their silver team featured girls from eight different schools, ranging from as far north as Fort Collins to as far south as Doherty in Colorado Springs. Even though silver’s lead evaporated and gave way to a purple victory, all of the ladies played a part in an exciting matchup.
Throughout the rest of the weekend, many more local athletes will get to showcase their own individual talents. Longmont’s Brendan Barcewski, for example, played in the senior boys showcase directly after the senior girls game.
Peak to Peak’s Alex Eschmeyer, Jefferson Academy’s Jordan Neely and Prospect Ridge’s Elizabeth Rooks are all scheduled to take the court for the 1A-3A All-Star game on Saturday. Erie’s Madeline Hartel, Monarch’s Natalie Guanella, Longmont’s Savannah Pohl, and Mead’s Charlotte Brennan and Brooklynn Charlo took part in the Top 40 game — a mix of freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
Mead’s Elijah Knudsen and JP Shiers will grace the Top 20 Elite game and Mead’s Nick Basson will take part in the boys Top 40 game. Mead head coach Darin Reese and his staff will have the honor of coaching the purple team for the Top 20 showcase.
“I think it proves that up north, there’s just as much talent as down in the south,” Page said. “Don’t count us out. We work just as hard. We put in the blood, sweat and tears. Just because we’re not at the bigger (basketball) schools, doesn’t mean we don’t have the talent.”