Fifty-two of the area’s best basketball players competed this year in the 20th annual Gerald A. Pilz and Friends All-Star game at College of the Ozarks.
“When I finished my basketball career at University of Missouri-St. Louis, my parent’s wanted to find a way to stay involved with basketball,” said Waynesville head coach Chris Pilz. “When they started the all-star game, they looked to College of the Ozarks and Coach Al Waller. They love the Branson area, what the college is all about and its mission to help kids.”
Although he didn’t have any of his own players in the game this year, Pilz coached the White team to victory defeating the Red team 43-35 and the Blue team 42-35.
Pictures: Gerald A. Pilz All-Star Game
“Today was fun but it certainly wasn’t about winning,” said Pilz. “My dad’s always been good about celebrating kids’ accomplishments and that’s exactly what this is. But you could definitely see that the guys enjoyed themselves today. A lot of them have always just played against each other, so it was great to see them play hard and compete with one another and have fun.”
Javyn Johnston of Drexel from Coach Pilz’s team won the MVP award, scoring 21 points between both games. Johnston will be joining the College of the Ozark’s men’s basketball team this fall.
Walnut Grove head coach Rory Henry received one final round of games with two of his all-state seniors, Lexi and Heather Harman.
“It meant a lot to me to get to coach them one last time,” said Henry. “It’s been bitter-sweet to know the success I’ve had with them will stop now that they’re going onto the next level. Not getting to coach them anymore is a little disappointing, but I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished and to see where they’ll go in the future.”
In back-to-back games, Henry’s Red team defeated the White 23-18 and the Blue 28-13. Heather put together 18 points in both games to earn herself the MVP award. She will join the Drury Lady Panthers this fall, along with Lexi.
“They have both played together since the beginning, so when they opportunity came along for them to both go to Drury, they couldn’t pass it up,” said Henry. “They’ve played so long together that I don’t think they saw themselves playing without the other.”