Boys' Basketball: Foes join forces for All-Star game

Over the past few seasons, they were rivals on the court during Sunset League competition.

This week, they have come together to work toward a common goal.

Harley Ruder of Huntington Beach High, and Josh Armstrong and Jackson Gatlin of Fountain Valley, are among four local players who will compete for the South Saturday at the Orange Coast Optimist Orange County North/South High School Basketball Games.

The All-Star games, for senior players, will be played for the 48th time. The girls' game starts at 5 p.m., followed by the boys' game at 7 p.m., both at Concordia University in Irvine.

Brethren Christian's Mamadou Ndiaye joins Ruder, Armstrong and Gatlin, on the South squad, which is coached by Edison's Rich Boyce.

The girls' game also has local talent on it, as Geena Gomez of Edison and Jasmine Matar of Fountain Valley, will play for the South.

Boyce, who completed his 13th year as head coach at Edison in February, leads a South coaching staff that includes Edison assistant coaches Chris Gray and Jeff Harrell.

"It is quite an honor, considering all the great coaching talent in Orange County," Boyce said of his selection as head coach of the South.

His North counterpart is Nate Harrison of Canyon/Anaheim. Among the key players on the North team is Deondre Bryant and Nick Hornsby, who helped lead Tustin to the CIF Southern Section Division 3AAA championship. The two went on to be named the division's players of the year.

"They are quick and very well-coached," Boyce said of the North. "Should be a fun game."

Boyce has seen the talent assembled on the South team at two previous practices held at the Edison gym. The squad, which boasts 11 All-CIF players, holds its final workout Thursday.

"We have lots of height and good shooting, so we will shoot and go get it, and shoot again," he said. "They are all very nice kids and great players. Their high school coaches did a great job with them both as players and people."

Boyce has a big force in the middle in the 7-foot-5 Ndiaye. The UC Irvine-bound center was MVP of the Academy League and, along with Tyler Coppin-Carter of Buckley, took player of the year honors in CIF Southern Section Division 5AA.

Ndiaye averaged 27 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game during the 2012-13 season. He scored 30 or more points in 10 of Brethren Christian's 28 games, and had four games of 40 or more points.

He had a 77% field-goal percentage on the season.

"Mamadou has a busy weekend [ahead]," Brethren Christian Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "He will be recognized at the John Wooden Awards banquet this Friday as the [CIF Southern Section Division 5AA] Player of the Year, and then will play in the All-Star game on Saturday night. It will be a fun time to recognize his basketball accomplishments for the past two years at Brethren Christian."

Armstrong averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, for the season. Gatlin averaged 13.5 points, 11 rebounds and 4.7 blocks a game. The two were named Co-MVP of the Sunset League.

Ruder also was an All-Sunset League selection and averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game in a season that included his making the All-CIF Southern Section Division 1A team.

"Having seen Armstrong, Ruder, and Gatlin up close, I am glad they are playing for me instead of against me," Boyce said. "They were tough to defend so I am hoping they will be tough to defend for the North."

"Harley deserves all the accolades he is receiving," Huntington Coach Fabian Luna said. "He is a hard working kid who has made himself an incredible player."

Ruder, a 6-5 center, forward, says he's ready for Saturday's showdown, and that he's enjoyed competing along side Armstrong and Gatlin. Ruder also said he and North player JoJo Ballestero of Canyon/Anaheim, play on the same club team, and that he is good friends "off the court" with another North player, Alex Robertson of Santiago/Garden Grove.

"It's pretty exciting to be a part of this game, to go up against some of the best players in Orange County," he said. "It's awesome to be playing with the guys [Armstrong and Gatlin] who I used to go up against. They are both really good players and great guys, and coach [Boyce] is really funny. It's been fun, so far."

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

Boys' All-Star Game

South Roster

Head Coach: Rich Boyce (Edison)

Players: Josh Armstrong, Fountain Valley (6-3, G); Jackson Gatlin, Fountain Valley (6-7, C); Harley Ruder, Huntington Beach (6-5, C/F); Mamadou Ndiaye, Brethren Christian (7-5, C); Myron Aiava, Westminster (6-5, C/F); Cory Blau, Dana Hills (6-4, G/F); Jake Dalke, Laguna Beach (6-3, G); Blake Grable, Corona del Mar (6-3, G/SF); Cole Kesler, Laguna Beach (6-2, G); Tanner Lacona, Tesoro (6-9, G/F); Scott Lynds, Aliso Niguel (5-11, PG); Craig Magyar, Trabuco Hills (6-5, SF/F); Paul Pena, Westminster (6-2, G/) Nick Worrell, Saddleback Valley Christian (6-4, F/C); Evan Zeller, Mission Viejo (6-3, PG/G).

North Roster

Head Coach: Nate Harrison (Canyon/Anaheim)

Players: JoJo Ballestero, Canyon/Anaheim (5-10, PG/G); Payton Banks, Orange Lutheran (6-6, SF/G); Deondre Bryant, Tustin (6-6, C/F); Cory Bush, Anaheim (6-3, F/C); Justin Davis, Foothill (5-11, PG); Keith Davis, Savanna (6-2, PG/G); Jimmy Golden, Sonora (6-5, G/F); Jalen Hall, Cypress (6-1, PG); Nick Hornsby, Tustin (6-6, PG/G/SF); Devin Manning, Troy (6-2, PG/G): Raymond Rembert, Los Amigos (6-1, SF); Alex Robertson, Santiago (6-0, PG/G); Travis Ryal, Sonora (6-3, F/C); Eric Torres, Servite (5-10, PG/G); Adam Tafoya, Katella.

Girls' All-Star Game

South Roster

Head Coach: Jeff Watts (Segerstrom)

Players: Geena Gomez, Edison (5-8, PG); Jasmine Matar, Fountain Valley (5-11, PG/G): Alexis Casillas, Beckman (5-10, F/SF/G); Sydney Cueva, Mission Viejo (5-4, G); Maggie Dunphy, Westminster (6-1, C); Arreanna Marko, St. Margaret's (5-7, F); Natalie Perales, Segerstrom (5-4, PG/G); Frankie Pinto, San Clemente (5-7, PG/G); Molly Settles, Costa Mesa (5-9, PG/G/SF); Emma Shimizu, Woodbridge (5-5, PG/G); August Touchard, JSerra (5-5, PG/G); Katie Underwood, Dana Hills (5-8, G); Whitney Williams, El Toro (5-7, PG); Maddy Ziering-Smith, Laguna Hills (5-5, PG).

North Roster

Head Coach: Matt Dale (Canyon/Anaheim)

Players: Mithzy Arciniega, Rancho Alamitos (6-0, SF); Tori Bryant, Brea (6-0, F/C); Alicia Dimas, Troy (6-1, SF); Abbey Goodsell, Orange Lutheran (5-7, G); Gabriella Hanson, Troy (5-11, SG/SF); Aikane Higa, Kennedy (5-6, G); Olisa Horn, Los Amigos (5-6, PG); Hailey James, Foothill (5-6, PG); T'Sara Jones-McTiller, Katella (5-6, F); Yvette Mendoza, Godinez (5-9, F/C); Allyson O'Brien, La Habra (5-10, G/F); Tyler Prange, Canyon/Anaheim (5-10, G/F/C); Toni Rivera, Katella (5-3, PG/G); Briana Roberson, Troy (5-7, PG/G); Lindsay Uyematsu, Canyon/Anaheim (5-3, PG/G).

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