TAMPA — With the regular season and playoffs behind them, it was time for the 20 Hillsborough County seniors to showcase their talent in the county's annual all-star game, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Basketball Coaches Association.
Each team did just that in a game full of impressive layups and crowd-pleasing dunks. Durant's Andre Nation capped off an impressive season, leading the East with 26 points as he helped his team to a 113-104 win Thursday over the West at Tampa Prep.
The East had five players in double figures. Joining Nation were King's Reshard Brown (19), Plant City's Chris Smith (18), Newsome's Trent Mackey (17) and Lennard's Fred Porter (16).
The East had a 12-point lead in the second half, as Nation poured in 16. He was named MVP.
The West went on a 10-point run and took a 79-78 lead midway through the second half.
"We got really lazy defensively," Nation said. "But we made some substitutions and Coach motivated us back into the game, and we came out with the win in the end."
Despite being an all-star game, Strawberry Coast coach Andre Lewis, who coached the East, had a strategy. With most seniors still not committed to a college, Lewis wanted his players to take the game seriously.
"I told the guys not to look at it as an all-star game, but as an opportunity," he said.
Blake's Quintin Brewer led the West with 21 points.
Mackey sank seven shots from long range to win the 3-point contest. Nation won the dunk contest, winning over the judges with a combination of twists and turns that led to a backward dunk.