GREELEY -- Though there was basketball in progress at University High School March 22 featuring players from all over Weld County, it wasn’t serious.
Fort Lupton’s Maddax Farrer called it “an iso-show,” particularly in the second half. Bryce Andrews, the MVP of the boys game, had to ratchet down his defense to a point where he was “playing defense but really wasn’t.”
The Weld County all-star basketball games were the scene. Five players from southwestern Weld County took to the floor. The coaching staff from Fort Lupton High School manned one of the benches.
Frederick High School
The Warriors’ Jadyn Glasgow played in the first of the two games. She finished with seven points, including a 3-pointer and a chance to tie the score at the end with another 3-pointer that fell short. She also snatched a rebound.
“It was very nerve wracking at first,” she said. “They are really good seniors coming here. It was hard to play. Once I got my nerves out, it was really fun.”
The two teams had one practice the day before the game.
“It was a bunch of scrimmaging,” she said. “We had a couple of in-bounds plays, no pressing, anything like that.”
The game featured players from all over the county and from all five classifications of high-school basketball. Glasgow had not seen many of them before the all-star game.
“It was fun to be on a team with them and not competing against them,” she said.
Glasgow’s next stop is to play basketball and get an education degree from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.
“I wanted to stay close to home. When I got there, it was the type of team I was looking for,” she said.
Her aim is to teach in grammar school or middle school.
“I’m nervous about the school part, but I’m excited about the basketball,” Glasgow said. “I’m nervous to be away. I can’t bring the laundry home. I’m going to have to size down the closet.”
Bryce Conover was a happy basketball player for more than just the chance to participate. He didn’t have to start the third quarter because it came immediately after he won the halftime 3-point shooting contest. He competed in back-to-back rounds.
“I was a happy dude,” Conover said. “I was winded. My legs were tired. He (coach Jim Roedel) didn’t start me, and that was good.”
Conover, who signed to play football at Western Colorado, finished with 12 points, all from 3-point range (of course). He also added two rebounds, a steal and an assist.
“I’ve never been in a locker room surrounded by this level of basketball players,” Conover said. “Yesterday (March 21), we practiced and were doing runs. They were great basketball players. It was cool to be surrounded by basketball players with the same skillset as me and even better than me.”
Conover said he stepped his game up to compensate.
“In practice, I had one of the best practices. When you play around good basketball players, you just have to step up your level,” Conover said. “I knew a lot of the Fort Lupton guys. I used to play for the Fort Lupton AAU team. The Greeley Central dudes I knew because I saw them after the Mead game (Frederick won to advance to the final four). A lot of these schools we never played.”
Conover said he’d never played in an all-star game.
“Coach (Roedel) was trying to explain how to play defense but not really play as hard a defense,” Conover said. “I was trying to figure out the happy medium between playing defense and letting him go by. I got coached by him in eighth grade. That was really cool to catch up with him.”
“I played on a great basketball team,” Conover concluded. “But I’ve never played with a teammate like that (Bryce Andrews of Fort Lupton) who can throw down dunks like that. He is such a good athlete.”
Connor Moll closed out his high-school career with a 3-point basket, a rebound and an assist in the boys all-star game. But he singled out a teammate for a personal highlight.
“Bryce Andrews winning the MVP,” Moll said without hesitation. “Just dunking and having fun. It was just fun. We scrimmaged, but we really didn’t practice.”
Moll isn’t sure of his future plans, so he’s keeping his options open.
“It was a long season. We didn’t really end how we wanted to, but this was a nice way to celebrate what the three of us (Andrews and Maddax Farrer also played) did,” he said. “We showed what we could do here.”
Farrer called the game “an experience.” He finished with two points and a pair of rebounds.
“It was super fun. I’m glad I came,” he said. “The 3-point contest was the best, for me. (He finished second to Bryce Conover of Frederick.) I thought I was going to win it. I heard them counting over here (at the opposite basket), and I was like, ‘Oh, I got this. I got this.’ I choked at the beginning.”
Farrer also thought Andrews’ dunk fest was a highlight.
“They were the best part. Those were fun to watch,” Farrer laughed. “Bryce Conover? Watching him? Oh my gosh. That was insane. Watching Noah (Noah Sasso) from Greeley Central? He’s a good player.”
Farrer, who isn’t sure he will continue to play basketball next year, said the coaching staff drew up some plays but that the game turned into more of an “iso-show.”
“I think it’s the end of the line. I’m not into school that much,” he said. “I might try for a year or so. It’s been good for me. I’ve met a lot of brothers. It’s indescribable. This builds character. I’ve had a lot of fun.”
And then there’s Bryce Andrews. He scored 14 points, had an assist, a rebound and a blocked shot.
And a bunch of dunks.
“I came out in the second half. It’s my last basketball game for quite a while,” he said. “I tried my hardest. With my team’s help, I did it.”
Andrews made the all-star team the last two years but didn’t get to play because of COVID.
“This was unbelievable,” Andrews said. “I get to take home the jersey. It’s amazing.”
Roedel put in two plays for his team’s offense, and he taught his team to almost play defense.
“I’ve been playing since I was in third grade,” Andrews said. “It’s embedded in your head to play defense. I guarded them, and then I put my hands right down. I got scored on a few times. Normally, I’d be mad. I was laughing and having a good time.”
In addition to his all-star selection, Andrews earned all-Colorado League honors. He’s heading to Austin College in Sherman, Texas, to play more basketball.
“I was excited at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I’m pretty modest. I live within the moment. Whatever happens is going to happen. I can’t change it. If you talked to me five years ago, I was the best player on the planet. Life grows you up. I’m proud of who I am. I’m glad to be who I am and where I am.”
Fort Lupton’s Jim Roedel, Lee Amato, Steve Moore and Joe Gallegos made up the coaching staff of one of the teams. Though all love a game of basketball, there wasn’t a lot of coaching to do, aside from balancing out minutes for each of the players.
“You really just want to have fun with the kids,” Roedel said. “I do try to let them have a couple of voices, a couple of drills. We just have fun with them. There wasn’t a lot of coaching.”
The only thing that resembled coaching was Roedel talking to the three game officials.
“It’s human nature,” Roedel smiled. “It was fun. I always give them a hard time, more than anything else. I told them, ‘Any time a ball goes out of bounds, it’s whichever team isn’t losing that gets the ball.’”
Roedel said some of the reward of coaching the game was seeing players he’d either coached against or actually coached before they got to high school.
“Abdul (Abdul Alarpe, Weld Central High School), on the other side? I coached in seventh and eighth grade. Bryce Conover? I coached him in seventh and eighth grade. It’s good to have those kids back and be able to spend time with them and see what kind of young men they’ve become,” Roedel said. “They’ve grown up.
“You don’t get to coach an all-star game all the time,” he concluded. “So you enjoy it when you get a chance.”
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