Marengo's Taylor Carlson sparks 'Home' All-Stars' basketball victory

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HEBRON – Marengo’s Taylor Carlson picked a most opportune time to score all of her seven points for the "Home" squad in the McHenry County Area All-Star Basketball Extravaganza.

The score was tied with 7:07 remaining when Carlson hit an 18-footer. During a pivotal 11-3 run for the Home, Carlson added a 3-pointer and a layup. After that, the Home managed to pull away in the final minutes for a 76-63 victory Sunday in the girls game at Alden-Hebron’s Tigard Gymnasium.

“I just wanted to score. One of my main goals was to get a couple baskets,” Carlson said. “I just had an open shot, so I took it.”

Carlson’s first basket made it 56-54, and the Home never was tied or trailed again. She also banked in a 3-pointer before getting a transition layup for a 65-57 lead.

“I didn’t think that 3 was going in,” she said. “It looked like it was off left. This team’s great. I love the sportsmanship and energy.”

The Away team was led by Johnsburg’s Kayla Toussaint with 20 points. Toussaint’s father, Mike, took over as Johnsburg's head boys coach three years ago after an 11-year stint as the Skyhawks' girls coach. Event organizers offered to let Toussaint do something he had not done and coach his daughter in a high school game.

“It was fun. It was a great experience,” Mike Toussaint said. “It was a good group. I’m happy they asked me to do this.”

Kayla Toussaint hit her three 3s in the first half and helped the Away team to a 37-30 halftime lead. The Home closed that gap, and the score went back and forth for 10 minutes.

“We did a better job containing their shooters in the second half,” said Huntley coach Steve Raethz, who coached the Home. “And we shot the ball better. It’s a real pleasure to coach these kids. They did a great job to come back like that.”

Huntley’s Sam Andrews, the 2013 Northwest Herald Player of the Year, finished with 10 points and six rebounds for the Home. She hit 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to help seal the game.

North Boone’s Renee Martin hit 8 of 12 shots and scored a team-high 18 points for the Home and was awarded the game’s MVP honor. Martin got a lot of her points inside, shooting with either hand, and also hit a pair of 3s in the first half.

“When I was younger, I was very right-handed dominant, but my first AAU coach made me go left all the time,” Martin said. “I really like using my left now. This was amazing. The coaches were great, and I made a lot of new friends.”

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