Ricky Price is a pretty smart guy--after all, the 6-foot-6 forward from Serra High is headed to Duke this fall.
So he knew what he was saying when, playing for the White all-star team, he walked over to the Blue all-stars’ bench in the third quarter and asked, “You gonna break this team up?”
The Blue all-stars answered with laughter and a 125-115 victory over the Whites in the Southern California Summer Showcase basketball game Saturday night at UC Irvine.
The Blues were stacked with talent, featuring the UCLA-bound trio of J.R. Henderson of Bakersfield East, Kris Johnson of Crenshaw and Toby Bailey of Loyola.
The Whites, meanwhile, had Jason Hartman of Thousand Oaks and Alex Lopez of Campbell Hall, both headed to Washington. Another area player scheduled to appear, Damon Ollie of North Hollywood, was a no-show.
The game was a fan’s delight, so much so that when Hartman softly laid the ball in on a breakaway late in the game, some spectators booed.
“When I went up my legs just didn’t have enough,” said Hartman, who had five points and two rebounds. “But this was great. I was just happy to be out on the court with these guys. I wasn’t expecting to do anything.”
Lopez had the daunting task of guarding Henderson, the highly recruited 6-foot-8 forward who was named the game’s most valuable player after a 26-point, six-rebound performance. Johnson added 24 points and nine rebounds.
“I think I played good defense on J.R.,” said Lopez, who had eight points and six rebounds. “Offensively I scored, and I made some good passes.”
The Blues held the Whites at arm’s distance the entire second half, not letting the difference drop to below eight points.
Two free throws from Sam Tarks got the Whites to within 111-103 with 2:46 left, but no closer.
“These are the kinds of players I’ll be playing against,” Hartman said. “I’ve got to start improving my perimeter game and defense (for next season).”
The teams traded leads until near the end of the first quarter, when the Blues went on a 9-2 run. Chris Clayton’s layup made it 28-16 with 1:45 left in the period.
The Whites narrowed the deficit to 32-27 on Miles Simon’s layup, but the Blues increased the lead to 62-44 before the Whites trimmed it to 64-54 at halftime.