South takes control with strong third quarter in 86-79 victory against North

During the course of his storied high school career at Shady Spring, swingman Ammar Maxwell became adapt to taking games over when the Tigers needed him to.

In Friday night’s North-South All-Star Basketball Classic at the South Charleston Community Center, Maxwell did just that in a matchup showcasing a number of the state’s top seniors on the hardwood.

Maxwell scored 14 of his game-high 32 points in the third quarter, allowing the South to overcome a one-point halftime deficit and enter the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead en route to an 86-79 victory.

“I didn’t want to come out here and play around. Everybody knows it’s an All-Star game and there’s some slacking back, but I wanted to show them what I can really do,” Maxwell said. “I wanted to play aggressive, play my game and do what I can do.”

Maxwell scored in a variety of ways during the third, making five field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, and cashing in on a pair of free throw as well. He wa also plenty effective in the first half, particularly over the opening quarter when Maxwell scored all but four of the 14 points he entered the intermission with during a back-and-forth start with a frenetic pace that saw the South settle for a 27-26 lead.

Webster County’s Rayden Triplett made three treys in the opening period and added a fourth in the second, while the South had six scorers and made a trio of triples in the frame to enter halftime with the narrow advantage.

Grafton guard Jacob Maier scored eight of the North’s 17 third-quarter points, but the South used an assertive Maxwell combined with six point in the quarter from Summers County’s Brandan Isaac to build a lead it would never relinquish.

“I was just doing me and we were doing us,” Maxwell said. “We were playing team ball, working the ball around and doing what we were not doing in the first half.”

Issac also scored six points in the opening quarter and was the South’s second-leading scorer with 12.

Although Triplett made his fifth and final three to bring the North to within 81-72 with 2:50 remaining, Wyoming East guard Cole Lambert answered with a driving bucket and Maxwell followed with two free throws at the 1:59 mark to put the South back in front comfortably.

Triplett scored a team-high 17 in defeat, while Maier, who was named North MVP, added 15.

“They’re all really good and it’s cool having guys that are all good on your team and going up against them,” Maier said. “It was challenging, but I had a lot of fun.”

Listed at 5-foot-9, Maier was the shortest player between both teams.

“I’ve always been told that short people can’t play basketball and it kind of gives me a little chip on my shoulder,” he said. “Every time someone says that, I work harder and harder.”

University’s James Fortney-Garbert made three threes and scored 11 in the loss.

Woodrow Wilson’s Elijah Redfern scored 10 points after winning the dunk contest earlier in the night and Lambert added nine in the victory.

Maxwell’s memorable effort came in his final contest playing for Shady Spring’s Ronnie Olson, who was one of two state champion coaches from 2024 to guide the South along with Charleston Catholic’s Hunter Moles.

“It feels good. I love Olson. That’s my guy,” Maxwell said. “Best coach ever and it’s good to go out with a bang winning the last one with him.”

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