Senior boys light up Optimist game with 218 points

Rocklin basketball is back
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Placer Herald Correspondent
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Serving as the nightcap to last Saturday’s 36th Annual High School All Stars’ game, presented by the Evening Optimist Club of Sacramento, the boys of the greater Sacramento region treated the audience at Center High School to an evening of slam dunks and alley-oops.

The high-scoring affair was anything but a defensive showcase, as each side topped the triple-digit mark.

Leading the Optimists’ North team was first-year Rocklin head coach Casey Cutts. He was accompanied by his Thunder staff of Terry Tangney and J.J. Barnette.

Coaching the South was Michael Bradley of Sheldon High School. He was accompanied by assistants Rich Viano-Nitchke and Rich Manning.

After a remarkable season in which the Thunder made a deep run in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship tournament and earned a berth at state, Cutts was honored with the chance to coach some of the brightest talent in the region.

“It’s a good event for the kids and a nice showcase for their abilities,” said Cutts after the game. “These guys are the best of the best in the area … I couldn’t of been prouder.”

Representing the revamped Thunder varsity basketball program, Devin Moss and Drew Ardissone were selected for their individual performances in the 2012-13 year.

Moss, who was selected as a starter in Saturday’s game, rebounded from a quiet first half with a pair of treys in the final 20 minutes. After the game, he spoke about the chance to play alongside friends separated only by the different schools they attend.

“It was a good opportunity to play with all these great players,” said Moss. “Most of us know each other, but we never get to play on a team. It’s kind of our one last hurrah.”

Ardissone’s career as a Thunder cager came to a close shooting a perfect 3-for-3, including two treys in his final high school basketball game. The senior started his Rocklin career at junior Thunder camps in kindergarten.

This year, Ardissone’s path came full circle after being reunited with Coach Cutts. Cutts was his coach when Ardissone was in the third grade.

Reflecting on his time at Rocklin, Ardissone paid tribute to what this year’s team was able to accomplish.

“This year, we decided to band together and make something of this year,” said Ardissone. “It’s a community thing to go to Rocklin basketball games on Friday night. That’s what we wanted back and I think we were able to do that.”

Casa Roble’s Eric Stuteville was MVP of the North; Sacramento High’s Joseph Barnes earned that honor for the South.

The game also helped to raise funds for the Optimist’s charitable outreach.

36th Annual Optimist Basketball Game


South  58  55 – 113

North  38  67 – 105