GREENSBORO — The West All-Stars committed 29 turnovers in losing to the East All-Stars 67-60 in the Greensboro Coliseum Monday night.
East Surry’s Keri Fulp started for the West team, but had few chances to score with her teammates frequently losing control of the ball.
Fulp, who will play for Wake Forest this fall, hit 3-4 shots from the field for six points to go with six rebounds, two steals and one assist. She didn’t have a single turnover and had much of the defensive coverage to slow down East’s Briana Day.
Day is an all-state player and MVP of the state championship game. On her first attempt of the night, Day was able to work a shot around the long arms of Fulp and bank the ball into the basket.
Perhaps inspired by that shot, Day went at Fulp again and again in the first half, but made two straight turnovers and missed her next five shots.
The East team scored two early baskets, and the West girls took nearly three minutes to get their first points. The West squad would never take the lead in the game, tying the game five times in the first half, but never pulling ahead.
The score was 16-13 after the first quarter, then East reserve guard Mylea McKenith scored eight of her 12 points in the second quarter to break away from a 23-all tie for a 33-26 halftime lead.
Joining Fulp on the West squad is Wake Forest teammate Milan Quinn. However, the two girls weren’t on the floor at the same time for the entire half. In fact, the two only reached the floor together in the fourth quarter when Quinn missed a free throw with a sub waiting at the scorer’s table.
Quinn was scoreless in the first half, but finished with six points and eight rebounds.
Milan plays small forward and power forward at Wake, but she was pressed into service at center this week, explained Fulp.
She showed her full-court abilities in the second half, scoring two fast-break layups to cut into the lead.
After East made the first two baskets of the third quarter, the lead reached a game-high 12 points.
Then Fulp made a steal, assisted a teammate on a score and forced her opponent into a walking violation.
West began to chip away at that 12-point lead. When Fulp grabbed an offensive board and scored, the margin dropped to nine.
Quinn’s first layup made it 45-39, then her second made it 47-43.
Momentum appeared to be on the West’s side, but in the closing seconds of the third quarter, the East team would get four points in seven seconds.
Ryan Flowers, the Raleigh News and Observer’s player of the year, suffered a rough first half. Hounded by Fulp, Quinn and Amanda Coffer, Flowers scored just once and often was forced to pass the ball back out of the post.
However, she made a basket and was fouled with 6.7 seconds left. Flowers missed the free throw, but the ball was recovered by a teammate and passed back to Flowers for another basket just before the buzzer. That pushed the lead to 51-43.
West opened the final quarter with four turnovers in two minutes. That gave East a chance to score twice and push the lead back to 12 at 55-43.
Mylia Garner was having a bad shooting night through three quarters (1-9 field goals), but came alive with nine points in a comeback bid for the West.
A 14-6 run made the score 61-57 with two minutes left, but the West could get no closer.
After the game, Fulp said, “This is a transition between high school and college, so maybe it’s a glimpse of what’s to come.
“In the ACC it’s going to be really hard, but I’m willing to work as hard as possible to be successful in the ACC.”
On one shot attempt, Fulp appeared to be fouled hard, but didn’t earn a whistle from a referee. Was this a more physical game than high school ball?
“I think so, but being in summer school and playing with the older girls, it’s been very, very physical pick-up games, so this was nothing compared to pick-up. So, I’m sure the real games are going to be even tougher.”
Asked about battling with Day, Fulp said, “It’s great going against her. I actually got to play with her in the North/South game. She’s a great person and she’s always a challenge because she is so tall and long.
“The biggest thing was to come out here and have fun. To be able to get one last shot to play with high school players before we all go off to college. All these girls are going off somewhere, and I think this is a great tribute to what they’ve done in high school and what they’ll do in the future.”
Before the game, the announcer honored the players who achieved a 3.0 or better GPA this year. Of the 20 girls on the court, 11 were named, including Fulp and her new Lady Deacons teammate.
“Milan and I are actually rooming at Wake already so we’ve been together for two weeks,” she said. “We’ve been working very hard together, running BB&T (Stadium) together. So we’re pretty close already.”