Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 15, 2014

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Showing their skills

5 area athlete take part in Azalea game

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

TYLER — A great honor.

That was the central theme for five Henderson County area players following the 11th annual Azalea All-Star games.

The games on Saturday were held at Wagstaff Gymnasium on the campus of Tyler Junior College.

Representing Henderson County was Brownsboro senior Sidney Hightower in the girls game.

For the guys, Athens Hornets guard Anthony Sanders, Brownsboro’s Jared Bragdon and LaPoynor’s Octavious Crear and Mason Motal took part in the game.

For the four Henderson County boys, they had the opportunity to play on the same West team.

The East All-Stars defeated the West, 92-73.

Sanders — who was playing in his second all-star game of the season — finished with a team-high 14 points, five rebounds and four steals.

“It was fun and it was a good experience,” Sanders said. “We came out ready and I thought we were ready but we let the other team out rebounded us. I enjoyed the game until I got hurt late in the game.”

Sanders drove in for a shot in the third quarter and was sent down hard on the play. He did return to the game.

Sanders will be joined at Navarro next season by two other players who took part in the game in Grapeland’s Patrick Walker and Longview Lobo senior Cadell Williams. Williams was the Most Valuable Player for the West team.

“With Pat, I know we are going to be a good combo. He will be able to attack the rim and he can get me open for an easy shot,”Sanders said. “With big man Cadell, you are not getting anything free under the goal because he will make sure that you feel it.”

For Crear, he joined Sanders for high point honors on the team with 14 points, one assist and one rebound.

“I was kind of nervous and scared and everything,” Crear said. “I felt like I was ready to come out and play basketball so I was good after that.”

Motal said he was grateful to be recognized.

“It was a great honor and I was a little nervous since this was my last game so I tried to make the most of it and have fun out there,” Motal said. “It was my last game with my teammate Octavious so that was fun for me.”

Motal finished the game with two points, three rebounds, two steals and one block.

For Bragdon, he was recognized as a starter for the West. Bragdon had two rebounds in the game.

“It meant a lot to me,” Bragdon said. “It was an honor to be selected and knowing what I did during the year was able to get me recognized was an honor.”

He said playing with Crear and Motal was a special night for him as a player.

“It was cool and I had always known them but never got to play with them,” Bragdon said. “It was great to get to know them and see their playing styles.”

In the girls game, Hightower was a member of the West team as they defeated the East, 69-34.

Hightower was a starter in the game and scored the first basket for her team.

“That got me super excited and pumped and I was ready to go,” Hightower said. “It made me feel good and it gets me ready for college ball.”

She finished with six points and three rebounds.

“I liked this game and it was a good experience for me tonight,” Hightower said. “This is going to last with me for a while since it was the last time that I will be playing in a high school game so I will remember it for a while.”