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Classic brings people together

The Telegraph's Austin Hansen goes around a screen set by teammate Kyle Moore during Thursday's SVM All-Star Classic at Sauk Valley Community College.
The Telegraph's Austin Hansen goes around a screen set by teammate Kyle Moore during Thursday's SVM All-Star Classic at Sauk Valley Community College.

A line change featuring Alex Cain took a seat in front of the scorer's table on Thursday night at the SVM All-Star Classic.

Included in the group of players about to enter were Newman High School graduates Kyle Moore, Nic Miller and Lucas Terveer.

The Telegraph coach Quinn Virgil, who was Cain's coach at Oregon, yelled down to the group.

"No more zone."

A moment passed, then it was Cain who answered.

"No more zone? We've got three Newman kids going in, we have to play zone."

The group laughed, alluding to the 1-3-1 zone that has become a staple of the Comets' basketball program since Ray Sharp took over the team a couple years ago.

"All right," Virgil said. "Do you all know what you are doing?"

They all nodded as the buzzer sounded, and they entered the game.

The interaction wasn't something that most of the 500 fans packed into the Sauk Valley Community College gym noticed, but it highlights the best part of this game.

The melding of styles, the blurring of school lines and the formation of new friendships and hoops brethren is what the SVM All-Star Classic is all about.

"Kyle Moore wanted to end every practice with a huddle with a 'Go, Newman,'" Virgil said. "I told him that was the only time I'd allow that in the Oregon gym."

As a coach, Virgil loved having the big guy on the inside, and he was also excited to coach Eastland players Ty Hartman and Austin Hansen.

"They are just so tough," Virgil said.

Hartman proved to be a major asset, scoring 25 points in earning MVP honors. In doing, so he became the first boy from Eastland to earn MVP honors at the SVM All-Star Classic.

A nice way for him to end his high school hoops career after the Cougars placed fourth at the 1A state tournament in March.

Thursday wasn't about trophies or high-pressure victories. It was about fun, and that was universally confirmed by coaches and players in both the girls and boys games.

This group of seniors will all move on to uncertain futures. Some will remain here in the Sauk Valley. Some will move on to bigger cities and grander ventures.

But they'll remember that night at Sauk, win or lose. They'll remember friends made. Some will even remember the post-game meal.

"We got to know each other," Moore said. "We've become friends, and we've found people we can get together for pickup games. Heck, we're even going to B-Dubs [Buffalo Wild Wings] after this together as a team."

That's cool. I can't wait to see it all happen again next June.

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