The first time Taylor Stephens and Cassidy Gardner met began with a feud as toddlers in day care, before the two became close friends, and long before their days as local high school basketball standouts.
“I stole her crayons and she punched me,” Gardner said with a coy smirk.
In Sunday’s 24th Les Schwab Roundball Shootout all-star game at King’s Way Christian High School, Gardner brought home MVP honors and a $500 scholarship check to prove it, thriving in a game that highlighted the county’s best seniors — the friendly competition between the two was on full display.
Washougal’s Beyonce Bea and Prairie’s Brooke Walling, both Division I commits and all-state standouts, play AAU together, are friends off the court and guarded each other throughout Sunday’s game.
On the boys side, Skyview’s Alex Schumacher and King’s Way Christian’s Khalfani Cason, former middle school rivals (Thomas Jefferson and Gaiser, respectively), were in the same backcourt. And Houston Combs and Ethan Smith went from sharing a backcourt at Union, to face-guarding each other — Combs with a competitive smile.
The interpersonal ties ran deep between the teams, made up of players stretching to the outer edges of Southwest Washington — Mark Morris to Washougal.
For Gardner, it made for fun competition. She poured 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists onto the girls game, despite her team (Team Jordan) losing 65-50 to Team Moore.
Throughout the game, her and Stephens (11 points), a Central Washington commit, were in each other’s ears.
“Honestly we were talking to each other the whole game.” Gardner said. “Like, ‘stop shooting,’ ‘knock it off’ and ‘pass the ball to someone else.’ ”
For Schumacher, the MVP of the boys’ game who is still , the game served as more of a showcase than a competition.
“Everyone deserved to be here,” Schumacher said. “We did a really good job of sharing the ball. Not just one person trying to do their own thing. We were all just having fun.”
Schumacher added a dunk contest win over Heritage’s Keyler Struthers to cap off his high school career, winning with a two-handed alley-oop windmill. The All-Region guard is undecided on college but has offers from Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s University.
Though many of the seniors are preparing to head off to play college basketball, the game served as an adieu to the sport for players like Camas’ Hannah Booth, who is not playing in college.
That made it even more sweet when she edged Gardner, a Portland State commit and perhaps the area’s most prolific outside shooter, in the girls 3-point contest.
Despite Gardner hitting a contest-high 16 3s in the first round, Booth edged her with 14 3s to Gardner’s 11 in the final.
Booth was left surprise, not just because of the win.
“To be honest it had been a little while since I touched a ball,” Booth said. “But I got warmed up and it felt good.”
To be exact, it had been a month and a day since the Camas girls saw their season end just shy of the 4A state tournament, but Booth picked up right where she left off.
She scored 11 points for Team Moore, as did Stephens and Prairie’s Mallory Williams. Brooke Walling finished with a team-high 15 points. Bea added 11 for Team Jordan.
But it was Gardner who tallied the highest point total out of both games.
Like so many times in a Falcons uniform, including throughout the postseason during the team’s recent 3A state title run, she saw lots of shots fall.
“Especially in the first and fourth quarter,” Gardner said. “It was good. I felt like I could shoot the ball today.”
TEAM MOORE 65, TEAM JORDAN 50
TEAM MOORE — Devi Dugan 1, Marina Morningstar 2, Hannah Booth 11, Aubrey Adams 10, Brooke Walling 15, Taylor Stephens 11, Mallory Williams 11, Liz Canton 2, Tyra Schroeder 3. Totals 24-54 (12-25) 5-13 65.
TEAM JORDAN — Cassidy Gardner 26, Beyonce Bea 11, Brianna Gould 3, Haley Hanson 7, Toryi Midland 0, Erin Baker 3, Karli Oliver 0. Totals 17-52 (11-34) 5-7 50.
Moore 19 13 17 16 — 65
Jordan 18 9 9 14 — 50
TEAM WESTBROOK 88, TEAM JORDAN 68
TEAM WESTBROOK — Khalfani Cason 8, Alex Schumacher 14, Ethan Smith 5, Isaiah Sampson 10, Shaw Anderson 13, Carter Murray 7, Avery Seter 9, Evan Dirksen 9, Keandre Hunter-Holliday 2, Dwight Jones 2. Totals 37-80 (9-30) 5-6 88.
TEAM JORDAN— Houston Combs 7, Carson Bonine 6, Isaiah Parker 6, Tyler Flanagan 3, Keyler Struthers 6, Vincent McCormic 13, Travis Huffman Jr. 0, Rarey Sommer 5, Matt Bryant 18, DeLano Morgan 4. Totals 28-81 (9-40) 3-3 68.
Westbrook 18 16 24 30 — 88
Jordan 11 17 24 16 — 68