Area stars ready for HoopfestWORTHINGTON – For the second-straight year, a number of the area’s best athletes — past and present — are joining together for the All-Area Hoopfest.
WORTHINGTON – For the second-straight year, a number of the area’s best athletes — past and present — are joining together for the All-Area Hoopfest.
The showcase, held today at Worthington High School, displays the two Southwest Minnesota Stars basketball teams as well as hand-picked all-area teams that are made up of current and former local athletes.
“It’s really fun to play with everybody,” Worthington senior Mitch Weg said. “They’re just fun games and then there’s the 3-point and dunk contests that are really fun to watch too. It’s just a good time.”
The festivities start at 3 p.m. with an open clinic for boys and girls in third through seventh grade.
Then from 6 p.m. through the end of the evening, there will be three basketball games as well as a 3-point and dunk contest.
The Hoopfest displays the Southwest Minnesota Stars 16’s and 17’s as well as two all-area teams.
The all-area teams are picked based on local media all-area teams as well as all-conference selections. Many of the members of the all-area teams played for the Southwest Minnesota Stars at some point during their high school career as well.
“Last year I was part of the under-17 team so I got to participate then,” Weg said. “It will be fun this year to play with some people I either used to play with or haven’t really gotten the opportunity to play with before.”
The all-area white team is coached this year by Worthington boys’ basketball head coach Ron Vorwald.
His team is made up of: Southwest Christian senior Zach Huisken, former Worthington player Jalen Voss, former SWC player Alex Huisken, Windom senior Jake Holt, Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin senior Beau Herrig, SWC senior Andrew Top, former WHS player Travis Meinders, Windom senior Lee Holt, Fulda graduate Devin Kuehne, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton graduate Taylor Newton, WHS graduate Mike Vorwald, WHS senior Mitch Weg, former Pipestone Area player Greg Quist and former SWC player Ryan Pronk.
The all-area navy team is coached this year by Steve Wiertzema.
His team is made up of: former Ellsworth star Trevor Gruis, former Ellsworth player Curt Schilling, Southwest Star Concept senior Jameson Collin, former Hills-Beaver Creek athletes Kale and Karic Wiertzema, Adrian senior Kyle Kilgore, former Adrian athlete Brian Tjepkes, Murray County Central senior Chris Halbur, former H-BC player Andrew Scholten, H-BC graduate Travis Helgeson, Marshall senior Lee Christianson, Marshall graduate Caleb Johnson and former Minneota players Zac Corbin and Shane Hennen.
“It’s cool because when I played for the Stars, I played with people like Kyle Kilgore, Zach Huisken and Casey Schilling,” Weg said. “So even though we didn’t go to the same school, we’re still teammates. But then at the same time, I get to play with really good athletes like Beau Herrig and some of the older guys who I never got a chance to play with before. It’s a good mix of people and will be a fun experience.”
The games are played purely for fun and are open to the public.
And for most of the athletes who are involved in the all-area teams, just the chance to play amongst some of the other Southwest Minnesota greats is a thrill in and of itself.
“Just to be able to play is so cool,” Weg said. “To have been thought of as being just as good as some of these amazing players that I used to watch when I was younger is pretty cool.”
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.