Phillips eyes strong finish in Butler County all-star hoop showcase

Fairfield forward Ben Phillips (42) takes a shot while being defended by Lakota West forward Cameron Anzer (42) during their game at West on Jan. 31. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
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Fairfield forward Ben Phillips (42) takes a shot while being defended by Lakota West forward Cameron Anzer (42) during their game at West on Jan. 31. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Ben Phillips isn’t certain about his basketball future, but he plans to finish his prep career with a big effort.

The Fairfield High School senior played in the District 15 All-Star Game a couple weeks ago and will make his final prep appearance Saturday in the first All-Butler County All-Star Game at the Hamilton Athletic Center.

“I’ve picked up a basketball since I was 4 years old and I’ve always had a name around town, so it’s kind of bittersweet to have my last organized game in a Fairfield uniform,” said Phillips, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this year for the Indians.

“At the same time, I’m proud of where I am and where I’ve come from with Fairfield. I’m very prepared to give my all in this last all-star game and have fun with everybody.”

A full day of all-star activity is scheduled at HHS. The girls will go first, with 3-point shooting and ball handling contests starting at noon and their game tipping at 2 p.m. The boys will follow with pregame activities at 6 p.m. and their game at 8.

The arena will be cleared between the girls and boys sessions. Tickets will be $5 per person for each session.

“It’s pretty cool,” Phillips said. “It’s nice to play with people around the Butler County area and all the people I’ve played with in the (Greater Miami Conference) and all the friends I’ve grown up with since I was in middle school.”

Participating players were involved in an open gym at Hamilton this week to prepare for Saturday.

Phillips said the District 15 game was essentially all offense and no defense, but he’s been told that the organizers and coaches for the Butler County game are aiming for more of a competitive contest, so defense won’t be an afterthought.

“I think there’s going to be more types of defense,” Phillips said. “I’m always going to bring my talking attitude and get everybody hyped up because at the end of the day, I still don’t like to lose.”

He has GMC mates from Fairfield and Lakota West on his Red squad. Hamilton, Middletown and Lakota East players will play for the Blue.

Phillips is looking forward to playing against Myles Howard of Hamilton. They used to be teammates at Fairfield.

“We grew up together,” Phillips said. “Instead of being a bloodbath kind of game, it’ll be more nice. I’ll just dunk on him real quick.”

In terms of his future, Phillips is likely headed to Miami University on an academic scholarship and has already been accepted into the Farmer School of Business and the University Honors Program. He’s also considered walking on to the basketball team or playing at the club level.

Phillips said he’s “about 95 percent set on Miami,” but he’s also been accepted at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and will make a visit there this month. He might attend law school at Georgetown.

“There’s no wrong choice for me here,” Phillips said. “My academic path has been very rigorous, but I think it’s paid off.”

All-Star Rosters

Red Boys: Players — Paul Blodgett, John Engelmeier, Fenwick; Christian Keese, Dylan Woods, Cincinnati Christian; Eddie Driskell, Garrett Gabbard, Edgewood; Ben Phillips, Devonte Ross, Fairfield; Jacob Back, Nick Vanderpohl, Harrison; Cameron Anzer, Malachi Hughes, Lakota West; Grant Whisman, Mason Whiteman, Madison; Tristan Backas, Monroe. Coaches — Sean Van Winkle, Hamilton; Gerry Weisgerber, Badin

Blue Boys: Players — John Marot, Justin Pappas, Badin; Hunter Hamilton, Myles Howard, Hamilton; Evan Kuhlman, Lakota East; Jomar Bailey, Cliff Snow, Middletown; Jarod Hamlin, Ronin Koeller, Middletown Christian; Ronnie Bowman, Joe Mack, New Miami; Landen Angel, Joey Wright, Ross; Justin Boggs, Evan James, Talawanda. Coaches — John Thomas, Edgewood; Carl Woods, Cincinnati Christian

Red Girls: Players — Kaitlyn Anzel, Amanda Michael, Fenwick; Grace Edmonston, Hannah Randall, Cincinnati Christian; Lauren Gerber, Cierra Lipps, Edgewood; Kennedy Roberts-Rosser, Brooke Spaulding, Fairfield; Haylee Harmon, Kaylee Schulte, Harrison; Sarah Jones, Abby Prohaska, Lakota West; Kelli Bush, Kenzi Saunders, Madison; Katie Sloneker, Sophie Sloneker, Monroe. Coaches — Tom Head, Talawanda; Kevin Lakes, New Miami; Tom Sunderman, Badin

Blue Girls: Players — Emma Broermann, Shelby Nusbaum, Badin; Cici Riggins, DeSuela Rodriguez, Hamilton; Jasmine Floyd, Lakota East; Monique Prather, Olivia Wells-Daniels, Middletown; Kayla Arington, Aubriana Bellard, Middletown Christian; Allison Rapier, Alyssa Robinette, New Miami; Addie Brown, Emma Wright, Talawanda. Coaches — Greg Brown, Edgewood; Brian McGuire, Madison