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Top prospects collide at the Battle of the Valley All-Star Game

  |   April 12, 2018  |   David Yapkowitz

The high school basketball season may have come to an end, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any basketball left to be played. On Saturday night, the Valley Sports Foundation hosted the “Battle of the Valley” Senior All-Star Game at Sierra Canyon High School.

The game comprised of two teams (East vs. West), each featuring some of the best senior talent in the San Fernando Valley as well as surrounding areas. The local hoopers put on a show in what turned out to be a high scoring affair, as Team West defeated Team East, 155-130.

The West team featured an array of athletes who will be taking their talents to Division I college programs. The list of names includes Taft's Kihei Clark (Virginia), Oak Park's Riley Battin (Utah) and Wes Slajchert (Dartmouth), El Camino Real's Eddy Egun (Montana), and Viewpoint's Michael Feinberg (Yale) .

Battin led the way for the West with 26 points, and was named co-MVP of the game along with his high school teammate, Slajchert, who had 25 of his own. Battin will be suiting up for the Utah Utes next season. The Utes have had some talented teams lately, and have produced well-known names such as Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl of the Toronto Raptors.

“I want to bring competitiveness.” Battin said when asked what he hopes to bring to Utah. “I'll do anything I need to do to help the team win. I'm just excited to get there.”

It was a fitting end to Battin's high school career, one that saw him average 25.7 points per game and 12.4 rebounds in his senior year, as well as being named to the Division I All-CIF team. In doing so, Battin surpassed former Simi Valley star and ex-NBA player Don McLean as Ventura County's all-time leading scorer.

“I'd say my high school experience was a good one overall,” Battin said. “We played some of the top teams around the nation and I feel like I gave it all I got.”

Also helping to power the West team to victory was Kihei Clark of Taft High School. Taft has been known for producing talented point guards such as Jordan Farmer, Larry Drew II, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Clark hopes to follow in their footsteps, ending a great senior year posting 21.3 points per game along with 8.3 assists.

“I think it was really good,” Clark said about his high school experience. “Especially AAU, I think AAU ended pretty well for me. Just hard work and effort, it paid off in the end.”

Clark will take the floor for the Virginia next year, and despite the Cavalier’s early exit in this year’s NCAA tournament (the only No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed), they still are one of the top college basketball programs in the country.

“They shoot a lot of threes”, Clark said after the game. “But when shots are not falling we got to get in there and touch the paint, then be able to kick out. That's something I can bring to the team. Also, my defense, I can pressure the ball.”

The event also featured a dunk contest that was won by Paraclete's Chris Gayles, as well as a Boys vs Girls three-point shootout that was won by Ventura's Jazmin Carrasco.  

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