SINCLAIRVILLE - Jamestown's Tommy Campion showed those in attendance for the 2013 Chautauqua County Exceptional Seniors boys' basketball game why he is one of the best players in Western New York.
"It was a lot of fun," Campion said. "This is what everyone wanted to come and do at the end of the year - showcase their talents to the county."
Campion poured in a game-high 28 points Wednesday night at Cassadaga Valley High School, taking home Most Valuable Player honors as the Blue Team defeated the White Team, 99-90.
Above, Dan Lictus puts up a shot while being defended by Jordan Patterson during the Chautauqua County Exceptional Seniors boys game on Wednesday night. Below, Shawna Raymond, the most valuable player in the girls game, shoots over Dani Reinwald. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Rob Tucker
"Everyone came in here wanting to win MVP," Campion said. "And I'm happy to end up with it."
Campion highlighted a game-opening 8-2 run for the Blue Team with the first of his six first-half 3-pointers, but the White Team came right back with a 9-2 run of its own to take a 13-10 lead.
"It's an all-star game and everybody's an all-star for a reason and everybody can play," White Team head coach Brady Deuink said. "It's pretty much just get the kids in, make sure everybody gets their rotations and it was pleasure to work with all of them."
The rest of the first half played out like one might think an all-star game would, as the teams played at a break-neck pace and weren't afraid to show off their abilities from behind the arc.
"I said, 'If you're open, just shoot the ball," Blue team head coach Tim Milliman said of his strategy for the night. "'Just have fun and go out there and enjoy yourselves. It's your moment.'"
The Blue Team finished the first half making 13 treys while the White Team hit just four. Despite the Blue Team's 3-point barrage, the White Team kept pace and trailed by just three points, 57-54, at the break.
"It was more (telling them to) play the game more than anything else," Deuink said. "We ran a few sets once in a while, but the main thing was Tommy Campion happened. He's one of the most prolific scorers in (Jamestown High School) history for a reason. We tried to take away his 3-point shot after he killed us, but then he beat us off the dribble in the second half."
Campion finished the first half with 22 points while Brocton representatives Jordan Patterson and Dan Ferguson, playing together one last time, chipped in a combined 11 points.
"It was a lot of fun," Patterson said. "It was cool to go back out one more time."
"I had a blast, Ferguson added. "A lot of good players. It was probably the best game we had all season."
The White Team was led by Maple Grove's Aaron Germain (10 points) and Will Soffel (five points) while Clymer's Dan Lictus added seven points and Dunkirk's Jacob Lockett six points.
"It's mostly about having fun," Soffel said. "It's kind of disappointing to lose, but at the same time, it was a lot of fun playing the game one last time with everybody."
"Everyone knows each other," Germain added. "And we were just out there playing ball together."
Deuink was called for a technical foul to begin the second half, but it was for a good reason.
"Being a fellow Board 39 official myself, I got a little bit fired up with the guys," Deuink said jokingly. "(Forestville's Nate Maines) had a knee injury, so we were looking to get him in the scorebook and he made one of those free throws. And I was happy to take the technical to get him in the scorebook. No doubt about it."
Things didn't get much better for the White Team from there, as the Blue Team, spurred by seven points from Ferguson, went on a 13-4 run to push its lead to 70-58.
"I've been watching those kids for three or four years now," Milliman said of Ferguson and Patterson. "And they're just great kids. They're good, team-oriented kids and you can tell when you're talking with them. They're fun. They're good kids."
The Blue Team pushed its lead to 16 at one point - 78-62 - on a bucket by Patterson, but the White Team kept it competitive and closed the deficit to seven on four occasions. Lockett was even able to show off a part of his game that he never had the chance to with Dunkirk during his varsity career, as he connected on a 3-pointer while also hitting a 17-footer.
"He would not let me," Lockett said of whether or not Jerome Moss would let him shoot 3-pointers for the Marauders. "I was basically the inside presence. It was great playing my last high school basketball game, there was a lot of chemistry."
In the end however, Campion and the rest of his Blue Team teammates were too much for the White Team to handle.
"We've been playing with him for years," Germain said of Campion. "And we know he's a good player. He always comes out and plays hard, but you have to do your best on him. He showed up and (Wednesday) and put some buckets in."
"He's just outstanding," Milliman added of Campion. "He's playing against some of the best players in Western New York night in and night out and it shows. He's just a level above everybody else. He's fun to watch."