22nd annual Pilz All-Star game highlights area’s best

Forty-one of the area’s best basketball players competed in the 22nd annual Gerald A. Pilz and Friends All-Star Tournament at College of the Ozarks on Saturday.

The tournament, started by Gerald A. Pilz, showcases top-notch high school male and female basketball players who are graduating seniors. Some will continue their basketball career at the collegiate level in the fall.

That is the case for this year’s Red team member Ashley Forrest.


Forrest scored a total of 15 points on the night, earning her the girl tournament’s MVP award.

Making it all the more special, Forrest will play on that same basketball court this fall.

The Branson High School graduate said, “I’ve been playing forever and I get to play on this court for four years, so getting to get the MVP on it and it being my last time and playing with the girls I played against forever was just an awesome feeling.”

She added excitedly, “I felt at home. This is my new home. Getting to play with Jessica (Estes) even, because she’s my new teammate, it’s an awesome feeling. I cannot wait.”

Of the three female teams, each won one of their two 15-minute games.

Purple pulled out a close 23-22 win over Red and narrowly lost to Blue, 29-27. Red topped Blue 36-29.

Black dominated on the boys’ side.

The eight-member team nabbed an eight-point win over Red, 45-33 and was victorious against Blue, 38-33. Blue beat the Red team 39-36.

The male MVP award was presented to the Black team’s Joe Johnson of Waynesville for scoring 19 points.

“It was just fun playing with my teammates and the other teams I played against. It’s truly a blessing to have this opportunity to play on an All-Star team,” Johnson said.

While the honor came as a surprise, the fun he had on Saturday didn’t.

And playing against his own Tiger teammates, Reggie Walker (Red) and Dwayne Morton (Blue), made it even more enjoyable.

“They were guarding me, so they made me work a little harder,” he chuckled.

There were also a couple more honors given Saturday night.

Two area high school basketball coaches were inducted into the Gerald Pilz and Friends All-Star Game Hall of Fame.

Blue Eye’s Ken Elfrink was honored first, followed by Gerald Pilz’s own son, Chris Pilz.

 “We’ve been playing here for 22 years now,” the Waynesville coach said of him and his father. “He has a great love for kids and basketball and College of the Ozarks. Just pitching in and helping; it’s nice any time you get an award but it feels good to help out. When you get an award, it’s just being a team player. Usually when you’re a good team player those things happen.”

Girls All-Stars selections by team

Name High School College
Kaylie Rothdiener Bolivar Missouri State (student)
Laurnea Jarmen Hillcrest William Woods
Aleena DeRossett Bolivar Undecided
Jordan Pryor Hillcrest Missouri S&T (student)
Kaycee Gerald Hillcrest William Woods
Peyton Greenlee Marshfield William Woods
Coaches: Jeni Hopkins, Steve Frank, Eric Shaw
Name High School College
Jessica Estes Miller College of the Ozarks
Hannah Cantrell Kickapoo Missouri State (student)
*Ashley Forrest (MVP) Branson College of the Ozarks
Sharon Lopez Kickapoo N. Conn. State
Laura Vierkant Kickapoo Southwest Baptist
Cassandra Andreatta Blue Eye Undecided
Coaches: Jerry Songer, Ken Elfrink
Name High School College
Halie Allred Hollister Culver Stockton
Jaslyn Williams Central Coffeyville CC (track)
Lexie Vaught Crane Drury University
Shauna Rinehart St. James Lincoln University
Emmalee Taykor Valley Springs, Ark. Undecided
Mikaylyn Calahan Lebanon Undecided
Coaches: Lynn Long, Bobby Spencer, Gary Gorman

Boys All-Stars selections by team

Name High School College
*Joe Johnson (MVP) Waynesville St. Joseph College
Juwuan Bryant Lonoke (Ark.) Bacone
Michael Crossno Southland Robert Morris (Ill.)
Tanner Gold Crane Central Methodist
Christian Robbins West Plains Missouri State-West Plains
Ryan Ward Hartville North Central CC
Sam Marshall Rolla Drury University
Thomas Clifton Mountain Grove Undecided
Coaches: Kevin Smith, Zac Flippin, Tony Irons
Name High School College
Collin Gimlin Sparta OTC
Courtland Yates Seymour Undecided
DeMon Hyler Belton College of the Ozarks
Jessey Childress Southland Robert Morris (Ill.)
Grant Beasley Columbia Hickman Missouri State (student)
Storm Price Spokane North Ark.
Reggie Walker Waynesville UMKC (student)
Coaches: Blaine Brewinton, David Kellums
Name High School College
Wyatt Eubanks Strafford N/A
Brandt Cochran Lawrenceville (Ill.) College of the Ozarks
Kobe Wands Rolla UMSL
Dwayne Morton Waynesville Goucher
Cade Martin School of the Ozarks College of the Ozarks
Demauntte Youngblood Fayetteville (Ark.) Undecided
Christian Brown Rogersville State Fair CC
Kyle Cavanaugh Fair Grove College of the Ozarks
Coaches: Joe Easter, Kendall Tilley