By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent
ALBUQUERQUE — Des Moines’ Ben Doherty got all the kudos, and deservedly so, after the North squad edged the South 82-81 in the Class 1A-2A All-Star basketball series Thursday night at The Pit.
Doherty, with a game-high 27 points got hot when nobody else did, and helped the North to its 21st victory in 28 years.
But after the game, Doherty passed around some caveats himself — even to opponents such as Fort Sumner’s Jeremy Gauna. Doherty, who will be playing basketball at West Texas A&M in Amarillo, insisted he’d be checking on the Lubbock news to see how Gauna was doing at Lubbock Christian.
“It was a great game, it was a good experience. I loved playing with the guys — there were a lot of friendships made,” said Gauna, who was held scoreless while playing for the South squad. “I couldn’t really make a whole lot of shots, but I think my defense made up for it.”
The all-star week began when teams started practicing on Tuesday.
Logan’s Drew Perez and Jake Abercrombie each scored two points as part of the North’s winning effort — which was only secured when a last-second shot by Tularosa’s Damian Woods went errant at the buzzer.
Down the stretch, Dora’s Tyler Wilhoit was a key player for the South. All seven of Wilhoit’s points came at the free throw line, but his last miss – one of only three to go awry – may have been intentional.
With the South down by three points, Wilhoit made one foul shot with eight seconds left to trim the score to 82-80. The second try glanced off the front rim and fortuitously picked up by South teammate Andy Reid of Sandia Prep — who was fouled himself.
Reid, however, only made one of two as well with four seconds on the clock.
After the game, Wilhoit also was one with satisfactory thoughts about the whole all-star process.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment, I think, to get up here from Nowhere, New Mexico,” said Wilhoit of his selection to the South squad.