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Senior basketball players cap outstanding careers by putting on a show at All-Star Saturday

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher OCEAN CITY — Nazir Williams of Bridgeton is big, strong and intimidating on the basketball court. Oakcrest senior Trevor Little is about 5-foot-9 and around 150 pounds. Not your typical matchup at center court for the opening tip of a high school basketball game. But that’s what the Prime Events All-Star Saturday at Ocean City High School was all about — recognizing some of the Cape-Atlantic League’s best seniors and giving them an opportunity to showcase their skills one last time. Williams won the tipoff with relative ease, as he jumped about two feet higher than Little, and also had some vicious slam dunks that highlighted a 99-90 win by Team Rodio over Team Gillespie. Little, never shy on the basketball court or the soccer field, seemed to be having the most fun of anybody on the court, reacting to great dunks, playing to the crowd during the 3-point shooting contest, and also nailing a couple of threes during the all-star game. The teams were coached by Paul Rodio, who was helped out by his son, who now is the coach at St. Joseph, and Holy Spirit’s Jamie Gillespie, who was joined on the bench by Gene Allen, coach of rival Atlantic City. He also had the misfortune of being under the basket when St. Joseph’s B.J. Mitchell threw down a dunk. But, that’s all part of the fun of an all-star game. Holy Spirit's Jordan Taylor slams home one of his several dunks during the Cape-Atlantic League All-Star Game on Saturday at Ocean City High School. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Holy Spirit’s Jordan Taylor slams home one of his several dunks during the Cape-Atlantic League All-Star Game on Saturday at Ocean City High School. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) “It’s crazy because you are used to (a normal high school game) and then you’re getting dunked on. B.J. is really good, I love that kid. It’s really cool because you become friends with all these guys,” said Little, who was one of the top 3-point shooters in the league this past season. “I was just making jokes with everybody throughout the game.” Little said he had a few words of pleading for the referee before the opening tip. “I told him not to throw it up too high. It was so much fun, a great experience. Especially since missing that last shot against Ocean City (in the state playoffs), I thought that would be my last game, so it was cool to be invited to the all-star game.” The game was also a big thrill for  Che’Quan Hargrose, a senior who led Pleasantville to 13 wins and a berth in the state playoffs this year. He was named the game’s MVP after hitting six 3-pointers and scoring 24 points. “It was pretty fun. Stunning. I didn’t know I was going to come out firing like that,” Hargrose said. “I didn’t really expect this. I’m at a loss for words right now. It’s a pleasure to play and with and against some Division I prospects who are going places next year. It was a very big, exciting game. We are very competitive with one another, because they were the best on their team, and me bringing what I could do against them was cool. They could see my competitiveness and today they saw what I could do.” “It was fun to be on the same team that your normally play against. It’s definitely going to be memorable. I’m glad my last game was like this. It was really fun,” said Absegami’s Eva Sodaitis, who scored 12 points to help lead Team Baruffi, coach by Ocean City’s Paul Baruffi, to a 65-46 win over the team coached by Lower Cape May’s Scott Douglass. For Maddie Tomasello, a senior forward at Cedar Creek, All-Star Saturday was a nice way to finish off the season after the Pirates’ disappointing loss in the state playoffs. Absegami's Eva Sodaitis bozes out Lower Cape May's Madie Gibson on a free-throw attempt during the girls' All-Star game. Absegami’s Eva Sodaitis bozes out Lower Cape May’s Madie Gibson on a free-throw attempt during the girls’ All-Star game. “At the end of Cedar Creek’s season you could tell we were all upset because we had been teammates since fifth grade. But you get through the sad part and it was exciting to play on the same team as all of your competitors. It was a great experience,” Tomasello said. “During the season, you kind of watch them on film and see what their talents were, and today we got to use them together.” Tomasello also was crowned the day’s 3-point shooting champion. She won the girls event, then outlasted Holy Spirit’s Matt Sommers, the boys winner, by nailing 14-of-15 threes in the boys champion vs. girls champion showdown. “It was pretty awesome,” Tomasello said. “I was a little nervous, but I think we all did great.” Holy Spirit senior guard Audrey Wilson said she was honored to be a part of not only a fun all-star game, but also an event that honors past CAL legends such as Beth Hartman, Dixie Howell and Dave Lewis. “This is probably the best part of the season. You play against these girls almost your entire life of basketball, and it’s fun to have a fun contest where you kind of inter-mingle with each other and have fun. A lot of the girls, just from playing against them, you know them on a first-name basis, but I thought it was great to play on the same team with them because you get to know them,” Wilson said. “It’s definitely really humbling because I didn’t come into the season thinking I was going to be recognized that much. I was just trying to be a help for my team, so it’s nice to see your hard work pay off and for people to recognize that.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays  [adsense]

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