Foes become friends at MCAA-HOA?All-Star Classic

In its last year of the current Heart of America vs. Mid Central Activities Association format, the MCAA-HOA All-Star Classic featured 10 Marion County athletes and Marion girls? coach Randy Savage and Peabody-Burns? boys coach Brian Simmonds

Lindsay Hett of Marion won the most valuable player award for the girls? game at Hess?ton College Saturday. Aaron Reimer of Goessel was the boys? MVP.

The MCAA won both contests, 75-59 in the girls? game and 98-83 in the boys?.

Hett led the MCAA team with 15 points, playing mostly in the post for the second team alongside Marion teammate Julia Zeiner and Hillsboro?s Dakota Kaufman. The trio combined for 37 points of the MCAA?s 75 points.

Hett, Kaufman and Zeiner enjoyed the opportunity to play with on the same team instead of against each other.

?Dakota, she?s a great athlete and to get a chance to play with her, it was fun,? Hett said. ?You always think about wouldn?t it be fun to play with those girls sometime?and it happened.?

?We are rivals but we?re friends off the court,? Kaufman said. ?They?re both really great and I was excited to play with them because I?knew the three of us together would make a great team.?

?It was really fun actually,? Zeiner said. ?I?had another post in there taller than me. It?s like playing back and forth with her.?

Teaming up for the HOA was Goessel?s Aspen Frey and Peabody-Burns? Danielle Savage.

Even though Saturday?s event wasn?t the first time Frey and Savage have shared the court as teammates, the experience was a good one for the intra-county rivals.

?We?ve actually played together before,? Savage said. ?So, we know how each other reacts and plays, but during he season we are rivals?and we do head butt.?

Frey said: ?When we first came to practice, it was kind of, ?I don?t know if I should talk to you or not talk to you.? Once we got going and figured out what everyone does, we got along great.?

HOA?s Jannelle Rust of Berean Academy led all scorers with 21 points. Zeiner scored 14 and Kaufman eight. Frey scored four points for the HOA and Savage finished with two.

In the boys? game, Reimer scored a game-high 18 points. He played alongside Goessel teammate Weston Hiebert and Peabody-Burns? Jacob Simmonds and Aaron Topham. Marion?s Eric Vogel played for the MCAA team.

?It was a big struggle (in the regular season) against these people,? Reimer said of his all-star teammates. ?They?re the top players of the HOA. It was fun to play with them and see how were and to actually be on their team.?

?I wouldn?t have ever thought I?d be playing for Collegiate?s coach (Mitch Fiegel), but he?s a good guy and I liked doing it and he?s a good coach,? Vogel said.

?All the guys from Berean,? Simmonds said when asked which players he had battled with during the regular season. ?We were the top teams in our league. It was great to get to play with them and get to know them.?

?You compete against them all four years and you see how they play, and to be able to play with them and play to their game and they play to yours, it?s a lot of fun,? Topham said.

Hiebert added: ?It was a lot of fun to play against the guys I?ve been playing against the last four years and got to know them a little better.?

Simmonds finished the game with 10 points, Topham scored nine and Vogel and Hiebert six each.

Prior to the game, each team was given 55 minutes to work on strategy.

Vogel said the MCAA boys? practice was a cram session.

?We had a 45-50 minute practice, where coaches tried to pack as much into it as possible,? he said. ?We ran a real basic offensive scheme. We went over a lot of trapping on defense. It was tough, but we got through it.?

Coaching in the all-star classic for the first time, Savage took a more laid-back approach.

?We threw in a couple out-of-bounds plays that I don?t think we ran right,? he said. ?But when you have good players, they score off them anyway. We just kept saying that was the way it was drawn up.?

He added: ?I wondered what it be like to have 10 players like that all the time. You just roll the ball out and say ?go get ?em? and sit back and watch.?

In its fifth year of existence, the MCAA-HOA All-Star Classic will change formats.

?With league realignment, we?ll see,? said Dan Harrison, the game?s co-director and Hesston College women?s coach. ?I know we want to do it again. We?ll just see how it works and what leagues will be involved.?

The MCAA is in its last year. Hillsboro will join the newly formed Central Kansas League, which also includes Halstead, Haven, Hesston, Kingman, Pratt, Smoky Valley, Nickerson and Sterling.

Marion will move to a realigned HOA. The new HOA will also include Bennington, Ell-Saline, Canton-Galva, Berean Academy, Hutchinson Trinity, Inman, Moundridge, Sedgwick and Remington.

Goessel and Peabody-Burns, along with Centre will be members of the newly formed Wheat State League. It will also include Hope, Solomon, Wakefield, White City, Little River and Elyria Christian.

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