MOUNT VERNON — For the four head coaches for tonight’s Mount Vernon News Senior Showcase, the main goal is for their players to have fun.
“My overall goal is to make sure everybody has a fun time,” girls’ Senior Stars coach Doug Savage said. “Mostly just for every girl to get a couple points on the board, or more, and make sure everybody has fun and gets to know each other a bit more.”
The girls’ game will pit Savage, from Mount Vernon, against Cardington’s Jamie Edwards, who is coaching the All Stars. Savage will coach a team comprised of three Jackets, three Bulldogs, two Johnnies, a Blue Devil and a Golden Knight, while Edwards’ roster has two Pirates, three Trojans, three Vikings and a Freddie.
On top of coaching two of his own players, Edwards has the benefit of coaching his daughter, Kynlee for one of the final times. The pair will link up at a later all-star game, but their time sharing the court is limited before Kynlee plays for the University of Findlay next year.
“It will be bittersweet,” Edwards said of coaching Kynlee for one of the final times. “This game has brought us very close to each other and helped us develop a very special bond. I look forward to watching her play at the University of Findlay, where I can sit in the stands and just be a dad.”
Both Edwards and Savage said that their goal is to reach 100 points, with Edwards citing Fredericktown coach Tim Maceyko’s “Run and Fun” philosophy. Savage said with both teams having an all-star roster, the scoring could come in a hurry.
“It’s one of those things where if you can get the momentum going your way and knock down some shots and get everybody excited, the other team kind of deflated a little bit, that lead can go to 10, 20, 30 points pretty dog’gon fast,” Savage said.
The girls’ game is set to tipoff at 6 p.m. at Ariel Arena on the campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Following the girls’ contest, there will be a three-point shooting contest.
Competing on the girls’ side of the floor is Layne Lepley (Mount Vernon), Macee Marcum (Mount Vernon), Taylor Nunamaker (East Knox), Kynlee Edwards (Cardington), Lauren Layman (Johnstown) and Addie Farley (Northmor). For the boys, Noah Gleason (Mount Vernon), Dylan James (Danville), Andrew Wheeler (Highland), Mason Mollohan (Mount Gilead), Jackson Wilson (Northridge) and Mason Mueller (Utica) will try and make it rain.
After the three-point shooting contest, the boys’ game will tip at 8 p.m. East Knox’s Ryan Powell will coach the Senior Stars, while Highland’s Chris Powell will stand at the helm of the All Stars.
Ryan Powell has two of his own players, joined with three from Danville, one from Utica, one from Fredericktown and one from Cardington, while Chris Powell has a foursome from Mount Vernon, one from Mount Gilead, one from Northridge and one from Northmor, all joined with three of his own players from Highland.
“I am extremely grateful to be able to coach because that means I get to coach a group of our guys one last time,” Chris Powell said. “Unfortunately, only one team in each division gets to win their last game and this wasn’t our year. So for us to be able to come back after our season has ended will be really special to have fun and enjoy being in the gym one final time. We have one more shot at ending our year on a fun and positive note together.”
Seven of the Senior Stars and five of the All Stars all come from the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference, so both boys coaches mentioned the dynamic of coaching and playing with guys that have been on opposing teams for the last several years.
“I think that this is a cool thing about sports, these seniors have spent the better part of their careers battling and competing against each other and for one game they get to come together and play with each other,” Chris Powell said. “I really enjoyed watching the interaction between our guys and the other participants, specifically the other kids in our league at our practice (Sunday night). It really gives you a better appreciation for the nature of sports and how much time these guys have put into their careers.”
Regardless of which teams come out on the winning side of the score, the goal is for the players to have fun, while representing their high school on the hardwood one last time.
“The focus of this game is the players,” Ryan Powell said. “My job as a coach is to allow the players to enjoy the experience and showcase their skills one last time at the high school level. These guys have all worked very hard and are very deserving of the honor to play in this game.”