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story.lead_photo.caption The East’s Mya Love (left) of Nettleton drives past the West’s Abby James of Pottsville during Saturday’s Arkansas High School Coaches Association Girls All-Star basketball game at the Farris Center in Conway. Love, who was named the MVP, had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals to lead the East to an 85-72 victory.

CONWAY -- In his last official duty as the Paragould girls basketball coach, Jay Cook finished on a high note.

Cook led the East to an 85-72 victory over the West in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Girls All-Star basketball game Saturday at the Farris Center.

Cook wrapped up his 11th season as the Paragould girls coach in March and shortly thereafter was hired as the new girls basketball coach at Cabot.

"I ultimately enjoyed my time in Paragould," Cook said. "So it was really nice to win today for them. I had some good teams and great players at Paragould."

Gallery: High School All-Stars Boys/Girls Basketball

Although none of his former players were on the East team, he did have a couple of players he was used to seeing over the past few seasons. Mya Love of Nettleton led the East in scoring and was a stalwart on defense, earning the game's MVP award.

"She may have been on the opposing bench and a headache for me for years, but today I love her," Cook said. "We had some talented players on our roster, and I just stayed out of their way and tried not to coach them too much."

Love finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting while hauling in 5 rebounds and snagging 5 steals.

"I enjoyed the experience," said Love, who will play for Arkansas State University in the fall. "The girls made the experience way better. We all connected, really. They had my back out there.

"I pushed myself, and I think I redeemed myself for such a poor performance in my last game at the state tournament. Anyway, I had fun."

The two stats that explained why the East won were offensive rebounds and steals. The East pulled down 54 total rebounds while the West had 45, but the East had 21 off the offensive glass to just 9 for the West. The East also had 21 steals to eight for the West.

"Our kids showed their basketball IQ," Cook said. "They understood where we were in the game, when they needed to push and when they needed to pull back a little bit. And for a two-day turnaround, they really played great defense today."

The two squads traded the lead throughout the first quarter before the East held a 17-15 edge at the first break. Two three-pointers to open the second gave the East a 23-17 lead, which it stretched to 35-26 by the end of the stanza. The East led by as many as 11 in the third and took a 45-39 advantage into halftime.

The West closed the gap to a single point in the fourth, 50-49, but the East responded with a 9-1 run for a 59-50 lead. It took a 68-56 advantage into the final quarter, where the East led by as much as 77-60.

Gracie Raby of Mount Vernon-Enola, Kalifa Ford of Brookland and Kayla Mitchell of Jonesboro each scored 10 points for the East.

Diamond Morris of Sheridan led all scorers with 16 points for the West. Marquesha Davis of Springdale added 15.

Davis was named the most outstanding player for the West.

EAST (85)

Gracie Raby 3 4-5 10, Myia Yelder 3 0-2 6, Kalifa Ford 3 4-8 10, Nicki Hooten 2 0-0 4, Sara Bershers 3 0-0 8, Kayla Mitchell 5 0-0 10, Faith Byers 0 0-0 0, Johnna Rae Baine 1 0-1 2, Abbie Jiles 3 0-0 8, Madi Pierce 2 0-0 4, Mya Love 5 3-4 15, Tai'sheka Porchia 2 4-10 8. Totals 32 15-30 85.

WEST (72)

Madisyn Pence 1 0-0 3, Shea Neumeier 0 0-0 0, Diamond Morris 6 2-2 16, Tamia Templeton 1 3-5 5, Marquesha Davis 6 1-3 15, Abby James 2 0-0 5, Abby Dean 2 0-0 5, Alexis Roach 1 0-0 2, Kaley Shipman 0 0-0 0, Ashlen Gonzalez 1 0-0 2, Jenny Peake 0 0-0 0, Fiona Wilson 2 0-1 4, Sierra Johnson 2 0-0 4, Ashley Farrar 1 2-2 5, Kaeely Robinson 3 0-0 6. Totals 28 8-13 72.

East 17 18 10 23 17 -- 85

West 15 11 13 17 16 -- 72

Three-point goals -- East 6 (Bershers 2, Jiles 2, Love 2), West 8 (Davis 2, Morris 2, Dean 1, Farrar 1, James 1, Pense 1). Rebounds -- East 54 (Porchia 8); West 45 (Davis 12). Assists -- East 10 (Mitchell 3), West (James 3). Steals -- East 21 (Ford 4); West 8 (Davis 2, James 2, Shipman 2). Team fouls -- East 12, West 20.

Paragould girls basketball coach Jay Cook is shown in this file photo.
Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JIMMY JONES
Alpena’s Abby Dean (3) and Lake Hamilton’s Jenny Peake of the East battle for a loose ball with Jonesboro’s Kayla Mitchell (right) of the West during Saturday’s state high school girls All-Star basketball game at the Farris Center in Conway. The East won 85-72.

Sports on 06/23/2019

Print Headline: In last act for Paragould, coach enjoys all-star show

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