PONTIAC — Three minutes after subbing in at Saturday’s IBCA Class 1A-2A All-Star Game, Shandon Boone was just hoping he wasn’t asked to sit back on the bench.
Then he caught fire.
Boone, a two-time Telegraph Player of the Year, overcame his rocky beginning, righted his ship. He went on to score 33 points, including nine treys, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the South All-Stars, despite a 111-95 loss in the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches-sponsored event at Pontiac High School.
Boone, an Avilla University recruit, wasn’t even a starter for the South team. When South All-Star coach Vic Binkley of Warrensburg-Latham did insert him, the former Explorer star didn’t exactly impress right off the bat.
“I had two turnovers and a missed three,” Boone said. “I went up there with the idea to play my best and play the style of basketball I am used to playing.”
Boone did get around that, even if it took overcoming that stumble out of the gate.
“I was hoping they wouldn’t sit me back down,” Boon said with a chuckle. “But when I started hitting, they let me finish.”
Saturday night’s game was Boone’s final activity as a high school player.
“It was my third and last all-star game,” Boone said. “Now, it’s strictly college.”
There wasn’t much buffer time between prep and college for Boone, who flew to Kansas City Sunday morning for more summer workouts with his new teammates at Avilla. Boone also played in all-star games in St. Louis in Jacksonville.
The IBCA All-Star event featured four games. besides the 1A/2A boys game, there was a 3A/4A boys game as well as a 1A/2A and 3A/4A girls games. Alton High’s LaJarvia Brown was a selection to the Class 3A/4A girls squad.
“We had about a two-hour practice Friday,” Boone said. “I didn’t know anybody up there. It’s pretty far away.”
His senior season, Boone helped lead Marquette to the Dupo Regional championship and a berth at the Pinckneyville Sectional. They finished 21-10 after falling to Breese Central in the semifinals at Pinckneyville.
Boone averaged 19.2 points per game last season and scored 364 points. He transferred to Marquette from CBC as a junior and finished his two seasons with the Explorers as a 1,000-point scorer.
In the Explorers’ victory over rival Roxana in the Dupo Regional final, Boone, who had been held in check much of the game by the Shells defense, came alive in the fourth quarter. He drilled back-to-back long-range treys in the fourth quarter, erasing a 33-27 Roxana lead. Marquette went on to win 48-45 in overtime and Boone scored the final points of the game on a long inbounds pass.
In Saturday’s all-star game, Boone was nearly unstoppable – once he started scoring.
“I think (Boone) banked it in five times and I think he even called one of them,” North All-Star coach Chad Cluver from Watseka told reporters. “He was unbelievable. Some of those were contested shots and he still made them. There was nothing you could do about it.”
Boone’s prep coach, Marquette’s Steve Medford, wasn’t surprised at Boone’s Saturday success.
“I’m so happy for him,” Medford said. “He’s such an unselfish player and a hard worker. I’m sure he didn’t go in thinking he would be the MVP, but when you scored like he was scoring, it wasn’t surprising.
“I’ve said all along that Shandon is the kind of kid every coach would love to coach. He’s a great basketball player, of course, but he’s an even better person.”