An esteemed group of area high school coaches have been chosen to helm the teams of the first ever Grizzly All-Star Games April 22 at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The Thayer High School boys' coaching team of Cliff Hawkins and Matt Pitts will lead the boys' Grizzly All-Star "Light Team," while Eminence High School's boys' basketball coach Pete McBride has been tapped to coach the Grizzly All-Star boys' "Dark Team."
Leading the Grizzly All-Star girls' "Dark Team" will be the Ava High School girls' coaching staff of Brandy Harvill and Clint Gazette, and guiding the Grizzly All-Star girls' "Light Team" will be Mike Percival of Hartville.
The games' referees also have been chosen. Calling the girls' game will be Jeff Valade, along with Randy Ward and Greg Alford of Thayer.
The boys' game will be officiated by Terry McElyea, Gary McElyea and Bruce Gardman.
"Congratulations to all of the coaches and referees for participating in this first-ever all-star event," Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Brian Ostermann said. "It's not only an honor for the players, it's an honor for many people. Family, friends, fans, coaches and officials all share in this event."
Several players have been added to the teams, as well. Brett Collins of Mountain Grove High School will join members of the boys' "Dark Team,"
Farrah Irvin of Blytheville (Ark.) High School will join the girls' "Dark Team," with Chelsey Sikes and Brittney Smith of Springfield Christian joining the girls' "Light Team."
Special recognition also will be given to an outstanding area high school girls player whose career was cut short this season, Ostermann said. "We are happy to honor Mandy Hampton at this event," the coach said, explaining the Ava High School standout died from injuries suffered in a car accident during the season. "Mandy was a very good athlete and an even better person," Ostermann said. "We will honor her memory by giving her parents an all-star T-shirt with Mandy's name and number on it prior to the start of the girls' 4:30 p.m. game."
Ostermann reminded fans that the boys game will start at 7 p.m., and 3-point and slam dunk contests will be held at 6 p.m.
In addition, halftime entertainment will be provided by Gina's Gymnastics of Thayer and Preying Mantis Kung Fu of West Plains.
Gina's Gymnastics will perform a tumbling demonstration during halftime of the girls' game, and the Angels-in-Motion and Dance-N-Motion will perform routines during halftime of the boys' game.
Preying Mantis Kung Fu will conduct a demonstration during halftime of the boys' game, as well, Ostermann said.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students, and cover both games and the contests.
Tickets will not be sold in advance, but will be available one hour prior to the girls' game at the civic center.
The games also will be broadcast on KSPQ 93.9 FM.
"We would be unable to host such a prestigious event without all of our sponsors," Ostermann said. "We especially thank Rick Walker and Brad Mills for their assistance. And we appreciate KSPQ 93.9 for broadcasting the games."