Among the players coached by Conway’s Ashley Nance in the girls high school All-Star basketball game Thursday night were Christyal Holloway of Little Rock Parkview, Lundon Williams of Greenwood and Olivia Hanson and Brianna Jackson of Fort Smith Northside.
“That’s our conference; it was good to have them on my side for a change,” said Nance who helped guide the East to an 80-58 victory at the Farris Center. “It was also good to get to know these girls on another level rather than just someone you’re competing against.”
Nance, as Ashley Hutchcraft, played in the All-Star game for Guy-Perkins, and relished the opportunity to coach in it.
“It was a really fun week with this team,” Nance said. “Not only are all these girls great players but they are good kids and it’s fun to work with good kids like that.”
Nance rotated her 15-player roster frequently so every player got to play at least 10 minutes.
“That’s the hardest thing to do,” she said. “They all deserve to play and we tried to let them all play and have a chance to score as much as possible. Our staff (Matt Dean of Rector, Dell Leonard of Mountain Home and Jared Richey of Brookland) did a great job working all that out. The kids and the coaching staff made my job easy.”
The East trailed 40-39 at halftime before it turned up the tempo a notch and pulled away in the final two of the five-period game.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Beebe’s Kalela Miller, the game’s MVP, turned the game around for the East, which outscored the West, 23-10, in the fourth period.
“Our core group was very strong,” Nance said. “We knew it was to our advantage to play as up-tempo as possible.”
Miller, wearing $200 glittering red shoes specially made for the game, scored 25 points and had five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Olivia McWilliams of eStem, a University of Central Arkansas recruit, was named the Outstanding Player for the East after scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds. Marleeya Montgomery of Har-Ber, who scored 12 points with six rebounds, was the Outstanding Player for the West.
Heather Prowse of Mount Vernon-Enola, playing for the East, scored six points, including a blocked shot and a layup that she turned into a three-point play.
Audrey Moran of Vilonia, playing for the West, scored two points and had three rebounds and two steals. She turned one steal into a layup.
Chris Kordsmeier of St. Joseph served as an assistant for the West.
One of the best players on the court could not play because she is a junior.
Conway’s Jordan Danberry, the MVP of the 7A state tournament, served as Nance’s manager. She held the clipboard and even got into some coaching gestures as she sat alongside her high school coach.
“I definitely wanted to get in the game,” she said. “But I got a good feel this week for how everything goes so it will prepare me for next year when hopefully I will get to play in it.”
The East won the boys game, 85-77, in a game much closer and more competitive than anticipated. Anton Beard of North Little Rock, playing for the East, was the MVP.