(April 10th, 2015) – BRYAN: The thirty-second annual Cage Classic was filled with festivities. Perhaps none were more exciting than the Three-Point and Slam Dunk contests which took place during the intermission between the boys and girls games.
The Three-Point contests were first on the agenda, with the girls starting things out. Edon’s Alex Kiess was the first to shoot, and she set the bar quite high. She knocked down 8 three-pointers in less than a minute. That total stood until Rachel Oxender, of North Central walked up to the line. Moving swiftly through the three stations, the Lady Eagle put 11 shots through the basket. This quickly made her the one to beat.
Natalie Koenig, representing Wauseon, proved to be up to the challenge. The last shooter to step up, she too made 11 shots from beyond the arc, forcing a second round of competition. Both Oxender and Koenig would be afforded fifteen seconds to make as many threes as possible from the top of the key. Oxender went first, draining 2 triples in the allotted time. Koenig knocked down her first three shots, sealing the victory for the Lady Indian.
Also representing Wauseon was Noah Castle, who competed in the boys Three-Point contest. The 6’5” senior displayed his versatility, making 7 shots from beyond the arc. That was good enough to put him in a tie for third place.
Castle would find more success in the Slam Dunk competition. He won the event with his creativity, as well as his athleticism. Each competitor was given three chances to complete a dunk in each of three rounds.
For his first dunk, Castle called upon teammate and fellow All-Star Jacob Newlove for assistance. Newlove bounced the ball off of the backboard, as Castle slammed it through the net in spectacular fashion.
Dunk number two had Castle scrambling to find Wauseon Head Coach Chad Burt, who he positioned directly in front of the rim. Castle then attempted to jump over him for the one-handed jam, though he eventually had to settle for a two-handed jam beside Burt, though it was still impressive.
His last dunk of the evening had Castle himself standing before the rim. In a maneuver reminiscent of a game of horse, he bounced the ball off of the floor, then off of the backboard, before jumping up and slamming the ball down with two hands.
Of course, Castle was not the only one to excite the crowd at the competition. Stryker’s Tanner Clingaman showed off a wide array of strong, athletic moves as he attacked the rim with great ferocity. Attempting dunks such as a three-hundred and sixty degree slam and an across the rim alley-oop, Clingaman pulled out all the stops in his effort to win. Jalen Towers, of Hilltop connected on a few strong one-handed jams as well, though he did turn to North Central’s Jordan Reeves to toss him an alley-oop of his own at one point.
The real winner on the evening was the crowd, as they were entertained by an excellent display of talent from area all-stars.
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