Judah Christian, St. Thomas More rivals shine in exhibit

Judah Christian, St. Thomas More rivals shine in exhibit

CHAMPAIGN — Philip Coulter had one message to deliver after Sunday's Parkland College/News-Gazette All-Star Game at Dodds Athletic Center.

Although the Judah Christian senior couldn't help but laugh after getting the words out of his mouth.

"My boy Riley Morris, he still can't hang with me. Make sure that's in the paper," Coulter said. "Riley Morris can't hang with me."

Coulter and his St. Thomas More counterpart tied for the matchup lead with 13 points.

Coulter, however, came away with the exhibition win and most valuable player honors.

All nine Team Gold athletes posted at least one field goal to lift their squad past Team Black 63-58 in a free-spirited showcase.

"I grew up playing with a lot of these guys," Coulter said, also highlighting Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's Bryce Barnes and Ryland Holt. "So it's cool to be in the same place, in a really nice gym, and it's a lot of fun. Definitely couldn't have missed it."

Cissna Park's Christian Stadeli also touched double figures with 12 points for Gold, which pulled ahead for good at 61-56 on a three-pointer by Centennial's Jamonte Williams with less than two minutes remaining.

"Every time we have an all-star game, everyone's like, 'So what are we doing? Are we playing for real or messing around?'" Coulter said. "We ended up playing kind of for real this time."

Joining Morris past the 10-point plateau for Black were Danville's Sean Houpt and reigning News-Gazette Player of the Year Holt with 12 points apiece.

Morris accounted for three of 10 distance conversions for Black as well.

"It was just a really cool experience," Morris said. "I never thought I'd be able to, but to get invited, it's a really good opportunity."

Morris had a strong all-star weekend, securing MVP recognition at Saturday's Battle for the Border contest and breaking that event's single-game scoring record with 29 points.

He also managed to drill a half-court attempt between periods Sunday. Barnes made sure his old pal noticed that someone else's ball collided with Morris' on the way to the net.

"I'm pretty sure it went in (on its own)," Morris said. "Me and Bryce had a competition. He said it didn't, but I'm 90 percent sure it went in."

Even with his recent pedigree, Morris said he's unsure whether he'll hoop it up at the next level.

That's something also on the brain of Coulter, who was undecided on a college entering Sunday.

"Had to keep my mind on, when things got a little crazy, make sure to remember you still haven't signed," Coulter said. "But it was really fun."