HAMILTON — Kelis Jones got a little bit of everything Saturday afternoon, and it was all good.
The Fairfield High School senior guard earned a Player of the Game award, led her Red team to a victory and got to play with FHS teammate Zahrya Bailey in the third annual All-Butler County All-Star girls basketball game.
“It was a lot of fun getting to play with players you don’t play against during the season, and getting to play with Z one more time was great,” Jones said. “There’s going to be nerves in any game you play, but at the end of the day, it’s all about fun.”
Jones tallied eight points and four rebounds for the Red, which rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit to secure a 41-36 triumph over the Blue at the Hamilton Athletic Center.
Bailey collected seven points and five rebounds in the winning effort, while Harrison’s Hayley Harmon chipped in six points on a pair of treys. Edgewood’s Callie Hunt hauled in 11 boards.
“Man, we could not make a shot in the first half at all,” said Jones, who has yet to make a collegiate decision. “But we rallied back and played a little bit stronger in the second half. Sometimes you don’t want to go too hard in a game like this, but at the same time, it’s your last time playing in a prep situation, so that makes you go hard.”
Red coach Dan Wallace of Lakota East figured his team would shoot better after the break.
“In the first half, we took great shots that were rolling out,” Wallace said. “I said at halftime, ‘We’re switching directions. It’s a new rim, and this one looks softer.’ They started laughing. I think they relaxed a little bit going out in the second half.”
Badin’s Emma Broermann was the Player of the Game for the Blue, collecting eight points and eight rebounds. Hamilton’s Samantha Fuller added six points on two 3-pointers, East’s Megan Hatfield tossed in five points, and Middletown’s Breyon Wright and East’s Jordan Stanley had five caroms apiece.
“You could see we got tired in the second half,” said Madison’s Brian McGuire, who coached the Blue. “Their team was mostly guards and we had all the post players. The other team knew that, and they were double- and triple-teaming Emma whenever she was in there.”
“They did kind of crunch down a little bit more in the second half, and some of our outside shots weren’t falling,” Broermann said. “We were still out there playing hard. This one’s always fun to play in because it’s all girls in the area.”
Broermann is headed for the University of North Florida in June. Saturday’s game was her lone All-Star appearance since the Rams lost to Fenwick in the Division II Lebanon sectional.
She’s participating in track this spring and will throw the shot put and discus. Then it’s on to North Florida to take some summer classes.
Was Broermann sad to play in her last high school game?
“It was fun while it lasted,” she said. “But I’m ready to move on.”
The coaches weren’t able to coach their own players, but they said that didn’t take away from the experience.
“These games are fun to me,” McGuire said. “I like the interaction with the different girls on the different teams. When you mix them all together like this, they’re all about the same. You can see there’s a lot of talent in the county.”
“I did the District 16 game multiple times in Hamilton County, but this was my first time being here. It’s a great event,” Wallace said. “I had my assistant Alyssa (Grevenkamp) help me with the rotations and make sure everybody played an equal amount. It’s fun to sit back and watch kids do what they love to do. I really enjoyed watching the kids that we don’t ever see.”
Hatfield and Stanley combined for eight points and nine rebounds while representing East, and Hatfield won the pregame 3-point competition. Talawanda’s Jazz Bennett, who played for the Blue, was the ball-handling champion.
“Megan was also second in the dribbling contest,” Wallace said. “I think having the opportunity to end their careers in a moment like this was special for them. It was great to have a front-row seat to watch them one more time.”
BLUE (36): Emma Broermann 3 2 8 (eight rebounds), Anna Crawford 0 0 0 (one rebound), Brooklynn Adkins 0 0 0 (three rebounds), Breyon Wright 1 0 2 (five rebounds), Kyra Koontz 0 0 0 (three rebounds), Makina Gibson 2 0 4 (two rebounds), Arielle Scalf 0 0 0 (three rebounds), Jordan Stanley 1 0 3 (five rebounds), Trinity Bellard 1 0 2 (three rebounds), Megan Hatfield 2 1 5 (four rebounds), Kellan Romans 1 0 3 (four rebounds), Jazz Bennett 0 0 0 (two rebounds), Kira Ash 1 1 3 (one rebound), Samantha Fuller 2 0 6 (one rebound). Totals: 14-4-36 (45 rebounds)
RED (41): Bryana Henderson 0 3 3 (three rebounds), Zahrya Bailey 3 0 7 (five rebounds), Avery Stahlheber 1 0 2 (three rebounds), Miranda Heid 1 0 2 (two rebounds), Sophie Sloneker 1 0 2 (one rebound), Tara Price 0 0 0 (two rebounds), Caila Nagel 1 0 3 (no rebounds), Grace Baker 1 0 3 (two rebounds), McKenzie Mobley 0 0 0 (three rebounds), Callie Hunt 0 1 1 (11 rebounds), Kelis Jones 4 0 8 (four rebounds), Hayley Harmon 2 0 6 (two rebounds), Katie Sloneker 2 0 4 (four rebounds). Totals: 16-4-41 (42 rebounds)
3-pointers: B 4 (Fuller 2, Romans, Stanley), R 5 (Harmon 2, Baker, Nagel, Bailey)