Blue Springs South girls basketball players Tiffany Davenport and Naia Tauai are used to playing against Aaliyah Johnson of Lee’s Summit North. After all, the Jaguars and Broncos are division rivals.
Tauai and Davenport have played Johnson’s team a total of eight times in four years, so the rivalry aspect is there. Grain Valley’s Claire Rose and William Chrisman’s Bri Burns were in a similar situation. Although the Eagles and Bears aren’t in the same conference, the two teams meet up in the regular season at least once a year for the past four seasons.
Now, imagine all five of these talented girls on one team. That dream scenario became a reality when these five local talents joined forces to compete in the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association Girls Mo-Kan All-Star game Friday at Shawnee Mission South High School.
They all contributed to Missouri’s 56-54 win over Kansas. On the boys side, Missouri completed the sweep with a 102-96 victory.
“It was a little unusual at first,” Johnson said of playing with Davenport and Tauai. “It was cool at the same time. We were all out there playing the game we love, so it was fun.”
The all-star game also allowed the backcourt duo of Rose and Davenport to play together for the first time as both got to start. Early in the game Rose got a steal and whipped an outlet pass to Davenport for a fast-break layup.
“Me and Tiff have played against each other forever,” said Rose, who finished with four points, two assists and a steal. “It’s pretty cool to be on the same team.”
What was just as cool as two of the best guards in the area playing with each other was a nifty layup Davenport made. She received a feed from DiRenna Award winner Abby Hipp of St. Pius X at the baseline, deked a defender with a quick head fake and flipped up a reverse layup that fell in during the second quarter.
“That was fun,” Davenport said. “Abby (Hipp) told me to go backdoor and I just caught up somehow and threw it up and somehow went in.”
Davenport, who scored seven points, also got the opportunity to play with Tauai one last time. Tauai was a late addition to the Missouri lineup last week after Park Hill’s Morgan Smith tore her ACL.
“I was excited because Tiff was playing and we got to play with each other one last time,” said Tauai, who finished with four points and seven rebounds. “We got our emotions (of playing together for the last time) out during the regular season. It was still nice to have one more game.”
While their time as teammates came to a close, Burns and Johnson began their time together. Those two will play together next year at Stephen F. Austin University.
“It was a really good experience. We’ve known each other for a long time,” Burns, who had six points, two assists and a steal, said of Johnson, who had four rebounds and a steal. “This game is for preparation. You are always going to play against the best. We just have to get used to that. This game helped us and it was a fun time.”
After the game, Rose admitted it felt good to pass more than take on the scoring load as she had to do with an injury-riddled Eagles team this season. She made 1 of 2 free throws with about 4 seconds left to help seal it.
“That’s the story of my life,” Rose said of being on the free throw line late in games.
Grain Valley head coach Randy Draper, who also coached the all-star game, wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“We were discussing free throw shooters at the end and I said, ‘Rose,’” Draper said. “I was impressed with all of our area girls. They all played well tonight.”
St. Joseph Lafayette’s Ashlyn Dodson took MVP honors for Missouri as she scored nine points.
Blue Springs senior Tyree King was the lone local representative on the boys side and he got to start during the victory. He scored two points and had an assist and a rebound. He got to play with Lee’s Summit West Elijah Childs after facing off against his Titans for the past four years.
Childs won Missouri MVP honors 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. King scored his lone points on a pull-up jumper at the free throw line.
“I played basketball with these dudes my whole life, I had a lot of fun tonight,” said King, who is getting interest from Division II teams. “It’s a lot easier to throw the ball to Elijah than help guard him. (On his basket) I had to give people a little taste of what I can do.”
And Blue Springs coach Adam Jones was there to coach King one last time as the boys all-star coach.
“It was nice to spend all weekend with him,” Jones said. “We had our banquet last weekend and that was tough, but this was just fun. It was neat to watch him play a little bit more. Kids like him are irreplaceable.”