The 5th annual Central Valley Senior Showcase will be remembered as the first ever All-Star game that went into overtime when the American and National boys squads faced off in what resulted in a thriller all the way until the final minutes.
Following an intense and exciting close to regulation that saw the score even, the American side went on a tear led by Enochs’ Nephrey Donasco’s team-high 21 points that earned him the American MVP as his team won 85-78 following a four-minute OT.
“Honestly, not really expecting this,” said Donasco. “Because I just came off a bruised heel, but I just tried to play as hard as I could because it is probably one of my last games of organized basketball, so I just wanted to come out and win. A lot of good players out here so I knew I had to come out and do my best. I thought I would come out slow, but I just worked my butt off.”
Donasco is next planning a walk-on tryout for Stanislaus State.
Teammate Marcus McCutchen (El Capitan) earned the coaches’ choice scholarship for the American side. McCutchen went on to finish the game with 11 points.
“I expected to be a standout and I felt good going into the game. I wanted to dunk, but didn’t get it and a little sad about that, but it happens,” said McCutchen. “I feel like I did pretty good distributing the ball and got my teammates open.”
McCutchen is coming off a year where his Gauchos went 21-7 overall and second in the CCC with a 10-2 record. In 16 games, McCutchen averaged 17.4 points per game and knocked down 34 in a game.
Aside from McCutchen having a standout night distributing the ball, Turlock High’s Cam Sherwood almost matched him there and added more points.
Sherwood matched Donasco with 21 points and earned the MVP honors for the National squad.
“I am not thinking about being an MVP before an All-Star game, I just want to go in and have fun, and share the ball with the teammates, get the open look, take the open look and knock down shots,” said Sherwood. “We all got along well at practice and felt pretty normal. I was glad I got to play at Bulldog Arena one last time, it was comfortable playing on the court and I had a lot of fun. I have to thank all the coaches I have had in the past.”
Brookside Christian’s George Carter went on to receive the coaches’ choice award scholarship for the National team.
He also earned the “wow” moment scholarship after laying down a powerful dunk — the only one of the game.
“It was a fun experience playing with all these guys,” said Carter. “I felt we could have won it too, but we struggled towards the end and that is what brought us down.”
Carter, who looked like he was on his way to earning a triple-double finished the game with 11 points after handling most of the ball duties during the game.
Carter was part of a BC team that went 27-4 and a perfect 12-0 in league play. They also won the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section Championship while averaging 15.7 points per game and 8.6 rebounds.
“I expected to go a little further than we did since we lost in the second round of the Nor-Cals, I thought we would make it all the way, but I was happy we did win a section title and I was happy with how I performed. Hopefully, I’ll play at the next level, but I am undecided at the moment,” Carter added.
The game itself was unexpected.
Turlock Christian head coach Travis Thompson was animated and made sure his National team made noise and went up early.
It took just over two and a half minutes for them to take an 8-0 lead over the American team led by Golden Valley’s Keith Hunters.
The final two minutes of the opening quarter saw both sides exchange buckets with Donasco making noise, but first it was Denair’s Drew Pritchard who scored all nine points after draining three consecutive three-pointers.
After the first eight minutes, the National side led 21-14.
This ignited something and the American squad pulled to within three at the half with the National side barely holding on 33-30.
Once the first half concluded, scoring and dunking and a little bit of fancy dribbling and handling was seen, and then some three-point shots.
Following a three-point shootout win on the boys side, Jacob Dominguez (Orestimba) then lost to Atwater’s Lexi Valencia in the final, 9-3. Well, following that loss, Dominguez redeemed himself in a big way.
He drained six three-point shots to tally 18 points for the game for the American side. Five of those were in the second half and overtime alone.
Jorge Cedano (Manteca) drilled a pair of three-pointers to close out the third quarter as the American team went up 58-46 going into the fourth.
Cedano finished with 10 points for the game, playing crucial defense in a rather physical and hard-fought game.
In the fourth, the National team outscored the Americans, 27-15, after they looked to a handful of players that included Carter, Michael Vivo (Waterford), Nate Washington (Elliot Christian) and Sherwood (Turlock).
With the Nationals down 70-61 and just 2:49 left on the clock, they knew they needed to do something.
They held the Americans to just three from there on out as they outscored them 12-3.
Washington knocked down a three that made the score 73-71 and with eight seconds on the clock, Sherwood came up big, putting in the final basket in regulation to tie it 73-73.
Once overtime hit, the American team went on a 12-5 run to win it 85-78.