Mahoney, Yonker take part in WBCA All-Star Game

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Local duo enjoys unforgettable experience on basketball court
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Suring’s Ryan Mahoney scores on a breakaway layup during the WBCA All-Star Game. (Contributed photo)

Suring’s Ryan Mahoney and Gillett’s Taylor Yonker each enjoyed incredible high school careers on the basketball court.

Each player led their team in points per game during their senior seasons and were each rewarded with a roster spot for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Star Game.

Yonker was one of 10 players on the Division 5 North team that battled the Division 5 South team on June 15 at JustAgame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells. The South earned a 78-71 victory, overcoming a 16-point deficit.

Yonker, who helped lead Gillett to a Division 5 sectional final game, finished with two points after connecting on two first quarter free throws.

Despite her team not picking up the victory, Yonker still had an enjoyable time, especially with the game being for a good cause.

The event is centered around raising money for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer. Each athlete contributed to the MACC organization through fundraisers prior to the game.

“This wasn’t just about playing basketball, it was also about raising money for research towards finding a cure for childhood cancer,” Yonker said. “Listening to stories from kids who have had to go through these awful diseases was very moving and inspirational.”

Yonker was also very thankful to be selected to the roster.

“Sometimes I would have to stop and realize how big of an accomplishment this was because the entire time we were being told that we are the best 10 players from the northern part of the state and it was kinda an unreal feeling,” she said. “My experience was amazing, it was so much fun to be able to play with the best players in the state. It was also a huge honor to be able to represent my school, team and family.”

Mahoney, who averaged 23.2 points as a senior, poured in 18 points and helped the North team claim a 82-72 win over the South.

Following a strong showing and unforgettable experience, Mahoney was sure to thank everyone that helped him reach the game and have a fun time.

“I am truly honored that I was named to be a WBCA All-Star,” he said. “I want to thank my high school coach, Jim Keeffe, for nominating me, and all the support he has given me through my four years of high school. I’d also like to thank the coaches that coached the all-star team and my teammates that helped make this an experience I will never forget. Thank you to all of my sponsors who made generous donations (to the MACC Fund).”

While he certainly fit right in alongside some of the state’s top players, Mahoney still couldn’t believe all the talent he faced in the game and week of preparation.

“Playing against and with the top talent in the state was beyond imaginable,” Mahoney said. “Someone is always making an amazing pass or a near impossible shot throughout the week of practice and scrimmages. Our team played against not just the top talent in Division 5 but also against some of the top talent in divisions one through four in scrimmages throughout the week.”

Regardless of the outcome of the games, the athletes come away with experiences they won’t soon forget. Yonker and Mahoney were definitely among those athletes.

“I think what I’m going to remember most about the game is knowing I got to play with and against the best players in the state,” Yonker said. “I’m also going to remember my teammates the most, I mean they are such awesome people and were so much fun to hang out with. There wasn’t a time that we weren’t laughing and just having a good time.”

“I won’t remember the score of the game or who had how many points or rebounds, what I will remember most about the game is the excitement and the fun that our team had when we played,” Mahoney said. “Our team bonded well together right from the start, which helped us grow to form one team by the end of the week.”