hoops

Mountain Iron-Buhl’s Allie Negen drives to the basket against Northeast Range’s Shayler Lislegard during the first half of Thursday night’s Iron Range Engineering girls all-star game.

VIRGINIA — The Iron Range Engineering Senior Girls All-Star Game was loaded with talent Thursday night as 17 of the area’s best high school basketball players got one last chance to duke it out on the Wirtanen Gymnasium floor at Mesabi Range College.

When it was all said and done, the White All-Stars came out on top with a dominant performance, defeating the Black All-Stars 74-47. Mountain Iron-Buhl forward Allie Negen was the game’s MVP, finishing the contest with 19 points.

Points and awards are nice, but more importantly, Negen said, was that she could play one last game with former teammates and opponents in front of a hometown crowd.

“It’s fun to be able to play in the community one last time,” Negen said. “And just being able to see everyone again was really cool.

“Having fun and playing with some of my teammates one last time was a blast. And getting to play with some girls I normally play against was a cool experience.”

Paired with her teammate Macy Savela, the two were on opposing sides with Ranger teammates Madisen Overbye and Mattison Bennett, something Negen said she really enjoyed.

“It was kind of competitive between us. We all want to win but we were making a couple jokes here and there to kind of lighten the mood. It was pretty fun.”

Negen’s MVP award came on the back of 14 second half points to lead the White All-Stars team, but the first half was dominated by her teammate Audrey Delich of Eveleth-Gilbert. Delich put up 11 points in the first half to lead her squad and she was also proud to cap off her career with an all-star game appearance.

“It was a lot of fun,” Delich said. “It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. You’re playing with new people and it’s nice to be able to play with people you’ve never played with before. That way there’s nothing to be afraid of and there’s no pressure with them.”

One of the highlights of the event for Delich was connecting with old opponents as well as meeting new teammates for the first time.

“It all just worked for us right away. As soon as I walked in the girls started talking to me and some of them were asking where I’m from and getting to know me. We were laughing and having fun pretty quick. At halftime we just hung around each other and talked like we all were friends before this.

“I think that part of it made it easy for me to go out there and not have to think while I was playing. It made it a lot easier to enjoy the game.”

Delich finished the contest with 13 points, behind Negen’s 19.

The Black All-Stars fell behind from the get go but that didn’t stop smiles and laughter from taking over their side of the bench early on in the contest. The Black All-Stars were led by Rebekah Fraser (Lake of the Woods) with nine points. Bennett (MI-B) and Grace Gilbert (International Falls) both finished with eight points.

The Iron Range Engineering All-Star series continues tonight with two boys games on tap. The first game starts at 6 p.m. with the second to follow at 8 p.m.

White 24 8 26 19 — 74

Black 12 8 11 16 — 47

White: Libby Miggins 3, Macy Savela 10, Brianna Haley 11, Allie Negen 19, Audrey Delich 13, Vanna Kelley 5, Bria Chiabotti 2, Lucy Kaczor 11; Three pointers: Savela 2, Haley 2, Negen 3, Delich 1; Free throws: 3-8; Total fouls: 4.

Black: Shayler Lislegard 8, Kia Tower 4, Lauren Swanson 2, Rebekah Fraser 9, Mattison Bennett 8, Grace Gilbert 8, Athena Dunham 4, Celia Olesiak 4; Three pointers: Lislegard 2, Fraser 1, Gilbert 2; Free throws: 2-6; Total fouls: 8.

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