Wednesday, March 26
Gearlds, Lawless lead charge as West beats East

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Close friends and future Purdue teammates, Katie Gearlds and Erin Lawless led the charge as the West beat the East 92-72 Wednesday at the McDonald's All-American High School girls basketball game.

"We were really clicking there," said Gearlds, awarded the game's MVP trophy by former UCLA coach John Wooden. "I can really read her well. I feel I know what she's going to do and she knows what I'm going to do. We'll see if we can keep that up for four years."

Gearlds, a 6-foot-1 guard out of Indianapolis, scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. She hit 3-of-4 3-pointers and added three rebounds and four assists.

"It's going to be a fun time," Gearlds said of her upcoming college career with Lawless. "We have great camaraderie. We've been good friends for the last year and a half. I'm really looking forward to a great four years."

Lawless, a 6-2 forward from Berwyn, Ill., who also signed to play for coach Kristy Curry, had 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. She made half of her 14 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 3-point attempts.

Lawless scored on a breakaway layup early in the second half, taking a long assist pass from Gearlds for the easy basket. They acknowledged each other with a smile -- foreshadowing many more baskets to come in their college careers -- as they ran back down the floor on defense.

West coach James Anderson, from Harbor City, Calif., said one of the biggest reasons his team played well is that they meshed together and didn't play selfishly.

"From the beginning, our kids did a good job of listening," Anderson said. "When you come to an all-star game, everybody wants to score points and be the most valuable player. But these girls listened. Katie played well, but her teammates were a big reason why she was the MVP."

Another Big Ten signee, Liz Podominick, a Lakeville, Minn., native who will play at Minnesota, added 11 points and Jennifer Hall had 10.

This was the second year for the McDonald's girls game. The West also won a year ago, 94-85. The game began with only a few hundred people at Gund Arena but had swelled to a few thousand by game's end.

The East's Ivory Latta, a 5-6 point guard out of York, S.C., who will play for North Carolina, had an off night. She scored 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting including 1-of-7 behind the arc. Latta was selected as the Morgan Wootten national player of the year by McDonald's.

Cori Chambers also scored 12 for the East. She will play this fall at Georgia.