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Siskiyou player Jamie Richardson, left, battles for a loose ball with Rogue’s Brittney Newcomb on Friday.

South's Newcomb shines brightest

The girls teams in the second-annual Mail Tribune High School All-Star Basketball Classic featured considerable star power.

Among the brightest was Brittney Newcomb.

The potent South Medford scorer had a game-high 20 points and earned most valuable player in helping her Rogues defeat the Siskiyous 63-54 on Friday at Kids Unlimited.

Playing in her final prep basketball game in the Rogue Valley, the senior Newcomb displayed a dazzling array of offensive weapons that helped the Panthers reach the Class 6A playoffs last season.

Newcomb, the state's third-leading scorer at 19 points per game and the Southwest Conference player of the year, scored 11 points in the first half Friday.

She had nine in the second quarter as the Rogues built a double-digit lead that lasted most of the way.

"I wanted to have fun and play hard at the same time," said Newcomb of her second all-star appearance. "I'm a competitive person. It was just really fun playing with the other girls. It's a nice change, instead of playing against them all the time, to play with them. They are great players."

Newcomb, a McDonald's All-American nominee, is considering multiple schools and is leaning toward Chico State.

"It's sad," Newcomb said of playing her final prep game in Medford. "But it's a happy feeling. I get to go on to a higher level and challenge myself."

Crater's Leona Steel and North Medford's Karissa Dixon scored 10 apiece for the Rogues.

Ashland junior Allison Gida led the Siskiyous with 12 points.

"It was lots of fun," said Gida, who recently committed to the University of Utah. "I was a little nervous as always."

Gida said she most anticipated the chance to play alongside Grants Pass senior post and Sacramento State signee Natasha Torgerson and against Newcomb.

"I'm friends with both of them," Gida said.

Gida, a 5-foot-11 point guard, scored her squad's first four points in the third quarter to trim the Siskiyou deficit to nine.

North Medford's McKenzie Smith followed with a free throw to make it an eight-point game, but Newcomb countered with one of her two 3-pointers.

South Medford senior Sheena Barkley led another Siskiyou run in the fourth. She scored on three consecutive fast-break layins as part of a 9-0 run that made it 56-49.

Newcomb again halted that run with a layin, and the Rogues held at least a nine-point cushion for the remainder of the contest.

Prospect's Jen King was the Siskiyous' second-leading scorer with seven. Hidden Valley's Jamie Richardson, Barkley and Torgerson had six points each.

Richardson will continue her career at NCAA Division II Western Oregon next season.

She said the most enjoyable part of playing in the Classic was rejoining many former teammates.

"I played with Gida, Torgerson and Smith when we were freshmen on a traveling team," Richardson said. "This is a great experience. I recommend it to anybody who gets invited. It's awesome. You get to meet new girls and other basketball players."

The most difficult part, she said, was the unfamiliar feeling of not being on the court when her team was losing.

"It's hard because you have to play everybody equally," she said. "But all these girls are awesome. Every single one of those players are starters. We want to be out there. It's hard to sit there in crunch time when you are down."

The Classic's primary purpose is to match competitors from Class 6A to Class 1A. Veronica Valdez, of Class 2A St. Mary's, had played with many of Friday's participants in previous leagues but enjoyed the opportunity to showcase her talents, especially against the 6-2 Torgerson.

"That was pretty fun," said Valdez, a 5-6 post who led St. Mary's to a third-place finish at state this season. "I'm glad I got to play with these different teams, and I got to show the skills I have for a smaller school."

SISKIYOU (54) — Lindsey Blodgett 3, Kelsey George 3, Jamie Richardson 6, Jen King 7, Jen Noon 2, Kelly Maxey 4, Sheena Barkley 6, Allison Gida 12, McKenzie Smith 5, Natasha Torgerson 6. Totals: 20 11-21 54.

ROGUE (63) — Leona Steel 10, Taylor Vandehey 5, Karissa Dixon 10, Brittney Newcomb 20, Jordan Parmenter 2, Kayla Loffer 2, Veronica Valdez 8, Natalie Del Carlo 3, Chelsea Passante 3. Totals: 22 13-19 63.

Siskiyou 11 10 15 18 — 54

Rogue 18 16 15 14 — 63

3-point goals — Siskiyou 3 (Gida 1, Blodgett 1, Torgerson 1), Rogue 6 (Steel 2, Newcomb 2, Dixon 1, Passante 1).

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com

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