It was basically what one would expect from a high school all-star game.
It had flashes of brilliance followed by miserable attempts at alley-oop passes that found their way into the backboard, the crowd and frightened groups of cheerleaders.
But for all the sloppy play at the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game last night in Cameron Indoor Stadium, it turned out to be a decent game. The West squad rebounded from a 15-point deficit after a turnover-laden first half to pull out a 131-125 victory.
"[West team coach Robert Hughes] got on us like we were his high school team," shooting guard Daniel Ewing said. "We were getting our butts kicked and that's how he put it. I think we took that to heart. We came out and had some pride in ourselves."
For the first four minutes of the second half, the West made little progress and the East's lead stood at 85-72.
Going into the game, the West looked to have a big advantage inside with center Eddy Curry and power forward David Lee. But in the first half, the East held the duo in check, allowing them to only 20
"In the first half, we were nonchalant," said Lee, who will suit up for the Florida Gators next season. "[In the second half], we bared down on defense and worked as hard as we could to get back in it.
The two came out motivated.
Lee and Curry dominated the boards, pulling down nine rebounds and scoring 17 points in the third quarter as the West Squad outscored the East 36-22 to pull the contest within one at 97-96.
"I think it was about heart," Curry said. "We didn't want to get blown out. We're all all-stars here, so there is no reason for us to get blown out."
The big men pulled the game close in the third, but it was the guards that put it away in the final period.
The East squad still held on to a 109-108 lead with 7:30 remaining.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Then a pair of guards from Willowridge High School in Texas showed why they brought home the state title this year.
Terrance Ford and Ewing took over the game. They held off touted East guard Dajuan Wagner and ran the fast break that brought the West a victory.
"We were just making the right passes, picking up the defense and getting the ball to the open man," said Ford, who just missed a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Ewing finished with 10 points and three assists.
Although the future Blue Devils' numbers were not phenomenal, Ewing closed the game-and his first appearance in Cameron-in style. He nailed a jumper with 26 seconds left and set up Curry for the two-handed dunk that proved to be the West team's final basket.
"He's got great footwork for being that big," Ewing said of Curry. "He did a great job of getting up and down the floor. I think he is going to do well at the next level."
Evidently, the game's officials agreed.
Curry, who finished the game with 28 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, narrowly edged Lee as the game's most valuable player. Lee had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
"By halftime, I knew I had a lot of points," Curry said. "I was trying to break the record [of 31 points set in 1999 by Jonathan Bender], but it didn't happen. We won and that's great. That's enough for me."