WARREN Lakeview basketball coach George Lanterman was more a fan than a coach during the boys' basketball game of the eighth annual Frank Bubba Memorial Classic.
Watching the skills of the Trumbull County team in its 122-100 win over Mahoning County Friday at Warren G. Harding High School, Lanterman had to wonder what it would be like to have those players together for an entire season.
"They all have great attitudes," he said. "We had 15, so they were only getting three or four minutes at a time. They were cheering each other on, and that's what basketball is all about. I know it got long at the end, but it's for the kids, and that's what it's all about."
There was a distinct Harding presence to Trumbull's effort. Desmar Jackson, a key figure in the Raiders' run to the Division I state tournament, was named MVP of the winning team with a 26-point performance. Isiaha Henderson, another Harding senior, added 15 points.
To the delight of fans, Jackson showed off his acrobatic moves, complete with a few slam dunks. For him, it was a great way to play his final game in the area before going on to the University of Wyoming.
"It was fun," Jackson said. "They don't have too much defense in these games. We all just came together."
Playing defense never has been -nor ever will be - a part of the plan in all-star games. The longer the game went, the less defense was played and the more the offensive talents of the players were displayed.
In the final minutes, players literally stepped aside on the defensive end to let the offensive skills assume control. Trumbull County got the best of that show.
"A little bit of Trumbull County pride coming out here and playing hard," Lanterman said. "Most of these guys are going to go somewhere else and play. This isn't the last time you're going to see them."
Teshawn Letlow of Liberty scored 12 points in the second half to finish with 18 for the winners. Others scoring in double figures for Trumbull County were Tyler Scott of Howland (14), Marcus Fowler of Newton Falls (12), Floyd Showers of Liberty (10) and Nick Brown of John F. Kennedy (10).
Youngstown East's Kenny Carter, who scored 21 points, was named MVP of the Mahoning County team. Others scoring in double figures for Mahoning County were Dominique Cole of Ursuline (17), Ben Carlile of Jackson-Milton (13), Myke Parker of Chaney (12) and Dorian Jones of Campbell Memorial (10).
The winners led 57-50 at halftime. Trumbull didn't relinquish the lead during the mass of substitutions by Lanterman.
For Lanterman, it was all about giving the fans something worth watching.
"Everyone was excited to see the talent from our area play," he said. "It makes it exciting."
Ryan Frantz of Niles McKinley won the 3-point shooting contest with 15 successful shots. Brown edged Jackson in winning the slam-dunk contest.
Trumbull 122, Mahoning 100
MAHONING (100): John Williams 1 0 2, Dorian Jones 5 0 10, Ryan Pesta 2 0 4, Ronnie Martino 4 0 9, Myke Parker 5 2 12, Kenny Carter 9 2 21, Dominique Cole 8 0 17, Ben Carlile 3 4 13, Justin Lude 4 0 8, Olonzo Johnson 2 0 4. Totals: FG 43; FT 8.
TRUMBULL (122): Kyle Spence 2 0 4, Tyler Scott 7 0 14, Nick Brown 5 0 10, Bryan Watkins 2 0 5, Joel Davis 2 0 4, Robert Franks 1 0 2, Floyd Showers 5 0 10, Sean Zekkour 1 0 2, Marcus Fowler 6 0 12, Todd Medallis 0 2 2, Desmar Jackson 12 0 26, Teshawn Letlow 7 2 18, Isiaha Henderson 6 0 15. Totals: FG 56; FT 4.
HALFTIME: Trumbull, 57-50.