On Saturday, players from Pymatuning Valley and St. John competed in the Northeastern Athletic Conference All-Star games at Lordstown high school.
St. John, though not a member of the NAC for any sport except for football, played in the girls game because Bloomfield doesn’t have a girls basketball team.
“It was our first time ever participating,” St. John girls basketball coach and athletic director Nick Iarocci said. “We hope we’re going to be a yearly thing. When the NAC called, we were really excited to send the girls down there to play.”
The girls team, featuring players from PV, St. John, Maplewood and Badger won 57-42.
Heralds senior Lati Fleming won MVP, finishing with 17 points.
“I wasn’t even going for the MVP, but I just played how I was supposed to play,” Fleming said.
Also, in the 3-point shootout, she hit nine, which was good for second place. Maplewood’s Marissa Ventura won with 12 threes made.
Fleming led St. John in scoring this season at 12 points per game and showed that same scoring ability against the best players in the NAC on Saturday.
Her teammates Julianne Sheldon and Claudia Wagner also competed.
“I’m so happy for Latiana because she wants to continue to play at the next level,” Iarocci said. “What a great way to end one chapter and possibly, segue into the next chapter.”
Fleming plans to continue her academic and athletic career at Lakeland Community College in the fall.
After Sydney Carpenter and Emily Cevera graduated from St. John last season, Fleming took over much of the scoring duties.
“For the last couple of years, Latiana kind of played second fiddle to Emily [Cevera] and Syd [Carpenter],” Iarocci said. “She understood that was her role. Upon their graduation, she suddenly became the main focus of our team and basically, led us in scoring in every single game this year. That’s a tribute to her. She waited her turn. She paid her dues, and it was her time to shine.”
PV senior Morgan Sharpe enjoyed playing with people she’s used to competing against.
“When we started the season everything was uncertain and we didn’t know what to expect, so it was nice to cap off the season on a good note,” Sharpe said. “It was a nice change to finally play with the girls I’ve been playing against since junior high.”
Sharpe is planning on attending the University of Toledo to major in young adult/adolescent education.
Ellie Struna and Alaina Neczeporenko also competed for PV.
Struna tallied seven points in the game.
Lakers seniors Jonah Wilkerson, Tanner Rhoades and Mason Inman played in the boys game.
Their team lost 109-70, but like Sharpe, they enjoyed teaming up with players they’re used to playing against.
“Honestly it was a really fun experience,” Inman said. “Obviously it was a one-sided game, but it was great to be able to lace up with all of the guys that I’ve had to go toe-to-toe with all of these years.
“Getting to know some of the other guys from different teams was awesome and something that I haven’t really been able to do until now. It was cool to think of them as friends instead of just opponents.”
Wilkerson and Inman each recorded double-digit scoring.
“It was an awesome experience,” Wilkerson said. “Everyone had a good time. It was nice to end my career on something fun like that.”
Mathews junior Vinney Sharp earned game MVP honors, while Windham sophomore Chase Eye converted 13 3-pointers to claim that title.
Inman is still undecided on his future plans, but wants to attend college and play football, Rhoades is scheduled to attend Youngstown State University and becoming a math teacher and Wilkerson is heading to college for civil engineering and possibly play sports.