May 29, 2024

Area Stars Shine in 29th Annual Western Kansas All-Star Game

Members of Team Brown pose after winning the 29th Annual Western Kansas All-Star Game, 103-98, against Team Gold. From left to right; Mikey Doll, Jay Gould, Manny Gonzalez, Danzel Mendez, Emilio Zundt, Colton Harbin, Griffin Heger, Bradon Bird, Noah Shinette, Isaac Martin, Matt Cox.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Southwest Kansas student-athletes are renowned for their competitive energy. Faced with any adversity, this region’s talent always rises above it.

Even in an all-star game – usually a spectacle that features a relaxed, care-free attitude – 18 of the region’s best senior basketball players suited up to win at all costs.

The 29th Annual Southwestern Kansas All-Star Game was a huge success at Conestoga Arena, featuring one of the closest finishes in event history. Team Brown defeated Team Gold, 103-98, in a back-and-forth game throughout all 40 minutes.

“These kids aren’t used to losing. You think ‘all-star game’ [as] up and down [the court], nobody cares. No, not with these kids,” Garden City Community College assistant coach, Jaxon Autry, said. “You could definitely see it in the last six minutes, it started picking up. Like, we got kids taking charges in all-star games.”

The intensity was there all game long. Hugoton High School’s Griffin Heger took a charge against his high school teammate, Emmett Gaskill, in a one-possession game inside the last two minutes.

That last sentence should tell this was no normal all-star game.

Hugoton’s student-athletes shined throughout the contest, especially Izeyah Harris. The 4A All-State Second Team forward won game MVP for Team Gold, boasting a 26-point, 14-rebound double-double.

“I wasn’t nervous, which I felt like I was going to be, coming to a game like this,” Harris explained. “I settled my nerves, and it allowed me to play well.”

Harris, a First Team All-GWAC honoree in 2024, exploded out of the gates early.

He scored 15 points in the first half, leading all scorers. Harris was duking it out with fellow Hugoton forward, Isaac Martin, who led Team Brown with 11 first-half points.

“It’s almost unfair,” Martin joked about guarding Harris. “He’s such a handful, there’s really no answer for a guy that’s that athletic, that strong, that quick.”

Garden City’s Emilio Zundt also boasted a strong game for Team Brown. The First Team All-WAC guard hit consecutive threes in the first half, finishing in double-figures in the win.

He did it all with a smile on his face, trading buckets with travel ball teammate, Dasean Lewis.

“It’s the time to have fun, play with a couple of guys from Western Kansas, and just see what we got,” Zundt said.

The game exemplified the up-and-coming talent throughout this area. Schools such as Hugoton and Goodland have been mainstays of the 4A West, while Lakin and Wichita County continue to make big strides.

“You have a number of players here that are going to play college basketball,” Team Brown head coach, Mikey Doll, said. “You’re just seeing great athletes out here.”

Schools/players represented;

Hugoton- Dasean Lewis, Izeyah Harris, Emmett Gaskill, Isaac Martin, Griffin Heger

Goodland- Cole Linton, Manny Gonzalez, Noah Shinette

Ulysses – Alex Navarrete, Danzel Mendez

Syracuse – Kaidin Upson, Jay Gould

Garden City – Emilio Zundt

Holcomb – Luis Gonzalez Trieto

Lakin – M.J. Gonzalez

Logan/Palco – Cameron Morgan

Meade – Bradon Bird

Wichita County – Colton Harbin