HIGH DESERT ALL-STAR GAME: AREA PLAYERS HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW OFF.
As a quarterback and also a top basketball player, Johnathan Thompson of Palmdale High knows a thing or two about football getting all the attention in this area.
But Thompson is hoping the first High Desert Senior All-Star basketball game - at 3 p.m. Sunday at Antelope Valley College - will lend a boost to what has long been an overlooked sport in the region.
``This is a real good chance to show what we can do on the basketball court,'' said Thompson, who will represent a Blue team featuring seniors from Palmdale, Highland, Littlerock, Paraclete, Mojave, Vasquez, Desert and Boron against the Gold team pooled from Antelope Valley, Lancaster, Quartz Hill, Rosamond, Desert Christian, Bethel Christian and Antelope Valley Christian.
``These are the best players in the (Antelope) Valley,'' Thompson said. ``We've got some real good players, especially guards.''
Thompson is among several key players on the Blue team, which unites respected Golden Leaguers such as Highland's Humberto Zamora and Littlerock's Tony Mayes with small-school standouts like Mojave's David Johnson, Boron's Richie Sheasley and Paraclete's Glenn Jones.
The Gold team is backcourt heavy with such players as Antelope Valley's Matt Parm, Quartz Hill's Brady Chelette and Bethel Christian's Jamar Culver.
The Blue coaches are Ben Dale (Littlerock), Andy Gavel (Paraclete), Phil Pleasant (Desert) and Larry Satterfield (Mojave). Travis Brown (Lancaster), Dennis Smith (Antelope Valley) and David Nurse (Antelope Valley Christian) will coach the Gold team.
Johnson, an unheralded 6-foot-8 center, has been dominating in practice, according to Thompson and the coaches.
``The big guy from Mojave was just dunking and blocking shots,'' Thompson said. ``He is going to be the difference in the game. I had never even heard of him until I saw him in practice.''
The game, featuring 12-minute quarters and no zone defenses, is the brainchild of Rosamond coach Tim Atkerson.
``Basketball was the only sport out of the `big three' - football, basketball and baseball - that did not have an all-star game in the Antelope Valley, so this is long overdue,'' Atkerson said. ``We are trying to create some excitement because we've got some excellent players out here. There is at least one player representing every school.''
Forward Shane Johnson of Palmdale (no relation to Johnathan) said the game will provide important exposure because teams from the Antelope Valley have not fared particularly well against the best from the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles.
``We lost to Artesia by 80 points,'' Johnson said, ``so why would a scout come look at us. We need something like this all-star game, because football gets a lot more publicity. It gives the standout players from out here a chance to get looked at.''
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 19, 1999|
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