Basketball players

Somerset County basketball players end their D5 All-Star Games careers

NEW PARIS – Twenty senior Somerset basketball players took to the court on Monday evening in what will be for many the last match of their careers, in the District 5 Athletic Directors’ Association All-Star Games.

Five county 1,000-point scorers competed in the boys’ and girls’ games.

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The final scores meant very little in the grand scheme of things. It was a chance to have fun, play the game with friends, teammates and even regular season foes.

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Although, there were a few feats delivered by Jackson Byer of Conemaugh Township. He cashed in a deep three as time expired to lift the Somerset County side past the Bedford-Fulton County contingent 82-81.

“We had a rivalry with Windber throughout the season. Tonight I was coached by (Windber) coach (Steve) Slatcoff and three of their guys were my teammates,” said Byer, who was named Team West MVP. “It’s crazy to go from competing against them all year to playing alongside them. It was a really cool experience.”

Slatcoff drew what looked like a football game with only seconds remaining on a timeout. Aiden Gray of Windber, a quarterback for the football team, hit fellow Rambler Keith Charney with a through pass, which then found a streaky Byer on the left sideline. Byer’s desperation shot hit the glass and rocked the house for the winner.

Both Byer and Charney have surpassed 1,000 points this season. Charney, who will play football at Cal U, also had his 500th career rebound this season.

It was a special night for Slatcoff coaching Charney, Gray and Caden Dusack, who won the 3-point shooting contest, in their high school finals.

“This was the first District 5 Athletic Directors Association All-Star Game that I had the opportunity to coach, and doing it with three of our players in the game made it an unforgettable experience,” Slatcoff said. . “They meant a lot to our program, and having the opportunity to coach them one last time in their last high school game was an honour.”

Baumgardner’s battle continues

Bella Baumgardner from Somerset continues to battle polycystic kidney disease every day. A three-sport athlete, Baumgardner was forced to cheer on her teammates from the sidelines as a junior.

She returned this season to compete in tennis, basketball and will soon be playing softball for the Golden Eagles. Baumgardner scored eight points in the All-Star Game, but the fact that she’s even able to set foot on the field and playing fields is impressive as she deals with constant pain.

“We had doubts every season,” Baumgardner said. “Tennis, I started with surgery and worked my way up. Basketball, I had surgery during the season, but I started my way back. Now I’m starting softball and I’m having surgery this Thursday I’m still I’m excited to be playing softball this year as a left fielder.

Baumgardner enjoyed making memories along the way in the All-Star Game.

“I was able to make a lot of new friends through this game,” she said. “I strengthened a lot of friendships that were only online, basically. It was cool spending time on the pitch with all of them.”

One last hurrah for the Snyder trio

Shanksville-Stonycreek coach Robert Snyder has had the unique opportunity to coach his three children over the years. The last two seasons, he guided the girls from Shanksville. In those teams were his daughter, Josie, and his niece, Rylee Snyder.

Josie Snyder eclipsed 1,000 career points last season. Rylee Snyder also topped 1,000 points last season and had her 1,000th career rebound this year. She became the only player – male or female – in Shanksville history to surpass 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Coach Snyder was given one last chance to train the pair with fellow Viking Liz Salsgiver.

Somerset County fell 55-52, despite a valiant comeback attempt. Coach Snyder was happy to be a part of it all.

“It’s a special, stress-free game,” he said. “We came and had fun. I thought the girls represented the county well tonight.”

Josie Snyder, committed to Potomac State University, and Rylee Snyder, who will attend Frostburg State University, led the way in Shanksville, helping the Vikings win three straight Class 1A District 5 titles .

There was instant chemistry in the Somerset County team. Windber’s Josie Snyder, Rylee Snyder, Baumgardner and Gina Gaye, who also eclipsed 1,000 career points this season, have all played AAU ball together in the past. They were teammates again on Monday.

“It was really fun to play with those girls one last time,” said Josie Snyder, who won the 3-point contest and was named Team West MVP. “They’re all so good. We all clicked. It was nice to have a little break during the game. I can never really do that. It was all nice and I’m glad I got to do it, and I’m grateful to have been chosen to play.”

Somerset County Boys All-Stars: Dionte Coleman, Johnstown Christian; Braden Adams, Shanksville-Stonycreek; Aiden Gray, Windber; Kameron Kemp, Turkeyfoot; Caden Dusack, Windber; Keith Charney, Windber; Will Reeping, Somerset; Tyler Miller, Berlin Brothers Valley; Brock Weimer, North Star; Jackson Byer, Conemaugh Township.

Somerset County Female All-Stars:Abby Putnick, Shade; Kaitlyn Pletcher, Rockwood; Regan Mash, Conemaugh Township; Cenley Miller, North Star; Bella Baumgardner, Somerset; Liz Salsgiver, Shanksville-Stonycreek; Gina Gaye, Windber; Josie Snyder, Shanksville-Stonycreek; Mya Nanna, Conemaugh Township; Rylee Snyder, Shanksville-Stonycreek.

Adam Ripple is the sports editor of the Daily American. He can be reached at 814-444-5926. Follow him on Twitter @ARipple_DAsport. Follow Daily American Sports on Facebook.