PANAMA CITY — Short-handed as it was, the West girls all-star team was not short on firepower in the Halifax All-Star Classic in April.
Taliah Moore, who topped the 1,000-point mark in a stellar career at Walton, set an event scoring record with 33 points in an 81-58 rout of the East in the ninth annual all-star event held at the Billy Harrison Field House.
The West squad was down to seven players at tipoff, but Moore combined with the talented Choctawhatchee duo of Brittany Brown and Lauren Day to power their team. A 3-pointer by Moore with just over a minute left capped her scoring with the West safely ahead by 21 points.
Brown posted a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a remarkable all-around effort, and Day added 14 points and hauled down eight of her 12 rebounds in the first half as the West built an insurmountable 40-24 advantage.
Former Rutherford standout Jai Jencks earned MVP honors after leading the East to an 87-86 victory over the West in the boys’ all-star game. Jencks scored 14 points, tied with Graceville’s Marquis White for the team lead.
The East led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but the West closed quickly with a 12-2 run over the final three minutes. The West had a chance to take the lead when it regained possession with 28 seconds left in the game, but West MVP Deshun Tucker (Walton) couldn’t convert a shot, and Tyrone Culbreth (Fort Walton Beach) missed a putback attempt just before the buzzer.
Ty Baker (Malone) and Kiki Williamson (Rutherford) contributed with 10 points each for the East boys.
Culbreth and Ken Randolph (Walton) paced the West boys with 14 points apiece, Tucker added 13, Michael Hawkins (Choctawhatchee) and Nick Haynes (Niceville) had 10 apiece.
The all-star event is hosted by two Halifax Media Group properties: The News Herald and The Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach. The publications’ sports departments select boys and girls teams from their respective readership areas in the Panhandle, 12 counties in all.