North Valley High's Kenzie Schmoll, right, passes the ball during practice Thursday for the sixth MT All-Star Classic.

MT All-Stars gear up for action

If there's a theme with all-star basketball games, it's this: lots of points, little defense.

The sixth annual Mail Tribune All-Star Basketball Classic typically follows form, and players expect the trend to continue when the best boy and girl high school players in the region take the floor Saturday at Kids Unlimited, 821 N. Riverside Ave., in Medford. The girls game is at 5:15 p.m. and the boys game is at 7.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for students and kids 12 and under get in free. Proceeds go to Kids Unlimited.

Starters for the game will be determined by online fan voting. To participate, go to Balloting closes at noon Saturday. As of Thursday evening, marking one week's time, there were nearly 15,000 ballots submitted.

The overall girl and boy leaders are North Medford's McKensey Peters and Tristen Holmes, respectively.

The teams are divided into the Rogues and Siskiyous.

In last year's boys game, the century mark was eclipsed for the first time in history, the Rogues winning 102-82. Nine players reached double figures between the two teams.

"With these two teams, I think it's going to be a great game," said North Valley post JJ Chirnside, a 6-foot-9 senior who contributed mightily as the Knights captured the Class 4A state championship. "It'll probably be really high scoring because it's an all-star game and there's not going to be much defense. But I think it'll be fun."

The games bring together players from 16 schools, classes 6A to 1A. Chirnside, on the Siskiyous team this time around, is playing in his second all-star contest.

He played for the losing Rogue team last year, and his teammates included Alex Young and Tyler Dungannon of Skyline Conference rival Phoenix.

"It's been great, really fun," Chirnside said of his experience despite the setback. "Last year I had a blast. Bringing the 4A level together and just playing with all the great players around Southern Oregon is great because we can see who's dominant out there.

"I love playing with everybody and seeing if I can beat some people out there at the higher levels."

Last year's 20-point margin of victory was the largest in the series. The previous four games were decided by a total of 15 points, and the largest previous margin was seven points.

Chirnside and Crater's 6-7 Connor Lane will present a challenge for the Rogues inside. The Rogues, meanwhile, will counter with 6-7 David Sellers of Cascade Christian and 6-5 Jesse Mondry of South Medford.

The five leading vote-getters as of Thursday for the Rogues, in order, were Sellers, Mondry, Rogue River's Shawn Donahue, North Medford's Julian Gray and North Valley's Kevin Brazille.

For the Siskiyous, the top five were Holmes, Cascade Christian's Alex Miller, Phoenix's Tyson Morris, South Medford's Adrian Garcia and, tied, Lane and Eagle Point's Cesar Chavez.

On the girls side, South Medford standouts Kylie Towry and Yaremi Mejia, both senior guards, will be on the floor together for a final time, albeit on opposite sides.

Towry and Panther teammate Ashley Bolston are on the Rogue team, while Mejia and South's Julissa Tago are on the Siskiyous.

Towry, who, with her teammates, has enjoyed a remarkable run with the Panthers, is the only player on either roster to be making her fourth all-star appearance. She was MVP of the contest as a freshman after hitting the game-winning shot.

"This will be the last time I play with any of them," said Towry, who helped the Panthers to second place in the 6A ranks this year after winning it all in 2012 with the first undefeated season in big-school history. "It makes me look forward to the game more because I know this will be the last time we ever get to experience doing something like this, so it'll be a little more special."

Two of the last three girls games were decided by a total of three points.

"It's just a fun, competitive game," said Towry.

Senior Casie Johnson, of Eagle Point, will be playing in her third game. She's on the Siskiyous.

"It's fun and cool to get together with everybody and just play," said Johnson. "It's good to get the best players from everywhere. The teams are pretty equal and it'll be an interesting, competitive game."

Mejia has been the game's MVP the past two years, scoring a Classic-record 23 points in 2012 to lead the Siskiyous to a 71-69 triumph. She'll be playing in her third all-star game.

A roster change was made on Thursday, with Crater senior guard Brittaney Scott replacing Grants Pass' Kayla Bice on the Siskiyou team.

Leading the voting for starting positions for the Rogue girls as of Thursday were Peters — also making her third appearance — St. Mary's Emily Alvarez, Crater's Becca Heard, Bolston and Phoenix's Baylee Toney.

The top five for the Siskiyous were Cascade Christian's Alaina Thomson, Ashland's Georgia Williams, St. Mary's Lillian Martin, North Valley's Kenzie Schmoll and, tied, Tago and Phoenix's Delanie Tally.

The boys coaches are Southern Oregon University men's assistant Chris Schmerbach for the Rogues and Oregon Tech men's assistant Justin Parnell for the Siskiyous.

The girls coaches are Oregon Tech women's head coach Scott Meredith for the Rogues and College of the Siskiyous women's head coach Tom Powers for the Siskiyous.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email

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