ST. PETERSBURG — The theme of Friday night’s Hillsborough vs. Pinellas Senior boys and girls all-star game at Eckerd College was have fun and win, not necessarily in that order. The Pinellas girls, led by 39 points from Lakewood’s Tianah Alvarado, took out Hillsborough 83-73.
Hillsborough salvaged a split in the boys game. Five Hillsborough players scored in double digits: C.J. McGill (26), Reggie Hart (19), Travis Johnson (18), Dan Harris (14) and Vontrey Hill (10), in a 110-102 win over Pinellas.
“We talked about this being the Battle of the Bridges,” Hillsborough girls coach J.R. Allen said. “We told our girls to try to be the best side of the bridge. There’s some pride involved out here. The kids are representing their school, their coaches and their communities.”
Pinellas coach Tom Shaneyfelt agreed.
“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also competitive and the girls want to win,” he said. “They are all good players and they want to show it.”
Here’s some other highlights from the night:
The Alvarado show: She was nearly unstoppable for Team Pinellas. In a 16-0 run to end the first half, Alvarado had 14 points, including consecutive 3-pointers. She had 20 points in the first half and added 19 in the second and was by far the best player on the court.
“I was trying to hit a lot of 3s,” said Alvarado, who will attend Seton Hall in the fall. “But seriously, I really wanted to win. This is my last time playing in a high school game and I didn’t want to lose it. I wanted to have fun, which I did, but it’s more fun when you win.”
When told she scored 39, Alvarado was slightly disappointed.
“Dang,” she said. “I wanted 40. I shouldn’t have missed that free throw.”
Hillsborough girls standouts: While Alvarado took over the scoring load for Pinellas, Hillsborough was more balanced. Reggine Brown of Plant led Hillsborough with 15 points, but Shatisha Dukes of Riverview added 13 and Whitney Ivy of Freedom had 12.
“We were challenged a lot by Tianah, but everyone played as hard as they could,” Dukes said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Size doesn’t matter: Wharton’s McGill and Dallas Moore of Boca Ciega were two of the smaller players on the court, but they came up big for their teams. Moore scored a game-high 30 and helped pull Pinellas back from large deficits in both halves. McGill had 26 points to lead all Hillsborough scorers. He mixed in four 3-pointers and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“I feel like I can play against these guys,” said McGill, who has no college offers yet. “But more than anything, it’s fun. I was a little nervous at the beginning and the guys told me to relax and do what comes natural.”
Moore, who will play at North Florida in the fall, scored 17 of his 30 in the second half. That helped Pinellas take a brief 89-88 lead before letting Hillsborough pull away.
“In the second half I thought that I had to do whatever it takes to try to win,” Moore said. “I had to step it up a little bit and try to get some points.”
Jesuit represented: State champion Jesuit had four players on Team Hillsborough, the most on either team. Johnson had the best night with 18 points. Devin Harris had six, Jack Fleming five and Joey Galvis two.
Halftime hijinks: Instead of resting in the locker room at halftime, the boys game featured 3-point and slam dunk contests. Moore won the 3-point contest by draining 19 3-pointers in a minute. Boca Ciega’s D.J. White won the slam dunk contest by pulling off a “jump over a girl” dunk, a “bank the ball off the shot clock” dunk and a one-handed windmill slam dunk.