NEWARK — The Blue-Gold senior all-star basketball games are always big moments for those in attendance.
But one of the most memorable moments of Saturday’s event came at halftime of the boys’ contest.
Eric Montanez of St. Thomas More stole the show during the slam dunk contest with one of the most unique dunks the event has ever seen.
Montanez also scored 12 points for the Gold team to lead the Southern squad to a 92-91 victory at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Blue defeated the Gold in the girls’ matchup a few hours earlier, 66-54.
Motanez’s biggest basket of the day was with how creative he got for his first dunk attempt of the halftime contest.
He had St. George’s Kyson Rawlos swish a layup through the basket. Meanwhile Montanez came in from the other side, grabbed the ball as it came out from under the net in mid-air and brought it back above his head for a one-handed windmill jam.
The crowd jumped to its feet and Montanez was mobbed by players from both teams in celebration.
“I just tried to think of something nobody else had done before,” Montanez said. “I wanted to do something spectacular.”
Montanez also contributed to a Gold comeback in the second half which saw the team rally from a 14-point deficit. He tied the game at 72-72 with 6:20 on a layup while being fouled.
Montanez hit the resulting free throw for a one-point lead before Joe Williams of Caesar Rodney dunked on the next possession to put the Gold on top by three.
The Blue battled back to tie the game at 86-86 but the Gold responded with six three points all on layups by Milford’s Brion Murray, St. Thomas More’s Corey Gordon and Lake Forest’s Cam Lewis.
The Blue got within a point at 92-91 but the game went scoreless for the final 1:07.
“This is a fun experience,” said Lewis. “I got to play with the best players. It was really fun being able to play here.”
Montanez also had one of the best dunks from the actual game, also set up by Rawls. He slammed the ball through with two hands on a breakaway after Rawls gave him a soft lob off the backboard.
“It’s a bittersweet moment to play our last high school game here,” Montanez said. “It was very good getting to know other players and all our buddies.”
In the girls’ game the Gold squad fought from behind to tie it at 45-45 in the second half until the Blue went on a late run to pull away.
Lake Forest’s Arika Burrell was the Gold’s top scorer with 13 points. Sussex Tech’s Rukiya Davis was also in double digits with 10 points..
Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at firstname.lastname@example.org