Some of the best high-school basketball players in the two-state area showcased their skills in Robinson Friday night during the first annual Spring Classic all-star games at Lincoln Trail College.
Two games - one boys and one girls - pitting players from Illinois against their counterparts from Indiana, with each side winning one contest.
In the boys' game, the Illinois squad broke open a close game late to pull away for a 98-83 win.
Illinois led for most of the first half, with their biggest lead being nine at 20-11 and 31-22. Indiana held just one lead in the first half, 4-3, but got to within one point on a couple of occasions and trailed by just two, 45-43, at halftime.
Indiana started the second half by scoring the first four points to take a 47-45 lead and still led 49-47 when Oblong's Anthony Johnson scored four straight points to put Illinois in front, 51-49. Six consecutive points by Indiana gave them their biggest lead of the game, 55-51, but Illinois responded with an 11-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Robinson's Aaron Siler, to put Illinois back on top, 62-57, with 14:06 to play.
The lead ballooned to 10, 76-66, on a three-point play from Robinson's Derrick Nicholas with 9:40 left, then four straight points by Johnson pushed the Illinois lead to 82-71 with 7:00 remaining. A layup by Nicholas on a feed from Johnson started an 8-0 Illinois run that made the score 94-76, while a windmill dunk by Johnson provided the final points for Illinois with 25 seconds left.
Nicholas led the Illinois squad with 15 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two assists, while Martinsville's Zack Mulkins tossed in 13 points. Johnson totaled 12 points, six rebounds, one steal and one assist and was named MVP of the Illinois Team. Siler netted seven points, five assists and one rebound, Oblong's Collin Meese added two points, two rebounds, two steals and two assists and Oblong's Kurt Knollenberg grabbed one rebound.
The Indiana Team was led by Linton-Stockton's Dess Fougerousse with 14 points, while Rockville's Lane Mahurin contributed 11 points, along with seven blocked shots and five rebounds on his way to being named MVP. Jackson Bohnert of Linton-Stockton was also in double figures with 10 points for Indiana.
In the girls' game, Indiana raced out to an 18-0 lead and never looked back on their way to a 59-38 victory.
Illinois finally scored their first points at the 14:30 mark to make the score 18-2, but Illinois trailed at halftime, 36-15.
A 7-0 Illinois run to start the second half closed the gap to 36-22, but that is as close as they would get the rest of the way.
The Illinois Team was led by Red Hill's Taylor Paulin with eight points, while Megan Temples of Paris netted six. Robinson's Brittany Quick added four points and four rebounds and Palestine-Hutsonville's Nicole Kiger had two points and two rebounds.
For Indiana, four girls shared scoring honors, as Hanover Central's Blayr Poston, Terre Haute South's Tasia Brewer, Evansville North's Jazmyn Hardiman and Indianapolis Arsenal Tech's Autumn Brown tossed in eight points apiece.
In specialty contests held throughout the night, Oblong's Knollenberg won the boys' three-point contest, while Red Hill's Paulin won the girls' three-point contest. In the boys' slam dunk contest, Indiana's Larry Johnson of Hamilton Southeastern High School edged Oblong's Johnson in the finals to claim the title.