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RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: River Baldwin earns MVP honors for South

The South All-Stars put up a strong fight, but it was the North All-Stars that came away with a 66-57 in Wednesday night’s girls All-Star basketball game at Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome.

It was the North All-Stars the got the scoring started when Moriah Taylor hit a 3-pointer to open the game.

Another quick basket from the North put them on top 5-0.

The South All-Stars got on the board when Pleasant Home’s River Baldwin scored off an assit from Charles Henderson’s Maori Davenport.

The South All-Stars then went on a short run to go up 6-5.

The lead changed hands a few times early in the contest.

Baldwin then got a block and rebound that she took back down the court for a layup to put the South All-Stars on top 14-10.

The North All-Stars stormed back and took a 22-14 lead into the second period.

Davenport opened up the second period with a smooth jumper to cut the lead down to 22-16.

The North All-Stars then picked up a 3-pointer to extend their lead.

The South All-Stars cut back into the lead when Baldwin knocked down a bucket and was fouled in the process of shooting.

Baldwin sank the and-1 opportunity to leave the South trailing by seven points.

The North All-Stars, however, continued to move the ball around on offense to find open looks as they pushed their lead up to 37-24 late in the second period.

Baldwin then hit another and-1 with 51 seconds left in the half to cut the North lead down to 10 points.

The South All-Stars continued to battle, but the North All-Stars went into halftime with a 39-29 lead.

Baldwin was the leading scorer for the South All-Stars in the first half with 10 points.

In the second half, the North All-Stars looked to add to their lead early, but Baldwin swatted the ball away and Davenport took it the other direction for a quick basket for the South All-Stars.

A few minutes later, Baldwin grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up for a bucket to cut the North lead down to 42-33.

The South All-Stars made a run in the third period and were able to cut the North lead down to 53-45 heading into the final period.

In the fourth period, the South All-Stars opened up with a pair of free throws from Davenport.

The North All-Stars answered back with a 3-pointer to go up 58-47.

Baldwin then cut the deficit back to nine points with a layup, but the North All-Stars were able to close out the game for a 66-57 victory.

“It’s definitly an honor,” Baldwin said of being invited to play in the All-Star event. “To be one of 14 girls on the team. We played some really tough competition from the North today.”

At the end of the game, Baldwin was named MVP for the South All-Stars.

“I was surprised,” Baldwin said after hearing her name called out as the South MVP. “I thought a lot of the girls on my team deserved it.”

Baldwin was tied for the game-high scoring with 14 points.

She also added 10 rebounds and three blocks on her way to picking up the MVP award for the South All-Stars.

The North All-Stars’ Annie Hughes finished the game with 12 points on her way to being named MVP of the All-Star event.