By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Never mind the fact the Jackson Area Girls All-Stars lost the inaugural 127 North-South Senior Classic at Jackson Community College Sunday.
Because in a few short hours 10 of the areas finest senior athletes bonded in a way that goes beyond the final result of an exhibition game.
The Lansing All-Stars defeated Jackson 76-65 behind 13 points and solid court leadership from game MVP Tori Klewicki-McNutt from Dewitt, but Napoleon head coach Liz Hampton said the game was an overwhelming success in her opinion.
She said she had no clue what to expect when she got a phone call inviting her to coach the Jackson All-Stars, but she was impressed by how the girls meshed so well together and made a late run at a talented Lansing squad.
“What I will remember most is just meeting these girls and remembering how much fun we had. They just clicked after such a short time,” she said. “We were only together a few hours and it seemed like they were all friends by the end of the game.”
Homer graduate Nikki Wurster said it was nice to have to have so many teammates who understood the game so well and a victory would have been an added bonus.
“We’ve never practiced together, but we did alright, we played hard and I had a good time,” she said.
Jackson did play hard, but it wasn’t always pretty.
Girls consistently missed open looks from outside and turned the ball over 22 times. They also struggled to get back in transition defense, and Lansing turned those into countless easy layups.
Jonesville’s Brooke Nichols scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the second half and the Andrea Smith and Kelsey Roth of Napoleon both finished with nine.
Hampton credited her girls for trimming a 24-point deficit to nine at one point and she was optimistic these new friendships could blossom into something greater.
“All of the girls gave me their number and I think they’re going to want to try and continue working out together and they even mentioned the possibility of going to a tournament together,” she said. “I’ll take them, I loved it.”