FARGO - As the water continues to recede in Bismarck, the city is preparing for a flood of the best high school basketball players in the state of North Dakota.
The 2011 Lions All-Star game pits the top boys and girls student athletes from both Class A and B against one another - beginning at 6 p.m. today at the Bismarck Civic Center.
The two-game set continues Wednesday at the Fargo Civic Center. The girls games will be played first followed by the boys.
"It is obviously based on statistics, but also they want good student athletes to participate in this game," said Norman Volk, co-chairman of the Lions All-Star Game. "I think these kids look forward to it. If you compare this All-Star game versus a lot of different states, it is certainly a lot better."
Two members of the Fargo Oak Grove basketball team were selected for the Class B All-Star roster.
"It feels good. It is an honor to be on the same team as all these guys," said Fargo Oak Grove guard Shayden Akason. "It's nice that another one of my teammates is on the same team. I know a couple of these other guys from playing in the summers as well."
The Grovers finished the 2010-2011 season with a 27-1 record and placed fifth at the state tournament.
"We had a good team and it was shown by our record and recognized by the state with having both of us on the team," Akason said.
The 6-foot-3 Evan Holt was also named to the Class B lineup from Oak Grove.
"It is an honor to be considered as one of the best high school players in North Dakota," Holt said.
The teams had three practice sessions to gel together and hammer out the offensive and defensive assignments.
"I like the quickness that we have," Class B head coach Jeff Hagler said after the first practice. "We've got some guys that can really scoot up and down the floor and we are going to have to try and use that to our advantage."
Volk, who started with the Lions in 1996, says that the contest has grown from an All-Star game to an All-Star event.
"I think that is true now because the game is being broadcast statewide," he said, referring to the live broadcast by BEK Communications, which is based in Steele, N.D.
This two-game series will be the final games in the high school careers of the athletes as only graduated seniors are invited to participate.
"I'm excited for the future and looking back at the past, it is happy memories," Akason said.
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