COEUR d’ALENE — For 64 minutes of game action in high school boys and girls basketball, those games in league play, or even at the state tournament, took a back seat.
The Region, which featured players from the northern and eastern part of the state, swept the Metro (Boise area) — with a few exceptions each way — in a couple of thrilling finishes at the 16th annual Idaho All-Star basketball games at North Idaho College’s Rolly Williams Court on Saturday.
In the boys game, Lewiston’s Donaven Santana scored 31 points for the Region, which held off a record effort by Vallivue’s Amoro Lado — who finished with a game-record 44 points — in a 103-102 win.
Santana got the chance to play alongside Coeur d’Alene’s Kale Edwards and Post Falls’ Gavven Desjarlais, a pair of 5A Inland Empire League rivals.
“It’s nice to get to talk to him and just hang out with him,” Santana said of Edwards. “We’ve been butting heads over the last three years. It was all in good fun. He knows I can be a turd on the court, but it was all in good fun.”
Edwards won the slam dunk contest between games, becoming the first Viking to win the event since Deon Watson in 2012.
“All those kids were headaches to play against, but now it’s fun to be with them now,” said Edwards, who signed to play football at Montana. “It was really fun to be a part of. There was some jokes between Donaven and myself, but it was all in good fun.”
Edwards won the slam dunk contest over Twin Falls’ Mitchell Brizee.
“I’ve always had confidence in my basketball abilities,” Edwards said. “Just football is what I love doing. I like to hit people, and I can’t do that all game playing basketball. In football, I can do that every game, so it’s going to be fun.”
Lewiston’s Kendyll Kinzer, who was named girls MVP with 12 points, won the 3-point contest between games, beating Columbia’s Jake Poulton 14-12 in the finals.
BOYS: Gavven Desjarlais of Post Falls finished with 23 points for the Region, which won the boys game for the first time since 2011, when the game was North vs. South.
“It was fun and interesting,” said Desjarlais, who is undecided on his future plans. “It was kind of like at state where everyone is really skilled. We hadn’t won this game in a long time, so it was nice to get this win.”
Lado, a 6-foot-2 point guard, scored 26 points in the first half for the Metro team, including a jumper before the first-quarter buzzer to give his team a 26-21 lead.
“I knew I was up there because I had so many 3s,” Lado said. “I thought I had 30, but ended up finishing with 44, which is the most I’ve scored in a high school game. It was a lot of fun. We got to stay in a five-star hotel (The Coeur d’Alene Resort), and got to meet some of the great players from around the state. It was a lot of fun to be in Coeur d’Alene.”
Lado broke the previous scoring record of 42 points, set by Stefan Buratto of Sandpoint in 2010.
Lado has signed to play Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla.
“They’re ranked ninth in the nation,” Lado said. “No matter where it was, whether in Texas or Washington, I wanted to go where the coaches were nice and wanted me there. And that was Chipola.”
Brizee had a potential go-ahead basket blocked by a host of Region players as time expired.
Metro 26 28 27 21 — 102
Region 21 36 24 22 — 103
METRO — Winston Duggan (Twin Falls) 9, Jake Poulton (Columbia) 12, Faust Ystueta (Twin Falls) 9, Amoro Lado (Vallivue) 44, Michael Ure (Ririe) 3, Kalvin Bowen (Idaho Falls) DNP, Jake O’Neil (Fruitland) 12, Mitchell Brizee (Twin Falls) 13.
REGION — Kon Ajang (Genesis Prep) 3, Zack Welch (Wallace) 5, Donaven Santana (Lewiston) 31, Gavven Desjarlais (Post Falls) 23, Garrett Hawkes (North Fremont) 4, Jarod Adams (Mountain Home) 16, Gabe Quinnett (Moscow) 12, Jonny Hillman (Genesis Prep) DNP, Kale Edwards (Coeur d’Alene) 9.
GIRLS: Kinzer, a 6-1 guard who has signed with Fresno State, shared the court with a couple of 5A IEL foes in Coeur d’Alene’s Kelly Horning and Lake City’s Dejah Wilson.
“It was fun and a different experience to play with them since we’re always going at it during league,” Kinzer said. “To finally get to play with them was really fun. I was really glad to get to play with them instead of against them. We always kind of talk on the court. It sometimes gets a little heated, but we were just talking about it in the locker room that it was so much better to play together than against each other. It was just a lot of fun to get to play today.”
When it comes to the state 3A tournament, the titles have been won by either Sugar-Salem (2019, 2018) or Timberlake (2017, 2016) in the last four years.
In three of those years, both Timberlake’s McKeeley Tonkin and Sugar-Salem’s Macie Knapp have been key figures on their teams.
Saturday, they were teammates in the Region’s fourth straight win in the series.
“It was really fun and nice to play on her team,” said Tonkin of Knapp. “They’re really not our rival anymore.”
Tonkin and Knapp squared off twice at state.
Timberlake beat Sugar-Salem in the 2017 state title game, and Sugar ended Timberlake’s bid for a third straight title in with a semifinal win in 2018.
“I’ve never really known her (Tonkin),” said Knapp, a 5-10 guard who has signed to play at College of Southern Idaho. “We always thought we hated each other because of where we played, but now I freaking love her. All the girls were super fun to be around. I got to make a lot of friends with different people and play a game that we all love.”
Mountain View’s Darian White, who was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, scored 16 points for the Metro, which had a tying 3-pointer bounce off the rim at the buzzer.
Metro 20 14 16 15 — 65
Region 11 25 11 21 — 68
METRO — Allie Cannon (Blackfoot) DNP, Darian White (Mountain View) 16, Makenna Baker (Highland) 5, Lexi Mitchell (Middleton) 14, Emma Clark (Melba) 10, Reagan Yamauchi (Soda Springs) 3, Jalen Calender (Caldwell) 4, Shawnee Simpson (Malad) 5, Nyalam Thabach (Borah) 8.
REGION — McKeeley Tonkin (Timberlake) 3, Brooke Stevens (Clark Fork) 2, Kendyll Kinzer (Lewiston) 12, Taylia Stimpson (Minico) 11, Macie Knapp (Sugar-Salem) 5, Dejah Wilson (Lake City) 4, Kelly Horning (Coeur d’Alene) 5, Chevelle Shepherd (Salmon River) 8, Rachel Schroeder (Genesis Prep) 7, Olivia LaCheminant (South Fremont) 2, Bella Murekatete (Genesis Prep) 9.