COLUMBIA -- The last time Daniel Lemburg walked off a basketball court, Modesto Christian High had suffered a heart-breaking loss in the Northern California championship game.
Lemburg's mood was far more jubilant Saturday, however, after scoring 18 points and dishing a dozen assists to lead the Light team to a 116-80 win over the Dark in the Mother Lode Extravaganza small-school all-star game at Columbia College.
"We didn't practice, we just showed up to play and it was a great game," the 6-foot-2-inch point guard said. "Running up and down the court, it was a lot like the style we like to play at Modesto Christian ... sort of like being back on the playground."
There was no doubt the teams were focused on offense, as the Light's Mason Wooten (Denair) and the Dark's Jared Lunsford (Big Valley Christian) combined to hit four consecutive 3-pointers in the first 2 minutes. It quickly turned into a shooting free-for-all -- but with players taking sensible shots, rather than just gunning.
Dueling point guards Lemburg and Tim Oswald (Mariposa) exploited the pace as the first quarter ended with the Light up 27-25. The Light led 84-55 after three and hit 100 with 5 minutes left.
Lemburg scored nine in the fourth quarter and hit a 3-pointer on his final shot, a skill that will come in handy next season. Regardless of where Lemburg goes to college, he'll need to improve his speed and strength.
"I've got the range to play the two (shooting guard), but I need to play more so I can get quicker," said Lemburg, who played the point at MC but rotated between the backcourt spots in this game. "In this game, whoever had the ball is the point guard, so I got to play some at two."
Wooten matched Lemburg's 18-point performance, scoring 15 in the first half in what was probably his last game as a forward. The slender Wooten, with a range out to 22 feet, will likely move to the backcourt in college.
"I went to a couple camps and played against guys who were much bigger, and I realized my future was going to be outside," said Wooten. "I think I can get quick enough to play out there. An advantage of going outside is I'll be able to take smaller defenders down low, since I'm used to working close to the basket."
With Lemburg and Wooten hitting jumpers, the Dark had to extend its defense. That created opportunities inside for Bret Harte's 6-8 Brett Downey (19 points, 10 rebounds), who tipped in a number of his teammates' shots and was named the MVP.
Lunsford did his best to keep the Dark team in it, hitting five treys and scoring a game-high 24 points. His final shot was from deep in the corner, a rainbow-jumper over the long arms of a hard-charging Downey.
"I saw the big guy coming at me and I was really hoping he was going to be able to stop in time. I didn't want him coming down on me," said Lunsford, who plans to play basketball and golf at Modesto Junior College. "I was looking forward to this, because it was a chance to represent Big Valley. We're a smaller school, but it's good to show we can play with larger schools."
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