When their senior seasons came to an end this winter, Abbey Ashbrook, Alex Galle and Emily Kim thought their basketball careers were finished.
As it turns out, they’ll have one more chance to lace up the high-tops and run up and down the court with a few of their teammates.
The second All-Area All-Star Games, featuring The Republic’s All-Area boys and girls basketball teams, will be played Monday at Hauser. The girls game will begin at 6 p.m., with the boys to follow at around 7:30 p.m.
“It’s really exciting,” said Galle, a senior at Columbus East. “I thought (a sectional loss to Columbus North) was my last game, and it’s a really great opportunity to go out there and play with my teammates one last time. We’re all really happy for this chance.”
Galle will be joined by teammates and classmates Parker Chitty (Eastern Kentucky recruit), Zach Sanders and Kevin Williams (Hanover), along with East junior Tanner McFall. Hauser seniors Zach Gearhart, Zach Johnson, Quindon Shipley and Aaron Sweet and junior Connor Wilson and Columbus Christian senior Adriane Polley (Cincinnati Christian) also have committed to play.
Hauser athletics director Dave Irvine, who is coordinating the games, is waiting on possible boys commitments from Columbus North, Edinburgh, Jennings County and Brown County.
Five North boys players were invited, but all are underclassmen and IHSAA rules allow only three underclassmen from a high school team to play in a non-sanctioned event. As of Saturday evening, it was unclear which Bull Dogs might be playing.
Ashbrook and Kim, like Galle, are not planning to play college basketball. Kim, who said she may play intramurals at Xavier, is coaching the third-grade Columbus Comets team along with fellow Columbus North senior Amy Weisner and is considering going into the coaching profession.
Along with Kim and Weisner, the Class 4A state runner-up Bull Dog girls will be represented by senior Elle Williams and juniors Maliah Howard-Bass and Imani Guy.
“I didn’t think I would ever play in another game after state,” Kim said. “I think it’s great to get one more game in with Elle and Amy as seniors. It means a lot to me.”
Also committed to play are East senior Audrey Wetzel (St. Francis) and sophomores Britney Ballard, Addy Galarno, Kristen Lyons and Riley Meade. Hauser’s Ashbrook will be joined by classmates Leslie Sims (Indiana State softball) and Paige Miller and sophomores Tessa Sims and Sarah Tedder.
Edinburgh senior Mariah Weddle and juniors Bri Howard and Allie Schooler also have committed to play. Irvine is waiting on girls commitments from Jennings County and Brown County.
“I think it’s definitely going to be a fun experience getting to play on my home court one last time,” Ashbrook said. “I know that the profits are going to go to a good cause, so I think it’s something that the community should come out and support.”
Admission is $5, with preschoolers free. Proceeds will benefit Northside Middle School seventh-grader Alana Cook, who is undergoing chemotherapy after having a tumor removed from her brain in November.
Cook was diagnosed with a papillary tumor of the pineal gland, which is near the back of the base of the brain. She hopes to return to the basketball court once she recovers.
“(Columbus Christian AD) Kevin (Roth) and I were talking, and I was thinking about who would be a good benefactor, and that’s the first person we thought of,” Irvine said. “I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of her on the basketball court in the future.”
Last year’s inaugural games were played at Columbus Christian and benefited former North standout and Vermont recruit Josh Speidel, who was seriously injured in a car accident late in his senior season.
“Kevin and I talked after the game last year, and it went so well, we thought it would be nice to continue,” Irvine said. “Fans enjoyed it, and the players certainly enjoyed it, so I said, ‘Well, we’ll host it next year.’”
What: All-Area All-Star Games
When: Monday, 6 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys)
Where: Hauser High School
Who: Players who made The Republic’s All-Area and honorable mention boys and girls teams
Admission: $5 (preschoolers are free)
Beneficiary: Alana Cook, a Northside Middle School seventh-grader who is undergoing chemotherapy after having a tumor removed from her brain