BURBANK – In a showcase that seemingly had equal parts block party and all-star game, the Premiere All-Star high school boys’ basketball team utilized its sharp-shooting ability to defeat the Elite All-Stars, 122-108, in the inaugural High School All-Star Spectacular that included several local players and was hosted at Bellarmine-Jefferson High.
“It really doesn’t get much more fun than this,” said Premiere guard Miles Hopkins, one of three Bell-Jeff players tabbed to the team. “We don’t know that much about each other, but we talk and we get to know each other and it’s basketball. You just out there are have a good time.”
Hopkins’ squad, which wore light jerseys, included Guards teammates Malcolm Regisford and Parker Williams and fellow locals in Burbank’s Richard Elmoyan and Hoover’s Teo Davidian.
The visiting Elite team was led by former Glendale Adventist Coach Kevin McCloskey, currently head coach of San Gabriel Academy, and included St. Francis guard Evan Crawford and former Crescenta Valley High standout Nick Springer, now at Maranatha High.
While each team had a specific strength, such as the Elite’s height advantage due in large part to Maranatha center Muusa Daama (18 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks), the Premiere squad received a stellar 1-2 effort from Village Christian’s Marsalis Johnson and Chatsworth’s Michael Morrissey.
Johnson was named the game’s MVP thanks to a 30-point, eight-round effort, while Morrissey, who appeared in the zone midway through the fourth quarter, finished five for nine from three-point land and tallied 27 points.
Morrissey put on a clinic just when the Elite squad closed its deficit to 90-88 on an offensive putback from Orangewood High’s Celeb Barnes with 7:44 left in the contest, which featured 10-minute quarters.
Morrisey connected on back-to-back three-pointers, the second coming thanks to a steal from Hopkins (three points, two assists and two steals) with 6:55 left that put the home squad up, 96-88.
Even as the Elite squad countered with a powerful dunk from Daama, Morrisey hit a surreal 30-foot triple that gave the Premiere team a 99-90 advantage with 6:22 remaining.
The three-pointer was one of three for Morrisey, who drained another shot 40 seconds later to put his team into triple digits and ahead double digits via a 102-92 lead.
From that point, the Elite squad never pulled any closer that within five points in eventually falling by 14.
“There are a lot of great players in this game and what we were trying to do was represent Bell-Jeff,” said Regisford, who led the area coalition with 12 points and six rebounds. “We want to show that you can ball here at Bell-Jeff. This is a basketball school.”
While most players had some familiarity, perhaps the twosome of Elmoyan and Davidian had an unfair advantage.
The Pacific League rivals played for the same Armenian club team and showed off their chemistry at various points, including in the fourth quarter.
Elmoyan (six points) drew the gasps of the crowd when he converted a reverse layup off a steal and assist from Los Angeles Price’s Chris Martin that gave the Premiere team an 84-80 advantage.
After an Elite bucket, Davidian led a two-on-one break that led to a no-look pass from the Hoover star to Elmoyan, who again scored from point-blank to put the home team up four.
“We’ve known each other for a while now,” Elmoyan said. “We’ve played on the same team for years and know what we’re doing.”
Elmoyan concluded his scoring with another layup off a steal and assist from Hopkins before Davidian (six points) added a layup to put Premiere up, 90-82.
“This isn’t like high school basketball,” Davidian said. “It’s a lot different. There’s a lot more scoring.”
Crawford finished with three points, seven rebounds and four assists and converted his lone basket when the senior All-Area first-teamer drained a three-pointer with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter to bring his Elite squad within 71-65.
Springer scored nine points and propelled his team to the century mark when he hit a 10-footer off a steal from Orangewood Academy’s Davante Cooper with 2:43 left in the game that pulled the visitors within 108-100.
As for the extracurricular activities during the game put on by Bell-Jeff boys’ basketball Coach Julian Andrade, the spectacular began with player introductions that included a dimmed gym, a spotlight and smoke, while a disc jockey played a mix of primarily hip hop throughout the entire contest.
Andrade even had live player shoutouts from the bench during the third quarter of the game.
“It was a different experience, but it’s all about having fun,” McCloskey said. “You want to celebrate these players and have a good time and I think that was accomplished tonight.”