It took Cierra Johson 27 minutes of basketball to find her groove Friday afternoon.
True to the defensive form that helped earn her the Star-Telegram 2014 girls basketball player of the year award, a steal and layup at the 9:43 mark of the second half were all the Hurst L.D. Bell graduate needed to get on track.
Johnson poured in 19 points and had 13 rebounds and four steals as the Red All-Stars routed the Blue 86-69 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star Game at Arlington High School.
Johnson, already working out and enrolled at UT Arlington, earned MVP honors and said it was the perfect way to end her high school career.
“Yeah, that steal was the one that sparked things,” she said. “We had such a good time doing this. It was really cool to be around all the girls and these are players that I’ve known about and played against. It was special playing with them.”
The Red, made up of players mostly from the North Texas region, led 55-33 at halftime after opening the game with a 19-5 run.
Johnson had six points in that stretch and also hit 7 of 7 free throws. Trophy Club Byron Nelson’s Tralyn Woodard also had four points in the opening run and finished with eight.
“We had lots of laughs the last day or so; it was a lot of fun,” Woodard said. “You know, it’s a serious game, but it’s supposed to be more fun, and it was. To know that you’re considered one of the top athletes in the state of Texas is a great feeling.”
Keller Timber Creek’s Laniya Taylor scored six points for the Red.
“This was my last time ever playing organized basketball because I’m running track in college,” Taylor said. “It was really great for Mom to get to see me play one more time.”
Laura Von Tillburg of Weslaco led the Blue with 16 points, and Wendy Knight of San Antonio Reagan and Carissa Diaz of Tomball each added 12.