Like a choreographed and heavily practiced dance, Davion McAdam grabbed the rebound at the edge of the elbow and drove. Each step planted with conviction as he weaved through three defenders and pulled up. The acrobatic shot ricocheted off the backboard and into the basket. His teammates loved it. The on-hand crowd at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym politely clapped.
Having sat through hours of all-star activities already Saturday, the energy at Casper College was fading midway through the third quarter when McAdam performed his tight-rope act. By the final whistle of the North’s 100-80 win of the Wyoming Coaches Foundation All-Star Boys Basketball Game there was no energy left. At least those on the court, all playing in their last high school game, left it all out on the court.
Back in his Kelly Walsh days McAdam could rely on the Trojan faithful to keep a rowdy atmosphere. But on Saturday he had to channel his idol to catch that drive.
“It’s a little corny but I feed off of one of my favorite players, Kobe Bryant,” McAdam explained. “He always plays hard at all times and that’s what I wanted to do. And I wanted to show everybody in my hometown why I’m one of the better players in the state.”
It was, essentially, the North’s game to win throughout. They gained momentum first and while their first-half lead fluctuated, they never trailed during that time. Cody Thompson (Wright) scored a put-back just before the first-quarter buzzer to give the North a 3-point lead. Antonio Coando (Lander) hit a long-range 3 to expand that lead to double digits midway through the second quarter. The two sides traded buckets the rest of the way with Tyce Dahlberg (Buffalo) and Erik Oliver (Cheyenne East) both scoring just before halftime.
Out of that break came a revitalized effort from the South and what proved to be its final hurrah. Crucial free throws from Danny Gosar (Pinedale) and a pair of deep 3’s from Oliver tied the game at 54-all, bringing the two teams level for the first time since the opening bucket. But instead of a back-and-forth second half that was destined to go to the wire, the North regained its footing. Consistent effort in the block, constant on-ball pressure and drives to the basket helped the North re-establish a double-digit lead. Well, that and McAdam.
McAdam, the main scoring threat from the reigning Class 4A state champions, went off in the third quarter. After scoring just 4 points in the first half, McAdam scored 19 in the third quarter alone. He finished with 28.
“I just took it personal,” McAdam said. “I think of myself as one of the better players in the state and I wasn’t satisfied with how I was playing in the first half. I wanted to kick it up another notch and I was able to do it.”
Once the North regained its double-digit lead there was no looking back. They were consistent from distance and the South couldn’t stop the onslaught long enough to dent the deficit. Thompson scored a turnaround jumper in the final minute to put the North at the century mark, which brought another exhausted applause from the few still in attendance.
Oliver, who was often tasked with guarding McAdam, led the South in scoring with 24 points.