Tydus Verhoeven’s next meaningful basketball game takes place about 2,500 miles from his Manteca home.
He’s headed for Pittsburgh, Pa., where he’ll lace up his sneakers for Duquesne University. Verhoeven, a mobile 6-foot-8 forward, spent most of Friday night validating his next destination with 31 points during his Blue team’s free-wheeling 121-112 victory in the 22nd Six-County All-Star Classic.
“Playing with these guys one last time, like a last hurrah, was really fun,” he said.
Verhoeven ran the court, snared rebounds, dished for baskets, finished everything around the glass and simply dominated a full-throttle game that entertained about 900 at MJC Gym. For good measure, he closed with three ringing slam dunks in the final minutes.
The game’s wide-open tempo came from the makeup of the rosters. Twenty-one of the 24 all-stars were guards, and all could run and shoot. One thing that was not needed was a shot clock.
The Red and Blue teams combined for 26 three-point baskets, 17 by the winners. The game was tied at 96...after three quarters.
Verhoeven saved 10 of his points for the final period as he and his teammates – including fellow Manteca High standout Dwight Young with 17 points – pulled away. Verhoeven and Young won a state title as juniors. They enjoyed matching up against the area’s best.
26 3-point baskets during all-star game
Consider that Verhoeven, the product of a basketball-rich family, weighed 12 offers from Division I schools throughout the land. He settled on Duquesne, an Atlantic 10 Conference team anchored by new coach Keith Dambrot (formerly of University of Akron). Hoops junkies will recognize the name – Dambrot coached LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High in Akron, Ohio.
“Coach Dambrot is a player’s coach, connects great with his players,” Verhoeven said. “They know what they’re doing and they produce pros in that conference. I’m hoping he can help me progress and get to the next level.”
Michael Moore of Patterson recorded 15 points for the winning team, El Capitan’s James Sellers had 11 and Ripon’s Cole Stevens 10.
The Red team didn’t back off Verhoeven. In fact, it led most of the night. Gyse Hulsebosch, a smooth scoring machine from East Union High, rolled through the first half and paced his team with 25 points. Central Catholic senior Jared Rice, on his way to Cal Poly, wasn’t far behind with 22. Noah Hernandez of Ripon had 17 and Kole Gaglio of Hilmar 16.
Jared Pazin of Merced netted 10 of 15 triples to win the sharpshooting contest. Caleb Hoeg of Turlock Christian topped Verhoeven in the slam-dunk contest.
Turlock’s Williams completes comeback – Turlock senior Shea Williams built her prep career from the bottom up – winless as a freshman and sidelined by an ACL injury during her sophomore year and half-way through her junior season.
The 5-10 forward with the sweet shot-release saved her best for last. She scored 14 points, featuring four triples and two game-clinching free throws, and was named the MVP of the girls portion of the Six-County Classic. Her major contribution paid off in the Red’s 80-73 win over the Blue.
“It was super-tough,” Williams said in reference to her long rehab. “It got me back to be able to play close to 100 percent as a senior.”
Williams and sophomore sister Jaydon escorted the Bulldogs to a Central California Conference title last winter. That set the stage for the all-star game, and Shea was at her best. She also hit eight of 15 to win the three-point shooting contest at halftime.
Her perimeter marksmanship was instrumental in her team’s 15-point lead late in the half. The Blue team countered, however, as Central Catholic’s Danielle Friedrich launched a 10-point that got the her team back in the game.
The Blue carried a six-point lead midway through the third quarter, but its opponent owned a major weapon – Manteca 6-3 senior Loretta Kakala.
It (her rehab) was super-tough. It got me back to be able to play close to 100 percent as a senior.
Kakala, the McDonald’s All-American who leaves for Louisville the day after her graduation, dictated most of the action in the paint. Her team stabilized, thanks to her 15 points and steady rebounding.
The Red also was given a big boost by Enochs’ Zakiya Williams, who totaled a team-leading 17 points. Her fourth-quarter production also shaped the outcome.
Friedrich was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points, followed by Patterson’s Jaden Rodriguez with 12 and Andrea Selkow of Pitman with 11 for the Blue.
As for Shea Williams, she looks forward to more competition at Merced College.
“I don’t think I’m fully recovered,” she said. “But going to Merced I think will be a really good experience, to work on my knees and strengthening my legs.”