WINNIE — This was not your ordinary all-star basketball game.
Defense ruled the court in the first annual Southeast Texas Coaches Association All-Star girls basketball game, as the East team shut out the West in the final quarter to pull off the 35-25 victory at East Chambers Gym on Friday.
The East, led by Beaumont Central head coach Rolander Fontenot, held the West to just 10 points total in the second half and outscored their counterparts 9-0 in the fourth and final quarter.
“We had three days of practice and three days to implement my philosophies as a coach,” Fontenot said. “When we started practice, I told them defense was my specialty. If they wanted to be on the floor, they needed to play defense. Those young ladies who didn’t want to play defense, we sat them down, corrected them and put them back in.”
Fontenot’s squad was led by a familiar face in Central standout Malena Washington, a late add to the game. Washington was named the SETCA Player of the Year before the game and lived up the hype after the jump.
Washington played point for the East, scoring a game-high 12 points with one assist and two steals. She scored all 12 of her points in the second half and earned the East’s Player of the Game award, which came with a $500 scholarship.
“It was a bittersweet moment, because it was my last high school go-round,” Washington said. “But, to play with some of the best in Southeast Texas was a great experience. I was cold at first and my shot wasn’t falling. Once I got warmed up, it was good.”
Former rival Sanqueisha Rawls anchored the West squad, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds with three steals and five blocks as the West’s Player of the Game. Rawls was one of the big reasons for the low point totals, at the center of a tough West 2-3 zone.
Still, the East was able to knock down some outside shots and open up the floor. Buna’s Madison Franklin hit a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the East overcome a 15-9 West halftime lead.
Port Arthur Memorial represented the only Mid- or South-County girls in the game, as Loren Evans, Dorceive Davis and Crystal Sallier all played. Evans led the contingent with six points and three rebounds while Sallier scored two points with two steals.
Evans enjoyed her time on the floor, playing with teammates and new faces one last time as a high schooler.
“It felt good, it was a priviledge and an honor,” Evans said. “With new people, it was nice to get out there and practice and play with them.”