CITY OF LA SALLE: Girls Basketball: Area players excited for special opportunity to play in IBCA All-Star Game
City of La Salle issued the following announcement on June 8.
Growing up, Putnam County graduate Paige Veronda heard stories from her father, Doug, about playing in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game.
Thirty-one years later, Paige Veronda will follow in his footsteps and play in the game herself.
“It’s incredible,” Paige Veronda said. “I heard my dad talk about it from him playing in it in high school. He explained that it’s a great opportunity and a great accomplishment to be able to be in it and have all those amazing players with you and against you.
He talks pretty highly of it.”
Veronda will play on the Class 1A/2A North team along with Princeton’s Anna Murray and LaMoille-Ohio’s Lexi Loftus.
“I think it’s really awesome,” Loftus said. “I’m honored I get to play in it. I remember when I was in junior high I went and watched the state championship game and watched all the girls walk out (to be introduced) because they were all-staters. It’s pretty cool to get to be one of them now.”
The Class 1A/2A girls game tips off at noon today at Pontiac High School. It will be followed by the 1A/2A boys game, 3A/4A girls game and 3A/4A boys game.
The 1A/2A North team will be coached by Hall coach Brian Holman.
“It’s a pretty cool honor to be involved with such high-caliber players and high caliber coaches who are down there,” Holman said.
Holman, who was IBCA co-District 11 Coach of the Year for the third straight year, is looking forward to having Murray and Veronda on his team after coaching against them the last several years.
“It’s going to be cool to have those girls,” Holman said. “They’re some of the highest level girls in the area. I haven’t seen Loftus play, but I’ve read a lot about her. I basically spent the last four years trying to get ready for Paige Veronda and Anna Murray. I didn’t do a very good job. Paige, last year we scouted her and scouted her and she had their first 16 points of the game. Anna, same thing. We split with them.
“It will be cool to be on their side and turn them loose to what they’re good at. They match right up with some of the high caliber players down there.”
Murray said she’s looking forward to playing for Holman.
“I think it’ll be awesome,” Murray said. “Hall has won regional championships. He’s a great coach. I think it will be really cool to see how he coaches differently from the coaches who I’ve had.”
Veronda also is looking excited to have Holman as the coach.
“(Putnam County) coach (Jared) Sale said great things about him,” Veronda said. “I’ve seen him over the years in basketball and softball. We’ve always exchanged a few words about future plans and how seasons are going. I think it’s going to be really cool He’s a great guy and great coach from what I’ve seen and heard. I think it will be pretty cool to have someone from around here go down and coach the team.”
Loftus, Murray and Veronda are happy to be on the same side after competing against each other in high school.
“I think we’re all super excited we get to play together,” Loftus said. “I messaged both of them, ‘Oh my gosh, we get to be on the same team.’ We’re all pretty pumped.”
Veronda said her and Loftus have talked through social media, but she’s excited to get to know the other top area players better this weekend.
“Lexi and I talk sometimes through Twitter. I don’t know Anna too well,”
Veronda said. “I’ve heard great things about both of them. They’re both sweet girls from what I’ve heard about them. I can’t wait to play with them.
“Playing against them, you always have to look out for them. They’re girls you talk about trying to control in games. To have them on my team is absolutely incredible.”
Murray is interested to see how the three NewsTribune First-Team All-Area players mesh on the court.
“It’s pretty cool because there are people from around the area I’ve played against,” Murray said. “We’ll be on the same team, which is going to be weird, but fun.
“We’re all good so it will be fun to see how all our talents mix together when we play on the same team.”
Holman said he’ll try to get all three Illinois Valley girls on the floor at the same time.
“There are a lot of rules on playing time,” Holman said. “We’ll try to figure out lineups to get some different girls together. We have some girls from the city and suburbs and the northwest part of the state. We’ll try to match some people up. I hope to fit (the three local girls) in together. I know they see each other in the paper and play against each other.
Original source can be found here.