San Luis Obispo High School senior Lily Svetich ended her high school basketball career in the best way possible Saturday.
Svetich was the girls game MVP and her North squad beat the South 59-53 at Hancock College's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium in the 29th annual Kiwanis Central Coast All-Star Basketball Spectacular.
There is a decent chance Svetich's basketball career did not end Saturday. "I'm going to Cal Poly as a preferred walk on," Svetich said after she scored a team-high 16 points and helped the North stave off a late South comeback.
Lily Svetich (23) of San Luis Obispo was voted Kiwanis All-Star Spectacular MVP after Saturday night's game at Hancock College.
The North leads the all-time series 14-10.
The victors withstood Righetti's Alijah Paquet's game-high 25 points for the South. Paquet won the halftime 3-point shooting contest.
Svetich scored 16 points and snared six rebounds despite, she said, not being in full game shape.
"After the (high school) season, I took some time off," Svetich said. "I got back into it a couple weeks ago with some workouts, but I'm still not completely in shape yet."
Svetich's high school coach, Dan Monroe, coached the North squad.
Jayden Loewens (53) of Paso Robles battles Alijah Paquet (20) from Righetti for a loose ball during the 2019 Kiwanis All-Star Spectacular at H…
The Kiwanis Central Coast All-Star Spectacular is a seniors-only game. The North is comprised of players from San Luis Obispo County. The South squad is comprised of players from Northern Santa Barbara County.
Girls games are college length, with four 10-minute quarters as opposed to four eight-minute quarters, which comprise high school games. Teams cannot press full court or play man-to-man defense.
The North seemed on its way to winning handily after Nipomo senior Janna Slover nailed a 3-pointer to put her team ahead 38-24 at the 5:33 mark of the third quarter.
Alijah Paquet (20) of Righetti won the girls three-point shooting contest at Saturday night's Kiwanis All-Star Basketball Spectacular at Hanco…
The South defense started doing after that what the North defense had done to the South in the first half to help the North to a 30-20 halftime lead – the South defenders clogged up the lane, making it hard for the North to get good looks at the basket.
The South gradually climbed back into contention, and St. Joseph's Maddie Miller made it a one possession game when she drained a 3-pointer at the 7:01 mark of the fourth quarter to pull the South within 47-44.
The South had a chance to tie on its next possession, but Miller missed a '3', and the South couldn't pull any closer.
Lily Svetich (23) of San Luis Obispo took home MVP honors during the Kiwanis All-Star Spectacular.
Mission Prep point guard Ary Gonzales beat tough defense and scored on an inside move at the 5:25 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 51-45, and the North did enough after that to keep the South at bay.
Svetich helped the North salt away the win by scoring her squad's last four points.
The North's Catherine Talley of Arroyo Grande was the leading rebounder with 11. Mia Gonzalez of Mission Prep pulled down nine rebounds, Peyton Pelech of Arroyo Grande snared eight and Jayden Loewens of Paso Robles snagged seven for the North, which out-rebounded the South 56-43.
Lita Wright of Santa Ynez scored 10 points for the South. Wright was also the South's rebounds leader with eight. Paquet pulled down six. Cabrillo senior Alexa McCune helped the South stay in it late with some key defensive steals.
Marlies Cortez (30) of Santa Ynez shoots during the Kiwanis All-Star game.
Svetich said, "It was cool playing with these girls (on the North) after playing against them all this time. It was nice that we were able to have one last high school game together."
Orcutt Academy coach Tom Robb coached the South squad. "This was my first time coaching this game, and it was great," he said. "The girls did a great job."
The crowd filled up nearly one half of the Hancock stands (the other half was, customarily, folded up), and a pleased event organizer Gary Prober said, "I think this might be the best attendance we've ever had."
South boys 104, North 101
Righetti senior and Tulane football commit Caleb Thomas was the game MVP, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds as he helped the South edge the North in the second half of the 29th annual Kiwanis Central Coast All Star Basketball Spectacular doubleheader.
The South saw the 86-75 lead it had to start the fourth quarter disappear but rallied late and won on foul shooting down the stretch.
The South hit six of its eight free throws in the last 1:08. After seeing the North go ahead briefly, 99-98 on an Adasson Wright free throw, EJ Brinez of St. Joseph put the South ahead for good, 100-99, when, with 38.8 seconds left, he made the first of two foul shots for the second straight time.
Kainoa Keuma, Brinez's St. Joseph teammate buried two free throws with 9.6 seconds left. Caleb Whalen of Arroyo Grande pulled the South within 102-101 when he made a runner in the lane with 0.6 seconds remaining.
The North fouled the South's Joon Soo Lee of Righetti immediately, but Lee made both free throws and Keuma intercepted a last-gasp North throw-in.
Wright, a San Luis Obispo senior, led all scorers with 29 points. The North had four other players in double figures, Bryan Smith of Arroyo Grande (19 points), Mark Vidal of Mission Prep (16 ), Finley Hungerford of Mission Prep (12) and Whalen (10).
Keuma led the South with 24 points. Brinez and Thomas Segal of Santa Maria scored 10 points each.
Hungerford won the 3-point shooting contest. Tyson Offill of Morro Bay won the dunk contest.
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