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Best high school basketball talent eager to meet for North Georgia All-Star Classic
Chestatee's Kayla Watson (20) dribbles around North Hall's Chloe Barrett (15) during a Region 8-AAAA tournament game Feb. 10 at Buford High. - photo by Erin O. Smith

North Georgia All-Star Classic

When: Saturday

Where: Gainesville High gym

Schedule: 3-point shootout at 1 p.m., slam dunk contest at 2 p.m., girls game at 3 p.m., boys game to follow

Tickets: $7 for adults, $5 for students

Contact: For more information, call 770-598-4596

North Georgia Classic
All-Star Basketball game
at Gainesville High

Home Team Girls
Kayla Kelly Gainesville
Shikiya Brown Gainesville
Sarah Hollifield North Hall
Chloe Barrett North Hall
Kayla Watson Chestatee
Heather Moore Flowery Branch
Maddie Hetzel Flowery Branch
Breanna Locke Flowery Branch
Kierra Knight Flowery Branch
Ashlyn Ellison East Hall
Jenny Edwards East Hall
Meaghan Kelling West Hall
Kimmie Brady Johnson


Courtney Newton Flowery Branch

Away Team Girls
Delaney Edwards Rabun County
Jenna Staiti West Forsyth
Jane Ortlip West Forsyth
Karlie Bearden Dawson County
Damiya Montgomery Hart County
Scheckinah Bimpa Loganville
Kelly Ackerman Loganville
Kentasia Trimier Stephens County
Morgan Grindle North Forsyth
Aaliyah Milord Holy Innocents


Eric Herrick North Forsyth

Home Team Boys
Trey Bailey Flowery Branch
Gabe Holston Flowery Branch
Messiah Dorsey Gainesville
D’Marcus Simonds Gainesville
Harry Oliver Gainesville
Tae Turner Gainesville
Ahmad Harrison Johnson
Esteban Ulloa West Hall
Triston Cooper East Hall
Tylor Brown East Hall
Carson Heinen North Hall
Sam Jackson North Hall
Daniel Fadool Lakeview


David Sokol Flowery Branch

Away Team Boys

Zez Steeple Banks County
Zac Orr Banks County
Trevae Cain Banks County
Kendrick Simmons Banks County
Whit Mauney White County
Jack Howard Lumpkin County
Brandon Zarate Lumpkin County
Nick Cunningham North Forsyth
Phoenix Roberts Franklin County
KeAndre Morrison Franklin County
Tyler Rhodes Loganville


Mike Cleveland Banks County

Jerious Norwood is probably the most excited person involved with Saturday’s North Georgia All-Star Basketball Classic.

The former Atlanta Falcons running back will serve as a celebrity guest for the event that brings together the best high school talent from Hall County and surrounding Northeast Georgia counties at Gainesville High.

For the fifth year, the event will have games divided with Hall County players on one team and athletes from outside Hall County on the other. In addition to the doubleheader starting with the girls’ game at 3 p.m., there will also be a 3-point shootout and slam dunk contest.

Norwood, who spent five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and now trains athletes in the area, is ready to see what the local talent has to offer on the basketball court. Norwood, along with former Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Todd Weiner, was invited to give some name recognition by event coordinators Mario Mays and Adrian Penland.

“This is going to be very exciting to watch,” said Norwood, who said he played point guard growing up on the basketball court and even won a slam dunk contest. “These are some of the state’s best players all coming together.

“We’re going to put them out there and let them compete.”

The most high-profile player for the event is West Forsyth senior and Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year Jenna Staiti, who was added to the Away girls roster this week, according to Mays.

The 6-foot-5 center for the Wolverines, who is signed with the University of Maryland, averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks per game in 2015-16. Staiti, who is ranked the No. 17 best girls player in the Class of 2016, according to ESPN, had 51 points in a loss against McEachern in the Class AAAAAA state semifinals last month. In the first three round of the playoffs, she scored 35 each night out.

Playing against Staiti and the visitors, the Hall County squad is anchored by four Flowery Branch players (Heather Moore, Maddie Hetzel, Breanna Locke and Kierra Knight) and led by Lady Falcons first-year coach Courtney Newton. Gainesville, North Hall and East Hall will each be represented by a pair of girls players.

“We’re pretty excited about the game,” said Locke, who was a key part of Flowery Branch’s run to the state quarterfinals in Class AAAAA. “This will be the last game we play in as high schoolers.”

Locke said she’s most interested to play against Dawson County’s Karlie Bearden. The two girls will be playing together starting in the fall at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

On the boys side of the twin bill, Gainesville’s D’Marcus Simonds (22 points, six rebounds, six assists) is the most easily recognized name. The Red Elephants boys have four players on the Hall County squad. The visiting boys squad is led by Banks County’s Zez Steeple, Zac Orr and Trevae Cain.

In addition to the two former Atlanta Falcons attending the event, Atlanta radio personality Greg Street from V-103 will also be a celebrity guest.

Norwood, who spoke at a meet and greet with players this week, said he’s focused on giving back to younger athletes now that his career is over.

“I want to make sure all these athletes who have all this talent stay on the right track,” said Norwood, who topped 2,000 rushing yards in his NFL career.

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