SALIDA — The committee that puts on the annual Six County All-Star Basketball Games does its best to make the teams as even as possible.
But when it came time to split up the 24 girls honored with their selection to the game, making the teams even would have been a near-impossible task, because the team lucky enough to land Brandi Henton would automatically be playing at an advantage.
The two-time reigning Stanislaus District player of the year wore her Modesto Christian jersey proudly one last time on her home court, dominating the action and scoring 35 points to lead the Blue team to a 75-56 victory over the Red team.
"I didn't know I scored that many," Henton said. "That was a lot of fun. We had two good practices and we all got along so great. There were no ball hogs out there and we all decided that we wanted to win."
In the boys' game, Davis post Kory Johnson scored 22 points to lead seven players in double figures as the Red ran away to a 126-102 victory.
Henton will be skipping summer ball for the first time since before eighth grade as she gets in shape to start her college career at Long Beach State.
"I didn't know I scored that many," Henton said. "I head to Long Beach on July 9 and until then I'll be working out, running and staying in shape. I'm hoping to play right away, and who wouldn't want to do that. I'm just going down to earn my spot and do what I can to put Long Beach State women's basketball back on the map and get to the dance."
Henton scored the Blue team's first nine points, then single-handedly outscored the Red 11-2 midway through the second quarter as her team opened a 29-20 lead just before halftime.
"Brandi had nothing to prove in a game like this, but she let everybody know she was the best player on the floor," said Blue coach Jim Agostini of East Union. "She was able to showcase her skills and show why she's going to Long Beach State."
The game was not in doubt after that, with the Blues rolling to leads as large as 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Henton's Modesto Christian teammate Marinna McKeever led the Red with 12 points and Turlock's Candace Sakuda added 10. McKeever's total might have been higher had Henton not stepped out to swat away McKeever's 3-point attempt late in the game.
"I'm sorry Marinna," said Henton, who was the game's MVP and also won the 3-point shooting contest. "I love her. I just wanted to put my hand up and I accidentally swatted it. That's my teammate."
Johnson, who led Davis to an undefeated run to the Modesto Metro Conference title as a 6-foot-1 post player, showed some of the guard skills he's been working on while running with the Modesto Junior College team this spring.
Still, he got most of his points inside, including many on his high school bread-and-butter, the put-back after the offensive rebound.
"They know that if I'm ever going to move up it's going to be as a point guard," Johnson said. "They're getting me used to handling the ball and shooting. They'll never tell me to stop crashing the boards. Even though I'm a guard now, every once in a while they want me to go old school and I take it down low and get physical."
The Red team took control early, as Kent Foster had five points and Johnson four during a 14-3 spurt to a 41-27 lead two minutes into the second quarter.
The Blue team, which trailed by 20 points just before halftime, pulled within 72-66 with 4:17 left in the third quarter when Calaveras sharp-shooter Devin White hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
But that was as close as the Blue would get, as Modesto's DeAngelo Williams sparked a 14-2 spurt with consecutive breakaway dunks, giving the Red an 86-68 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Foster finished with 18 points, slam-dunk champion Williams added 16, Manteca's Ernie Pimentel 13, Merced's Brian Cooksey 12, and Livingston's Gurpreet Sangha and West's Jordan Richardson had 11 apiece. Reggie Nelson topped the Blue with 18, while Turlock's Eric Wetzel had 17, Johansen's Dakari King 14, White 11 and Enoch's Scott Robertson 10.
"I've been on the court every day, but it had been a while since I've been in a real game, and it was fun," Johnson said. "Everybody played hard tonight. This wasn't a joke. Everybody was serious and that's what made this a great game and made it fun."