Foes turned friends

BOARDMAN – You learn all kinds of things at a high school all-star basketball game.

Like, who would have ever thought the head coaches at rival high schools Maplewood and Bristol could sit next to each other on the same bench for 32 minutes without acting like jealous brothers?

Yet there were Maplewood coach Nathan Kish and Bristol coach Craig Giesy sitting side-by-side and living in perfect harmony as the coaches for the Trumbull County boys’ team in the 44th annual Al Beach Classic Wednesday at Boardman High School.

“We’re friends for except 64 minutes a year,” said Kish shortly after Mahoning County’s 90-71 win. “We talk a lot. We spend time together. The two (regular-season) games we play 32 minutes long, we want to beat each other.”

Giesy was an assistant under Kish a few years ago at Lordstown. Both moved to their current jobs for the 2011-12 season.

Giesy found some humor in the basketball-makes-for-strange-bedfellows aspect of the game.

“Who would have ever thought that would have happened without a fist fight?” Giesy said.

Kish and Giesy would never think of going together on scouting trips during the season, but they do talk about the game at various times during the year.

“We do throughout the season and offseason all the time,” Giesy said. “Throw the basketball stuff out. We both love the game. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about different situations. We can’t talk to each other for a week or so after a game, but once it settles down we talk about even our games.”

The laidback atmosphere of the Beach Classic and the Bubba Classic the day before spread among the players. No one took advantage of the opportunity to have fun in both games more than Mineral Ridge’s Zac Hagy, who did a little showboating after making a 3-pointer in front of Andrew Midgely (Canfield) on his first shot of the game.

“You come out and have fun – that’s what it’s all about,” said Hagy, who led Trumbull in scoring with 11 points. “Some of the best kids in the area, some that I’ve known and grown up with. I just wanted to have a good time on my last time on the court.”

Mahoning County pulled away after leading by a slim 39-38 margin at halftime. The winners made 13 shots from beyond the 3-point arc and were led in scoring by most valuable player Jacob Wolfe of Poland and Ursuline’s Paul Jackson with 12 points each. Jarret Vrabel of Canfield added 10 points.

Brandon Lee of Bristol and Brandon Bates of Badger both had 10 points for Trumbull County.

Mahoning County was an easy 67-39 winner in the girls’ game, making it a clean sweep of the four combined games in the Beach and Bubba Classics. Austintown Fitch’s Megan Sefick, who will play at the University of Akron, earned MVP honors in scoring 18 points for the winners.

“It’s definitely a special award,” said Sefcik, who made four 3-point shots. “It was a lot of fun to be able to play against players that you played against throughout the year.”

Jenna Kuczek (Boardman) had 13 points for Mahoning Valley. McKenzie Gatchel scored 10.

Among the highlights of the night was a superb shooting effort by Howland junior Victoria Rappach, who won the 3-point contest by making 19 shots. Jake Jones of Lordstown won the boys’ 3-point event with 14.

LaBrae senior Peyton Aldridge made it a sweep of the slam dunks contest in the Beach and Bubba Classics.