In memory of Frank
HOWLAND – There was no need for Craig Giesy to give a pre-game speech to the Trumbull County all-star basketball team.
That job was done for him thanks to Howland coach Bill Bogan and former Warren G. Harding coach Bob LaRicca.
Speaking before the start of the boys’ portion of the 12th annual Trumbull County Coaches Association Frank Bubba Memorial Classic Tuesday, Bogan and LaRicca both spoke from the heart about the struggles Bubba, who coached at Harding, endured in dealing with the effects of cystic fibrosis before his death in 2002.
Giesy, who coached the Trumbull team, challenged the players to play, as Bogan put it, “the Bubba way.” The players took the challenge to heart and staged one of the more competitive all-star games seen in years, capping it off with a layup by Bristol’s Chad Oliver to give Trumbull a 75-73 win over the Mahoning County all stars.
“I thought coach Bogan and coach LaRicca did a good job before they went out to play hard for coach Bubba,” said Giesy, who led Bristol to an undefeated regular season. “I think all the boys did a good job of that.”
Mahoning County was a 58-45 winner over Trumbull in the girls game.
It’s rare when coaches call timeouts in all-star games, but the close nature of the boys game resulted in two timeouts. Mahoning coach Dennis Simmons of Youngstown East called the first stoppage to set up a play with Mahoning trailing 73-70. Taylor Johnson of East promptly made a 3-point shot to tie the score.
Giesy then called a timeout with 9.1 seconds remaining, which put him in a precarious position. With five players on the court who were stars on their respective teams, a decision had to be made concerning who takes the last shot.
“I put it in Oliver’s hands and was sending (John) Richards off a double screen,” Giesy said. “I told (Jeremy) Quinlan and Arbie (Murray) to look for a slip and I had (Stephen) Politano coming off the other side for maybe a back door.
“I was trying to please all of them. I said, ‘You can slip here and you can get the ball here.’ They doubled us and we got a bucket off of it.”
Politano took a pass from Richards to the left of the lane on the winning possession. Politano was doubled but was able to pass to a wide open Oliver under the basket.
Quinlan of Brookfield scored 15 points and was named Trumbull’s MVP. Murray of Howland had 12 points.
“I definitely feel pride because they look at me getting this MVP,” Quinlan said. “It’s nice to get recognized.”
Johnson led all scorers with 26 points in winning Mahoning MVP honors. Doug Caputo of Mooney had 14, Kevin Jackson of Ursuline had 12 and Preston Williams of Ursuline finished with 10.
Oliver won the 3-point shooting contest with 15 successful shots in one minute. Peyton Aldridge of LaBrae won the slam dunk contest.
There wasn’t as much drama in the girls’ game, although Trumbull made a run late in the fourth quarter before Mahoning pulled away. Trumbull coach Jeff Thompson challenged the players to put on a good show.
“A lot of these games we go to, it seems like Mahoning kind of dominates,” said Thompson, who coaches at Champion. “We competed well. We haven’t played in awhile and we missed a couple of shots, but we competed and had fun.”
Gabby Lamont of Champion led Trumbull in scoring with 12 points, which earned her team MVP laurels.
“We all play against each other throughout the season,” Lamont said. “When we get together we really don’t have chemistry, but we know what we can do. It’s nice to be able to play with each other instead of against each other.”
Ashley Hefferon of Struthers had 11 points and was named Mahoning’s MVP. Sydney Beasley of Ursuline had 12 points.
Victoria Rappach, a freshman at Howland, won the 3-point contest with 15 made shots.