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Thu, Nov 27, 2014

Murfreesboro All-Star Weekend features top prep talent

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The second annual Murfreesboro All-Star Weekend finished up Sunday with the best local high school basketball stars playing each other in the All-Star game matching the North Boro against the South Boro at 5:30 p.m. at Blackman.
The weekend also included a celebrity game on Friday, May 2, and skills competition and many other events on Saturday, May 3, honoring the talent here in the area.

The event was the brainchild of Zion Christian Ministries International senior pastor Bishop Chris Johnson Sr., who wanted to do something to honor the great talent here in the area after visiting some of the rivalry games in Murfreesboro the past couple of seasons.

“Last year, we went to a game in February, and it was the first time I had seen the talent we have right here in the city,” said Johnson, a former starting defensive back on MTSU’s football team. “I started traveling around looking at the talent and I was like ‘My God we have a great deal of talent.’ These kids look like college players. Something clicked, and we needed to do something to showcase and celebrate this talent we have right here in Murfreesboro. So, I thought of All-Star Weekend, and I came back and pitched it to my staff at the church. I knew it was going to be a risk, but I knew we had to try it. We only had two months of planning last year, but it was a huge success.”

Johnson hopes this year’s edition is bigger and better, and he has made some additions to the event have helped in trying to accomplish the goal. Some of those additions included a girls game for the first time, making the actual All-Star jerseys more like the professionals and getting the word out about the game.

So far, the Murfreesboro community has really stepped up in terms of helping the event a success. For example, newly elected Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland, city council member Madelyn Scales Harris and Rutherford County Mayor Earnest Burgess took part this weekend.

Sunday’s game matched up the top players from the North Boro (Oakland, Siegel, Providence and MTCS) against the South Boro (Holloway, Blackman and Riverdale), with the girls game starting Sunday at 5:30 and the boys following after the conclusion of it. However, it was an action packed weekend for the players both on and off the court.

On Friday night, some of the top local celebrities in the area took part in the celebrity game. On Saturday, it was All-Star Saturday Night as the student-athletes participated in the skills contest, 3-point shootout and the dunk contest.

Also, the players took part in a meet-and-greet with some of the kids in the area during a festival on Saturday morning, and some of the former area players and other community leaders talked to the student-athletes about character building during the weekend.
Johnson has been known for giving back to the community, especially the youngsters during his time here. Besides putting on this event, he also coaches youth football and it gives him a special thrill to help those around the area.

“I really enjoy it, and I have kids of my own,” Johnson said. “They are looking up and seeing the positive influences that we are having on so many young people. It is a thrill to me to be able to share some of my experiences and some of the things I have gone through to help these young kids, and especially the young student-athletes. I believe they have a lot more to balance when it comes to the athletic side, and stay focused enough to perform on the court and in the classroom.

‘I really take joy in helping young people because somebody impacted my life and kept me in school and helped me get my degree. I wanted to recycle that and pass that on by helping somebody else.”

Tickets are $5, and kids under 5 get in for free.

All-Star Weekend Rosters
North Boro (Boys)
Ryan Jones (Siegel)
Charles Clark (Siegel)
Edwin Roberts (Siegel)
Aden Burton (Siegel)
Dominique Gooch (Siegel)
Devin Epps (Oakland)
Daulton Smith (Oakland)
Bob Givens (Oakland)
Bryson Crear (MTCS)
Payton Thomas (Providence)

North Boro (Girls)
Maddie Francescon (Siegel)
Allison Bush (Siegel)
Erica Roberts (Siegel)
Elizabeth Carroll (Siegel)
Alex May (Providence)
Emily Eubank (Oakland)
Kiara Howse (Oakland)
Kaitlin Oliver (Oakland)

South Boro (Boys)
Lukas Hart (Blackman)
Edward Kalu (Blackman)
Reid Pierce (Blackman)
Andrew Rogan (Blackman)
Steven Wilson (Riverdale)
Psalms Duff (Riverdale)
Jalen Campbell (Riverdale)
Tyler Smithson (Riverdale)
Austin Jernigan (Riverdale)
Kalief Mauel (Holloway)
Jessy Lawler (Holloway)
Datona Harris (Holloway)
David Ship (Holloway)

South Boro (Girls)
Micah Norris (Blackman)
Brandy Alley (Riverdale)
Alexa Middleton (Riverdale)
Shelby Davenport (Riverdale)
Mattie Cantrell (Riverdale)
Deja Jones (Riverdale)
Rachel Conyers (Riverdale)
Shanique Heard (Riverdale)
Hannah Pendergrass (Riverdale)

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