TOMS RIVER - A 20-point lead in an All-Star game basketball game might as well be a two-point lead, and Marlboro senior Tatum Evans and her West All-Stars not only had to hold off another team of All-Stars from erasing said 20-point deficit, but one that had four players from a St. John Vianney squad that won the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions two days earlier.

The quartet from the Lady Lancers title team made things interesting down the stretch, but Evans and Co. held off the surge in the final two minutes as the West All-Stars beat the East All-Stars 77-69 in Wednesday's Shore Coaches Senior All-Star Game at Pine Belt Arena.

Evans scored a game-high 14 points to lead the West and win the MVP, including a basket off a feed from Middletown South's Stephanie Karcz in the final 1:30 to quiet the East rally.

"It's interesting because I wasn't expecting to come here and win MVP," Evans said. "It was a pretty big surprise, but I'm happy."

Vianney seniors Kelly Campbell, Zoe Pero, Tina Lebron and Gigi Caponegro all took the floor together for the final four minutes and nearly erased a 20-point lead, but could not get closer than four points.


Marlboro senior Tatum Evans was named the MVP of Wednesday's Shore Senior All-Star Game. (Ray Richardson)

"We wanted to compete 'til the end, no matter who was on the court," Evans said. "We knew they would keep fighting so we wanted to try to shut them down."

Karcz finished with seven points and eight rebounds, Keansburg 1,000-point scorer Stephanie Walters poured in 11 points and Long Branch 1,000-point scorer Che'Kasha Andrews added nine points and three assists in the West Victory.

While four of Vianney's five All-Stars played on the East team, Lancers starting guard Vanessa Pinho picked up a win Wednesday as part of the West squad. Pinho finished with four points in the win.

Colts Neck forward Elise Brown helped the West storm out in front with six points in the first half to lead all scorers going to the break, during which the West also got the better of the East when Freehold Township's Harley Kneler beat Toms River East's Kaitlin Lister in the three-point shoot-out.

Jackson Memorial guard Daria Jones led a balanced scoring effort from the East All-Stars with 10 points. Four different players scored eight points each, including Campbell, Pero and Caponegro from St. John Vianney. Lister also scored eight points for the East All-Stars.

Pero scored six points down the stretch to help spark the rally while Caponegro scored six in the first half. Lebron scored six points on two three-pointers.