CLEARWATER — For two seasons, St. Petersburg Catholic's Rei Ozolins was a forgotten player. While other county players have eaten up all the accolades, Ozolins has hardly had a taste of fame.
He is accustomed to walking (and dribbling and passing and shooting) in the shadow of others.
That was until the Pinellas boys private school all-star game Thursday.
Ozolins, a guard, scored a game-high 33 to lead the South all-stars to a 96-61 victory over the North.
"It's nice to end the season like this," Ozolins said. "At first I didn't know what to expect. But our team had a great group of guys and we played well."
Putting together lineups for the second annual all-star game was easy. There were several players to fill out a roster.
Putting them on the court and having them play together was the hard part. With just a few days of practice, the seniors didn't have much time to prepare for their final high school game. At times ball movement and communication were off.
But once things settled, the players put on a show.
Ozolins had the best night and his outside shooting (four 3-pointers) helped the South take control early.
"The thing in this game was to come out and win," Ozolins said. "You always want to win. But I also wanted to have fun."
Oldsmar Christian's John Bianchi won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime. His high school teammate, Quentin Bastian, won the slam dunk contest.
The second half was more of the same as the South was able to get points in transition and maintain a comfortable lead. The South's other top scorer was Indian Rocks Christian's Tommy McGarry, who had 20.
Bianchi (24 points) and Bastian (18) led the North.