LONE GROVE — With almost all of them suiting up for the final time in their lives, the senior basketball stars of the Lake Country Conference gathered together at Lone Grove for one final hoorah, playing a boys and girls All-Star Game that was more about the fun than the fury of competition.
In the girls contest, both teams got Iron Woman efforts from the starters, as the East and West squads only have five players participating apiece.
In the end, the West squad of Plainview's Taryn Callender and Jourdan Weatherford, Tishomingo's Mariah Gunter and Ashley Kucera and Marietta's JaCoda Mueller triumphed in a 36-25 win.
Sitting in the stands was 3A's top-ranked Sulphur Bulldogs along with coach Toby Todd, who feature five seniors but chose not to compete due to the pending state tournament this week.
And while they didn't suit up, Sulphur was still honored as LCC champions, while Todd earned Coach of the Year and senior point guard Ashley Hughes was named MVP.
"Our league was very balanced this year, so winning this means a lot," Todd said. "Not just the players, but the coaches who I've learned so much from and helped to make everybody else better."
Hughes remains focused on winning a state title for the unbeaten Bulldogs, but also recognized the significance of winning the MVP award.
"There are so many great players, not just around the conference but on my own team," Hughes said. "I'm very honored to be recognized for it and it means a lot."
With all the boys teams finished with their seasons, it led to a greater degree of participation. Twenty-two seniors in all suited up for what became a very entertaining game, as the West rallied for a 76-65 victory.
The comeback was aided in no small part by Plainview's Deric Shelton, who made the somewhat interesting decision to switch teams in the second half and finished with the highlight of the night, a thunderous dunk on a bounce pass to himself.
"My Plainview teammates on that team and I wanted one last chance to play with them," Shelton said with a sheepish grin after the game.
Shelton was named conference MVP and reflected on not only the award, but his final year with the Indians.
"This was the most fun I've had in high school, definitely my favorite year," Shelton said. "I had good teammates and I was lucky that they trusted me enough with the ball to have a good year."
Conference champion Madill featured three members on the All-Conference team, along with head coach Aaron George being named Coach of the Year.
"This was a very competitive year that came down to the last game," George said. "Being honored like this says a lot about our team and those eight seniors we had."
2013 Lake Country Conference Honors
Coach of the year: Aaron George, Madill
MVP: Deric Shelton, Plainview
Joe Avery, Madill; Ryan Beauchamp, Sulphur; Tyler Cannon, Tishomingo; Ke’ven Davis, Madill; Jeffrey Dodson, Dickson; Davonte Finch, Marietta; Ivan Flores, Madill; Jared Hayes, Kingston; Alec Hetherington, Davis; Jacob Lindsey, Dickson; Garrett Morrow, Comanche; Haydn Rogers, Sulphur; Talor Stewart, Plainview; Tyler Tatum, Marietta; Akari Tucker, Lone Grove
Coach of the year: Toby Todd, Sulphur
MVP: Ashley Hughes, Sulphur
Macey Bayles, Kingston; Tayrn Callender, Plainview; Katy Custer, Dickson; Bailee Eldred, Sulphur; Haley Furr, Madill; Ebony Harrison, Sulphur; Mariah Gunter, Tishomingo; Destiny Justus, Tishomingo; Jessica Looney, Davis; Haley McCutchen, Lone Grove; Jazmin Mills, Dickson; Darsha Reagle, Sulphur; Tierani Richardson, Sulphur; Kendal Rogers, Davis; Megan Shelton, Plainview; Sabrina Slatton, Kingston; Kaylen Sweat, Madill; Rebecca Wright, Plainview