Locals key in Optimist game
Placer High School girls basketball coach Tony Camillucci was looking forward to a chance at coaching Nevada County’s finest, instead of having to figure out way to stop them.
As it turned out, Bear River’s Julie Fry and Karli Kephart and Forest Lake Christian’s Brooke Hodges were perhaps his three most consistent players on the court in the 28th annual Optimist all-star game.
Though the North ultimately won 104-77, it trailed by five points just three and a half minutes into the first 20-minute half.
Camillucci looked to his bench for aid, inserting Fry and Hodges into the lineup. The North never trailed again.
The pair hustled into the game, shaking things up immediately. Hodges let loose a dead-on three-pointer and on the next possession Fry forced the South squad into a back court violation.
Five minutes after entering the game, Fry and Hodges went back to the bench having given their team a comfortable 29-17 lead.
“Those girls (Fry, Hodges and Kephart) are all so well-coached and calm out there,” Camillucci said. “I told the girls before the game that which ever team made the extra passes would win the game, and those three girls definitely played a big part in that.”
Even with those extra passes, the North squad surpassed the 100-point mark and outscored both boys teams, which played in the second game.
Hodges, who played 20 minutes, scored nine points while contributing three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“Brooke is one of the best shooters I have ever seen,” Camillucci said. “Every time she caught the ball, I was yelling for her to shoot.”
Fry scored nine points with three rebounds in 16 minutes of play while Kephart totaled four points and two rebounds.
The game was a much-welcomed ending for the three players’ high school careers as opposed to the tear-soaked finishes the Bear River and Forest Lake Christian High School teams suffered in March.
All three players were on the court just once together, for the final three and a half minutes of the first half. Kephart and Hodges, who have played Amateur Athletic Union club basketball together since fifth grade, enjoyed the chance to play together one final time.
While they were not on the court at the same time for too long, just getting the chance to be on the same team was enough for the longtime friends.
Kephart said afterward her favorite part of the experience was the flow of the game, while Fry was partial to her three-pointer midway through the second half.
Janae Young of Sheldon High School earned MVP honors for the South team after scoring a game-high 27 points -15 on three-pointers. Kelsey Burns of Placer, who scored six points, snagged the honor for the North team.
Bear River’s Jake Lazor was the lone Nevada County male to play in the boys Optimist game.
Lazor logged 11 minutes, scoring five points – including a three-pointer – while grabbing five rebounds.
“It really was a lot of fun,” Lazor said. “It was different not playing a lot and playing in spurts, but you get to cheer for the team and meet some new people.”
Lazor’s North squad lost 84-71 with Brad Langston of Center High School pulling out the MVP honors for his squad. Ryan Thorton from Capital Christian High School received the top honor for the South squad.
28th Annual Optimist All-Star Game stat lines:
Brooke Hodges (Forest Lake Christian): Nine points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 20 minutes
Julie Fry (Bear River): Nine points and three rebounds in 16 minutes
Karli Kephart (Bear River): Four points and two rebounds in 17 minutes
Jake Lazor (Bear River): Five points and five rebounds in 11 minutes
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