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Price Proves to Be a Bargain All-Star

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For a guy who wasn’t even supposed to be on the team, Mission Bay’s John Price had himself quite a night in the 2-A/3-A County Boys’ All-Star Game.

Price, a 6-foot-7 center, hit a five-foot hook shoot as time ran out to give the 2-A a 90-88 victory Saturday over the 3-A at Serra High.

Price, who played for a 5-18 team this year, did not understate the importance of his feat.

“This is definitely the highlight of my career,” Price said. “It’s a big deal to me because I wasn’t hyped up much all year. I was just happy to be selected to the team.”

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Price tried out for the 2-A team for two weeks with 26 other players and barely made the team.

“He was the surprise of the camp,” 2-A Coach Jeff Armstrong of St. Augustine said. “He went above and beyond everything we expected of him.”

In addition to his game-winning basket, Price scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds and at times outplayed the more-publicized Darryl Parker of Rancho Buena Vista, who scored but four points.

“I was real nervous coming into the game,” Price said. “I just didn’t want to look bad. As soon as I scored the first basket, I was relieved.”

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Price scored six of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as the 2-A tried to hold off the 3-A. The 2-A led, 84-72, with six minutes left, but it suddenly forgot how to take care of the ball.

Point guards Heath McCoy of El Camino, Alfonso De La Nuez of Ramona and Eric Barajas of USDHS all took turns in turning the ball over.

With 1:25 left, Parker tied the score at 88 with a reverse lay-in. After both teams traded turnovers, the 2-A set up for a last shot that was designed for De La Nuez.

After being double-teamed, De La Nuez was forced to hoist up an off-balance three-pointer that fell two feet short of the rim. After a brief scramble, Price picked up the ball on the baseline and launched his hook.

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Price said he is not being wooed by any colleges. In fact, he’s just hoping to catch on at a junior college. But even if he doesn’t, at least he has Saturday night to remember.


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