Players shine as All-Stars

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

History tends to repeat itself or so goes the old adage. In the case of Jessica Mitchell, Erin Gasser, Avery Roller and Brittany Vollenweider, the adage is true.

All four girls played together back in middle school for a traveling team named the "Shockers" and last weekend reunited to play in the Lions Club All-Star game held at the Leggett and Platt center in Joplin.

"Yeah, it was just like old times," said Mitchell, who led scoring for the South team with 15 points.

"I didn't go into the game wanting to score the most, I just wanted to win," explained Mitchell.

The South did win, but the game was not a cinch. With three minutes left and a 14-point lead, Mitchell found herself back on the bench continuing a periodic rotation. In those moments, the North closed the score and tied the game.

"I was worried," said Mitchell. "I was sitting out at the time, and I was freaking out really."

The South's Melea Cook hit a shot to put the team up 60-58, and after a botched North opportunity, Mitchell came in and caught the game-ending inbounds pass.

Mitchell finished with the team-high 15 points while Roller was third with nine of her own. Vollenweider tallied two in the contest.

All three girls will be headed to college in the fall and will also continue their athletic endeavors.

Mitchell signed with Crowder and will continue basketball there. Roller will head south where she has committed to Hendrix College for basketball, and Vollenweider is on her way north to Baker University to play softball.

The county also had one boy's All-Star participant in Jon Pendergraft from Wheaton. Pendergraft did not score any points.

The Lions All-Star game is an annual event held on the campus of Missouri Southern State University. The teams are selected geographically, north and south, from area seniors who played basketball.

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