INA, Ill. – More than 50 of the area’s best high school basketball players will showcase their skills Friday night when they hit the hardwood for the 33rd Annual Benton Lions Club All-Star Basketball Classic at Rend Lake College’s James “Hummer” Waugh Gymnasium. The girls’ game will tip-off first at 6 p.m., followed by the boys’ game at 8 p.m. Admission is just $3 for students and $5 for adults. All proceeds benefit the Benton Lions Club.
The event features the best in boys’ and girls’ high school basketball from the area with more than 50 players representing over 25 schools. A dunk contest will take place in between games and a three-point shoot-out will be held at halftime of each game. MVP awards will be presented at the conclusion of each game.
Dave Severin with the Benton Lions Club said the event is held to showcase the players and raise money for the club’s main mission – providing eyeglasses to those who can’t afford them. The Benton Lions Club also sponsors three scholarships to Rend Lake College, which are awarded to Benton High School students each year.
The All-Star Classic started with the boys in 1979 at Rich Herrin Gym in Benton and was later moved to RLC.
The boys’ Gold Team (Home Team) is being coached by Chip Basso from Sesser-Valier with Rob Flannagan of Olney East Richland. The roster includes Colin Smith (Steeleville), Nashville’s Tyler Meyer and Donovan Holle, Dustin Hicks (Sesser-Valier), Dylan Arvi (Zeigler-Royalton), Donald Trotten (Olney), Clayton Baggett (Galatia), Luke Stanhouse (Waltonville), Trico’s Jesse Smith and Tyler Coleman, Cameron Tucker (Mt. Vernon), Ryan Bonifield (Carterville), Kalin Brinkley (Norris City-Omaha-Enfield), Pinckneyville’s Steve Brueggemann and Kyle Lamb, and Jeffrey Tolliver (Salem).
The boys’ Purple Team (Away) is being coached by Mark Motsinger of Carrier Mills and Matt Mandrell of Egyptian. The roster is made up of Aaron Adeoye (Marion), Steven Dial (Christopher), Kevon Fortney (Mt. Vernon), Meridian’s Brent Kennedy and Darryl Rayford, Zach Lochhead (Chester), Tyler McCormick (Galatia), Jhermarien Terry (Egyptian), Cody Johnston (Eldorado), Dylan Hutson (Crab Orchard), Jalen Stewart (Harrisburg), Sam Brown (Nashville), Andrew Pokrzywinksi (Steeleville) and Josh Wiggs (Woodlawn).
The girls’ Lions Club All-Star Classic started in 1981.
Coaching the Purple Team (Away) for the girls will be Woodlawn’s Eric Helbig and Andrea Loveless. Their roster consists of ZRC’s Stacy Holland and Ashleigh Opp, Nashville’s Melanie Rhine and Brianne Pelker, Kirstie Owen (Salem), Kayla Harner (Goreville), Hannah McGinnis (Vienna), Woodlawn’s Whitney Lowery and Mallory Hapeman, Lindsay Lenon (Marion), and Brittany Rooney (Marion).
Coaching the Gold Team (Home) for the girls will be Staci Hickman of Murphysboro with Clint Winemiller of Hamilton County Senior High School. Their roster includes Nashville’s Jenna Morris and Jennifer Moeller, Pinckneyville’s Maddy Keith and Taylor Cicardi, Katelyn Kemp (Murphysboro), Kayla Eddington (Century), Destiny Dillow (Anna-Jonesboro), Beth Daniels (Trico), Christi Bromley (West Frankfort), Haley Elders (Herrin) and Kaylee Boston (Shawnee).
For additional information, contact Severin at 618-435-5555.