LYNN — The 14th annual Agganis All-Star Boys Basketball Game brought together the top talent from the North Shore and beyond at Conigliaro Gymnasium, and the South team rode a second-half rally to a big 92-66 victory over the North squad Monday evening.
Marblehead’s James Millett was awarded the MVP for the South team after putting up a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Most of his damage came in the second half, where he and fellow Magician Derek Marino (12 points, four rebounds) helped break the game wide open.
“It was great to get out here and compete against the best players in the area,” Millett, who is heading to the University of Arizona this fall, said. “It was a lot of fun, and it’s an honor to win the MVP in a game like this. It was a great team win.”
Millett had plenty of help from other all-stars on his side, including Winthrop’s Tayjaun McKenzie (14 points). Other top scorers for the South squad were Classical’s Edwin Solis (13 points, four rebounds) and Malden’s Tyler Holness (11 points, five rebounds).
“We had a bit of a slow start but were still able to take that lead into halftime,” said South coach Dave Brown, who coaches the St. Mary’s boys team. “But in the second half I told the guys, ‘whoever is playing defense is staying on the floor.’ And the guys really did a great job buckling down and getting the win.”
For the North team, Beverly’s Luigi Derrane led the way with 19 points to earn MVP honors. St. John’s Prep forward Matt Relihan (12 points, three rebounds) and Melrose guard Joe Stanton (10 points) were the only other North players in double figures. Peabody’s Jake Irvine added six points in the loss.
The North got off to a great start, taking an early 13-4 lead thanks to some solid hustle plays and great passing. But the South stuck around the whole time, eventually cutting the deficit to just two points with two minutes left in the first half. In the final minute of the half, Classical’s Ishmael Johnson (seven points, five rebounds) scored four quick points to give the South its first lead. When the buzzer sounded, the South held a slim lead at 32-31.
The second half saw a number of highlight plays, both good and not-so-good. The entire audience got a good laugh about five minutes into the half when Hamilton-Wenham’s James Lusting had a momentary lapse in awareness. After receiving an inbound pass at the top of the key, Lusting, playing for the North team, turned around and bolted toward the opposite hoop and flipped in a layup, giving the South team an extra two points. While it was hardly the deciding basket in the game, it did help the South push its lead up to 10 points over the next several minutes. It was then that Millett and Marino teamed up to keep the South ahead for good. Millett recorded a double-double in the second half alone, while Marino hit a couple of clutch three-pointers every time the North even tried to make a substantial run.
“I was very impressed with the guys from Marblehead, they did a great job down low when we needed it,” Brown said. “We also got great games from the Lynn guys like Javonte Edwards, (Classical’s) Ishmael (Johnson) and the Solis brothers. It was a great effort from all the guys.”
After a few more highlight plays, including a couple of alley-oops (one from Marblehead’s Seamus Keaney to English’s Javonte Edwards and one from Lusting to Malden Catholic’s Chris MacDonald), the South coasted to a big win.
Agganis Week continues this evening with the 23rd annual girls (5:30) and boys (7) soccer games at Manning Field.
Tickets for the Agganis all-star games can be purchased online at agganisfoundation.com.
New Balance has created a team store with Agganis all-star apparel and is donating a portion of its proceeds from sales to the Agganis Foundation. Apparel can be purchased by visiting newbalanceteam.com/team/member/order?orderId=53468.