AURORA | There will be one more big Friday night of Aurora prep basketball after the completion of the state tournament.
The annual A-Town All-Star Games — presented by the Aurora Sentinel — are set for March 16 at Rangeview High School, with the girls game scheduled for a 5 p.m. tip-off followed by a 7 p.m. boys game.
Following the conclusion of the regular season, at least one player from all 11 of Aurora’s Class 5A/4A programs — Aurora Central, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Gateway, Grandview, Hinkley, Overland, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill and 4A Vista PEAK — will be selected by the Sentinel in conjunction with input from all city coaches to fill out 20-player rosters for both games.
The A-Town All-Star boys game, set for a third season after making its debut in 2016 at Aurora Central, took place at Cherokee Trail last season and now rotates to another Aurora venue, Rangeview.
Last season’s game featured outgoing coaches Gary Childress of Vista PEAK and John Olander of Eaglecrest, which won the Class 5A state championship a week earlier. Olander’s Team West — which included Gatorade Player of the Year Colbey Ross of the Raptors — prevailed over Team East 113-91.
While nine of last season’s participants graduated, Smoky Hill’s Kenny Foster and Will Becker, Overland’s Daijon Smith and Goy Wang, Cherokee Trail’s Deon Barfield, Gateway’s Michkaleke Baker, Grandview’s Ben Boone, Hinkley’s DeWayne Carter, Rangeview’s Ryan Ongala, Regis Jesuit’s Sam Bannec and Vista PEAK’s Te’Rae Johnson all are eligible to be selected again.
Foster and Johnson have played in both previous A-Town All-Star games.
The A-Town All-Star girls game made a very competitive debut last season at Cherokee Trail as the team’s needed overtime to decide the contest.
UCLA signee and Gatorade Player of the Year Michaela Onyenwere of Grandview took over in overtime to help Team West to a 77-72 win over Team East.
Five members of the Wolves’ Class 5A state championship-winning team and coach Josh Ulitzky played in the game.
Six of last season’s participants graduated, two others moved to different schools outside of Aurora and the game’s leading scorer, Cherokee Trail’s Makayla Hemingway, is out for the season with a knee injury, but nine players who were in last season’s game may be selected to play again.
Grandview’s Alisha Davis, Jaiden Galloway and Leilah Vigil, Regis Jesuit’s Fran Belibi and Noelle Cahill, Overland’s Lyric Thompson, Rangeview’s Angel Broadus, Smoky Hill’s Aliya Givens and Vista PEAK’s Denali Hughes all could be back.
A slam dunk contest is also being planned in between games for the first time.
Stay tuned for more details on ticket prices and schedule.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel