Basketball all-stars converge in Mother Lode

COLUMBIA — Travis Souza and Dominic Romeo spent the last two seasons banging away as opponents, Souza for Turlock High and Romeo for crosstown rival Pitman.

They will put aside their differences Saturday to lead the Light large-school team into the seventh Madness in the Mother Lode All-Star Extravaganza at Columbia College.

The small-school stars tip off at 5 p.m., while the large-school teams start play at 7.

Souza was The Bee's Player of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to the Northern California playoffs, as the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 21 points, 5.5 assists and 5.2 rebounds.

Romeo did his damage near the basket, using his muscular 6-6 frame to get 21.4 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. It will be the first time these rivals will play as teammates.

Adding a little more fuel to the fire is that each will have to face a former teammate: Turlock's Eric Wetzel and Pitman's Amarpreet Randhawa are playing for the Dark side.

While many all-star games split rosters based on geography or leagues, this event divides players in a goal to put together comparable teams.

Other stars joining Souza and Romeo on the Light team are Davis' 6-foot center Kory Johnson, Enochs' 6-6 forward Scott Robertson, Manteca point guard Ernie Pimentel and Merced's potent scoring duo of forward Brian Cooksey and guard Otis Caery.

The Dark side also features Sierra star Trevor Noguiera, Sonora's powerful 6-5 Zach Gorgas, Modesto's Andre Berry and DeAngelo Williams, and Merced's Reggie Nelson.

Turlock's Doug Cornfoot is coaching the Light and Sierra's Scott Thomason the Dark.

The small-school game is scheduled to feature the district's most dynamic player — Modesto Christian's 6-foot Isaiah Burse, whose late-season exploits carried the Crusaders to the NorCal Division 4 semifinals — playing alongside Ripon Christian's 6-8 Tyler Goslinga on the Dark.

Patterson's Kent Foster, the district's No. 2 scorer at 22.6 points per game, Hilmar's athletic Quinton McCown and Ripon's Matt Ratto are three of the stars on the Light team.