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March 24, 2014

West boys victorious in District 5 showcase

New Paris — Monday’s District 5 Athletic Director’s Association boys’ all-star game at Chestnut Ridge High School was indirectly sponsored by the number 3 ... As in 34 combined 3-pointers.

It was the fourth-quarter long-range marksmanship from the West all-star squad – comprised of student-athletes from Somerset County – that ruled the night as the West topped the East – made up of players from Bedford and Fulton counties – 97-86.

The West – spurred on by four 3-pointers each from Windber’s Dan Tomlinson and Berlin Brothersvalley’s Jake Snyder – connected on a whopping 22 treys, with a few from well beyond the marked line.

With the relaxed and spirited atmosphere, it made sense for West coach Jude Leonardis of Windber to let his purple-clad squad hoist as many long-range shots as possible.

Then again, if Leonardis had these kind of shooters at his disposal at all times, target practice may begin at 19 feet, 9 inches away from the goal.

“If I had these guys? Oh yeah,” Leonardis said. “They’re incredible. It was fun just having a couple of practices with them. Just unbelievable their range. When we got here, I said ‘This might be the last time some of you play an organized game. Just go have fun and play like you practiced.’ They did. They came out a bit slow, but once they started hitting it, it was fun.” 

Snyder, who netted 15 points and won West MVP honors, got hot late, hitting a trio of 3-pointers to give the West an 89-82 lead in the fourth.

“Everybody was just jacking them up and a lot of them went in for us,” Snyder said.

“We just came here to have fun and we weren’t taking it too serious, but we took it serious enough to get the win.”

The East connected on 12 3-pointers, hitting six of them as it grabbed the lead and stretched it as large as eight points during the frame. Fannett-Metal’s Walker Bannister hit two of the East’s triples during the 34-point outburst in the third.

Rockwood’s Ethan Keefer got the ball rolling on the West’s 31-point rampage in the fourth, hitting one of the team’s seven 3-pointers before Conemaugh Township’s Austin Speigle hit one of his own to tie it at 72. The teams traded leads six times with a putback from Southern Fulton’s Jordan Clingerman putting the East ahead 81-80.

Then Snyder, who won the 3-point shootout at halftime with a late flourish, ignited a 12-1 run with three treys before Tomlinson struck from deep as well.

“I’ve been lifting and haven’t been shooting for a while, so it took a while,” Snyder said. “But I got into it then.” 

With the West ahead 92-82 in the waning minutes, the game took a more light-hearted approach with attempted dunks with Clingerman’s third attempt banging around the goal before falling in.

Appropriately, a 3-pointer by Conemaugh Township’s Jeff Callihan, punctuated the win for the West, with its bench celebrating raucously.

“They all know each other,” Leonardis said. “We had two or tree practices and they all showed up. Just the comradery between them, they jelled right away.” 


Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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