GIRARD - It's not always easy for a coach of an all-star high school basketball game to feel happy about the event.
They can put on a good face and say how much fun it is coaching the best players in the area, but then they realize that some of the players on the floor played for them. Suddenly the thought of graduation seems very cruel.
Brookfield Warriors coach Bill Kovach enjoyed coaching Jeremy Quinlan and Collin Harkulich for the Red team in the 43rd annual Mahoning Valley Coaches Association Al Beach Classic on Wednesday. That joy might have been tempered a bit knowing that Quinlan and Harkulich were part of a dominant senior class at Brookfield that is nearing the end of its high school days.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
McDonald senior Stephen Politano takes aim and fires a shot during the boys 3-point shooting competition on Wednesday at the Al Beach Classic. Politano won the contest.
"Those four seniors I had - not just for me but for the Brookfield school system; you're talking baseball, football and basketball - I don't think you'll see four seniors that will leave a mark on a school like they did," Kovach said after the Red team's 75-61 win over the White team at Girard High School. "The community really appreciated them. They're 'A' students, yes-sir kids. It was a pleasure to coach those four."
In addition to Quinlan and Harkulich, Kovach was referring to Quinlan's twin brother Jimmy and Ryan Mosora. They were standouts on a football team that went undefeated in the regular season and advanced as far as the Division IV Region 13 final. They were stalwarts for a basketball team that had a 19-3 regular-season record and advanced to the Division III district semifinals.
Each of the players who participated in the classic was a standout for his school's team. Many played their final game of competitive basketball last night.
Included among those might be Youngstown East's Deontay Scott, who's weighing playing basketball at Mt. Union or attending Ohio State University for academic purposes only.
Scott went out with a bang, scoring a game-high 25 points to earn MVP honors. He had 12 in the fourth quarter, including two 3-pointers.
Scott, who didn't make a 3-point shot during the season, finished with three to the delight of East coach Dennis Simmons, who teamed with Kovach for the Red team.
"He said I didn't shoot the ball like that all season," Scott said when describing Simmons' reaction to his output.
Doug Caputo of Cardinal Mooney added 13 points to the Red team's total. Marco Delorenzo paced the White team with 11 points.
LaBrae Vikings junior Peyton Aldridge won the slam dunk competition. Stephen Politano of McDonald made 14 shots to win the 3-point shooting contest.
The Red team led after each quarter in winning the girls' game, 59-50. The White team made a late run after trailing 49-35 through three quarters.
Ashley Hefferon of Struthers scored 14 points to collect the MVP award. Ashley Harrison of Crestview had 12 points.
Sabrina Mangopora of Canfield scored 17 points in a losing effort.
Megan Sefcik of Austintown Fitch and Emily Zehentbauer of United Local tied in the 3-point contest with 12 each. Sefcik made 13 in an extra round to win. Zehentbauer had 10.