CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. — With his varsity head coach on the bench, Jarron Cumberland capped his stellar high school career with player of the game honors and a 94-92 victory in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Basketball Game Saturday at Thomas More College.
Wilmington head coach Mike Noszka served as Ohio’s head coach.
“It’s just an honor to represent the state like that,” Noszka said. “I told everyone at the banquet, ‘I’m here because of my players from Wilmington.’ They represent me well and I appreciate what they do.”
Noszka and Cumberland together were 85-13 during their WHS career.
In about 20 minutes of play Saturday, the Cincinnati-bound Cumberland scored 15 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 from the line. He also had three rebounds, two steals and an assist, unofficially.
Cumberland was part of the Ohio comeback that overcame Kentucky’s 13-0 game-opening spurt and eventually tied the game at 25. He hit his first bucket during the comeback, poked away the ball to a teammate whose layup pulled Ohio to within 23-19, and then had a steal and assist that pulled Ohio to within 25-21.
Kentucky started the second half hot, too, with an 18-4 run busted open a 46-46 halftime deadlock. But Ohio wouldn’t go away. A 21-6 flurry eventually gave the Buckeye State standouts a 71-70 lead with 10:14 left in the contest. A Cumberland bomb seconds later added to that and his pair of free throws capped what eventually grew to a 30-6 spurt.
“I just started off slow, shots weren’t falling,” Cumberland said. “Second half, I finally made some free throws, got a layup, and (Lima Senior guard) Xavier (Simpson) found me for a three, and it got me started after that.”
Cumberland hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 18 seconds to help hold off Kentucky’s comeback that nearly was complete with a game-winning three attempt at the buzzer.
ONE LAST TIME: Both Cumberland and Noszka appreciated a last opportunity to coach and play together.
“It was fun. He wasn’t hard like he was in high school practices. I’m going to miss him. He still coached and he wanted to win. He was on us and wanted us to play our best and beat Kentucky,” Cumberland said.
Noszka added, “It’s a little different setting. The funny thing is I kind of told him, ‘You have to tell these guys what I’m like,’ but it’s a little more relaxed atmosphere practice-wise. But, yes, one more time with Jarron, making foul shots down at the end and making a key three.”
RIVALRY BREWING: The Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game was the second of what probably will be many anticipated meetings between Cumberland and Taylor Co. Kentucky standout Quentin Goodin. Cumberland and the Xavier-bound Goodin first met in 2015 at Flyin’ to the Hoop. Cumberland scored 27 points in an 82-72 victory while Goodin had 19.
In the postgame handshake line Saturday night, Goodin had some good-natured words for Cumberland.
“He just said ‘I’ll get you next year,’” Cumberland said. “He’s a good player. If I guard him the whole game, he’s going to score against me. If he guards me the whole game, I’m going to score against him. He’s an all-around good player. I like his game.”
Noszka is looking forward to seeing their meetings the next few years, too. “There’s going to be a big rivalry there. It’ll be fun to watch.”
FAMILAR FACES: Noszka and Cumberland encountered many familiar faces in addition to Goodin Saturday. Taylor Co. coach Richard Gatewood coached the Kentucky team. Former foes Roderick Caldwell and Trey Landers (Wayne), Trey McBride (Moeller) and Xavier Simpson (Lima Senior) were teammates Saturday.
“Here’s what I told them Thursday night when we had our first practice,” Noszka said. “‘I’d much rather have you on my team than coaching against you.’”
Cumberland agreed, “Playing with them is better than playing against them.”
April 9, 2016
@Thomas More College
Ohio vs Kentucky All Star Game
Ohio 94 Kentucky 92
(94) OHIO (pts) – Xavier Simpson 12, Trey McBride 6, Trey Landers 13, Gage Rhodes 0, Ky’Re Allison 4, Jarron Cumberland 15, Roderick Caldwell 2, Maishe Dailey 8, Jalen Tate 8, Chandler Vaudrin 0, Ibi Watson 2, Brian Rolfe 2, Trey Kelley 4, John Teske 4, Nick Ward 14.
(92) KENTUCKY (pts) – Quentin Goodin 10, Chris Drabo 5, Tyrik Edwards 3, Jordan Perry 0, Malik Frank 2, Jaiveon Eaves 5, Darrius Williams 7, Mason Faulkner 13, James Boone 3, Alex Cook 4, Carson Williams 18, Jaalam Hill 4, Malik Dow 6, Ben Weyer 10, Matt Wilson 2.
Free Throws: Ohio 17-25; Kentucky 15-22. 3-pointers: Ohio 3 (Cumberland, Dailey, Tate). Kentucky 8 (Drabo, Eaves, D. Williams, Faulkner 3, Dow, Weyer 2).
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.