Girls Optimist game: Geyer, McCullough, Ruiz wrap up high school hoops careers

By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
-A +A


ANTELOPE - In the 36th Annual Evening Optimist girls all-star basketball game on Saturday, it was a showcase of 11 Sacramento area players with commitments to four-year programs like Del Oro seniors Brianna Ruiz and Stephanie Geyer.

Or it was the last hoorah for players like Placer senior Kerry McCullough to play the game they love one last time in a high-level, competitive game.

“For some of us, it is our last game,” McCullough said. “You just go out there and know you love what you are doing and it is a great experience.”

The 5-foot-2 floor general for Placer is headed to the University of Kansas, but not to play basketball. She hopes to find a way to continue to play basketball in some way.

McCullough scored seven points, including a 3-pointer in the second half that banked off the glass, which McCullough said she called “bank” on the shot.

For Ruiz, the game was a bit of redemption for a season mostly missed because of a knee injury. But the University of Washington commit led the North team with 16 points and was named the North MVP in the 85-58 loss on Saturday at Center High School.

“I just worked as hard I could to come back,” Ruiz said.

The Del Oro senior scored nine consecutive points for the North late in the first half, including two 3-pointers that reminded fans of why Ruiz was named a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

Ruiz and West Point commit Stephanie Geyer have been centerpieces for Del Oro for three-plus seasons. So the chance for the two seniors to play on the court one last time was a memorable experience.

“It was great playing with (Geyer),” Ruiz said. “We work so well together and it was just fun in our last game together and just went out with a bang.”

Geyer scored nine points in her final game wearing a Del Oro basketball uniform, and that was not lost on the senior when she reflected on the chance to be a part of the all-star game.

“It’s really surreal to come out and play with Bri one last time,” Geyer said. “I am really going to miss our school. It is an incredible place with incredible coaches and players. I know college won’t be the same. But it’s a new adventure.”

Follow Trevor Horn on Twitter @trevhorn