By LARRY BARKER
Nevada Appeal News Service
If any Duke basketball fans were at the Elmo Derrico Gym on Tuesday night, then they have to be excited about the Blue Devils' future.
That's because Olek Czyz, who will play at Duke next year, dominated the game. The 6-foot, 10-inch center from state champion Reno High scored 32 points to lead the Blue team to a 94-82 win over Silver in the ninth annual Fallon Optimist All-Star Classic.
"It was a lot of fun to play in this game," Czyz said. "It's fun to get to see again the guys we played against all through the season. This is the last chance to see them before we all go off to college. It was really nice to see those guys."
What those guys saw was Czyz scoring at will.
Teaming up with longtime rivals center Jeff Nady of Douglas and point guard Omarri Williams of Reed, Czyz was unstoppable. With Nady setting screens to give him room and Williams hitting him with pass after pass, Czyz scored repeatedly on slam dunks, including two on alley-oop passes from Williams.
The Silver couldn't stop Czyz.
"We had a big talent pool and we had some fun with these guys tonight," Blue head coach Corey Thacker of Douglas High said. "Just getting to play with the Reno guys after playing against them all this time, it was fun to finally have them on our side."
With Czyz and Nady " a 6-10 forward from Douglas who will play football at Nevada next season " dominating the middle, Blue ran off to an early 12-7 lead.
Thacker then sent five other players into the game and with the two Blue big men on the bench, Silver was able to erase the lead. Three-pointers by Jake Mansfield of Galena, Zack Quilici of Sparks and Fallon's Billy Sorensen keyed a 19-7 run that put Silver ahead, 26-19, with 8 minutes, 14 seconds to play in the first half.
Czyz and Nady returned late in the half and teamed up with Reed's Travis Petersen and Reno's John Stewart to go on a 16-9 run, tying the game at 35-35 with 2:35 left in the half. Petersen and Stewart canned 3s, and Nady and Czyz each scored twice during the run with Czyz's first alley-oop dunk tying the game.
Four free throws by Kelton Hall of Damonte Ranch and a jumper by Sorensen put Silver ahead 41-37 at the break. (The game was played under collegiate rules, with two 20-minute halves instead of four eight-minute quarters.)
The game remained close early in the second half.
Another 3-pointer by Mansfield put Silver ahead 55-52 with 14:37 to play, but that would be the Silver's last hurrah. A bucket by Nady and an old-fashioned three-point play by Czyz put Blue ahead 57-55 and the Blue would never trail again.
Three more dunks by Czyz, a 3-pointer by Caleb Carter of Carson High and buckets by Petersen and David Laird of Douglas pushed Blue's lead to 76-64 with 7:19 left.
David Torres of Wooster canned a jumper to make it 76-70 at the 6:04 mark, but Silver then went 4:59 without scoring. During that time, Blue went on a 16-0 run to put the game away. Czyz scored three more times, Nady, Laird and Williams once in that stretch, along with a basket by Casey Wildermuth of Yerington.
By the time Torres scored again to break Silver's drought, the game was out of reach.
Thacker, whose Douglas team lost three times to Reno during the season, was glad to finally have Czyz on his side.
"He's a great kid, fun to be around," Thacker said. "It was great to see him scoring some buckets for our side."
Nady complemented his longtime rival with 14 points and Petersen added 11 for Blue. Also on Blue were Cavin Hill of Reno High, Kevin Emm of Douglas and Mitch Fassett of Silver Stage.
"It felt kind of weird to pass to Nady because he's been my rival all these years," Czyz said. "It was different, but it was special and it was fun."
Hall led Silver with 20 points, including three 3-pointers and 7 for 7 on free throws. South Tahoe's Vince Capellino, bound for San Francisco State to play basketball for the Gators, scored 14 points and Torres, heading for San Jose City College, added 10.
Also on the Silver team were Goose Robinson of Galena, Armando Gonzalez of Lovelock, Jerrin Foster, Ryan Randsell and Habs Meyer of Dayton and Jesse Bajwa of North Valleys. The team was coached by Dayton's T.W. Cunningham.
"It as fun to coach all this talent," Thacker said. "We were drawing stuff up on the bench then ran it whenever we wanted. These guys were out here having fun. They all just wanted to play. A team this talented would have easily won the state championship."
Balanced scoring helped give the Silver team a 69-65 win over Blue in the ninth annual Fallon Optimist All-Star Classic Tuesday night at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
Shanice Martin of Hug High scored 13 points and provided a spark with assists and defense. Kara Stock of Bishop Manogue scored 12 and Langley Iverson of Galena tallied 11, while Kayla Williams of Reed was the only Blue player to score in double figures. Williams will play at Nevada next season.
"It was a good close game," Silver head coach Ralph Dunn of Fernley said. "I thought they were a little more talented than we were but we prevailed in the end."
Buckets by Williams and Reno High's Raimy Novacek gave the Blue team an early 4-0 lead. Martin then entered the game and scored seven quick points.
That, along with a three-point play by Sierra Shaw of Sparks and a free throw from Iverson, pushed the Silver team to an 11-4 lead. Blue came back on baskets by Williams and Novacek, sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Galena's Colleen Mullins, to tie it at 14.
Two free throws by Bridgett Maestretti of Douglas put Blue back in front 16-14 with 8 minutes, 53 seconds to play in the first half and that would be the Blue's final lead of the game.
Down by two points, Stock, Iverson, Shaw, Mullins and Galena's Colleen Kern went to work. Iverson scored twice and the others once each in a 13-0 run, putting Silver ahead 27-16 with 4:42 to go. Blue got no closer than seven points and trailed 35-25 at intermission.
Midway through the second half Blue made its run. Three-pointers by Christina Gough of Reno and April Hardin of Wooster, along with six points by Williams and a putback by Yerington's Heidi Emm brought Blue back to tie the game 45-45 with 9:40 to play.
Shaw followed with a 3-pointer to put Silver ahead again and it went on an 18-10 run to lead 63-55 with 2:49 left. Iverson and Stock each hit 3-of-4 free throws during the run and Lynsie Dunn of Fernley hit a 3-pointer. Blue came back again to cut the lead to 65-63 with 1:18 to go and then went into a four-corners stall to eat up the clock. Forced to foul, Blue watched helplessly as Stock hit three more free throws and Martin hit one to ice the game.
"In the beginning I didn't think we had a chance," Martin said. "But it was a good game and everybody did their part, so I'm happy."
Also on the Silver team were Chelsea Calvin and Brianna Dunn from Fernley High and Dakota Shaw from Sparks. Rounding out the Blue team were Krysta Olsen of Virginia City, Christy Works of Carson, Sarah Rooker of McQueen, Audrey Campbell of Reno, Brittany Hill of Dayton and Aldine Hobbs of Wooster.
"We wanted to give all 12 of our players equal playing time, so it was hard to get in sync," Blue head coach Shari Andreasen of Dayton said. "But it was kind of laid-back and fun and I enjoyed coaching against Ralph Dunn."