The resolve of Riverbank High basketball seniors Markus Benson and Kenny Veliz will be tested like a Shamwow cloth on April 13.
After prestigious selections to participate in the Madness in the Mother Lode All Star Extravaganza at Columbia College, Veliz and Benson will join seven other small school players and nine large-school standouts for Central Catholic coach Mike Wilson’s home team (light uniforms).
They will square off against 17 others on the visiting team (dark uniforms), but the true conflict may arise if Benson and Veliz are asked to drop back into a zone defense.
Spotting a zone formation made up of Bruin players is about as easy as riding a unicorn, trapping a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow, shooting a white buffalo (one you didn’t spray paint) or stealing Jack Link’s Beef Jerky from an angry Sasquatch.
Riverbank players under coach Jeff Jennings play defense like a man — in man defense. Jennings would sooner have his players distract opponents with a Harlem Shake than settle into zone defense.
It’s rumored that Jennings once put on 10 pounds because he refused to participate in a zone diet. He drives twice as fast to get through construction zones and he only eats the first 3/7ths of a calzone.
Since Coach Wilson runs both man and zone formations with Central Catholic (where he amassed a 174-83 record), Benson and Veliz may be asked to break away from their high intensity defensive approach and settle into a laid-back zone — a concept one eye-patch away from a guaranteed mutiny.
The Bruin pair will play alongside a contingent of players from Bret Harte, Ripon Christian, Sonora, Beyer, Enochs, Downey, East Union, Los Banos, Atwater and Central Catholic. The group squares off with opponents from Oakdale, Davis, Turlock, Johansen, Golden Valley, Calaveras, Escalon, Ripon, and Summerville.
The All-Stars were selected by area coaches and will compete in their school uniforms without any joint practices. The game is slated for a 3 p.m. tip off at Columbia. General admission is $10, with a $5 fee for staff and students.
Ike Dodson is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.