It took Brynn Thoming awhile to get used to playing basketball in game conditions again.
She quickly warmed up in the second half, and the Arroyo Grande senior led the North to a 53-46 win over the South in the 27th annual Kiwanis Central Coast All Star Basketball Spectacular at Hancock College's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium Saturday.
After a 2-for-11 first half, Thoming shot five-for-nine from the field in the second and finished with a game-high 17 points. She scored six points in the first 1:01 of the second half, staking the North to a 29-26 lead after the North trailed 20-19 at halftime.
"I hadn't played in a game since our last CIF game (in the playoffs in February)," said Thoming. "It took me awhile to get used to playing with (my North teammates). I hadn't played with any of them before."
Kinsey McBryde and Meghan Smith were the only representatives from Arroyo Grande on the North besides Thoming.
Besides her scoring, Thoming quarterbacked the offense as the North out-scored the South 15-9 the fourth quarter. McBryde helped the North keep the South at arm's length by hitting two 3-pointers in the fourth.
The North team was comprised of senior All-Stars from San Luis Obispo County. The South squad was comprised of the North's senior counterparts from Northern Santa Barbara County.
The North leads the series 13-9. The Kiwanis event started as a boys only, Los Padres League vs. Northern League event. The first girls game was in 1995.
Besides putting in 17 points, Thoming pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds for the North. Whitney Burns of San Luis Obispo and Ani Boncich of Mission Prep both had nine rebounds for the North. Burns scored 11 points.
Point guard Maya Armenta of Righetti led the South with 16 points. She was the only South player in double figures. Armenta was also the steals (six) and assists (five) leader for the game.
Armenta was also the only South player to score with any consistency as the second half wore on. The North defenders consistently cut off the South's angles in the lane.
"Our defense was what really did it for us," said Thoming. "All of our girls played really good defense."
Armenta pulled the South within 49-43 when she made a 3-pointer at the 4:27 mark of the fourth quarter. The South didn't score another basket until Righetti senior Danita Estorga made a layup with 19.8 seconds to play.
The Biola-bound Estorga was having a big senior campaign until an injury to her left leg cost her the second half of the season. Estorga came into the game with 1:36 left. The North players let her shoot uncontested.
After Armenta, Dasia Ramirez, another Righetti senior, was the South's next highest scorer with eight points. Allie Spence of Santa Ynez pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for the South.
Besides garnering the MVP award, Thoming edged Spence in sudden death to win the 3-point shooting contest at halftime.
The Arroyo Grande senior said she is unsure of her collegiate plans. In the near future, "I’m going to work out with Chico State, Cal Baptist and (Cal State) Monterey Bay," she said.