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SFL stars deliver in all-star game victory

Forest Lake's Ritchart named outstanding North player
By: Galen Kusic, Press Tribune Correspondent
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In the 33rd annual boys Optimist All Star Basketball game, the North won in decisive and efficient fashion- scraping the south to the tune of 119-103. It was never close Saturday at Center High School, as the North led by 20 at the half, 65-45. The North came out strong from the gate behind sharp shooting from Woodcreek forward Nik Milani, who led the way with 17 points. It was a true team effort, as everyone on the squad scored at least one field goal. While Milani shot lights out from the field, it was Forest Lake Christian forward Josh Ritchart that stole the show. The UC Davis-bound star scored 17 points on four dunks and three assists. He was later named outstanding player for the North. The game also marked a truce for what was a vicious battle between Oakmont, Rocklin and Woodcreek throughout the season for the SFL crown, section and eventually state playoffs. Each of those three SFL powerhouses was represented by two players. "It's tough playing against them- I'd much rather be on the same team than play against any of them," Milani said. It came together well for the North, as it seemed the team had played together for much longer than a week. Ball movement, pressure defense and great movement without the ball allowed the North to push the tempo, while still controlling the half-court with an inside presence that could not be phased. The combination of Woodcreek and future UC Davis center Mike Kurtz and Oakmont forward Tony Gill was far too much for the South to contain. Kurtz finished with eight points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Gill put up 12 points to go along with seven boards and three blocks. "To finally get these guys on the same team is a lot of fun, it's kind of like AAU," said Gill. This season has been something I'll never forget. We fell short in the semifinals, but we enjoyed the ride. A lot of teams never get that far." Center forward Conner Haysbert was a force inside as well, contributing eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Oakmont guard Fred Mobley was also part of the victorious North squad, scoring two points in the contest, while Rocklin’s Cody Kale (11 points) and Tony Williams (nine) were a big part of the North juggernaut. "We knew they were smaller, and we were bigger- they were really fast, so we knew we had to get back on defense, and pound the ball inside," said Milani. Valley forward Omariyea Boughton led the South with sixteen points and Sacramento point guard Travon Abraham put up 12. Sacramento forward Will Davis contributed 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks in the loss.