Pinckney, Willis score nine points each in all-star game

By Eric Butler

ALBUQUERQUE — While most of the attention for Thursday’s North/South big school all-star basketball game was going to University of New Mexico and New Mexico State recruits, a pair of Clovis players found The Pit floor in Albuquerque much to their liking, too.

However, the efforts of Justin Pinckney and Bud Willis, who each scored nine points, came in a losing effort as the North All-Stars took a 113-99 victory.

Alamogordo’s Darren Prentice and Academy’s Chad Toppert, who will both play at UNM, scored 23 and 17 points, respectively, for the South.

The North, led by New Mexico State-bound Josh Jenkins of Valley, got 21 points from Albuquerque High’s Jalen Dominguez and pulled away over the course of the second half.

“Most of the press is on the Albuquerque schools, but this was a chance for us to get out here and play a little bit against different competition,” said Pinckney, who will play at Abilene Christian University. “That’s what I was looking forward to — playing against some of the top-ranked players.”

After trailing by 10 points at intermission, the South began chipping away — in large part due to the combination of Willis, Pinckney and Prentice in the starting lineup when play resumed.

Trailing 59-52, two free throws apiece from Pinckney and Prentice were followed by a 15-foot jumper by Willis to draw the South to within a point.

With 15:58 left to play, a shot by Belen’s Marc Sanchez tied the game 67-67.

But frequent changing of lineups, common in all-star contests, combined with a relentless North fullcourt press wore down the South. After Sanchez’ tying score, the North ran off six straight points and gradually pulled away.

“I guess mentally we kind of wore down. We kind of let the press mess us up,” said Willis, who also noted how well the South played in spurts that closed the double-digit deficit. “Me, Darren and (Hobbs’ Ervin) Youmans — we could almost do anything we wanted. What we really tried to do was come out and have fun.”

Willis will play at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs in the fall. For both of the Clovis players, it was the first time to play on The Pit floor.

Pinckney, however, recalled watching his older brother Irshaun playing there when Clovis battled Hobbs for the 2001 state title.

“I remember that. There’s a lot of fond memories here — I’m just glad I got to play here at least once,” Justin Pinckney said.

“They practiced hard all week. They’re just great kids — they represented their community very well,” Eldorado’s Roy Sanchez, coach of the South squad, said of Willis and Pinckney. “I even ate breakfast with those two kids one time, just me asking questions and talking about old Clovis-Eldorado games.

“They’re not just super players, they’re super people,” Sanchez added.

Class 4A-5A
North 113, South 99
South —
Willis 4-9 1-2 9, Youmans 4-11 6-7 14, Smith 2-9 2-2 6, Pinckney 3-9 3-4 9, Jeffers 1-5 0-0 3, Kadlec 0-0 2-2 2, Prentice 8-12 3-5 23, Washington 1-3 2-4 4, Toppert 6-8 2-4 17, Clarke 4-7 0-0 6, Davis 0-0 0-0, Sanchez 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 35-78 21-30 99.
North — Jenkins 5-15 1-2 13, Roybal 4-10 0-0 9, Guliford 2-3 3-5 8, Pacheco 2-8 0-0 4, Dominguez 9-12 2-3 21, Lovato 3-8 0-0 7, Locke 2-12 2-3 6, Crowell 4-10 6-8 15, Mirabal 3-10 0-0 8, Manning 5-9 0-0 10, Kramme 1-2 0-0 2, Worland 4-6 2-3 10. Totals 44-105 16-24 113.
Halftime — North 59, South 49. 3-point goals — South 8-23 (Prentice 4-7, Toppert 3-3, Jeffers 1-2, Willis 0-1, Pinckney 0-1, Youmans 0-3, Smith 0-5, Clarke 0-1), North 9-34 (Jenkins 2-7, Mirabal 2-6, Guliford 1-1, Roybal 1-5, Dominguez 1-3, Lovato 1-2, Crowell 1-5, Pacheco 0-4, Manning 0-1). Rebounds — South 56 (Smith 8, Prentice 8), North 65 (Locke 7, Crowell 7). Assists — South 19, North 25. Fouled out — None. Total fouls — South 22, North 20. A — n/a.

Class 1A-2A
North 90, South 76
South —
Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Medina 1-10 1-2 4, Sandoval 2-17 5-8 9, Hale 0-1 2-2 2, Means 0-3 1-3 1, Vandenbout 0-1 1-4 1, Matta 2-2 2-2 7, Herrera 1-5 6-11 8, Ruiz 2-5 2-2 6, Munoz 1-6 0-0 2, Burrola 8-14 0-0 21, Gallagher 7-15 1-2 15. Totals 23-79 23-36 76.
North — Jones 1-7 1-2 4, Burns 1-2 1-2 3, Kezele 2-4 1-4 5, John P. Garcia 1-4 0-0 2, Tafoya 2-5 4-4 10, A. Garcia 10-16 2-2 23, Wadlington 3-8 0-0 6, J. Garcia 1-1 2-2 5, Armijo 4-10 0-0 8, Keulen 1-3 0-0 2, Meekhof 3-7 0-0 6, Begaye 5-12 5-8 16. Totals 34-79 16-24 90.
Halftime — North 42, South 35. 3-point goals — South 7-27 (Burrola 5-8, Matta 1-1, Medina 1-8, Sandoval 0-6, Means 0-2, Herrera 0-1, Munoz 0-1), North 6-14 (Tafoya 2-5, A. Garcia 1-1, J. Garcia 1-1, Jones 1-2, Begaye 1-5). Rebounds — South 59 (Burrola 12, Gallagher 12), North 62 (Begaye 11). Assists — South 14, North 21. Fouled out — J. Garcia. Total fouls — South 21, North 28. A — n/a.