AURORA | Daijon Smith’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave his Overland boys basketball team a huge win over Grandview — the eventual Class 5A state champion — during the regular season.
On Friday night in front of a packed house at Rangeview High School, the clutch senior guard delivered another big victory with the final shot of his career in a prep uniform.
Smith’s stepback 3-pointer on the final play of the third annual A-Town All-Star Game lifted Team East to a 134-131 win over Team West in a high-flying, hot shooting spectacle featuring Aurora’s top prep talent from the 2017-18 season.
The walk-off 3-pointer capped a 37-point performance for Smith, who hit deep shots from a variety of places — including one while falling into the bench in the first half — one of several Trailblazers’ players who stood out in the contest.
Smith’s teammate, recent Metro State commit Laolu Oke, dunked his way to 24 points, while Overland’s Tucson Redding helped spearhead Team West’s late rally with 21 points.
In the wake of his third-pace finish in the inaugural slam dunk contest, Eaglecrest senior Morgan Brown poured in 18 points and three-time A-Town All-Star selection Kenny Foster of Smoky Hill went for 16 for Team East, which was coached by Michael Rogers of 5A state champion Grandview.
Eaglecrest senior sharpshooter Branden Bunn cashed in a game-high five 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 25 points for Morgan Gregory’s Team West, which also got 17 from Gateway’s Michkaleke Baker — the slam dunk champion — and 15 from Smoky Hill’s John Harge in defeat.
Team East had a 12-point lead midway through the second half on a layup by the Wolves’ Dayne Prim (nine points), however a quick burst led by Baker and Redding got Team West close and then Bunn gave it the lead for the first time since the early minutes at 117-115 with 4:20 remaining.
Not much defense was played up to that point, but the intensity picked up as time ticked away and the score tightened up.
Team East again surged in front by as many as four points inside the final minute on a Smith jumper, but Regis Jesuit’s Elijah Martinez (10 points) scored back-to-back buckets for Team West to tie the game up with 3.3 seconds remaining.
The game clocked was turned off with the next basket deciding the winner and it didn’t take long for Smith, who got the inbounds pass, got Martinez off balance with a drive, dribbled behind his back and knocked down a 3-pointer to win it.
Dunk contest debuts: The inaugural A-Town All-Stars slam dunk contest title went to Gateway senior Michkaleke “Man-Man” Baker, who emerged as the winner over the other two finalists, Rangeview’s Ayden Clayton and Eaglecrest’s Morgan Brown.
Clayton brought down the house with his dunk in the second round of the prelims when he cleared 6-foot-6 Rangeview teammates Ryan Ongala and Devin Collins.
Rangeview’s Eric Jackson, Cherokee Trail’s Deon Barfield and Vista PEAK’s Jaquan Roberts competed in the opening rounds, but did not make it through the finals in a combination of judging from Sentinel Sports Editor Courtney Oakes, Matt Langley of Basketball Colorado and an online poll voted on via Twitter.
Coutney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
TEAM EAST 134, TEAM WEST 131
Score by halves:
Team West 61 70 — 131
Team East 73 61 — 134
TEAM WEST (131)
Michkaleke Baker (Gateway) 8 0-0 17, Tucson Redding (Overland) 8 0-0 21, John Harge (Smoky Hill) 7 0-0 15, Ben Boone (Grandview) 2 0-0 6, Goy Wang (Overland) 4 0-2 9, Branden Bunn (Eaglecrest) 9 2-2 25, Te’Rae Johnson (Vista PEAK) 4 0-0 8, Sam Bannec (Regis Jesuit) 5 0-0 11, Deon Barfield (Cherokee Trail) 4 0-1 8, Elijah Martinez (Regis Jesuit) 4 0-0 10. Totals 55 2-5 131.
TEAM EAST (134)
Quinten Rock (Smoky Hill) 3 0-0 8, Daijon Smith (Overland) 15 0-0 37, Morgan Brown (Eaglecrest) 9 0-0 18, Kenny Foster (Smoky Hill) 7 0-0 16, Dayne Prim (Grandview) 4 0-0 9, Laolu Oke (Overland) 12 0-0 24, Devin Collins (Rangeview) 3 0-0 6, Tylor Williams (Aurora Central) 3 0-0 6, XaiV’ion Jackson (Eaglecrest) 2 0-0 5. Totals 58 0-0 134.
3-point field goals — Team West (16): Branden Bunn 5, Tucson Redding 3, Ben Boone 2, Elijah Martinez 2, Michkaleke Baker, Sam Bannec, John Harge, Goy Wang; Team East (12): Daijon Smith 7, Quinten Rock 2, Kenny Foster, XaiV’ion Jackson, Dayne Prim