Dillon named MVP in Jeffco senior girls hoops all-star game

LAKEWOOD — The 2019 Jeffco High School Senior Girls Basketball Game didn’t disappoint for the second straight year.

Bear Creek's Melody Soto, left, goes up for a shot against Ralston Valley's Shelby Nichols on Monday night at the Gold Crown Field House. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

In the 2nd annual hoops all-star game featuring seniors from across Jeffco was decided in the closing minutes Monday night at the Gold Crown Field House in Lakewood. A 3-pointer from Lakewood’s Caira Salas and 3-point play the hard way by Chatfield’s Tedy Reed in the fourth quarter sealed a 68-62 victory for the White team.

The inaugural girls game last year finished with Evergreen’s Baylee Galan-Browne making a game-winning shot with seven seconds left to give the White team an eventual 78-75 victory.

“It was so much fun,” Reed said. “I grew up playing with a lot of these girls. They are the best competition we see all season and now we are like a family.”

Evergreen senior and two-time Class 4A state champion — Claudia Dillon — was named the game’s MVP. Dillon was on the court for the final nine minutes when the game was on the line.

Dillon was all smiles and joked with teammates after picking up her fourth foul in the final seconds.

Arvada West's Madi Pixler,right, drives on Alameda International's Rosie Holguin during Monday's 2nd annual Jeffco High School Senior Basketball Game. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“Having this experience is the best thing about it,” said Dillon, who will play volleyball at the University of Missouri next fall. “I’m used to that double- and triple-team, but seeing some bigger girls who had size and could guard me was kind of cool.”

Ralston Valley’s Shelby Nichols and D’Evelyn’s Tori Szathmary shared the task most of the night guarding Dillon. Nichols, along with Dakota Ridge’s duo of Sydney Daniels and Maggie Hawley were key in the Blue team fighting back from a 20-point deficit in the first half to make a game of it.

“At the end we wanted to win so bad,” said Reed, who will continue her basketball career at Colorado College. “For a lot of girls this was their last game. I wanted to go out with a bang.”

Dillon will play in The Show all-star game Saturday at Metro State University in what might very well be the final competitive basketball game for the two-time state champion.

“Claudia is literally the nicest person ever,” Reed said. “I can’t believe how well she sees the court and passes the ball so well. It was an honor playing with her.”

Green Mountain coach Darren Pitzner guided the White team to the victory. The former Lakewood girls basketball assistant coach just finished up his second year coaching the Rams.

“That was a totally fun and meaningful experience,” Pitzner said. “I got to coach the two Lakewood kids that I coached for two years and my two Green Mountain kids one last time.”

Pitzner said coaching Dillon for the first time instead of against her was a ‘breath of fresh air’.

The 23 Jeffco seniors pose together for a photo after the White team took a 68-62 victory Monday at the Gold Crown Field House. The 2nd annual event was put on by the Gold Crown Foundation, Jeffco Public School and sponsored by FirstBank. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)