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One needs to go no further than Gary Prober to get any desired information about the annual Kiwanis Central Coast All-Star Basketball Spectacular.

Prober has organized the event "for 26 years," he said in a recent interview. The 29th edition of the Kiwanis Central Coast All-Star Basketball Spectacular is set for Saturday at Hancock College's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium.

The games match senior All-Stars from Northern Santa Barbara County high schools (the South team) against their counterparts from San Luis Obispo County high schools (the North squad). The girls game is set to tip off at 5 p.m. The boys game will start approximately 20 minutes after the completion of the girls game.

There will be a girls 3-point shooting contest at halftime of the girls game, a boys 3-point shooting contest between games and a slam dunk contest at halftime of the boys game.

As always, Prober, with enthusiasm, figures to help run all three contests.

"The games promote Kiwanis," said Prober, who said he has been a Kiwanis member for 30 years.

"Organizing the games starts in November. It's a lot of work, but I  really enjoy the games. The kids play hard. We've had a lot of good games."

Game programs provide a wealth of information, dug up by Prober. Info includes rosters, scores of every past all-star game, boys and girls, series records, individual scoring records, and past game individual award winners, including MVPs. Pre-game information also includes any awards an All-Star received during the season. 

Games are college length, 40 minutes. 

Prober said he was not the organizer of area high school all-star basketball games from their inception. However, he took the reins very early on.

"This thing was started by a St. Joseph coach named Rick King in 1991," said Prober.

"He came to one of our Kiwanis meetings and we were looking for an event to do, so it was a good match. We worked the Century Ride (a bicycle event) when Rich first came to us."

Prober said, "I thought, 'Hey, we don't know anything about bicycle racing but I know basketball.' At first I was just helping Rich. After about a year, he moved out of the area and I've been doing it ever since."

When the first version of the event began, it was a boys-only Northern League vs. Los Padres League match-up.

The Northern League became the PAC 8 League several years ago, and the Los Padres League disappeared when most of the area sports programs moved from the CIF Sputhern Section to the Central Section in early 2018.

"After I did (the All-Star Classic) for a year or two, I ran into (then-Righetti girls basketball coach Harold Oliveira)," said Prober. "He said, "Ever thought about doing a girls game'? I said, 'No, but it sounds like a good idea.'"

Prober said the event format switched to a San Luis Obispo County vs. Northern Santa Barbara County, North-South format in 1994, and a girls game was added then.

"When I first start organizing for the game, the first thing is always to get a gym," for the games, said Prober.

"We played in various locations at first. (Hancock athletic director) Kim Ensing has been very supportive. When she came in (in 2008), she said, We want the game at Hancock.''"

Prober said, "She has never charged me for using the gym. At some other places, we had to pay."

Besides the support Prober gets from Hancock, "Art Guzman is part of the Central Coast refs association, and he'll bring in CIF refs who will officiate the games pro bono (at no cost)," Prober said.

"He likes to bring in some new ones to work with older guys. We'll give 'em a T-shirt."

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